It's hard to believe that it was just two short years ago that Suffolk County, a place that once was the home of several busy gay bars, saw the promising opening of a new bar in what had become a desolate landscape for the business called Nuts & Bolts in Holbrook. It was Thanksgiving Eve 2012, and the place was packed. People came from far and wide to welcome the new establishment, created just for us, with open arms. Today, NaB's, as we still call it, no longer exists, and in its place is Exclusive Lounge, a supposed 'bar for everyone' that openly hosts our crowd one or two days a week. Last night, Thanksgiving Eve, a few of us gave it a shot and we all came to the sad, sad realization that the L.I. gay bar scene is decidedly pathetic!
Right after that opening in 2012, I wrote a piece on the new bar for Examiner. Here's some of what I wrote...
The comments heard throughout the large opening night crowd at Nuts Bolts on Thanksgiving Eve joined to sing a common chorus: "This place is fantastic!" "Beautiful!" "Aw, this was a long time coming." "We needed this." "Impressive!" Indeed, judging by smiles, the animated conversations, the dancing and a whole heck of a lot more, Nuts & Bolts, the brand new men's bar located on Main Street in Holbrook was just what the doctor ordered...
...Nuts & Bolts' opening night was by all accounts a successful one, and hopefully the place will endure. With all of the talk and reminiscing that went on last night about the good old days of a varied gay nightlife scene on Long Island, many people may have finally found an alternative in today's scene to whet their appetites. Based on last night's turnout, the future looks good!
Heading into last night, none of us were too sure of what to expect from the place. We had asked what was going on there for the big night, whether it was going to be gay, straight, or what, and we were told three different stories in the 24 hours leading into last night. Oh yeah, it's going to be for you guys....it's gonna be a mixed crowd...um, how bout neither!
The few of us who were planning on going became a little hesitant leading into the night as our friends, who for the last two years have spent this particular evening mixing and mingling at Nuts, there wasn't much buzz about going. Perhaps they already knew what to expect from the place, and it wasn't people like us. Indeed, ever since the bar reopened under its new pseudonym a few months ago, many have stayed away entirely, as even their 'gay' nights aren't too well attended.
From the moment we walked in we knew it was trouble. Scantily clad women stood behind the bar as several patrons stood around the bar area, a decided mix of young, and straight, guys and girls (hmm!), hookahs, and more. Then the hip hop came blaring out of the speakers and we knew our night was gonna be cut short. The feeling was weird, and sad, as the only four of us who showed up felt like outcasts in what was once our bar.
Yeah, what I had said two years ago looked like a promising future for people like us is completely false now. In a way I hate talking about the place in this way because I genuinely admire one of the owners, but unfortunately the truth is the truth and I am sure that there are forces going on which I know nothing about, but whatever those forces are, they believe that we're just not as profitable as the young, straight hipsters (?). And so, once again we're left with little to nothing.
There were two other places for gay people in Suffolk to go last night, and they probably both had crowds, too. V.I.P. Lounge in Patchogue had a Luxe Reunion Party and I am sure The Veranda in Bay Shore hosted a nice crowd, too. For me personally, neither place was desirable...distance and type of crowd are definitely factors for me...but that's exactly my point. There aren't any real choices. V.I.P. was a one night thing, and so Veranda is now it, and if that's not your kind of place, then you're shit outta luck! So sad!
Moving to NYC is definitely something I need to be thinking about again...I miss dancing!