Home for the holidays, time for a few more interviews. Some summary stats calculated from the Damron Guides (regular caveats apply):
The Portland area has the same number bar in 2017 than it did in 1997, meaning the city has bucked the national trend of losing 24% of its gay bars (there was one more in Portland, but Vancouver lost its one and only). Portland hasn’t had a self-described lesbian bar since the Egyptian Club closed in 2010, though many bars today describe themselves as LGBT bars, like Crush Bar, and Escape is owned by lesbians (Willamette Week has a thoughtful 2016 feature story on Portland’s queer women’s scene). One reason the retention of gay bars in greater PDX has to be the expansion of bars in general–up 53% between 2005 and 2015.
Seattle is down 22% to 18 from 23 in 1997, meaning national trends happened here. It’s home to the Wildrose Bar, the oldest and most lesbian of lesbian bars on the West Coast (I don’t give the awards, I just report what The Stranger doles out). Greater Seattle lost 11% of all of its bars, which helps explains why Seattle has fared worse in relation to Portland.
I did interviews in Eugene and Salem in the summer, which are the only other cities in Oregon with gay bars. I went to Pasco as well, but haven’t had time to get up to Spokane or Bellingham. Yet.