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Another gay bar bites the dust

BosGuy sends his farewells to Fritz on Chandler Street, closing at the end of the year to make way for another South End type bistro.

Fritz is my favorite place in Boston to watch a game and even though I’m always a fan of seeing new restaurant open, I’m torn and left with a bitter taste by its closure. I’ll miss Fritz.

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i know they said they were closing for renovations.. but this kinda took me by surprised.

Gay bars in town are dwindling.. There's not many exclusively gay ones left..

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Maybe the LGTB community feels they no longer need to attend bars that are exclusively gay, because Boston is very welcoming.

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Boston definitely is an accepting city, and I love it for that.

But being accepted in a straight world can still mean being a bystander.

Going out on the town to straight establishments with friends is great, but while every one else is meeting a potential life partner or date, I'm left with uncertainty:
* Is that man I want to meet gay?
* who is that women he's with ? His girlfriend? or just a friend?
* No matter how liberal the straight man, chances are he will be upset if he thinks I mistook him for gay.

That is why many of us still feel the need to visit gay bars, or participate in gay softball, gay choirs etc.

Non-gays are welcome in these places as well, and they do participate.

Straight women love gay dance clubs because they can come out for a good time and not be groped. Straight men are well represented in gay softball and gay flag football. The ones I know say there's fewer guys with chips on their shoulder than in the straight leagues, they have a better time playing sports with gays.

But in these cases the role is reversed: it's the straights opportunity to be on the outside looking in. And I truly admire the straight people who willingly enter a situation where they are the minority.

I don't think you meant anything negative in your comment, I just raise some points you might not have thought about.

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TAKEN FROM THE FRITZ FACEBOOK PAGE

Fritz Bar in Boston
October 4
Good Morning Everyone!

Rumor has it all around the town

It's true. It's true we are going to be putting on a New Face!!!!

Starting the first week of January, Fritz will be closing for just a few short months for a much needed full renovation (well, let's face it kids, it has been 30 years) and we will be reopening again in the early Spring. New, bigger and better than before.

Watch in the coming months for more details.

But we are here until the first of the year. So stop by for a drink and one of our new appetizers and say "Hi."

Thanks for your continued support!

Bill Svetz

Joe McGowan

Gary Staples

(Fritz Bar and Fritz Staff)

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Your post is from Oct 4th, Today is Oct 16th.. a lot can happen.

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BosGuy cites Facebook as confirmation that Fritz is closing at the end of the year, but doesn't cite any source that "the owner of the Chandler Inn is remodeling the space to turn it into a restaurant and a bar." There seems to be some confusion in the Facebook comments as well. BosGuy, or anyone else with further knowledge, is this a permanent closure or remodel only?

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Just responding to the question about sources for Fritz's closing. As it was explained to me, Fritz will indeed reopen using the same name. However, it will no longer be a "gay" sports bar.

Reflecting the changes in the neighborhood, the newly remodeled space will not market itself as a gay bar or gay restaurant & bar. It was also questionable if Fritz staff would be retained. That is why I refered to it as another gay bar biting the dust.

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n/t

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Sounds as though they are following through on what they said they would do previously. No news here?

Fritz may not be a "gay" bar any longer, and Harry's Place on Berkeley and Sister Sorel on Tremont may not be "gay" bars, but poke your head (or any other body part) at 10pm at night and show me the difference.

When you say "as it was explained to me" ... by whom? Was it Larry or Cliff?

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Harry's place isn't even open yet. :-/

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This town used to be packed with great gay bars. Chaps, 119, Sporters, The Napoleon Club (or as we drivers called it, The Wrinkle Room), Buddies. All gone. I wonder whatever happened to that giant neon peeled banana that was in Chaps? Anybody know?

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I seem to remember one being in the basement of an Allston frat/party house.

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...isn't Boston's gay-friendly atmosphere. It's A, the internet, and B, crystal meth. Sites like Manhunt are the new cruising venue when you're looking for a hookup, in both senses of the word.

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Its the apps.. Scruff, Grindr, Growlr and the like.

I don't think it so much Meth.. I think its more the apps and hookup websites.

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...Manhunt has one, too :-)

As for the meth, I wouldn't downplay the significance.

And I'll had one more factor: cheating. I'm amazed how many people in "relationships" go online for extracurricular activities, which I imagine is easier to do furtively than prowling in a bar.

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Manhunt's app sucks.. I worked there for almost a decade.. :)

And I agree, the apps have spawned too many "open relationships" which seems like its the norm now. And you're a freak if you aren't in one.

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Been a "freak" for almost 6 years now. Guess I should be proud of that?!

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for perpetuating the ridiculous stereotype that we gay men are all just looking for a hook up - I think that speaks more about you, actually, than the rest of us. I love how these guys who are on apps like Grindr etc. assume that every other gay man is also on those. Guess what - they're not. None of my friend are. We consider them sketchy.

I think most of us went to places like Fritz for a feeling of camaraderie and hanging out with friends. I went there plenty of times for that reason, and to the other bars listed on here. If I met someone, then that was great, but mostly it was just to hang out with friends.

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it's getting increasingly tough to go out in Boston if you're gay. all three (or four? five?) are packed to the gills - and i mean some real sardine status - on just about any weekend night. they're getting outrageously expensive for cover fees and drink prices. thank god for jacques cabaret, and videodrome, or else there wouldn't be much intrinsic culture in the LGBT bars in the city. it's a shame fritz had to go. the city that always sleeps had some moments of REM, but it's like we're going out cold up here.
don't blow smoke up my ass about your postulations that "well now we could go into just any bar" - have you ever seen a drag queen step anywhere near a Tavern on the Square?

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do not dress in drag... ever. But it is sad that there will be fewer places to go where those that do feel comfortable. Fritz is a good gay sports bar (often affectionately known as Boston's "Gay Cheers") and after this remodel it is unlikely to ever be the same, especially if the great staff -- some who have been there for decades -- are not retained. The remaining gay bar options (Eagle, Club Cafe, The Alley, Ramrod/Machine, dbar) in Boston are not great for those that want to watch the Sox or Pats with others who same many common traits. While of course most of us can (and often do) mingle with others in the rest of the city's plethora of sports bars with no problems, there will be the loss of knowing that there is a strong likelihood the guy standing next to you is also gay. Fritz has also been a strong supporter and sponsor of the thousands of men and women who play in gay sports leagues throughout the city. While it remains to be seen what happens after the renovation, this could be the biggest fallout. I hope someone else will "step up to the plate."

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Don't even waste your time.. Machine is now 18+ on many nights, so it attracts the 18-21 str8 college crowd. And they over flow upstairs to the ramrod, which has been totally renovated now so its less seedy.

I almost wouldn't even classify Machine and the RamRod anymore as a gay bar..

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People go to bars for many different reasons; some of us go just because we want to dance. Since the dawn of Disco, Gay bars have always had the best DJs and play music that's the most fun to dance to.

For over twelve years, we've been blessed with the same fabulous DJ on Saturday nights at Paradise in Cambridge (Mass Ave @ Albany Street - across from the MIT nuclear reactor). Thanks to DJ Jonny C, many of the same people are there to dance every single week; it's very friendly to everyone, regardless of gender or orientation. ($5 cover, no high heeled shoes!) The bar upstairs has "other entertainment", but come downstairs to the dance floor and you'll have a wonderful time -- Saturday nights only!

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Gay bars peaked in popularity when it was both becoming acceptable to come out and the population of people in their 20s and 30s was huge. In other words, the gayby boomers.

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"Gay bars peaked in popularity when it was both becoming acceptable to come out and the population of people in their 20s and 30s was huge. In other words, the gayby boomers."

As a gay man now in his 50s, I think you may be correct. I maintain that the golden age of gay bars in Boston was the mid-late 70s, and the 80s weren't too bad either. And don't underestimate the fact that from 1972-1979 the drinking age in Massachusetts was 18. I can't speak for lesbians, but young gay men "came out" in gay bars. There simply wasn't much of an alternative then. And for all this talk about how the LGBT community has assimilated into the more welcoming general public in more recent times rendering the need for gay bars obsolete, there was something to be said for "having a place of one's own". And hey, it was the 70s. It was pre-AIDS, things were much looser. No gay men spoke of getting married. That quantum shift had not taken place yet.

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Do you people not travel to other cities? Why is this only happening in Boston? All of the other major cities have many gay bars. Even Providence has more gay bars compared to Boston. It's not the hookup apps and websites, people still go out and socialize and then go home drunk and use the apps to hook up.

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I agree I think the app/internet thing isn't the true problem. I don't think Boston being too "welcoming" is the problem. Other gay-friendly cities all over the world have many gay bars from the seedy to sports bars to dance clubs. I think a big part of the issue is the barrier to entry for a new bar in Boston. Liquor licenses are in short supply, rent is high, and banks are going to see a loan for a gay bar as higher risk. Add into that a gay population that isn't very centralized in one neighborhood anymore. I do think an new gay sports bar and/or dance club would do well but its going to take someone in tune with te community and with deep pockets to make it happen.

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I'd been wishing for someplace else to dance (besides Paradise on Saturday). I tried going to a Lynnbar, "Northern Nights", a couple of times; it was rather desolate, but I really wanted to give it a chance because it's within walking/biking distance of my home. Last Friday night, I rode my bike there only to discover it's now closed!

Lynn changed their bar closing times to 1:00 am a couple of years ago, with predictably devastating results to that city's nightlife. Revere and Saugus also changed to 1:00 am, however Revere just changed their closing time back to 2:00 again. It'll probably be the last straw for some of the other struggling Lynnbars that still have to close at 1:00.

It'd sure be nice to have some venue with a dance floor and decent House Music on the North Shore. Dancing is a wonderful exercise for everyone; it's healthy for your body and also for your spirit!

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Yet another gay establishment in the South End is closing (the bookstore is gone, the gym is gone, Napoleon's, Luxor, Geoffrey's, all gone). The gay boys have mostly left, except for a handful of realtors. The formerly gay neighborhood of the South End is possibly less gay than any other Boston or even suburban neighborhood. What's even funnier is how unaware these new residents are that this was once even gay, Puerto Rican, black, etc.

I am sure that whatever replaces Fritz will be filled with even more vile frat boys and vocal fry girls. I'm sure it will serve "small plates" and charge exorbitant prices because the morons who like South End yupstablishments will think its good of the prices are high enough. And the poor residents who live nearby will have to contend with the shrill vocal fry of these twats echoing off the brownstones late at night when they're trying to sleep.

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A huge bunch of us now call Dorchester home. It still doesn't quite have that "gay-borhood" feel the South End once did, but I can tell you we are here in numbers in the North Dorchester/Savin Hill/Jones Hill area!

It would be nice if someone opened some other establishments here.

That said, I guess I'm part of the problem. I don't really go out anymore, nor do many of my friends. The scene never changes... attitude, cheesy top 40 pop music remixes (what happened to the GOOD dance music), it's predictable... boring... and sanitized.

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Services & Advocacy for GLBT Elders
http://sageusa.org

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I think that a community which provides vastly more safe social places for Gay people is the primary reason that there are fewer Gay bars. Every week there are sports activities, partner style dancing (Contra and 2-Stepping,etc.), book clubs, still a Gay bookstore (Calamus - albeit John Mitzel having passed away), churches (amazingly enough) and social groups in the various neighborhoods. When bars were the primary, or only venue for socializing then there was a large market for them. But Gay people have many more places to meet, socialize, develop friendships and/or find a spouse. So the supply of Gay bars is shrinking to meet the remaining demand.

I have got to mention too that when I went to The Alley Bar several weeks ago I could swear I had entered a time machine. I wondered whether the passage into the bar was a portal to a bar from the 80s. So bars that have not changed are not doing themselves much good.

The hey day of Gay bars was in the 70s and early 80s. Police were (for the most part) no longer raiding Gay bars in order to harass Gays and so it was much safer to social publicly as a Gay man or woman. But I also remember that in spite of a proliferation of Gay bars (thinking of Baltimore rather than Boston here) the bars but were still closed against the street with few windows providing a connection to the street. The idea of a place like Fritz always impressed me considering how open and exposed it was.

All in all however I think that the changes have been vastly for the better. Only 40 years ago a Gay man who was "exposed" as a homosexual could easily be forced to move and start over in another city. In only 40 years 2 men who want to share their lives together can now legally marry. As the saying goes, "We've come a long way baby." If fewer Gay bars is a side effect then I am perfectly fine with that.

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Instead of lamenting Fritz's passing, perhaps an enterprising gay should attempt to open a new gay sports bar. Boxers and GYM in New York should serve as examples. Brian Piccini, owner of Dbar, Deuxave and Boston Chops, could offer advice. There are enough wealthy and finance-minded gays who could help secure the loans and investments. Use the revamping of Fritz as an opportunity to begin a new establishment that addresses the community's need. Complaining is much easier than taking action, but the former does nothing to solve the problem.

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However I think it will happen in another part of the city, not the South End. The real estate is simply too expensive in the South End. And it's not necessarily a bad thing!

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Take what you read from known blogger 'Bosguy' with a grain of salt. His blogging is very bias to 'South End Life' and it's definitely from his point of view, not the view of the gay community, some of which live in the south end.

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What remarks of his in this story do you take exception with? He's sorry to see a popular establishment in his neighborhood close; how is that biased? Were you or some other group of people wishing for it to close?

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By Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore
An L.G.B.T. Movement Should Be More Radical - Room for Debate
http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2013/10/15/
The gay movement would like us to think that gay marriage will give everyone housing and health care; that openly gay soldiers pressing buttons in Nevada to obliterate Somali villages means homophobia is on the wane; that strengthening the criminal legal system through hate crime legislation will bring murdered queers back to life.

http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2013/10/15/

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Matilda sounds to me like she's bitter that the LBGT community isn't rallying around her academic pet projects.

LGBT advocacy groups don't need to feel bad about wanting the same rights as other people in the US. Sometimes I think there are those who were most attracted to the gay right movement because it was seen as radical, not because civil rights were their cause.

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