Lesbian bars are on life support. Blame the internet, which made it easier for LGBTQ people to meet potential partners without a dedicated physical space. Yes, things have gotten much better.
It was a late Saturday night in August I had just moved to Chicago, and the second my girlfriend and I unloaded the U-Haul yes! Two hours later, we stood outside the first search result, hesitating.
Henrietta Hudson Hudson St. The longest-running lesbian bar in the city 26 years! Pat at Union Pool Union Ave.
For 25 years, the lesbian-owned and operated Henrietta Hudson has been a West Village staple, slinging drinks for a large and eclectic crowd. Come early for the half-priced Happy Hour drinks 4 to 7pmand come often, because every weeknight has a different theme. One of our favorite parties in NYC continues its total domination of Friday nightlife with a twice-monthly residency at Drom. A long trip on the subway might keep some other-borough chicas away, but this old-school Latin lesbian bar in Woodside has a loyal following.
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In fact according to my research, there are only four remaining lesbian bars in New York City with only one left in Brooklyn. We can easily blame Tinder and the likes for the decline in bar room pick-ups, but lesbian bars were never only about finding a date. Queer women have needed a space to call their own away from the heteronormative gaze for years.
Greenwich Village is famed for its high concentration of gay bars, but a combination of rising rents, decreasing stigmas, and increased diversity in the LGBTQ scene has laid the foundation for unique gay bars to become neighborhood staples citywide. And though it may be a challenge to venture from the comfort of your neighborhood gay bar, these LGBTQ bars and clubs across the city offer some of the best queer nightlife in all five boroughs. Late-night dancing on a quiet Brooklyn street Manhattan may dominate the queer nightclub scene, but The Rosemont proves that some experiences are worth ditching the island for.
While their significance is often underestimated or dismissed by heterosexual society, bars and other establishments played a pivotal role throughout the 20th century — but particularly in the pre-Stonewall era — as centers for LGBT activism and community. These spaces, whether always gay friendly or only during certain times of the day or week, gave LGBT people the freedom to be themselves in a way they usually could not be in their personal or professional lives. This curated collection largely reflects the bar and nightlife scene of downtown Manhattan; as we research more sites we encourage you to reach out to us with suggestions in upper Manhattan and the outer boroughs.
Every day should be Pride day, but Stonewall's 50th anniversary calls for a particularly special celebration. I've been on the search for such places since I was a teenager, and because I've traveled a fair amount, I know this is sometimes a tough endeavor. I come from Mexico, where such establishments can be hard to find.