Gay bars vanish


Slate wonders whether gay bars can survive.

“The total number of gay bars in the US dropped from 1,605 to 1,405—a 12.5 percent decrease—in the last six years”. … “In major cities, the number of gay bars has declined from peaks in the 1970s; but they haven’t dwindled down to nothing just yet. In 1973, Gayellow Pages placed 118 gay bars in San Francisco; now there are 33. Manhattan’s peak came in 1978, with 86; the current tally is 44. The decline in both gay-friendly cities may be attributable to how welcome gays are everywhere; as Gatta, who lives in the Bay Area, put it, “Every bar in San Francisco is a gay bar.”


Slate | 14454

June Thomas decided to deal with the depressing findings by doing some field research.

“As I was doing the research for this series, I visited a few bars on my own. The experience was dispiriting. It takes an unusual degree of social confidence to take a solo strut into a bar, much less to enjoy the experience. In New York, at least, unaccompanied drinkers seem to be left alone, or at least I was. (I’m aware that the ideal gay bar customer is young and cute, descriptors that don’t apply to me.) When I persuaded a friend to come along, we usually wished we were somewhere more suited to catching up.”


The Stonewall Inn | 1998 | Robert Giard/Jonathan G. Silin | 14453

The feature on The history of America’s gay bars and the Stonewall Riot is well worth reading and features a number of historic photographs.



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