"Gay Bar" Is Endangered Species in SF

Fewer and fewer strictly "gay bars" are open in SF every year.

By Chris Roberts
|  Tuesday, Feb 12, 2013  |  Updated 4:25 AM PDT
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NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 24: Revelers celebrate in front of the historic gay bar The Stonewall after the passing of a bill legalizing gay marriage in New York State on June 24, 2011 in New York City. San Francisco has fewer gay bars than it did in the past, according to reports.

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It's a bar. It's in the Castro. People here are gay -- but they're also straight.

So is it a gay bar? Yes. And no.

The strict definition of a "gay bar" may be open to debate, but it appears clear that fewer and fewer watering holes in San Francisco adhere to such a label, according to the San Francisco Examiner. Instead, new bars in historically LGBT places like The Castro are self-identifying as just "bars" and welcoming any kind of patron.

There were at least 50 gay bars in San Francisco twenty years ago, but estimates of the number of truly "gay bars" in San Francisco in operation today suggest around 33, the newspaper reported.

One reason is that the "mixing" or "cruising" traditionally performed in public at a bar is now going on via the Internet, including social media Web sites like Grindr, the newspaper reported. That makes less of a need for public places strictly set aside for LGBT folk.

That said, there's still a need for "community," which gay bars provide.

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