Below is a comment I posted at Eric Leven's excellent blog KnuckleCrack.
I agree with pretty much everything that's been said here. The problem is, as Anonymous hints in the comments, we're now nearly 40 years past Stonewall, and queers don't have the same fight in us that we used to - because we've made an awful lot of progress during that time. Progress means being able to be out without fear, which means not all gays need spaces like bars and bathhouses to feel accepted and linked into a community.
There are other, non-queer-specific factors as well.
And frankly, there's the AIDS crisis. A bartender here in Philly told me a while back that two things were responsible for the demise of the most vibrant and crazy spots in town: the Internet and AIDS. AIDS killed off a huge number of our people - specifically, it killed the ones who remembered Stonewall, who remembered having to fight hard just to be out. They're also the ones who defined the scene during the 1970s and 1980s. When they died, the demographics and attitudes of gay people shifted dramatically.
There's also the effect of gay marriage, both as a concept and as a right. I'm surprised no one has mentioned
So on a certain level, we actually don't need gay bars – at least, not like we used to. And this is not something anyone else did to us, either. Things just changed, mostly for the better. If we need anything in terms of shared spaces, it's not more gay bars. It's better gay bars. Our current nightlife seems to me to be stuck in the past. Most gay bars – and there are exceptions, so don't get twisted here – are kind of all the same. But the ones that aren't the same are so refreshing that you wonder why you've put up with the places you've been going to. We need gay bars that reflect who and where we are now, not who and where we used to be.
Unfortunately, I'm going back to school in the fall, so one of you is gonna have to open one up.