The COVID pandemic’s impact on businesses continues to rage on. The most recent gay casualty is Chicago’s Manhandler Saloon, at 1948 N. Halsted.
Manhandler Saloon first opened its doors in 1980. As its name suggest, it was a place you could in the hope of being manhandled in the back room area! It marked its 40th anniversary in September. However, the COVID pandemic of recent months has taken its toll. Chicago is a city that has seen a resurgence in cases in recent weeks.
Related: Chicago gay bars and clubs
After several months of closure, the Manhandler reopened in late summer, making full use of its outdoor yard for socially distanced drinking. However, it finally called last order on November, 9.
The bar posted on social media that it was closing on that date, inviting regulars to come down for one last goodbye. Afterward, it posted a simple message: “Thank you all! 1980-2020.”
Many men shared their memories of happy times at the venue.
“Thank you for all the fun times, the memories, the fun in the back. You will truly be missed. Won’t be another place like The Manhandler!” said one – a sentiment echoed by others.
2020 has seen a deluge of LGBTQ bars closing across the US. This is partly due to landlords increasing rents or leases expiring, but has also been greatly accelerated by the COVID pandemic. Other sex venues to have closed this year include the legendary Blow Buddies in San Francisco and The Crew Club Sauna – the last remaining bathhouse in Washington DC.
Bars to have closed include The Stud (San Francisco), Parliament House (Orlando), and Flaming Saddles (West Hollywood). Check out a fuller list here.