Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Gay bars and pay phones on verge of extinction?

So says Entrepreneur.com, which lists 10 types of business that may disappear over the next decade. Here is the verdict on same-sex watering holes:
Gay bars: As The Orlando Sentinel noted in a recent article, around the country gay bars have been going out of business as gay men and women have been gaining greater acceptance in society. What used to be a hangout for people who felt unwelcome elsewhere is becoming less necessary. Odds of survival in 10 years: As with many industries, the very best of them will endure; the rest won't.
Greater acceptance in society as a whole, particularly among younger generations, is indeed one reason for the drying-up of the gay bar scene. (I'm still mourning Dedo here in Boston, but then I'm old enough to remember the Napoleon Club, the 1270, and Buddy's.) Here are the other nine reasons: 2.) The raising of the drinking age to 21 and the prohibition of happy hours in some states (like Massachusetts) has taught young adults to find other ways to entertain themselves at just the time that they're establishing lifelong habits. And $10 martinis don't help. 3.) Neighborhood groups in Boston, New York, and other large cities are increasingly unlikely to tolerate gay bars in their midst, as they fight against anything that might be noisy or bring "outsiders" to the area. This isn't necessarily a form of homophobia, since gay residents are often the loudest opponents to gay bars. 4.) More gays and lesbians are moving out to the suburbs, both because such communities are becoming gay-friendly and because "livable" large cities are becoming so expensive. 5.) Rents and property values in gentrified cities (often gentrified by gay men) are so high that it doesn't make economic sense to open a business tailored to a narrow demographic group. 6.) Manhunt, craigslist, and other forms of online hooking up. 7.) Gay men and lesbians socializing together more than in the past, and the difficulty of figuring out a bar atmosphere that appeals to both groups but somehow doesn't attract a large straight clientele. 8.) Strippers and porn videos are not such a big draw now that bare skin is so accessible through other means. And they turn off a large segment of the gay clientele anyway (some of whom see go-go boys as an occasional treat rather than a weekly attraction). 9.) Musical tastes among gay men are a lot more splintered than during the disco era. Put three random gay men in a gay bar, and two of them (maybe all three) will flee with their fingers in their ears. 10.) Too many gay bars have aggressive patrons, which can turn off guys who just want to meet friends and aren't interested in going home with anyone. Unfortunately, one busy troll (sorry, I can't think of a euphemism) can make his way through an entire bar and ensure that dozens of guys will never come back.

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