Boxers touts itself as America’s Gay Sports Bar. But how gay is it? Some of the regulars have noticed an increasing number of straight people hanging out at the bar over the past few months. They’re seeing groups of straight women and even some straight men making themselves at home in the formerly exclusive gay environment. Suddenly, the once all-gay crowd is now — dare we say it? — diverse. What gives?
Could this influx of new visitors be a by product of increasing acceptance of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people? Does the mainstreaming of L.G.B.T. people mean the end to the exclusively gay bar? I spoke with the owners of Boxers, Bob Fluet and Rob Hynds about diversity & inclusivity at Boxers.
Michael Cook: What does it mean to be a gay bar in the age of sexual fluidity?
Bob Fluet/Rob Hynds: It means being a safe space for everyone, no matter how a person identifies. We’re happy to welcome all to Boxers.
MC: When did you first notice this newly diverse crowd happening?
B/R:The queer community has been evolving with every new generation, but we have certainly noticed that millennials are more open minded and fluid than previous generations.
MC: Is this especially true in Chelsea because of gentrification in the area or are you seeing diverse crowds at all Boxers locations?
B/R: The trend is not exclusive to Chelsea; it’s everywhere. We see mixed crowds in all locations.
MC: Is there a time of the day/week when mixed crowds are at its peak?
B/R: Happy hour is more diverse than specific theme driven nights.
MC: Was Boxers forced to become more inclusive? Some argue crowds were dwindling due to the gay apps. Is that true?
B/R: Not at all. We haven’t found crowds dwindling because of the gay apps. In fact, the apps have helped to bring more people in! We use them and in house social media to engage our customers and keep them up to date with what is going on at all of our locations.
Why do you think straight women enjoy hanging out in a gay bar?
Two reasons: they are not harassed here like they often are in straight bars and if there is straight man employee or customer at the gay bar, they get all their attention.
Are the straight men coming in with their girlfriends?
For the most part, yes. Some come with their gay male friends. I can’t imagine most straight men would come alone. They often come as part of a group but it says something that they feel comfortable hanging out in our sports bars.
Would you allow a straight woman to host her bachelorette or birthday party at Boxers?
Yes, we’re game for any good party!
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