Now more than ever, the importance of the gay bar cannot be overstated. As President Obama put it, these gathering places are for more than "to be with friends, to dance and to sing, and to live—it is a place of solidarity and empowerment where people have come together to raise awareness, to speak their minds, and to advocate for their civil rights. Lucky for us, the city is packed with a variety of LGBTQ bars as unique and diverse as the community itself. There are plenty of places to soak in some herstory, belt out showtunes alongside a handsome pianist or add a few new stains to an already questionable couch. Not sure where to start?
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On an afternoon in the spring of , at the corner of 10th Street and Waverly Place in Greenwich Village, three men set out to disrupt the political and social climate of New York City. They approached the bartender, proclaimed they were homosexual and then requested a drink —and were promptly denied service. The men, who were part of the Mattachine Society — an early organization dedicated to fighting for gay rights — wanted to demonstrate that bars in the city discriminated against homosexuals. The practice of refusing service to homosexuals in bars was common at the time, although it was more veiled than discriminatory legislation like Jim Crow laws in the South that forced racial segregation.
This year's Pride Week kicked off with the welcome announcement that the Stonewall Inn, site of the start of the Gay Rights Movement, has been designated a city landmark. And though the Stonewall is a prime spot to celebrate this weekend, this city's got a whole host of other bars that provide safe and fun spaces for the LGBT crowd and allies alike. Here are our favorites; as always, leave yours in the comments.
Gay bars have been shuttered by public-place closure orders during the coronavirus pandemic. In March, more than half of U. But gay bars were already closing their doors before the virus hit. Their decline began sometime around and has since accelerated. On the one hand, this decline can be seen as a sign of shifting attitudes toward LGBT people ; on the other hand, their closure represents the loss of a vital community space.