Gone but not forgotten

5 heartbreaking gay hotspot closures: Cobalt, The Caliph, and more

It’s been a tough 2019 for gay and lesbian bars and clubs across the country, especially with the news that San Francisco’s Blow Buddies is on the endangered list. While we cross our fingers for that sex club’s survival, let’s pour one out for these five destinations — all of which have either closed or announced closures since New Year’s.

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Cobalt

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Facing an expiring lease, this Washington D.C. gay bar announced its closure earlier this month. “For more than 20 years, our amazing customers and incredible staff have contributed greatly to the DC-area LGBT community and we have always strived to do our part to strengthen local organizations, businesses, and the entire 17th Street neighborhood and we couldn’t be prouder of the legacy Cobalt leaves behind,” owner Eric Little said on Facebook.

Grand Central

News broke this month that the owner of this Baltimore institution, billed as one of the city’s largest gay nightclubs, sold the 15,000-square-foot property to a company that plans to redevelop the site. The club had been in business since 1991.

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Bum Bum Bar

The NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project confirmed earlier this month that this Queens bar — which attracted a “mixed, but mostly working-class, Latina lesbian crowd” — had shuttered. “It’s a really sad commentary on the state of nightlife for LGBTQ women,” Ken Lustbader, the nonprofit’s co-director, said in a statement. “This was one of the only places that provided the opportunity for LGBTQ women to meet each other in a safe environment.”

The Brass Rail

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Beautiful Night!

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New London, Connecticut, is left without a gay bar with the closing of The Brass Rail, as The Day reported in January. “This was a family business in town for a very long time, and when the need was there for the LGBT community, that family opened its doors to us,” said former Mayor Daryl J. Finizio, “and I’ve never forgotten that.”

The Caliph

Billed by the Los Angeles Times as one of San Diego’s most iconic gay bars, The Caliph closed with the last call on New Year’s Eve after 58 years in business because its lease was not being renewed. “When I bought the place, I always wanted it to be all-inclusive — gay, straight, transgender, young, old, men, women,” owner Sherman Mendoza told the Times in December. “It was always open to everyone.”