OutBuro Art Smith Gay BARchives History lgbtq entrpreneur lesbian trandgender bisexual queer community vintage bars

Art Smith: Documenting LGBTQ Community History Through Bygone Bars

In this episode of OutBüro Voices featuring LGBTQ professionals, entrepreneurs, and community leaders from around the world, host Dennis Velco chats with Art Smith, artist, promoter, entrepreneur, and founder of Gay Barchieves.  

Art shares his story of working for two local LGBTQ community local print media companies starting in the mid-’80s.  This forced him to both be out as gay but also out and active in the community calling on businesses of all sorts.  Through this, he formed relationships with many bars and club owners who wanted to advertise their business and events.    

Art Smith Gay BARchives History lgbtq entrpreneur lesbian trandgender bisexual queer community vintage bars

In 2019 he was chatting with a bar owner in Atlanta who asked him to create a 45 year since opening commemorative design, although now close for ten years  Soon others were reaching out interested in his then one-off project asking about other bars that had closed and should be remembered.  He started doing research on LGBTQ bars that once thrived yet no longer open.    

Once COVID hit, he threw himself completely into this project and as of January 2021 has around 1200 bygone bars documented, logos redesigned, and on the GayBarcheives website.  He is gathering information and stories from the bar owners when possible. Throughout the decades, many bars were very discrete. They didn’t advertise and often didn’t even have signage on their building or door. It was all word of mouth.   

Gay Barcheives Mission: To build the world’s largest archive of the logos and stories of gay bars from the past, preserving the memories of the places that were so significant to the growth and development of the LGBTQ+ community.  

Art shares a few stories to illustrate the importance of gay bars in the LGBTQ community as places of building friendships, feeling a part of a community, getting information, and even health services throughout the years.  He also shares a few stories including police attempts to raid a popular gay hangout donut shop in Los Angles during the mid-’50’s as well as a tragic arsine attack on a gay bar in New Orleans.    

Notable bars already featured on Gay Barchieves: 

  • Chicago Eagle 
  • Eagle’s Nest 
  • Kok Bar San Fransico 
  • CircusDisco 
  • Tradesman LA 
  • CooperDonuts 
  • Russian River Eagle 
  • Man Handler 
  • Pulse Orlando 
  • Lost and Found DC 
  • The Pier 
  • Apex DC 
  • The Copa 
  • Jackhammer 
  • Steel Score 
  • Jocks Atlanta 
  • The Other Side 
  • Lipstix 
  • The Anvil 
  • The Vault 
  • Roxy 
  • Badlands 
  • Crowbar 

And since there is currently over 1200 (as of Jan 2021) there are just too many to list here.  

Use these links to connect with Art to suggest additional venues.   

http://GayBarchives.com  website 

http://facebook.com/GayBarchives  Facebook ‘like’ page 

http://facebook.com/groups/gaybarchives  Facebook group  

To connect with Art find him on OutBüro here. https://outburo.com/profile/gaybarchives/ 

Join me and Art on OutBüro, the LGBTQ professional and entrepreneur online community network for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, allies and our employers who support LGBTQ welcoming workplace equality focused benefits, policies, and business practices.  https://www.OutBuro.com 

Would you like to be featured like this? Contact the host Dennis Velco.  https://outburo.com/profile/dennisvelco/