The Decline Of Midtown Nightlife & The Gay Community

It has been coming for years but the end is here. Most will think it started with the closing of Backstreet but it really began years before in the early 1990s. That was when developers realized that the land north of North Avenue might be worth something. Remember when there used to a Gorin's at the corner of 14th and Peachtree or when Blakes was where Jock's and Jill's is now?

As I mentioned back in April, Vision will be closing on August 5th to make way for another mixed use high rise. The official announcement finally came a couple of days ago. There was some talk that Vision might reopen in another location but now they are calling their last week Grande Finale Week and saying they will close for good.It's very ironic that Vision closes just one year after completing their highly publicized million dollar renovation. Talk about a lack of foresight.

So another Midtown nightclub gets razed for the sake of a developer's high rise dream. They keep building all these high rise condos in the hot Midtown market but all these new residents are going to have nothing to do but sit at a Starbucks.

Since there isn't going to be any nightlife left soon. The diverse nightlife scene that helped make Midtown so wildly popular is pretty much a thing of the past. They killed the goose that laid the golden egg in sake of the almighty dollar. I can hear it now, these new residents will complain from their tower of glass that there's nothing to do in Midtown once the sun goes down. I wonder why?

Sure there's still a few clubs that haven't been forced out by landlords and developers but most are now gone from the core of Midtown. It is hard to believe what became of "the Strip", the string of gay bars and clubs that were centered around Peachtree and 10th streets. Bulldogs is the only club left on Peachtree street (So long Backstreet, Metro, Plum Butch and the rest). A couple of blocks away there is Blakes on 10th street and WETbar on Spring street. The rest are scattered in Ansley Square, Amsterdam Walk, Ponce De Leon Ave., Cheshire Bridge, East Atlanta, and now up on Buford Highway. Bar hopping is car dependent since you'd be doing a marathon to try and walk from WETbar on Spring st. to Jungle on Cheshire Bridge and forget trying to do it on MARTA.

It won't be too many more years before the clubs in Ansley, Amsterdam and Cheshire Bridge will be history. The BeltLine transit project will probably take out Ansley and Amsterdam when the property they sit on becomes too valuable to let it sit with low rise buildings. The clubs on Cheshire Bridge will go in a few years too. The city has long term planning goals that don't include nightlife instead envision more sterility like you are getting in Midtown.

I keep hoping someone in the gay community will have the vision and capital to build a new gay district from scratch like Atlantic Station. I'd really like to see a live,work, play development built for the gay and lesbian community. It could contain a new Gay and Lesbian Center (since we lost ours' a few years ago), residential housing targeting our community, collect all the gay retailers in one location, be a place for our community organizations to call home, attract the dozens of bars and nightclubs into one central neighborhood and bring all the other gay owned businesses together. We could then rebuild the sense of community that once thrived in Midtown that we are sorely lacking now.

That's my dream anyhow. I wish I knew how I could make it happen