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Landmark NYC Gay Bar 'Boots & Saddle' to Close at Christopher Street Location After Nearly 40 Years


Boots & Saddle, the country-western themed gay bar at 76 Christopher Street in NYC's West Village, will shutter after nearly forty years in business because of rising rents, DNA Info reports:

The gay bar — known for its drag shows, packed parties and welcoming vibe — cannot afford to pay a rent increase on its space at 76 Christopher St. and will shut down soon after 40 years in the Village, managing owner Rob Ziegler said.

"I'm sad," said Ziegler, who started as a bartender at Boots & Saddle in 1999 and later became an owner. "I've been here 15 years. Fifteen years is a long time."

Ziegler said a new landlord is taking over the building in the coming months and plans to raise rent for the 700-square-foot bar by thousands of dollars per month, to the "high twenties."

The owners say they have been searching for a new space for months, and have not yet set a final closing date.

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  1. New York is dead.

    It's a city only for millionaires and tourists.

    Posted by: MaryM | Aug 6, 2014 11:36:12 AM

  2. BOO! one of my fave dives. not cool! that place is a lot of fun.

    and if this trend continues and we lose Julius' i will literally chain myself to the property.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Aug 6, 2014 11:44:27 AM

  3. It is very sad, the economics just suck.

    Posted by: Critifur | Aug 6, 2014 12:08:42 PM

  4. Meanwhile, I'm wondering what's it's like living in the apartment above the bar. It's either a lot of fun, or h*ell on Earth.

    Posted by: NotSafeForWork | Aug 6, 2014 12:09:12 PM

  5. How 'bout another self-serve frozen yogurt joint? Or, better yet, an artisinal cupcake boutique?

    New York City is a horror.

    Posted by: Ted | Aug 6, 2014 12:11:07 PM

  6. how about a "gourmet burgers with cupcakes and self-self fro-yo?"

    i overheard two Dbags in Williamsburg talking; one said to the other "i just moved to williamsburg"
    and the other guy said "oh yeah? which building?"

    let that sink in. not which street. which BUILDING.

    thanks yuppies!

    Posted by: Little Kiiw | Aug 6, 2014 12:15:44 PM

  7. Can we preserve the uniqueness related to gay history while doing assimilation? We lost gay culture too fast!

    Posted by: Ppp | Aug 6, 2014 12:22:55 PM

  8. the landlords continue to kill the independent businesses in NYC forever turning it into one big mall.

    Posted by: TBD | Aug 6, 2014 12:26:35 PM

  9. Such great guys have worked at this bar in the almost forty years of its existence. I'll miss the room and the facade but not as much as I miss all of them.

    Posted by: Mick | Aug 6, 2014 12:50:14 PM

  10. Too bad about this place, whose femme-trying-to-be-butch clientele earned it the nickname Bras and Girdles.

    Posted by: keating | Aug 6, 2014 12:55:03 PM

  11. The Disneyfication of NYC continues...

    Posted by: MichaelJ | Aug 6, 2014 1:08:40 PM

  12. This is a shame. I think Julius has a shot at surviving because it has assimilated a bit into the new dynamic of the west village and a younger gay crowd. The old timers can still have their beers and whiskeys at the bar (at all times of the day) but it has also become a hangout for creative types with later bedtimes. Good for business and for being able to pay rising rents. For better or for worst, gotta fit in to survive.

    Posted by: Allen | Aug 6, 2014 1:19:58 PM

  13. Also, as gays get more and more assimilated into the mainstream gay-friendly culture -- that is, as the need for gay identification and gay establishments decreases -- we'll see more gay-related businesses disappear, because we have less need for them. There's not a demand for a Boots and Saddles gay bar in 2014 like there was in 1974.

    Being assimilated into a larger gay-accepting culture means the old-fashioned gay culture may not remain intact. We don't have the same needs for gay-exclusive establishments that gays did 40 years ago.

    Posted by: will | Aug 6, 2014 1:50:50 PM

  14. @ALLEN: Fitting in isn't enough, unfortunately. The soulless blanding of NYC boils down to dollars and cents, period. "The Daily Beast" interviewed Jeremiah Moss of "Jeremiah's Vanishing New York" blog today. Check it out:

    Posted by: Lucien | Aug 6, 2014 1:52:18 PM

  15. Meh, doesn't affect me. I live hundreds of miles away in a very nice rural setting and have zero need for any kind of gay bar whatsoever. Gay bars are dead, they died about 10 years ago, put the dirt on the coffin and move on.

    Posted by: johnny | Aug 6, 2014 3:02:05 PM

  16. Johnny's making a big stink about how "average" and "normal" he is. He fits right in amongst the straights. God forbid anyone could identify him as a queer. He's so rural!

    Posted by: Tyler | Aug 6, 2014 4:23:49 PM

  17. Tyler, must you? Let Johnny have his own opinion and stop playing the Towleroad hall monitor!

    Posted by: will | Aug 6, 2014 4:30:11 PM

  18. @ "Let Johnny have his own opinion and stop playing the Towleroad hall monitor!"


    well, it depends on how you state your opinion. If you are mean-spirited in your comment/opinion then you may get an angry response. Doesn't that make sense?

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Aug 6, 2014 4:36:30 PM

  19. What these new landlords don't understand is that the places they are chasing away with exorbitant rents are the reason people want to live in New York in the first place.

    They're going for the quick bucks now but pretty soon it won't be worth it to live in NYC. That happened for me when Roxy closed.

    Posted by: SeeeTeee | Aug 6, 2014 4:51:36 PM

  20. @LUCIEN: Just read the Daily Beast article and also check into Vanishing New York from time to time. I am on the exact same page as Moss and I also had the opportunity to experience the city in the nineties when individuality was commonplace. It is depressing to witness the generic takeover and money driving the soul out. I guess if I'm gonna stay here, I'd rather see institutions like Julius, seeped in history, figure out how to adapt and survive than vanish and be replaced by another Dunkin Donuts.

    Posted by: Allen | Aug 6, 2014 4:59:43 PM

  21. The West Village has slowly become a gentrified tourist trap. New York city will soon become one huge mall.

    Posted by: jarago | Aug 6, 2014 5:56:50 PM

  22. The city is today primarily for those few who can afford it and tourists. Ditto S.F. The cost of housing and real estate is off the hook. And what's even more irritating is the real estate game is rigged to benefit a small group of insiders and huge players who have consolidated, especially since the 2008+ financial crisis. Now we must also deal with very wealthy foreigners buying real estate like it was going out of style. No doubt there's a lot of big time money laundering going on in addition to the speculation.

    The present and future meccas will be cities where most people can afford to live in. NYC and S.F. are fully matured and just living off their estsblished brand at this point.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Aug 6, 2014 7:21:54 PM

  23. Ah, The Nostalgia! Back in the 1970s, when Robert Mapplethorpe and I were bi-coastal lovers, we often ate at Boots and Saddles. Details in my book "Mapplethorpe: Assault with a Deadly Camera" and at my site www Jack Fritscher com.

    Posted by: Jack Fritscher | Aug 6, 2014 7:47:58 PM

  24. @ALLEN: Hope you're right about Julius. I wonder if the building has landmark status? That might save it from the vultures.

    I moved here in '70, when the city was up for grabs. But it was affordable, and anyone who wanted to live here, could. Small businesses flourished in every neighborhood, which certainly isn't the case today. For all the city's troubles back then, it was textured, authentic, and wildly creative. I felt very lucky to be here!

    Posted by: Lucien | Aug 6, 2014 9:00:18 PM

  25. I met my first lover at that Bar in 1983. Never really cared for the bar, we hung out at the Monster more, but I will always remember it fondly, right near the #1 subway stop and that pizza place and smoke shop.

    Posted by: John J | Aug 6, 2014 9:03:20 PM

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