A good lesbian bar is hard to find, but here are 9 around the world worth visiting.
As lesbian bars reach the brink of extinction across the globe–blame high rents, dating apps and a combined slew of additional cultural, economic, and political factors–major cities often associated with LGBTQ culture and history, like San Francisco and Los Angeles, are completely devoid of lesbian bars, leaving both locals and travelers without a distinct community space. The list of spaces dedicated to lesbian, bisexual, and queer women continues to shrink.
Though several LGBTQ bars host lesbian nights and women’s parties, the pop-ups will never quite compare to physical spaces completely dedicated to LGBTQ women. And while lesbian bars are few and far between, Fodor’s scoped out 9 of them still-thriving in the United States and Europe.
WHERE: New York, New York
Doling out almost ridiculously cheap drinks since 1994, this cozy corner-side bar is packed with women by happy hour until past midnight nearly every night of the week. Women from all over the city and the world cluster around the jukebox and throughout the narrow and eccentrically decorated dive. Comfortable yet chaotic in its near-constant crowded state, Cubbyhole is essential to New York’s LGBTQ scene. Adapting the bar as a second home as easy as taking a sip of a $2 margarita and joining a spontaneous Indigo Girls sing-along.
The Lipstick Lounge
WHERE: Nashville, Tennessee
The Lipstick Lounge, Music City’s only lesbian bar is, of course, home to live music and performances by LGBTQ artists and beyond. Originating in 2002, this female-focused bar makes it known that its a safe space for all humans and hosts a diverse roster of events including pop culture trivia, live game shows, karaoke, bingo and more. A Tex-Mex-inspired menu lets patrons fuel up with a breakfast burrito and mimosas during brunch or “Nacho Average Nachos” and “Piggie Fries” while imbibing at night in this converted house.
WHERE: Seattle, Washington
Female owned and operated since 1984, Wildrose, the Pacific Northwest’s sole lesbian bar is going strong into its mid-thirties. A full food menu includes quintessential bar snacks like mac and cheese, nachos, and special tacos on Tuesdays and a fully stocked bar offers cocktails, shots, and a range of beers. Seasonal parties, DJ nights, and karaoke are sprinkled throughout each month, but mostly you’re visiting for a laid-back night with the ladies.
WHERE: Brooklyn, New York
Ginger’s, Brooklyn’s only dedicated lesbian bar which self-identifies as a “neighborhood pub,” is a laidback and popular after-work hangout in Park Slope, which, at one time, was also known as a lesbian hub. A pool bar in back as well as karaoke nights, singles mixers, happy hour specials during broadcast sporting events and drag queen bingo on Sundays ensure there’s always something to do at the so-called “G-spot” (their nickname, not ours).
Book a Hotel
WHERE: London, England
Perhaps the closest real-life likeness of The L Word’s fictitious She Bar in Los Angeles (sans the Dawn Dembo), SHE’s chic lounge can feel practically plucked out of Showtime series. Welcoming women into its subterranean space with pink and purple neon lights, SHE not-so-subtly celebrates femininity and women loving women. Events include diva nights dedicated to celebrating the music of Janet Jackson, the Spice Girls, PiNK and more female artists, as well as “queerlesque” shows, DJ nights, and live music performances.
My Sister's Room
WHERE: Atlanta, Georgia
The longest-running lesbian bar in the South–RIP to NOLA’s Club Tribute–My Sister’s Room is a 21-year-old lesbian hangout specializing in wings and draft beer and filling the void of women-focused sports bars that most other American cities are missing. Weekly events include burlesque and drag shows, karaoke, bingo, dance parties, wine and paint nights, and more activities that could easily make MSR a nightly staple for women in town.
WHERE: Paris, France
La Mutinerie is a proudly feminist space catering to trans and queer people is part library and bookstore, part bar and part cultural venue for readings, open mics, and more. Other activities for LGBTQ women, including yoga and self-defense courses, are hosted at La Mutinerie along with DJ, dance, and drag nights to bring the party to an otherwise calm, laid-back space.
WHERE: New York, New York
Glitzy Henrietta’s dates back to 1991. Home to go-go dancer fueled parties, LGBTQ DJ nights and the occasional The L Word trivia night, this “bar and girl” is truly dedicated to all things lesbian culture. If you want to dance, throwback colorful shots (complimentary shots may be included on nights with a cover charge), and meet a diverse crew of women, this West Village staple is the place to be.
WHERE: San Diego, California
Not at all related to the series about the scandalous lives of New York’s elite, this GG is a restaurant and bar that’s catered to California lesbians since 2009. A disco ball hanging from the ceiling, flat screen TVs showing sports, and a bustling outdoor patio characterize the unique space, popular with both the lunch crowd and nightlife lovers. After dark, expect wet T-shirt contests, drag king shows, throwback DJ nights and more weekly events.