Gay Bars Disappearing?

My SO and I don’t go out to Gay bars much (or at all) any more, so I guess I was kind of clueless to this new fact.

Speaking with a friend in LA, and asking how the old haunts are doing, he was telling me that many of the bars have closed for lack of business. He told me the internet has killed the concept of Gay bars - people prefer to meet/hook up via internet sites and that going to cruise the bars is pretty much over. He told me that West Hollywood still has lots of them - mostly because they are more of neighborhood bars, with large numbers of locals who hang out and can just walk there - but other isolated bars that required a drive or were in “iffy areas” have all pretty much closed down. Only a few exist and they only survive due to weekend special events - but even they are losing business fast.

I guess I have been out of the loop, but just wondering if maybe this is just an “LA” thing where people are not eager to drive 45 minutes to an hour to find an empty bar/club and would rather just cruise the internet. I suppose it makes sense.

Is this true in other cities/towns?

The internet says: Yes

Here in Dallas it’s kinda true as to bars where formerly nearly everyone was gay. I like to think it’s more general acceptance in ‘straight’ bars. But, it also seems that many straights flock to the formerly gay bars making them more homogenous. Some of my gay guy friends find this very unfortunate.

I used to go to gay bars with my friends when I was single. It was nice to be able to just dance and have a great time without any pressure. I felt safe there. It also seemed like they had better DJ’s. :smiley:


Been to San Francisco lately?

The Internet and Grindr have certainly killed outdoor cruising and tearooms. I never really liked or understood the bars, but it certainly doesn’t seem like new ones are opening they way they used to.

The White Horse Bar, locally famous gay bar in Oakland CA, claiming to be 75 years old, has a live web site.

I should have been more clear - obviously in high volume tourist areas (West Hollywood, Castro Street in SF, Christopher Street in NYC) they wouldn’t have the problem as much, as you get enough tourists dropping by to keep the bars interesting for locals to continue to stop by for a drink.

But for outlaying areas that are not frequented by the tourists nor walk-in’s from the neighborhood, I can see that it would be a challenge to get someone (me) to travel all the way there and be pissed off when the place was practically empty. In the “old days”, many of those places were popular simply because they were located in isolated areas and there was a chance to meet someone new who you might not have otherwise met (lived 30 miles or more away from you). Now you can find them on the internet and not need to hang out and wait for hit and miss full/empty bars at odd hours of the night in crappy neighborhoods.
I can see how those bars away from urban centers would be going out of business quickly.

It’s certainly true that New York’s strip of cruise bars and backroom bars is pretty much gone. There are a number of factors involved, and I’m sure the existence of internet casual-sex sites is one of them.

It’s also true that the city closed down a bunch of them in the eighties (easy, 'cause they were pretty much operating completely illegally, without bothering with petty details like liquor licenses). So goodbye to the Anvil and the Mineshaft and J’s and the like.

Real estate prices are another factor. The neighborhood that was home to lots of these places, New York’s meatpacking district, is now the hippest area in Manhattan. So you can’t pay the rent on selling drinks. Really expensive restaurants and boutiques now inhabit the spaces once filled by truly decadent bars. I’ve often wondered how the patrons of a fashionable restaurant would feel if they knew exactly what had gone on, how often, exactly where they were sitting right now.