New data: gay bars and the impact of the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S.

This report is currently undergoing peer review but the preprint with data table is freely available at SocArxiv.

Abstract: “What was the impact on gay bars of COVID-19 public closure orders? Gay bars were already quite vulnerable, retaining only 63.4% of their business listings from 2007 to 2019. Historic data from printed business guides were supplemented with a national census of online business listings. Results show that gay bar listings retained only 84.9% of their number between 2019 and Spring 2021. This compares, however, to a 85.6% retention rate for 2017 and 2019, indicating a surprisingly stable rate of decline. Among subtypes of gay bars, those serving primarily men had higher retention rates (88.4%) than the total from 2019 to 2021, while bars serving people of color (76.3%) and men cruising for sex (54.1%) were retained at much lower rates. Remarkably, 100% of lesbian bars were retained. Overall, the rate of decline in gay bar listings continued apace during, if not necessarily increasingly because of, the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Colorful graph showing changing rates of gay bar retention, including for lesbian bars, cruisy men's bars, bars serving people of color, mixed men-and-women bars, mostly men bars, and the total.

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