The Odd Reason Newport, RI Needs An Actual Gay Bar

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Or if some Newport establishment would just declare itself a gay hotspot, that would work too.

Last year, we were doing some search term research for the website, a bit of SEO work, and discovered that Yelp had published a list of the best gay cruising spots in Newport that was just…well, crap. (Take a look for yourself.) The issue in the case of Yelp is that it has an algorithm that just publishes random lists as posts on the site in a rather successful attempt to dominate search rankings. The problem is that Newport, RI doesn’t actually have a real gay bar. So Yelp’s algorithm does what it can with what it has and just lists Newport locations where the term “gay” has come up in a review…or they just list actual gay bars in “nearby” communities like Providence and New Bedford. To be fair, Google’s own, far more complicated search algorithm can’t do any better, because it’s essentially searching for scraps for something that doesn’t exist.

People are looking for a Newport Gay Bar.

Here at the Blast, our top search traffic is from people looking for information about fiberglass in chewing tobacco, Barstool’s John Feitelberg…and gay bars in Newport. This indicates that demand exists for such an establishment…and that such an establishment doesn’t exist (otherwise people would be clicking on them, not us). Perhaps not enough to have a bar go all in on the gay theme, but perhaps one night a week or whatever. That combined with some search engine optimization and social media marketing would likely work wonders.

I don’t know of a bar in Newport that isn’t, well forget “tolerant”, welcoming of everyone. If you’ve got green, this town will gladly accept it. But that’s not exactly the same thing as offering a “scene”.

“But it’s been tried.”

Over the years, several Newport bars and restaurants have flirted with the area’s small gay scene. We’ve stumbled across a few events, typically by accident. We walked into Christie’s maybe four years ago on a Wednesday or Thursday night and discovered that most of the gay men we knew in town were hanging out. Around the same time, Dockside teamed up with what memory serves as NewportOUT to do something similar, but both fizzled out.

The difference between then and now is the supremacy of Web 2.0 companies in the marketing sphere, combined with pretty much universal adoption of smartphone technology.

Someone needs to exploit this niche.

Imagine being the only restaurant in Newport with a website that mentioned “lobster”. You’d likely make a nice chunk of money off of people who use search engines to look for restaurants that serve lobster. Similarly, a few mentions of “gay night” and suddenly you’re at the top of the list for homosexuals coming to the city. Is that really a place you don’t want your bar/restaurant to be? Do you not want to be the spot where gay wedding after-parties are held?

Similarly, if straight women find out that there’s a “gay bar”, then they’ll all want to come hang out.

Newport is full of bars and restaurants that try to offer everything to everyone. Declaring your spot “gay-accommodating” is a great way to differentiate your establishment from the competition. Let’s face it, gays are going to bring in more money than anyone in Newport who would be turned away by such a declaration.

Or not.

We’re straight, so it doesn’t really matter to us if Newport gets a same-sex meat market or not. This is more a matter of looking at an online zit that needs popping. We’re just seeing an opportunity that we’re not in a position to exploit that someone might as well capitalize on. We’re sure our gay friends will keep getting by hanging out at the usual breeder hotspots while furiously swiping through Grindr.

-Tristan Pinnock, Blast SEO Correspondent

Tristan's just this guy, ya know?