Talking about Forest Park’s history, an interesting chapter has now closed with the demise of the second and last of the village’s gay bars. With its culture of bar life, it was not a surprise that two of the only gay bars in the west suburbs – The Hideaway and Nutbush — took root in Forest Park. But it was not immediately a comfortable marriage as, going back decades, the village’s more traditional world view was not a natural fit for the era’s sometimes raucous gay bar scene.
Yet acceptance came even as the wider culture shifted quickly in accepting gays as a normal part of our lives, our evenings out, our friends next door. So the discussion took place last week on our comment board: Are gay bars relevant in 2014? Will there be another in Forest Park’s future?
For the Hideaway, its demise finally came down to the village government taking action on sheets of serious code violations, a recalcitrant owner, and legitimate fears for the safety of patrons of this ramshackle bar on Roosevelt Road. It seems clear to us that over the past several years the village found the right balance in trying to prod repairs and in ultimately shutting the place down.
So, so long Hideaway. Here’s to blazing trails and to looking forward.