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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014

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What is the future of gay bars?
What is the future of gay bars?

Will gay bars exist in the future?

"Bar Month" at OnMilwaukee.com – brought to you by Absolut, Avion, Fireball, Pama, Red Stag and 2 Gingers – is back for another round! The whole month of February, we're serving up intoxicatingly fun articles on bars and clubs – including guides, the latest trends, bar reviews, the results of our Best of Bars poll and more. Grab a designated driver and dive in!

I have had this conversation often with owners and frequenters of gay bars and although no one knows for certain, there is a lot of speculation. In 10, 20 or 30 years, will gay bars still exist?

On one hand, it seems the concept of gay bars comes from a place of discrimination. At one point in history, races did not share restrooms, drinking fountains or schools. Is this any different?

Most of us cannot fathom that now, but at one time, it was commonplace. Maybe our kids or their kids will find gay bars equally as preposterous.

But on the other hand, gay bars serve a purpose for some, and I get it. If you're gay, going to a gay bar means you’ll obviously be around a lot of other gay people, which will not only heighten your chance of connecting with someone, but might also guarantee safety from haters.

And most modern gay bars have evolved over the years and are less secretive than they once were. Maybe gay bars won't completely go away, but rather become less defined such as Hybrid Lounge and Art Bar, which have been called "gay centric" or "straight friendly" and are inclusive of everyone.

In a world that seems to be filled with both more tolerance and more hate than ever, I can see the future of gay bars going either way (no pun intended). What do you think?

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