Mixtapes for Hookers

Endangered Birds
May 1, 2011, 7:23 am
Filed under: gay, personal | Tags: , , , ,

The impending and perhaps inevitable closure of the San Francisco Eagle seems to mark the end of an important era, judging from comments made by gay Californian friends.  And though I’ve never been to that Eagle (or to California, for that matter) I can appreciate the despair.

On my first (and so far only) visit to the New York Eagle a few months ago, the music was good, the guy were hot, and the amount of action dudes were getting in front of the trough urinal was really something to behold.

But the Providence Eagle is the one I know the best.  I made my first visit there about a decade ago, just before my twenty-first birthday, when I realized I could use my height and scruffiness to get into places I shouldn’t have been able to get into.  Located across the street from a homeless shelter, the Eagle was tucked on a downtown side street, the odd smokers on the sidewalk the only indication that the sign-free building with the blacked-out windows was anything at all.

Inside, porn played on a few TVs while beefcake-y go-go men danced on weekends.  It immediately became my favorite bar, and while I’ve only very occasionally seen much sex happening there, the bar was usually full of decent-looking, seemingly unpretentious guys.

The Eagle’s changed a lot since then.  Arguably a lot of it’s been for the better–the homeless shelter moved and the entire block across the street was razed for a small park and (in true Providence style) a half-assed surface parking lot.  There’s a sign now.  The (understandably) Draconian fire codes imposed after the Station disaster brought an end to the cruisy basement restrooms, which is why peeing is now unsexily limited to two single-stall toilets in a well-lit hallway.

It wasn’t perfect; the music was always abysmal and I spent more than one walk home in awe at just how hateful humanity can be.  But still, there was a charm to the place that’s all but gone now.  The hunky, friendly bartenders have all vanished, replaced by a parade of grouches with no interest in making their customers feel welcome.  There’s now a much larger projection screen that half the time is showing Family Guy.  And the music, while never good, is only getting worse.  (The one exception is Classic Disco night on Sundays, though that music carries with it another problem:  the dance floor, which is rather oddly built off the darkroom and not the bar, is extremely tiny and also smells like pee.)

For the past year or so, I’ve been trying to pitch Death of the Eagle stories to various local and national publications, with little to no response.  (Admittedly I am awful at writing pitch letters.)  But I think there’s a pretty interesting story to be told here.  The Boston Eagle is, by all accounts, even lamer than the one in Providence, and the Eagle in Portland, Oregon, shut down permanently a while back after relocating to the basement of a different bar.  Eagles aren’t a chain and for the most part totally unaffiliated with one another, but it used to be commonly known that you could find one in every city.  A few more years, and we might be asking ourselves whether you can find one anywhere at all.

1 Comment so far
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I have never understood the omnipresent name “Eagle”. Why is it that there are so many? Any insight?

Comment by jc

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