The tiny but popular Christopher Street bar Boots & Saddle is closing after 40 years in business due to a large rent increase.
The gay bar — known for its drag shows, packed parties and welcoming vibe — cannot afford to pay a rent increase on its space at 76 Christopher St. and will shut down soon after 40 years in the Village, managing owner Rob Ziegler said. “I’m sad,” said Ziegler, who started as a bartender at Boots & Saddle in 1999 and later became an owner. “I’ve been here 15 years. Fifteen years is a long time.” Ziegler said a new landlord is taking over the building in the coming months and plans to raise rent for the 700-square-foot bar by thousands of dollars per month, to the “high twenties.” According to city records, the building has been owned for decades by Norton Nesis. Nesis declined to say who is buying the building.
The owners say they have been looking for a place to relocate. Ten or so gay nightspots in the West Village and Chelsea have closed in recent years due to both higher rents and the continuing migration of gay nightlife to Hell’s Kitchen, which is now home to about two dozen gay clubs.