RIP Gay Bars

CLOSEDBARS.jpg
via Next Magazine
The aughts saw the death of a whole slew of gay establishments where we drank, canoodled, and made all new frenemies, and fortunately, Dan Avery of Next magazine has taken the time to put them all together into a handy little souvenir commemorative map to enjoy while savoring the bittersweet memories.

Remember raunching it up in the bathroom at Roxy?

Groping the straight gogo boys at the seedy strip bar Stella's?

Serving attitude at the uppity lounge XL?

Buying a book at Oscar Wilde?

Why do I suddenly hear silence?

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46 comments
Dennis
Dennis

Does anyone remember South Dakota bar on 3rd Avenue near 29th St.?  I loved that bar and one of the bartenders

Charles George Taylor
Charles George Taylor

I met several famous John's at Stella's, but never once did Michael Musto grab me. If I bumped into him, I'd done him for free and asked for his autograph. 

Eric Bailey
Eric Bailey

The late 60's and early 70's had some bars that may be remembered: Harry's Back East, Carnaby Street (79th 1st&2nd), Steve Carney's (2nd&81st), The Blow-Up (2nd &80th), The Zodiac on 1st & 78th, The Menemsha on 57th & Lex, The Red Swing at 24th and Lex, The Candy Store on 56th near 6th, The Gold Bug down in St. Marks west of 5th, Top of The Town at thw Waldorf.   Definitely showing my age, holding onto my memory.

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Was reading this post and though I might let you understand that your blog template format is off. I viewed it on both of my screens to confirm it. Its OK using IE6, but not with Safari4.

RichB
RichB

I'm reading all of these posts and, I, too, long for the "old days" in Manhattan. Not because I want them back, but because of all the friends who are no longer with us. I'm remembering the good times with good people. I think it was more the sense of having more of "our own" places to go, meet and dance that may be sorely missed. A sometimes clandestine world that may have seemed more exciting because it was often times seen as forbidden. I solely provided the music for Wildwood, The Candle Bar, The Tunnel, Crossroads and several other bars in Manhattan and F.I.P. for decades and had (what I saw as) an enviable position of having loyal employers who never once waivered or gave someone else a chance to take my position. But....The music's different, the venues are mostly gone and time marches on as WE get older. At some point in time, I think we have to realize that we don't want to follow in Norma Desmond's footsteps. Tastes change, attitudes change and all of the previous and future generations will have their own experiences in which we'll neither participate nor be able to muse about in the future. But, those of us who were around in the 60's & 70's lived in a special time and DO have memories of some of these wonderful days from our past that others will never have. Now, they're just stories. Even for that, I'm thankful and so many make me smile. I just wish that more of us were around from those days with whom we could share and enjoy those memories 1st hand. I no longer live in Manhattan but certainly not for the reasons some state above. Why trash it? New York's sometimes rich and sometimes devasating past has historic significance in the annals of our gay past and we should hold on tight to preserve it in as positive way as possible. Remember...WE were not always responsible for pushing us underground. Peace & Happiness to all.

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Bruce
Bruce

I moved to NYC in '76, just in time for the end of that era. So for me the bars that closed in the last decade are only a fraction of what was lost in the prior twenty five years. I guess that's why the UES isn't even on the map. I lived on East 77th and within a few blocks there were Uncle Charlie's North, Camp David, Country Cousin, Harry's Back East (later Cowboys), Painted Pony, Twilight, Chaps. Brandy's is still there I think, but of course it wasn't really a cruise bar.

I met my boyfriend, who was a bartender, in 78 and he introduced me to places downtown and the west village and the upper west side I probably never would have found on my own. Places like the 220 Club on Houston St. where he liked to go after hours and hang out with all the wonderful drag queens. He worked at The Bar, The Bike Stop East, The Bike Stop West, Belvedere, Tory's World, GG Barnum Room, South Dakota, North Dakota, Cats, Jasons (in the hotel next to the Beacon Theatre), One Potato, Clyde's, Julius (for a day), and Sneakers. And I may have forgotten a few. As might be apparent from the length of the list, he often had conflicts with management.

And all the others I went to, Barefoot Boy, 29 Palms, Wildwood, Boot Hill, and on and on.

I know that what I experienced in my 20s is irrelevant to the experiences of young men today. (However, I did manage to live through it all, which might be more relevant to them than they think.)

Rudolf Hetsler
Rudolf Hetsler

so i woke up at 10 to buy the hannah montana tickets on ticketmaster cause thats when it started selling...apparently they were already sold out?? does that mean that it sold out during presale?!

Bill B
Bill B

I moved to West Virginia in 1991( long story ) I hadn't been to the city in ten years.my first impression in 2002 was , what happened to all the limos did some naturalist/tree hugging asshole ban them? I also noticed the absolute carnival / stage prop aura of Times Square. It's even more Glitzy now then in the 60's/70's if that's possible at least then it had a real look. New York in those day's was a blend of absolute trashy to absolutely trendy. the cute hustlers lining 53rd and 3rd, the Candy store with it's Jr. exec's and the realness of Julius on west 10th. the women's house of detention on Greenwich and the shouting from the inmates , the 50 cent cheeseburgers at Mama's chicken ribs and Julius , the Hotel Earl with the tacky Doctor Feelgood's bar to the uppity Townhouse with it's Ceo's and out of town politicians. They ruined NYC, someone should be imprisoned or drawn and quartered. Im living in a mid size town now in West Virginia but even it has a bit of sleaze and a bit of upscale. they should paint the entire Isle of Manhattan beige .God I miss the old NY.

Richard M S
Richard M S

"NYC isn't perfect but SURE a hell of a lot better than it had been. For example, Hell's Kitchen. That area was a shit hole prior to the late 90s. Now it's a vibrant, fun and exciting area."

Oh dear. If you think that about Hell's Kitchen now then that speaks volumes about your parochial definition of "fun, vibrant and exciting."

MichaelDC
MichaelDC

Periodically, I'm sad about not living in the West Village anymore (my home for 15 years, beginning in 1990). But then the reality hits me that I'm sad for a time that has long gone by, and this post is yet another reassurance for me. No more Jackie60, Crow Bar (the original), CLick and Drag, Sugar Babies, The Cock (the original), The Hole, Wigstock (in Tompkins Square), blah, blah, blah blah blah, I could go on for days. How can you still live there, Musto? Doesn't the corporatization of the island make you want to vomit? It does every time I visit. Oh, and a big fuck off to Giuliani for kicking off this slow death march into KMartdom for the place that was legend. Asshole.

mdev
mdev

New York's gay scene continues to be edgy and wild. There are gazillions of bars and parties, guys on drugs or not on drugs, wild drunk guys making out, whipping their things out having public sex. It's ALL STILL HAPPENING. I really don't know what you people are talking about. Gorgeous guys all over the place and once the dancing gets into their bones around 2:30-3am anything is possible. They are very 'open' and 'tolerant' at this time. ;) The music in NYC is bomb. Edgy with it. The food you had before you went out and what you get to wear are all stylized beyond anything any other american city has to offer. It doesn't even compare. New York bars are open till 4am. Not 2 with a last call a 1am. And you can really 'let your hair down' cause you're just gonna walk home or take a cab. I could go on but really it's all pretty much the same but there's more guys and gals.

Red
Red

New York's gay scene continues to be edgy and wild. There are gazillions of bars and parties, guys on drugs or not on drugs, wild drunk guys making out, whipping their things out having public sex. It's ALL STILL HAPPENING. I really don't know what you people are talking about. Gorgeous guys all over the place and once the dancing gets into their bones around 2:30-3am anything is possible. They are very 'open' and 'tolerant' at this time. ;) The music in NYC is bomb. Edgy with it. The food you had before you went out and what you get to wear are all stylized beyond anything any other american city has to offer. It doesn't even compare. New York bars are open till 4am. Not 2 with a last call a 1am. And you can really 'let your hair down' cause you're just gonna walk home or take a cab. I could go on but really it's all pretty much the same but there's more guys and gals.

Ray Acevedo-Flores
Ray Acevedo-Flores

Wow! Thanks to all who provided the names of those great bars of old. Danny's was the first gay bar I went into. There is where I saw Rollerarena being chased by the police. Then it was on to Sneakers...God I miss the "real" bartenders of those day. Not into their bodies, but into your mind. I learned my pool skills at Kellers, where i had wonderful times. I can go on, but I'll save it for the book.

Again, thanks for the memories!!!!!!!

MICKjr
MICKjr

The far west was so much fun: Keller's, Danny's, The Stud, Dirty Dick's(later Badlands), Cell Block, Tool Box, The Den, The Zodiac, Christopher's End, The Barn, The Department Store, The Roadhouse! Maggie Jiggs, please phone home.

Barkley
Barkley

How does one socialize on the internet? It's more like a sex hookup than socializing. Remember The Chalice in Sheraton Square? And of course The Toilet and The Strap and The Mineshaft. Yes, the Candle is still there although its not as fun. And the bar on Columbus in the 80s was Wildwood. Remember Eight of Clubs over by Broadway in the 70s? That was like being in someone's apt.

Anonymous
Anonymous

LA will never hold a candle to NY. By the way, is the Candle Bar still open? I met someone there once and ten minutes later we were stark naked on a rock in the middle of Central Park. Good times.

BIlly
BIlly

OK CKH, I was kind of feeling you until you extolled the virtues of LA. LOL! I know the arguments that the good ol' time are still alive in NYC if you know where to look, but it continues to be true in my experience.

Now, if you're ready to throw your hands up in decamp, fuck LA and frankly fuck any other American city. Berlin's where it's at. (I know, another cliche, but hellllllooooo Berghain).

Nonplussed
Nonplussed

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times", great to have been a part of it but just as great to be part of the present, the one thing we can rely on is that everything changes...

Richard
Richard

Lady Gaga is dehydrated. The Red Cross is flying in supplies, because she has no access to potable water.

AJNeetsaii
AJNeetsaii

Back in the 90's (two decades ago? OMG) I saw Daft Punk and Junior Vasquez spn at Twilo. I remember thinking at the time $20 was a steep cover, but man I would do it all over again, Incredible night!

Jonster
Jonster

I miss the original Limelight (Sheridan Sq.), with Paul Lynde and his hustler boyfriend Pablo. (Or Salvador Dali w/his muse Potassa de Lafayette.) I miss the Tenth Floor for the DJ, and Le Jardin for the sheer beauty of the place which exemplified a post-Stonewall, pre-Studio 54 gay aesthetic. I was one of those people who left not because NY lost its edge but to start a new life with a b/f. But there really is no place like NYC. Anywhere else I've lived, I always known that. (clicks heels) I also think it's a climate thing. I was raised around here. I'm into the whole seasons thing.

bobby bloomers
bobby bloomers

Well, some people left NYC because it lost its edge and went to another place with no edge, but at least is cheaper!

jaja
jaja

Bravo, Keith G!

ckh
ckh

One of the main reasons I left NYC was due to its new "Red State" mentality. The City just isn't fun unless you're into yogurt or mainstream movies. So many gays have left. So many artists are gone.

Remember when you could pop into King on 6th Ave. and choose the level of Sin you wanted to participate in? The Cats Bar in the theater district was always a show stopper. Roxy of course, but they were always a bit too expensive. The Spike, rest in peace, you were so divine.

Well, I'll tell all of you, the gay lifestyle is alive and well here in Los Angeles. Cuties abound and with the warmer weather, they are able to reduce their wardrobes to show the goods.

I miss the NYC that used to be. I know it will never come back, but perhaps something good will appear again. For now, its just rich peoples kids living the "Sex in the City" lifestyle and the new Republicans. Hail Bloomberg, you are the king (snore).

Anonymous
Anonymous

Oops! I meant that "Western" flannel & levi's bar in the mid 70's on Columbus Ave (peanut shells on the floor)that was the magnet bar of the UWS in the early '80's

Johnny
Johnny

Rawhide is still there....

Savannah Montgomery
Savannah Montgomery

Keller's, Chaps, all the Uncle Charlie's, 88's, Barbary Coast, Rawhide

Johnny
Johnny

here are a few from the past,, The Spike, Sneakers, Zone DKall were scary dumps but fun to.

Anonymous
Anonymous

Bring back Rounds, Stella's, Cats, Haymarket, an a dive near Port Authority where the owner was named Buddha, but I can't remember the name of it.

MDTopdad
MDTopdad

Bring back the days of PETER RABBIT, L.U.R.E, ONE POTATO, and all those fun bars I visited in my youth (Many I can't recall the names of). Of course back then, the worst thing you could catch was the CLAP!!!

Larry
Larry

It's even worse in the suburbs. The few bars left are just barely hanging on.

Mark
Mark

It would be interesting to see maps of gay bar locations for say, 1955 and 1980, and then today, to see how gay nightlife has migrated and changed over the years.

But I think the Internet has brought real changes in the ways we're socializing now. But I kind of feel Michael has touched on this before in other fond recollections about the demise of great gay bars.

Anonymous
Anonymous

Waa. I missed all these clubs.

lisette
lisette

Hannah's Lava Lounge was like nothing else. It was small and intimate and gaudy and seedy all at once.

Some of the people were pre Stonewall types and the rest were crazed neighborhood people and then you'd have a Bruce Vilanch drop by. Sick shit and it will never be replaced!

grizzly adams
grizzly adams

The bathrooms at Roxy were amazing until they hired an attendant to stand there and yell "One person per stall!"

bobshin
bobshin

@Bruce I thought Tory's World was only a figment of my imagination. In a search only your comment shows up. Saw Two Tons of Fun there in '82- maybe 20 people in the room. Had a fling with the drag host. Thought those days would never end. And today a friend posts on FB about going to a party on 42nd St where Tony Moran is spinning (still!) and Martha Wash is performing.

Dennis
Dennis

@Bruce  do you remember the names of any of the bartenders at South Dakota?  Or are any of you reading this?

Dennis


Dennis
Dennis

@Bruce  do you remember the names of any of the bartenders at South Dakota?  Or are any of you reading this?

chariteeze
chariteeze

@MICKjr  Maggie Jiggs was a friend of mine many moons ago in Boston days @ Punch Bowl...she was somethin' else! I am sure you know!

Pippo51
Pippo51

The Chalice on 10th Street, also Carr's, Danny's on 7th Avenue, Danny's on Christopher Street, Sneakers on West Street, The LURE, The Manhole, The Spike, The Anvil, The EAGLE,,Bikes Stop East & West, Painted Pony,Gilded Grape, Nickel Bar,La Escuelita,The MANHOLE<yumm>, and The ALTAR< so seriously depraved>!!!

I would settle for a Schrafft's, or a Orange Julius on the Gannsvoort Street...maybe even a Howard Johnson's....

And a bar with serious drinks....and serious men!</yumm>

Pippo51
Pippo51

the Candle bar is still around!

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