The Night the Dance Floor Went Dark 

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Bar Guides & Maps (Various Locations & Publications)

Specific Nightspots:

236 Club Harrisburg PA

Boom, Minneapolis MN

The Cartwheel, New Hope PA

Casa Lido, Trenton NJ

Checkers, St Paul MN

Club Metro, St Paul MN

The Copa, Ft. Lauderdale FL 

CR Bar, Upper Darby PA

Down The Street, Asbury Park NJ

Entertainers Club, Atlantic City NJ

Gatsby's, Cherry Hill NJ

I-Beam, Fargo ND

Innuendo, St Paul MN

Key West, Philadelphia PA

Kurt's, Philadelphia PA

Lucy's St Paul MN

The Neptune, Harrisburg PA

New Bar / Rod / Hotel Washington, Madison WI

Over The Rainbow (Jr. & Sr.), St Paul MN

Prelude, New Hope PA

Renaissance, Wilmington DE

Renegade (Club & Resort), Rehoboth Beach DE

Rumors, Dover DE

Rumours, St Paul MN (Later Named Trikkx) 

Saratoga, Atlantic City NJ

Studio Six, Atlantic City NJ

Trikkx, St Paul MN (1997 to 2007)

Vermont Gay Bars



More History at drakkar91

The very web you are surfing is in part to blame for the demise of the gay nightclub ... often referred to as "institutions" by the people who frequented them, called them home and met many a current (or former) lover or friend.  No one can deny the end.  But many disagree about the how and why.  Veteran bartender Bob Bartels in Minneapolis blames the rise of Internet dating (and hook-up) sites, the likes of or Manhunt.  There are countless others.  I agree with Bob.  And there's continuous reductions of the blood-alcohol content, now .08 in most states (once twice that number).  No one can argue safer laws regarding drunk drivers isn't needed - now let's work on the Text-capacitated drivers.

Of course there's the mainstreaming of gay society.  We can marry in 14 states, legally, as of the last count.  I mean, who needs a gay bar if we can be gay wherever we want to be?  Well, we can't.  Trust me, what happened once upon a time at the likes of these and dozens of other now defunct clubs would never be welcome at your local Applebee's or "straight" club.  And let's face it - it's tough enough meeting someone without having to wonder which team they play for.

DJ Chris in the Booth at Trikkx, 2006

What about urban development? Once cool warehouses turned trendy lofts no longer serve a happy mix of resident and thumping nightclub business (and kiss those disclosure statements good-bye). 

We need gay owned and operated bars* today for many of the reasons we needed them a decade (or three) ago.  Gay people of all walks of life still need a place to call their own - to come out, to grind on the dance floor without worry of who's watching and waiting.  To be themselves ... the same way we need Irish pubs, and Mexican pubs, and every other mix of people.  But this isn't a page for debate.  It's a place to help preserve the memories of many a bygone gay bar.  Countless owners, managers and staff put in a good share of their lifetime keeping these classics afloat until the dropping revenue could no longer pay the rising rent, insurance and upkeep.  Ask anyone and they will ask the same question - just what happened to all these people, not just the owners, but the patrons?

I speak of personal experience too.  A resident in the Twin Cities for over a decade combined (I lived here twice), I have watched the end come many times, especially in St Paul.  From nearly a half dozen business clubs in both cities where we could shake it on the dance floor - we're down to 1 that consistently has people in on a Saturday night (The Saloon).  Owners John & Andy remain at the helm more than 35 years since they started.  It's only a matter of time.

Outside the Limelight in NYC, 1991

More to come, but for now, take a trip back in time at some of the ads that graced the pages of Au Courant, PGN and Lavender Magazines from the late 1980's to mid 2000's.

*Not every bar listed on this site were necessarily gay owned and operated.  Where a known fact, I have probably indicated such on the bars page.

Have images, photo's, ads you wish to share?  I'll be happy to include them of your favorite space!  Send via email.

Gatsby's Cherry HillStudio Six, Atlantic CityThe Cartwheel New Hope PA