Styxx nightclub, which has provided a safe place for gay people in Portland for 30 years, is closing in January.

The club’s owner and manager is shuttering the Spring Street bar because business is down and people’s lifestyles are changing. Josh Moody said he probably should have closed a year or two ago.

“I’m sad, but I’m almost relieved at the same time,” he said Friday night. “It’s been pretty stressful. It’s still really fun, but business has been inconsistent.”

Portland has other gay bars, but Styxx has been at the center of Portland’s gay community since the 1980s, when it was known as The Underground. It is a huge bar, with multiple dance floors and enough room for 300 people. It’s located in the basement of a building at Spring and Cross streets, below Monument Square and a few blocks east of the Cross Insurance Arena.

Moody is proud that his bar has provided refuge for people who don’t feel safe or comfortable elsewhere, noting the nightspot also has been popular with straight people. He attributed the closing to several factors. The acceptance of the gay lifestyle across society has helped gay people feel safe hanging out in many places. They don’t necessarily need the comfort of a gay bar. People also are staying home more than they used to, and when they do go out they expect big events and a lot of excitement.

Across the board, it’s been difficult to draw consistent business night to night, week to week, Moody said. The decision to close was mutual between him and his landlord, he added. The inconsistencies of the business influenced his decision to close. “It’s just stressful. You never know week to week what it’s going to be,” he said.

Amy Boucher, 41, of Gorham has been coming to Styxx for more than a decade. She will miss it “because it’s welcoming. It’s like family. You’re never judged.”

For Amanda Tubbs of Portland, Styxx has always meant good luck. She won a trip to Las Vegas in a raffle and a trip to Hawaii in a singing contest at Styxx. On Friday, she performed with the Voulez-Vous Cabaret troupe in the club’s back room. “I love everybody here,” she said before going on stage. “I’ve always been able to be myself, whether I was happy or sad. I’ve always felt welcome. I love everything about this place, and I can’t believe it’s closing.”

Tubbs was accompanied by her fiance, Tyler Arnold, a musician. “It’s always a good time here,” Arnold said. “Everybody is super respectful.”

Moody, 36, began working at Styxx as a bartender when he moved to Portland in 2004. He bought the bar in 2009.

He’s unsure of his plans after Styxx closes in January, but is certain that his club has made life better for a lot of gay people in Portland.

“I think it helped a lot of people find themselves. For a lot of people – both as Styxx and The Underground – it was their first bar, the place they found themselves or the place they found their boyfriend.”

The need for a gay bar is there, he added.

“The need will always be there.”


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