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Palm Springs’ historic gay bars see the light at the end of the tunnel


I’m Kristin Scharkey, editor-in-chief for The Desert Sun in Palm Springs, wishing you a happy Friday and a sincere apology for missing our Thursday edition. The news cycle never sleeps!

“We are always here”: Palm Springs’ historic gay bars see the light at the end of the tunnel. Despite more than a year of closures linked to the pandemic, many bars in Southern California are open again.

The city has long been one of the country’s most popular LGBTQ destinations.

“These bars are more than just drinking establishments,” Rob Giesecke, owner of Chill Bar Palm Springs, told Desert Sun reporter Amanda Ulrich. “This is where the community comes together.”

In other parts of California, some gay bars weren’t so lucky. San Francisco and Los Angeles, for example, have seen several famous establishments go bankrupt. The Stud, the oldest LGBTQ bar in San Francisco, was one of the first to announce its closure last May.

Palm Springs’ historic gay bars see the light at the end of the tunnel

Giesecke attributes the survival of his business in part to the tight-knit community that has come together and “ranks” around the historic street. Customers were seated in outdoor patios in 120 degree heat when they could have stayed at home. Some have launched GoFundMe pages for Arenas bars.

“We’re like a gay community center bar. Local gays see this as their living room, ”said David Farnsworth, co-owner and general manager of the nearby Streetbar. “It has always been zero point for them.”



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