Owner of Shuttered Baltimore Gay Bar Blames Hookup Apps

8.18.2014

By Jorge Rodriguez-Jimenez

The Quest closed after 15 years and the former owner says hookup apps like Grindr contributed to it.

The Quest, a gay pub in Baltimore's Highlandtown neighborhood, closed its doors after 15 years of operation.

“It's just bittersweet when you’ve done something half your life, seeing it end,” Tom Mathison, the owner of The Quest, tells the Baltimore Sun. “But everything has to end sometime.”

Mathison states multiple reasons for the closure of the bar, including smoking bans and high taxes. One thing killing gay clubs and bars like his are hookup apps like Grindr, Mathison claims.

"I think it's great that everybody's getting along, but the younger [gay people] just go with their friends to straight bars," Mathison says. "If you check with a lot of the gay bars, they're not setting the world on fire anymore. You're going to see a lot of them close."

The idea that hookup apps are killing gay bars is nothing new. The Village Voice posted a story about the affect gay hookup apps are having on New York City’s nightlife — in the 1990s and early 2000s, thousands would pack the Roxy on Saturday nights. “Today, the city's only dedicated gay dance club, XL, has an official capacity of 750,” the article stated. “Meanwhile, Manhunt, the granddaddy of hookup sites, boasts 200,000 active users in the city. With more than 400,000 local log-ins a week, New York makes up 10 percent of Manhunt's user base.”

Grindr released an ad kit that detailed the number of users and ranked the top cities and countries using the app. New York tops the list of U.S. cities using Grindr with 426,710 users. Los Angeles is second with 349,126 users, according to the document. As the Voice put it, “Hey, why go out when you can order in?”

Tags: Baltimore
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