Breaking: Pegasus to Close

Wow, this is incredible news.  The remaining fixture of Pittsburgh's gay nightclub scene is closing on December 6, 2009.

“Back when the Pegasus Lounge first opened, it was a safe haven for
gay people to be themselves and meet others with like-minded interests
without the worry of being hassled,” said Noxon, 49, who has owned the
Downtown nightclub for five years.

“But now there is much greater acceptance of the (gay and lesbian)
lifestyle. People can pretty much go where they want and be who they
want to be without worry. So, in a sense, we're victims of the progress
that has occurred,” said Noxon of McKees Rocks, who owns two other
clubs in the city.

On Friday, Noxon announced that the Liberty Avenue club will close on Dec. 6 after 29 years in business.

The article in the Trib goes on to describe the nearly 30 years Pegasus has been serving the community with regard to everything from safe haven to HIV testing.  In recent years, the club has become a popular scene for young men and women, but they don't purchase the alcohol necessary to keep the bills paid.

Noxon makes good points.  Conversations with my friends about their nighttime activities centers more around LGBT-friendly activities.  Inclusivity is reducing demand for exclusive spaces.  Mayoral candidate, Dok Harris, hangs out at 5801 and did so far before he launched his campaign.  The “queer events” list and calendar have a multitude of events that are identified as “not specifically queer” or driven by queer groups/organizers, but open to the larger community as well. 

Pittsburgh has been known, even lauded, for preserving cultural heritages.  As a child, I remember Slovak and German and Italian clubs, parades and Kennywood days.  That certainly continues, but my Dad was able to join many of those clubs and he's not a bit Slovakian.  LOL.  We've also never successfully sustained a lesbian nightlight scene.  Rather than a lesbian bar, we have one floor of a gay owned club and one floor of a straight owned club that has a thriving neighborhood pizza scene. 

What I am noticing are groups of reconfigured community members gathering around common interests.  Dykes on Bikes.  The Dyke March.  The Queer Women's Dinner and Book Club.  Even the terminology of “dyke” and “queer” changes the traditional L/G/B/T divide and creates new opportunities to interact and engage within and beyond our community.

Still, it is sad to see Pegasus close.  There are other gay bars and I'm sure they will evolve and continue to survive.  But not flourish.  And, as Noxon points out, that's how progress works.

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  • You're an idiot. You have no idea how business works. Pegasus is closing because it hasn't changed in 30 years. It's boring. It's like walking down in to a hole in the ground. Perhaps in the past gay men had to hide in the basement to cruise but there are other optinos today. But straight bars aren't the answer. Can you imagine a gay man crusing someone in a straight bar? They'd get the shit kicked out of them. Pegasus was a hole in the ground. If someone would open a hip, modern sexy dance club it would be packed like you've never seen before. Pittsburgh is just behind the times…

  • Maybe gay men should grow up and stop cruising anyone so the rest of us wouldn't “get the shit kicked out” of us.

  • Looks to me like Sue was only quoting what the owner said about the closing..Thanks for making the rest of us look LIKE IDIOTS because you choose to slam her for repeating HIS reasons for deciding it was time to go.. Hoping you find your sexy club real soon..take the rest of the IDIOTS with you ..

  • Anonymous 1.0 has the same crapass attitude that makes all clubs suck. No one should go to a club and be “cruised.” If you can't figure out how to tell if someone is interested without getting the shit kicked out of you, you need to spend more time in therapy at Persad instead of Pegasus.

  • Dance clubs come and go all the time. The difference is that this one has been around for so long. Way back in the days of the 40s and 50s, that space held the Copa, one of the hottest night clubs in the city at the time.
    I agree that people have a lot more choices today. I venture to guess that 95% of the gay population does not even frequent bars and clubs. In the old days, that was the only option to meet other gay people. But today we have more than 100 gay organizations in town, from sports to social clubs and professional organizations. And let's not forget the impact of Mr. Internet. There is a lot more acceptance today, so we're merging more with straight society. There are many nice lounges I can go with my partner that have a mixed crowd and nobody bats an eye.
    It's a double-edged sword. We fought for acceptance, and now that we're getting it, we lose some of the more segregated places that fostered the movement.

  • I'm not sure it is fair to label me an idiot for my take on the business of gay bars then turn around to say a sexy dance club is suitable for Pgh when clearly the market isn't there. Still, your opinion is your opinion.
    Something else to keep in mind is that queer people are creating queer spaces that go beyond bars. Many of us don't drink and prefer not to be in smoking environments; that a reflection of changes in society, not just the gay community or political gains. It is only natural that different queer spaces emerge and somewhat understandable that those who identify with the traditional institutions put up some resistance to what is really competition. Every queer person who hangs out at a coffee house, poetry slam or potluck is one less person spending money in the bars.
    I have no doubt that there will always be a place to cruise. Some institutions are very adaptable.

  • I totally agree. The problem was the music. They switched to hip-hop and lost the gay men. They should have realized that only dykes listen to hip hop and that they dont spend 50% of their money at the bar like gay men.
    In major cities, gays still go to gay bars. It has nothing to do with changing culture. Just bad music.

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