Move over Delta Foundation! There’s a new drama creator in the ‘burgh this summer! A new gay drinking establishment is just opening, but it is already being consumed in controversy.

For the record, I want to say, I’m thrilled to see a new bar open. Any new gay bar creates competition, and that spurs the other bars to be competitive and stay on their toes. While we may have fewer bars these days, the ones we have are varied and offer a great assortment of atmosphere. The new club, called the Monster is opening on Pittsburgh’s South Side, an area known for drinking/partying establishment frequented by many including college-age kids. But that area is also home to many LGBTQ persons and I’m sure a more local bar is a welcome thing to these folks. So how come there is controversy?

The bar’s owner has been using Social Media to spark interest in the club, and last week posted a description, referring to the bars as a “masculine” gay bar. That’s when the proverbial shit hit the fan, with a number of folks either taking offense or poking fun at it. In my opinion, it is a fairly offensive descriptor in the way it implies an exclusion of folks who aren’t masculine. Though I was assured that this was not the owner’s intention at all. Still, it rings too close to the overtly offensive “no fats, no fems…” that you can find in too many gay male on-line personals. Or, it seems connected to the idea of “straight acting,” another descriptor too often found in the personals.

Social Media is a strange beast, and if you are going to put yourself out there, you have to be prepared for whatever comes back.

Over the weekend, a friend brought up the controversy and shared with me his take on what the bar owner actually meant. He believes the owner was trying to recreate a gay bar of a bygone time, when the bar was the central meeting spot for gay men. You wanted to meet and socialize, so you went to the bar, cruised the crowd and hooked up.

Even if this was the owners intention, I wonder if that is a good thing or not. From my perspective the gay bars I visit the most today, and far more fun and better than gay bars of past decades. I appreciate that (in my favorite bar) there is a very diverse crowd where everyone seems welcome and there are men, women and trans persons. I see that as a good thing! Truly the bar may not be as cruisy as bars used to be, but I’m also married now, so I certainly not doing the cruising. It may be happening more than I’m aware. My husband believes that bars are more fun and social now, and easier to be in. That’s my take too.

I posted two comments in the controversy thread which now seems to have been deleted. I asked, “What the hell is a masculine bar”? and I posted that I found it offensive and too much like the “no fats/no fems”  stuff.  I then took a look at the bar’s Facebook page and the photos looked just like every other gay bar, and decided to not worry more about it further. But I understand that the discussion headed south and got more and more heated. Now, all of that seems to be deleted.

Aside from the drama aspect, the questions raised by this episode are interesting. What is the role of gay bars/clubs today? What type of crowd do you enjoy being around? What does a masculine bar mean to you? Looking forward to your comments.

2 Comments

  1. Mike Hirshberg says:

    I see your point but and I read the thread. More than anything I found it to identify a bigger problem in our community, a lack of understanding. I think most of those people could see that David Stanton isn’t the best promoter but his intentions were good. I’m all for inclusion, but those gay men did what exactly what we ought to be evolving past (and this goes for you too) they jumped down his throat instead of asking questions or suggesting solutions and your article is only perpetuating drama. This didn’t need to be written.

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