nightlife memorials

A Gay Bar Owner’s Last Lament Before Closing the Doors Forever

Nobody is more distraught over the closure of View Bar (nee The Break) in New York’s Chelsea district than the local gays. Except, arguably, the bar’s owner who was forced by his landlord to shut the doors on Friday at 4:30pm before Pride Weekend. But the death of his venue isn’t just a failed business establishment; it’s a failure for gay culture!

“The truth is we had fallen behind in our rent and had promised the landlord that he would be paid in full on Monday, following this weekend,” writes “Daddy” Andrew Marashinsky, the bar’s now-former owner, leaving a note on the bar’s website. “Even though we had never fallen behind in all our 25 year history, he chose to exercise his right to close us on Friday at 4:30pm, when nothing could be done.”

And now for the existential period of the program:

When I first opened The Works there were over 100 gay bars in NYC…now we don’t even number 50. Back then gay bars were a necessity, if you wanted to hook we. the pier, the park, the trucks and the baths were it. We were the safe, sane choice. Now one only has to sign on and order in. No shower, shave, multiple outfit changes or small talk is necessary. I know, I’ve done it. However, there is also no first locking of eyes, no buzz in your groin, whiff of his scent, feel of his grope or taste of his lips. And in no time he is in your bed performing an intimate act on …you (or you on him) sometimes without even exchanging names.

Now there is a time and place of everything and the internet is included. I just feel sad, on this historical weekend, that what our comrades fought for and rioted about was the right to gather (in a bar.) That right is now so discounted that NYC’s gay nightlife is disappearing – and by our own hand. The straight bars are not diminishing in numbers… we are.

If video killed the radio star, then Grindr killed the gay bar?

Why This 71-Year-Old Gay Bar Served Its Last Light Beer

[photo via]

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    The internets have killed lots ‘o tried and true business models……..I remember my first time as a ascared teen goin solo into a Gay bar. It was freakin’ terrifying. However it was great for my selfesteem. I pretended to like girls and “ask them out” because of the super guido crowd I hung with, and kept getting shot down. Once I was comfortable in the bar scene all that changed I was like a kid in a candy store, with all flavors of the Gays ready for lickin… I asked a couple of the girls who turned me down years afterwards and they all replied “We all thought you were really cute, but we all knew you were Gay”!! :-p

    Now you sit in front of a computer and you can hook in a matter of minutes. However I had some of the absolute best times of my life at some of the bars I bartended at and hung out at. I met friends who will be lifelong. I think now its tougher for Gays commin out to make Gay friends. Unless they frequent a Gay community center or some other activity it seems like lots of random hookups………..

  • Samwise

    Eh, I can’t feel too bad about all these gay businesses going under. We’re losing gay bars, but nowadays in many cities we can bring our dates to bars full of gay and straight people without fear of harassment. We’re losing gay bookstores, but we’ve got whole sections of gay books in mainstream bookstores all over the country. We’re losing gay magazines and newspapers, but mainstream newspapers and magazines now cover our issues. And because they often still don’t totally get it, we’ve got blogs too.

    I can understand a twinge of nostalgia for the past, but the future is way brighter. We stuck together and created our own little subculture out of necessity. We needed safe zones because the world outside was hostile and dangerous. Now gay teens can meet other gay teens at their schools’ GSAs. You don’t have to sneak away to that one gay bar in the next city, terrified that someone will see you. That’s progress.

  • scott ny'er

    i think it’s tough for anyone to meet anyone after the college/high school years. You don’t have the free time you used to and are more apt to be tired/busy. And there’s no connection… same classes, same school, same club, etc.

    Unless the peeps join a church, club, team, etc. outside of work.

    Oh and ONE HUNDRED GAY BARS!!! Wow. I never would’ve thought that. There aren’t that many around now, that’s sad.

    I don’t drink so it’s harder for peeps like me to meet other peeps.

  • scott ny'er

    @Samwise: But isn’t that true of only a few cities/areas?

  • jonasjones

    What a shame! I’ve gone there everytime I’ve visited New York, and as recently as a week ago. It was a terrific, unique bar and I met some really cool people. The bartenders were always very friendly and chatty – even to the tourists.

    In losing this bar, we’re also slowly losing another gay cultural and historical destination in Chelsea.

  • Doodles

    Peoples actually still went to this place? Seriously I’m surprised, of all my years passing it by it was always less than half full. How it made rent will always amaze me

  • Drake

    I think that people above are missing the point that with the loss of bookstores and bars, we are in fact loosing gay culture. Gay culture has included a gay political agenda, gay literature, gay media, and gay solidarity.

    Of course we have gained sufficient political rights to go into straight or mainstream bar or restaurant, of course they will take our money. We can’t always kiss our date hello in every city or in every state. Of course there are still comments, some loud enough to be heard by many, in the straight establishments, but there has been progress.

    However, Italians, Jews, Greeks, etc. do not face official discrimination anymore either. Yet, these groups celebrate their identities, and in fact have their own clubs, businesses, recreation centers, bookstores, etc. to celebrate the identity that they all have in common with one another. Most members of these groups do not make such establishments their only contacts in the greater world, but they do have a regular place for many individuals from these groups.

    I think that gays should support and preserve many of our institutions and gayborhoods to celebrate our identities, and to develop our identities in the ever changing world, just as other groups in society have.


    @Drake: Kinda sorta on the same vein as my post #1. Its funny you mention the ethnic groups who have their own organizations. Recently I was with a friend who was visiting the very Italian neighborhood he grew up in. He still belonged to the Italian social club his father and grandfather belonged. We stopped by and it was like we walked into the twilight zone. The place was like time screeched to a halt in 1962. Wood paneling, heavy velvet red curtains, checkerboard pattern tile floor, dim lighting and a bunch ‘o old guys sitting at the bar sipping expresso. We chatted with the President of the club and he was lamenting “none of the young guys want to hang out here”. Times and cultures change. Nice to know its not just the Gays…….

  • Samwise

    @scott ny’er: That is very true. We’re not there yet, but we’re making progress. The struggling gay bars and bookstores and newspapers we all hear about are the ones in cities like New York, D.C., and San Francisco: the cities that really don’t need them anymore. I have a feeling that in less progressive places, gay bars are still doing good business. Or at least, I haven’t heard/read anything that suggests otherwise.

    @Drake: You make a good point, but I think some element of gay culture will always be with us – just because there are so few of us and we’ll always need to find dates! No matter how much acceptance we find, it’d still kind of suck to walk into a bar filled with straights and gays and try to figure out which guys are gay and if you’ve got a chance with any of them. It’s just easier to create roomfulls of gay guys. So I think there will – and should – always be gay bars, just not necessarily 100 gay bars on one tiny island, and not necessarily as the only kind of place gay people can ever meet each other or be ourselves.

  • John Keith

    You didn’t pay your rent, dude. That’s not a change in culture, that’s called “slacking”.

    Also, you have a pretty high opinion of yourself that with your closing, we’re losing what our “gay comrades” fought for.

  • richard

    I wanna know how he pissed away his money…didnt he have at least a small nest egg to pay the rent…he would have made triple during pride weekend…he probably snored up his nose…dont blame the landlord for your mistake

  • PopSnap

    Well, that’s good for those of you rich enough to live in DC, NYC, LA, Chicago, and the other big cities.

    However, those of us in “flyover world” still need gay clubs/bars/bookstores and such. I live in a city of 40,000 near Cleveland & I would literally cry if Club Bounce or Man’s World shut down. There goes any hope I have of meeting other LGBTs, unless I perhaps went to a gay church or the LGBT center.

    Is Cleveland gay-friendly? Well, it’s not rural Alabama. You wouldn’t get lynched for being openly gay. Hell, people probably wouldn’t even look at you funny. Northeast Ohio in general is filled with ex steel-workers, blue collar families, & their liberal children. However, I would NOT recommend holding hands with another guy unless it was on the Detroit-Shoreway perhaps. I wouldn’t tell my boss I was gay, either: but then again, I probably wouldn’t do that in San Francisco either because I honestly don’t think it’s any of his/her business.

    So, for those of you celebrating and saying WOO THIS MEANS WE’RE ACCEPTED NOW please reconsider your joy especially for younger, single people such as myself. The internet? Haha I have well over 4,000 Myspace friends because it was the only way for me to meet gays before I was 18. No way I’m going back to that because it sucked and I made only 2 or 3 long-term friends.

  • Boystown Boy

    I’ve never understood how you can blame manhunt for a gay bar closing. Maybe it was your business model instead? Here in Chicago we had the Gentry, an old school piano bar, close. What replaced it? Scarlet a new hipster geared bar that’s now become a fixture in boystown and is normally bumping. If your business isn’t working you can’t blame the world only yourself for not keeping up.

  • Fitz

    I guess “daddy” needs to spend less time at the gym, and pay more attention to his books.

  • James

    actually, after thinking about this.. i think my main point is a little different from the “gays dont need gay bars” mainstream bs..

    i have been a nyc visitor maybe 25-30 times the last 12 years, never heard of this bar. sounds like someone refused to evolve and aged and died with its customers.. which is fine.. oldsmobile did the same thing… perhaps someone one was complacent, had limited marketing response, and failed to stay relevant?

    as for boys not needing bars due to grindr; i cite the the long lines and packed crowds at rockit.. i doubt the iPhone/grndr mkt “penetration” number is higher at many other bars in the city…

    in summary; things have changed with the passage of time as they always will. the looking, the buzzing, the scents, the groping are just as important as they always were and business will continue to capitalize on that fact.

  • jeffree

    Talk about “safe space”? When it became “cool” for bachelorette parties to invade gay bars, we tried not to mind. But when any “majority” takes over a “minority’s” space, the atmosphere changes.

    Until I can kiss my delicious Swiss bf on the lips –no tongue–, hold his hand and dance cheek to cheek in a str8 bar –without getting beat up, laughed at, kicked out, or taunted– I want my safe space, my gay hang out.

  • Correy

    Samwise, have you ever been anywhere other than New York? There may be “progress” in New York, but certainly not everywhere else. Even in the liberal bastions speckled throughout the country like Ann Arbor, Iowa City, Berkeley, Santa Fe, you still see rampant homophobia and gay couples rarely do go out together for the common fear of being harassed.

  • Kubo

    To be honest, I think that minorities, such as gays will always need a safe haven, or a “niche.” With that cones the respnsibility to adapt to the culture of the time, redecorate, change the business model, innovate your marketing. Do t sit and wither away as a “relic.”

    But that doesn’t mean get rid of the bars “because technology is the future” As much technology as we have, a physical establishment will always prove better because of the “locking, buzzing, groping….” If you can work tech into that, fine, but if not,don’t twiddle your thumbs. As the physical is exchanged for the electronic, we must not forget to go out, get fresh air, and go make friends. We have to hold on to it, or it will evolve into a “booty call” system, putting no emphasis on a lasting friendship or partnership

  • Jett Stoner

    The View sucked. It was surrounded by better bars and jack-off backroom spots. It closed b/c it sucked not b/c of Grindr. Next time ‘Daddy’, forget your ugly chrome decor, incompetent muscle mary bar queens, banal music and open an entertaining, interesting bar that isn’t a pale imitation of Uncle Charlie’s circa 1986.

  • Mrleatherny93

    As a young midwesterner moving to New York City, nothing could replace meeting a kinda’ “Cheers” group of friends at Ty’s when my friend Bud took me there for the first time, or seeing the “Mommy Dearest” video montage at the Works to the tune of Mama Mia (now on Youtube). There is a difference in seeing it now on the internet, laughing to myself, than laughing with an entire group of kindred spirits. The centre does provide group possibilities and that’s fine, but there was something about the possibilities a bar could provide for that chance meeting. Also, as a Mr. Leather, doing benefits with a combo of drag stars, leather daddies, just guys, and the one spinning the 12-inch discs, discoized remakes of TV theme songs and such, bad comedy and bingo, well you can’t get that on the internet. I’ll never forget my shock attending a “disco dance party” in the last year – computerized DJ-ing, blue faces of dancers resting as they played with their phones….I don’t want to sound like the crabby old man who yells at kids to get their ball out of his yard, but geezzzz, Don’t wonder why anti-gay violence is up when our “nesting areas” have been destroyed, it happens in just like animal populations…and when the young don’t know the struggles in history, well you know it’s like broccoli at my age, just repeats and repeats..

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