New York City has long been known for its vibrant and diverse LGBTQ culture, providing a haven for those seeking an inclusive nightlife experience.
This blog highlights the top 13 destinations that specifically cater to lesbian clientele, offering them unique atmospheres where they can mingle and connect in a safe, welcoming environment.
From historic establishments like Henrietta Hudson to newer hotspots, these bars showcase the finest of NYC’s lesbian scene.
Top 13 Best Lesbian Bars In NYC
Cubbyhole is a lesbian bar located in Manhattan’s West Village, New York City. The bar was opened in 1987 by Tanya Saunders and Debbie Fierro as DT’s Fat Cat and was later renamed Cubbyhole in 1994. Cubbyhole is known for its friendly and welcoming atmosphere, attracting a diverse crowd of people of all genders and sexualities. The bar has remained a popular spot for the LGBTQ+ community throughout its history.
Cubbyhole is one of only three remaining lesbian bars in all of New York City, and Brooklyn’s only lesbian bar, Ginger’s, is still closed indefinitely. According to a nonprofit known as the Lesbian Bar Project, only 19 lesbian bars are left nationwide. The dwindling number of lesbian bars in New York City is part of a larger trend of declining lesbian nightlife across the country.
Despite the challenges facing lesbian bars, Cubbyhole remains a beloved spot for the LGBTQ+ community in New York City. The bar is open daily, with different hours for each day of the week.
Henrietta Hudson, originally named Henrietta Hudson Bar & Girl, is a long-running lesbian bar and queer restaurant located in Manhattan’s West Village neighborhood. Here are some key details about Henrietta Hudson:
– Address: 438-444 Hudson St, New York, NY 10014
– Type: Lesbian bar, queer restaurant, and lounge
– Features: Drinks, pool, and dancing; open on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays from 6 pm to 2 am, and on Fridays and Saturdays from 6 pm to 4 am; closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.
Henrietta Hudson was opened in 1991 by Lisa Cannistraci and bar owner Minnie Rivera as a lesbian-centric bar. It became New York City’s longest-operating lesbian bar after the closure of other similar venues. The bar’s location is the original site of the Cubbyhole, which was also lesbian-owned and managed.
In 2014, the bar removed the “lesbian bar” descriptor as part of its ongoing evolution. However, it still primarily caters to lesbians and queer women, offering a welcoming and inclusive space for the community. The venue has faced controversy in recent years due to its rebranding and fundraising efforts, which some have criticized for not aligning with the original mission of supporting lesbian spaces.
Despite the changes and controversies, Henrietta Hudson remains a significant part of New York City’s LGBTQ+ history and continues to provide a space for the community to gather, socialize, and have a great experience.
Ginger’s Bar is a cash-only, dive lesbian bar located in Brooklyn’s Park Slope neighborhood. It is one of the last remaining lesbian bars in New York City and is known for its neighborly feel, happy hours, pool table, and outdoor patio.
The bar is owned by Sheila Frayne and opened in 2000 when Park Slope was a lesbian mecca. Although it is seen as both a lesbian bar and a woman-friendly neighborhood bar, it is primarily a lesbian bar.
Ginger’s Bar has survived the COVID-19 shutdown despite other challenges with which they were already struggling, including gentrification, shifts in nightlife trends, and other changes in the neighborhood. The bar is a local institution and a favorite of the locals and Brooklyn’s gay women. The bartenders are friendly, and the beer is reasonably priced.
Ginger’s Bar is located at 363 5th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11215. It is open daily, and reservations are not required. The bar is a community space and a lifeline in a hetero-dominated world and bar scene.
The Stonewall Inn
The Stonewall Inn is a gay bar and National Historic Landmark located in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of Lower Manhattan, New York City. It is widely recognized as the site of the Stonewall riots in 1969, which is considered a pivotal event in the gay liberation movement and the modern fight for LGBT rights in the United States.
The original Stonewall Inn, which operated between 1967 and 1969, was a “private” gay club often associated with Mafia involvement, as many gay bars at the time operated as “private” clubs to circumvent the State Liquor Authority’s policy that prohibited serving alcohol to gay people.
After the uprising, the original Stonewall Inn went out of business and was leased as two separate spaces to various businesses, including a bagel shop, Chinese restaurant, and clothing store.
In 1987, a bar named Stonewall operated out of 51 Christopher Street, but it eventually closed, and the historic vertical sign was removed from the building’s facade. In the early 1990s, a new gay bar called “Stonewall” opened in the west half of the original Stonewall Inn.
The current Stonewall Inn, which stands in part of its original space, is a popular gathering place and beacon for the LGBTQ community and others.
In 2017, the bar partnered with Brooklyn Brewery to create The Stonewall Inn IPA, a session IPA brewed to benefit The Stonewall Inn Gives Back Initiative (SIGBI), an official charitable giving organization of the Stonewall Inn. The partnership expanded in 2021 to support queer communities around the world.
Bum Bum Bar
Bum Bum Bar was a lesbian bar located at 63-14 Roosevelt Avenue in Woodside, Queens, New York City. The bar, which was gay-owned and operated, had a long-standing presence in the city’s LGBTQ+ nightlife scene, attracting a mixed, but mostly working-class, Latina crowd. Here are some key details about Bum Bum Bar:
– Address: 6314 Roosevelt Ave, Woodside, New York, NY 11377
– Type: Lesbian bar
– Features: Small space, $10 cover charge, primarily Spanish-speaking clientele, known for its welcoming and friendly atmosphere.
Unfortunately, Bum Bum Bar closed its doors in 2019 after more than two decades of operation. At the time of its closure, it was one of the four remaining lesbian bars in New York City. The bar was well-loved by the local LGBTQ+ community, including GO Magazine staffers and readers.
While Bum Bum Bar is no longer in operation, there has been an exciting resurgence of lesbian bars in New York City in recent years, including clubs like Duchess, Grove, and Pandora’s Box. These new establishments offer diverse experiences and cater to the city’s vibrant LGBTQ+ community.
The Phoenix is a gay and lesbian bar located in the East Village of New York City. Here are some key details about The Phoenix:
– Address: 447 E 13th St, New York, NY 10009
– Type: Gay and lesbian bar
– Features: Relaxed atmosphere, jukebox, pool table, and spacious dive bar.
The Phoenix has been around for over 25 years and has become a gay institution in the East Village. The bar caters to a diverse and trendy crowd and is known for its laid-back atmosphere. The venue has a pool table in the back and a jukebox, creating a fun and relaxed environment for guests.
While The Phoenix is not exclusively a lesbian bar, it is known for being a welcoming space for the LGBTQ+ community. The venue has received positive reviews for its friendly staff, affordable drinks, and relaxed atmosphere.
The Rosemont is a popular gay bar, lounge, and club located in the trendy Williamsburg district of Brooklyn, New York City. Here are some key details about The Rosemont:
– Address: 63 Montrose Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11206
– Type: Gay bar, lounge, and club
– Features: Dance floor, big patio, shows, happy hour until 8 pm on weekdays, and a 21+ age requirement with ID.
– History: The Rosemont opened in late 2016 on a quiet block of Montrose Avenue, originally a jazz bar and now one of the trendiest queer spots in Brooklyn.
The venue offers a variety of entertainment, including drag queen shows, live music, and a vibrant dance floor. It has gained a reputation as a popular destination for the LGBTQ+ community in New York City, offering a unique and inclusive experience. The Rosemont’s Instagram account provides updates on events and showcases the venue’s vibrant atmosphere.
Alibi Lounge is a chic and elegant cocktail lounge located in Harlem, New York City. Here are some key details about Alibi Lounge:
– Address: 2376 Adam Clayton Powell Jr Blvd, New York, NY 10030
– Type: Gay and lesbian bar
– Features: Elegant atmosphere, diverse young urban professional LGBT crowd, friendly staff, classic disco vibes, and happy hour specials.
Alibi Lounge is one of the last remaining Black-owned gay bars in New York City. The venue has faced challenges in the past, including struggles with rent and utilities payments. However, it has persevered and continues to be a vibrant and important part of the LGBTQ+ community in Harlem.
The lounge has received positive reviews for its great energy, friendly staff, and welcoming atmosphere. Alibi Lounge is a popular destination for the diverse young urban professional LGBT crowd in Harlem and beyond.
The Dalloway is a lesbian-implied bar and restaurant located in SoHo, New York City. Here are some key details about The Dalloway:
– Address: 525 Broome St, New York, NY 10013
– Type: Lesbian-implied bar and restaurant
– Features: Two-story venue with a mix of lounge and club atmosphere; candlelit restaurant serving American small plates; “lesbian-implied” atmosphere that welcomes everyone.
The Dalloway is a popular spot for lesbians in New York City, offering a unique and upscale atmosphere for guests. The venue is owned by Kim Stolz, a former contestant on America’s Next Top Model and a prominent member of the LGBTQ+ community. The Dalloway has received positive reviews for its chic decor, creative cocktails, and welcoming atmosphere.
The venue is open daily, with different hours for each day of the week. Reservations are recommended and can be made online. The Dalloway is a great option for those looking for a more upscale and sophisticated lesbian bar experience in New York City.
Cowgirl is not specifically a lesbian bar, but it is a popular restaurant and cocktail bar located in the West Village of New York City. The venue offers a Southern-inspired menu, outdoor seating, and a casual atmosphere. While it may not be a dedicated lesbian bar, it is a well-known establishment in the West Village and has been mentioned in the context of LGBTQ+ nightlife in the area.
C’mon Everybody is a popular queer-owned and operated bar and independent venue located in Brooklyn, New York City. Here are some key details about C’mon Everybody:
– Address: 325 Franklin Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11238
– Type: LGBTQ+ bar and independent venue
– Features: Live music, art shows, and other events; known for its inclusive and welcoming atmosphere.
C’mon Everybody has been recognized for its contributions to the LGBTQ+ community, winning the Glam Awards for Best Bar in 2021 and 2022.
The venue offers a variety of events, including live performances, DJ sets, and themed parties. It is a popular spot for both locals and visitors looking for a vibrant and inclusive nightlife experience in Brooklyn.
Metropolitan Bar is a popular LGBTQ+ bar located in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York City. While it is not specifically a lesbian bar, it is known for its inclusive and welcoming atmosphere, attracting a diverse crowd of gay and straight locals.
Here are some key details about Metropolitan Bar:
– Address: 559 Lorimer Street, Brooklyn, NY 11211
– Type: Gay bar
– Features: 2 fireplaces, a pool table, a multi-level lounge, a dancefloor, and a lush outdoor patio/garden.
– Events: Weekly Sunday BBQs from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day, “Queeraoke” on Tuesday nights, Wednesday night trivia, Gender Xperts (a monthly gender queer open mic night), and a monthly comedy show.
Metropolitan Bar has been a staple of the Brooklyn gay scene since its opening in 2002. It is open daily from 3 pm to 4 am, with some variations in hours for major holidays. The venue has a valid photo ID requirement for entry.
Henrietta Hudson Annex
Henrietta Hudson is a queer restaurant and lounge located in Manhattan’s West Village neighborhood. It was originally opened in 1991 as a lesbian-centric bar by Lisa Cannistraci and bar owner Minnie Rivera.
The establishment became New York City’s longest-operating lesbian bar after the closure of other similar venues. The bar has undergone some changes over the years, including the removal of the “lesbian bar” descriptor in 2014.
Following its closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Cannistraci announced plans to rebrand and expand Henrietta Hudson into a “café, lounge, bistro, coffee house, [and] cocktail place”. The rebranding, however, resulted in controversy due to Cannistraci soliciting financial contributions from lesbians with a “Save the Bar” crowdfunding for Henrietta Hudson, and also participating in the Lesbian Bar Project fundraising campaign to save lesbian bars, despite using the donations to reopen.
Henrietta Hudson is known for being a long-running lesbian hangout for drinks, shooting pool, and dancing, especially on weekends.
The bar primarily caters to lesbians and queer women and is one of the longest continuously running lesbian bars in New York City. The bar is open on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays from 6 pm to 2 am, and on Fridays and Saturdays from 6 pm to 4 am.
In conclusion, New York City has a thriving LGBTQ+ community, and the 13 best lesbian bars listed above are just one example of that. Whether you’re looking for a casual night out with friends or an exciting event like burlesque shows or drag bingo, these bars have something to offer everyone in the queer community.
From Cubbyhole’s eclectic charm to Henrietta Hudson’s long-standing legacy, these bars are all unique and provide an inclusive space where lesbians can feel comfortable and celebrated.