Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Splash Bar To Close After 22-Years On Sunday.

The end of Splash bar happens this Sunday.
When I heard Chelsea’s Splash bar would be turning off their smoke machine as of this Sunday; I felt sick to my stomach (just how I felt watching the second season of “Girls”) and though I live right down the street from Splash; I never go anymore, but fondly remember how it was. Years ago, long before online hook-up sites and gay bars that had clean bathrooms; Splash was the shit.

Splash is the place where I met many of my boyfriends, friends and enemies. It’s also the place where I had my last fist fight. When Splash opened in 1991, being gay was scary in many ways. AIDS was still robbing our community of famous and everyday people. Splash celebrated beauty, health and what we all needed at the time, good old fashioned fun. With its surf boards as counters and buff (often straight) muscular men showering as you gulped down your two-for-one drinks. Splash was a great place to go, to be gay, and let the stress of your work day fade away. Often on weeknights, my friend John and I would go and have a drink after work; followed by laughs; drinks and more laughs.

About a month ago, my buddy Frank and I went to Splash on a Sunday night. At the door they we’re charging $10 dollars to get in; and I really couldn’t see the point of paying and told Frank we should go somewhere else; a manager type guy walked over, and looked us up and down and said to the cashier, “these two can get in for free.” Feeling cuter than a set of twins with pigtails, we strutted in knowing this would be the night we would meet our future husbands; because we we’re “working it.” And as hot as hell.

Once inside, some of the same bartenders we’re working; the smoke machine was pumping and go-go boys we’re letting fools grab their junk for a buck. But this wasn’t the Splash bar of my youth; now the bar was filled with “Bridge & Tunnel” types who we’re sweaty and wasted. There wasn’t one looker in the joint! And for a huge bar with two floors-maybe there was 35-40 customers; not good. Now I see why they let us in for free; compared to that crowd of beef shank; we were two medium rare Fliet Mignons ready for the plate. Frank and I get our share of looks, but if we're the hottest at a gay bar; that's never a good thing.

So like my Abercrombie & Fitch printed T-shirts I gave up when I got into my 30’s, Splash will be a fond memory of my youth.