Hayward, California (The Adobo Chronicles) – In this city just 26 miles east of San Francisco, there were eight gay bars in the 1980’s. Now, Hayward’s last gay club standing, the Turf Club, has converted into an outdoor live music venue and neighborhood gathering space.
“We’ve gotten rid of the labels. It’s no longer a gay bar; it’s a community bar with live music,” owner Larry Gray said last week. He added, “There’s no longer a need for gay bars, which were safe places to meet, get information and raise money for political causes.”
Twenty seven miles south of Hayward, another city — San Jose — is experiencing a similar phenomenon. San Jose didn’t have as many gay bars to begin with, but two of its gay clubs shut their doors permanently in the last couple of years — Brix Nightclub and Tinker’s Damn. Only three San Jose gay bars remain open: Splash, Renegades and Mac’s.
Last week, The Adobo Chronicles reported that a new government study shows that the U.S. gay population is shrinking. Could it be that gay bars are also becoming a diminishing breed?
“As more gay men and women get married, they tend to stay away from public gay places like bars,” said Paul White, a volunteer with Equality California. California is among the 19 states where same-sex marriage is now legal.