It’s the end of an era for New York City and thousands of visitors from across the globe as iconic Splash Bar announced it would be closing August 10.
Brian Landeche and the late Harry Bartel opened Splash in 1991, quickly making it the go-to bar in Chelsea. But as gay life has migrated to the East Village and Hell’s Kitchen neighborhoods, Splash became know more for tourists than locals, cutting into the crowds who once flocked to strip shows, happy hours and vibrant social scene.
“Maybe there is less of a need to have bars dedicated to just gay men,” Landeche told Queerty. “We used to offer a refuge for gay men looking for other gay men and now gay men can find that in other places. They can go to parks, gyms, churches, and community services. The nature of our business has changed. It was my hope Splash would be a nice, clean, and safe place where you could go every day of the week to strike up a conversation with another gay guy and have a drink or a dance and fall in love. I think we provided that. I feel very privileged to have actually given the gay community something it embraced.”