Iconic New York gay bar Rawhide is expected to close its doors by the end of the month.
Jeremiah's Vanishing New York blog reports that the leather bar's landlord will raise the rent from $15,000 to $27,000, effectively pricing the establishment out of its Chelsea location at Eighth Avenue and 21st Street. The last day of operation will reportedly be March 31.
As Jeremiah's Vanishing New York and Towleroad both point out, New York City mayoral hopeful Christine Quinn spoke fondly of the establishment, which opened in 1978, as part of a recent New York magazine profile.
“One of the things I loved about Chelsea is that on Eighth Avenue, there is the Rawhide bar--not a luxury product," Quinn, who is openly gay, told writer Jonathan Van Meter. "And for many years there were Latino guys from the neighborhood who had a folding card table every Friday and Saturday night and played dominoes. And they knew every guy who walked into the Rawhide, and every guy that walked in the Rawhide knew them."
She went on to note, "A leather bar may or may not be the best example, but it is the type of neighborhood experience we want to be able to have, what Jane Jacobs called ‘the eyes on the streets’ all watching out for each other.”
At the time of the bar's 30th anniversary in 2008, Edge New York wrote that Rawhide "continued to do a brisk business in spite of Gym Bar, Barracuda, G Lounge, View Bar and other bars opening in the immediate area in recent year."
"When I’m barhopping in Chelsea, this is where I begin my night and where I end my night," customer Al told the publication. "Other bars may come and go, but this one is home."