Therapy (New York City)

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Therapy Nightclub logo.png
Therapy Bar 348 W52 (2) jeh.jpg
The venue's exterior in 2020
Address348 West 52nd Street
LocationHell's Kitchen, Manhattan, New York, U.S.
Coordinates40°45′51″N 73°59′13″W / 40.764059°N 73.986953°W / 40.764059; -73.986953Coordinates: 40°45′51″N 73°59′13″W / 40.764059°N 73.986953°W / 40.764059; -73.986953
Public transit
OwnerTom Johnson
Opened2003 (2003)

Therapy was a bilevel gay bar and nightclub in Manhattan's Hell's Kitchen neighborhood, in the U.S. state of New York. Prior to its closure in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it hosted frequent drag shows, some of which featured performers who later rose to prominence on RuPaul's Drag Race.[1] In July 2020, the venue's owner stated that it was unlikely to reopen due to financial troubles induced by the pandemic.[2] Therapy's atmosphere, drink selection, food and entertainment have generally received positive remarks from critics.[3][4]


The two-story nightclub was situated on 52nd Street in Manhattan, between Eight and Ninth Avenues. It faced Industry, another gay nightclub located directly across the street.[5] According to Time Out New York, its interior is characterized by "two levels of slate floors connected by a dramatic staircase, crowned with a massive skylight. Mellow pop, house and techno play at the perfect level, allowing for both conversation and grooving."[3] Therapy served food and features live entertainment most nights.[5][6]

According to Gothamist, "[the club contains] seating and full bars both upstairs and down, as well as music videos projected onto a screen in the upstairs area."[5] As of mid-2019, Therapy hosted drag shows five nights a week.[6] Many of the clientele were tourists drawn to New York by Broadway shows, whose cast members also frequented the bar.[7][8] Of the Monday-night drag show hosted by Marti Gould Cummings, Thrillist wrote: "Broadway stars like Michael Longoria, Ann Reinking, and Tamyra Gray are unafraid to compete for attention and perhaps suffer some deprecation at the hands of a quick-witted drag queen in this sprawling lounge."[8]


The bar's exterior, 2020

Therapy was established in 2003, in a duplex in Hell's Kitchen.[6][9][10] Over the years, the bar's drag shows have been hosted by several performers who went on to appear on RuPaul's Drag Race, including Peppermint, Sahara Davenport, Bianca Del Rio, Bob the Drag Queen, Monét X Change and Jan Sport.[1][9][10][11] Other prominent drag queens, including Sherry Vine, also had shows there.[9] Therapy closed temporarily in 2019 due to structural issues with a neighboring building, which required demolition.[12][13][14]

COVID-19 pandemic and closure[edit]

In March 2020, Therapy again closed down when New York State nightlife venues were ordered to shutter due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[7] The venue's co-owner, Tom Johnson, said he opted not to offer outdoor dining or to-go drinks when those services became permissible because doing so would have brought in only 30–40% of the usual revenue, which would not have been sufficient to compensate staff.[1] He also said that operating at half-capacity to abide by social distancing regulations would leave the establishment unable to cover operating costs.[10] Citing these and other financial difficulties, Johnson announced in July that the bar would likely remain closed for good.[7] Eater New York reported that "Johnson holds a glimmer of hope for Therapy's revival but isn't sure if the financial fallout from the pandemic will allow it". He told the publication, "It's great if people want to come together and invest in Therapy at some point ... I want nothing more than for all of this to go away, but I don't see that happening anytime soon."[7]


In his 2015 list of "the best gay bars in Hell's Kitchen" for Time Out New York, Ethan LaCroix wrote, "Drinks like the Freudian Sip (Ketel One Citron, fresh ginger and lemonade), served in a nice big tumbler, are sure to leave you feeling blissfully worry-free at this cocktailcentric space. But it's the impressive venue that draws young neurotics."[3] A review by Gothamist staff reads, "Therapy is the quintessential Hell's Kitchen hot spot and it has it all: comfort food, dancing, two levels and polite cocktail servers. Just avoid the nasty DJs, who DO NOT make any song requests! ... It's a spacious venue with an easy crowd; I'm always pleased to be invited there."[5] In their 2019 list of "the 16 best LGBTQ bars in New York City" for Thrillist, Melissa Kravitz and Kyler Alvord said of the bar:

This may not be the best Therapy for social anxiety, but if you're soothed by Absolut-forward cocktails in plastic cups and hundreds of sweaty guys pressed up against you, start your treatment at this HK lounge. DJs, live music, and drag entertainment make this place a party nearly every night of the week. Visitors here have planned a night out and are laser-focused on fun.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Krisel, Brendan (2020-07-21). "Therapy, Gay Bar Favored By 'Drag Race' Contestants, To Close". Patch. Archived from the original on 2020-07-30. Retrieved 2020-07-30.
  2. ^ Cook, Michael (2020-07-29). "'With Tears In Their Eyes' New York City's Therapy Closes Their Hell's Kitchen Doors". Instinct. Archived from the original on 2020-07-29. Retrieved 2020-07-29.
  3. ^ a b c LaCroix, Ethan (2015-07-19). "The best gay bars in Hell's Kitchen". Time Out New York. Archived from the original on 2020-07-30. Retrieved 2020-03-01.
  4. ^ a b Alvord, Kyler (2019-05-21). "Best Gay, Lesbian & LGBTQ Bars in NYC Right Now: Queer Nightlife Spots". Thrillist. Group Nine Media. Archived from the original on 2020-07-20. Retrieved 2020-03-01.
  5. ^ a b c d Gothamist Staff (2014-03-11). "A Guide To NYC's Gay Bars". Gothamist. Archived from the original on 2020-07-30. Retrieved 2020-07-30.
  6. ^ a b c Tracy, Matt (2019-06-04). "Therapy Temporarily Closes". Gay City News. Archived from the original on 2020-04-19. Retrieved 2020-03-01.
  7. ^ a b c d Warerkar, Tanay (2020-07-20). "Trailblazing Hell's Kitchen Gay Bar Therapy Is In Danger of Closing Permanently". Eater New York. Vox Media. Archived from the original on 2020-07-22. Retrieved 2020-07-22.
  8. ^ a b Kravitz Hoeffner, Melissa (2018-04-16). "The Best Places to Catch Live Drag Shows in New York City". Thrillist. Group Nine Media. Archived from the original on 2020-07-30. Retrieved 2020-07-30.
  9. ^ a b c Keyes, Jeffrey James (2018-05-31). "Our List of the Top Gay Bars in New York City". Metrosource. Archived from the original on 2020-05-09. Retrieved 2020-07-30.
  10. ^ a b c Savage, Rachel; Lavietes, Matthew; Anarte, Enrique (2020-05-13). "'We'll die': Gay bars worldwide scramble to avert coronavirus collapse". Reuters. Archived from the original on 2020-06-08. Retrieved 2020-07-30.
  11. ^ amNewYork (2019-05-19). "21 of the best LGBTQ bars in NYC to party at right now". AM New York Metro. Archived from the original on 2020-07-29. Retrieved 2020-07-29.
  12. ^ Broverman, Neal (2019-05-31). "NYC Gay Bar Therapy Closes After Nearby Building Deemed Unstable". The Advocate. Archived from the original on 2019-06-30. Retrieved 2020-03-01.
  13. ^ Kacala, Alexander (2019-05-31). "A Popular New York Gay Bar Just Closed Its Doors, and the Reason Is Pretty Messed Up". Instinct. Archived from the original on 2020-07-30. Retrieved 2020-03-01.
  14. ^ "Popular Hell's Kitchen Bar, Farmers Market Close Due to Unstable Building". WNBC. 2019-06-06. Archived from the original on 2020-07-30. Retrieved 2020-03-01.

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