We’ve written previously about the differences and similarities between the gay scenes of New York and London and the fluid and dynamic nature of both cities.
In an announcement that will resonate in London for those who know both cities, New York’s Splash Bar has today announced that it will close permanently on 10 August after no less than 22 years in business.
Splash is currently located at 50 West 17th Street, a stone’s throw from what was the heart of New York’s gay district on Eighth Avenue in Chelsea.
No reason has been given for the closure. However, I would surmise that the gentrifrication of Chelsea which has seen long-established venues like The Food Bar close over the past few years, and the gravitation of New York’s gay scene towards Hell’s Kitchen are likely factors.
It’s fair to say that Splash Bar was not met with universal acclaim in New York. I have heard many locals dismiss it as “bridge and tunnel”. Having visited the venue myself, whilst it was well appointed I couldn’t help but feel that one of the greatest cities in the world should be able to offer something a bit more, if not least to justify the cover charge!
That said, the sudden closure of a long-established venue always comes as a shock and it is significant for New York as dance clubs are so few and far between for a city of its size. It’s also something of a salutary reminder to never take favoured venues for granted.
Update: Here is an interview given by the bar’s owner Brian Landeche to New York’s Next magazine.