The week of April 24-30 is Lesbian Visibility Week. It’s a time when lesbians, who comprise about 14% of the LGBTQ+ community, are celebrated. What better way to celebrate than by heading out to support one of the remaining two dozen lesbian bars in the country? Not within driving distance of these bars? For more information about all the remaining bars, check out Cruising Podcast, where three lesbian and queer-identified hosts travel nationwide to support these establishments.
A League of Her Own (Washington, D.C.)
ALOHO is the sister bar to Pitchers, the also-sports-themed D.C. gay bar. ALOHO offers a calendar full of weekly and monthly events, like mixers, karaoke, comedy and hip-hop nights. Order up drinks like the “Sneaky Link” and the “Squeeze Me Nice.” You might need the extra courage if you plan to participate in the open-mic night that happens on the last Thursday of the month.
Babes of Carytown (Richmond, Virginia)
In Richmond’s Museum District, Babes has three bars to choose from and hosts several monthly dance parties, plus special events like the “Lez CampTournament” and “Queer 90’s Trivia.” Babes serves lunch, dinner, and drinks, so you don’t have to dance on an empty stomach. Recently, Babe’s celebrated 44 years in business, making it one of the oldest LGBTQ+ bars in the nation.
Blush and Blu (Denver, Colorado)
“Good Drinks. Good Vibes. Good People,” is the motto at Denver’s Blush and Blu. Since 2013, the inclusive safe space houses three floors with different vibes. Play pool or pinball on the third floor, grab drinks or coffee and check out live music on the main floor, or chill out and chat on the lower level. Burlesque, open mic and lesbian speed dating are just some of the special events offered by the bar.
Dorothy Downstairs (Chicago, Illinois)
This neighborhood lesbian cocktail lounge is, as its name implies, downstairs from the popular Split-Rail restaurant. Initially opened in February 2020, the bar shut down during the early days of Covid-19 and officially reopened in July 2022. Dorothy Downstairs hosts “Fruit Salad,” a queer open mic night, and the burlesque event, “Lust for Life.” You can also just order cocktails like “Liquid Gold” with carrot rum and turmeric while watching screenings of the Showtime series “Yellowjackets” with fellow queer fans.
Femme Bar (Worchester, Massachusetts)
This newbie on the lesbian bar scene opened the first week of March after a couple of delays. However, the spot is now going strong with events like “L Word Trivia” and “Live Music Fridays.” The owners were inspired to open the bar during the early days of the pandemic because “queer women do not have many spaces left of their own where they can go to be safe and to be the most authentic version of themselves.” The only full-time lesbian bar in Massachusetts, Femme Bar offers a full menu of snacks and entrees, plus a Sunday brunch. Order a local brew and enjoy the scene.
Gossip Grill (San Diego, California)
Since 2009, Gossip Grill has been the epicenter of lesbian and queer women’s events in the San Diego area. Run by Mo Girton, Gossip Grill has made a name for its seemingly endless array of parties and special events, theme nights and live entertainment. At the entrance to the bar, you’ll find a neon sign displaying “Welcome Home Beautiful,” and inside, drinks, mocktails and bar bites aplenty. During the pandemic, Gossip Grill delivered meals and liquor via drag queens and staff dressed as unicorns in an attempt to bring a little of that Gossip magic to customers stuck at home.
Lady’s Room (Largo, Florida)
This lesbian bar in the Florida panhandle near Clearwater has been open for a year and recently came to this reporter’s attention through a Cruising Podcast TikTok. Vickie Gibson, the owner of Lady’s Room, shared that the bar has been struggling, especially in the growing conservative climate in the Sunshine state. The bar has been plastered with religious paraphernalia and staff are afraid about possible acts of violence. Gibson also explained that the bar is in danger of closing if business doesn’t pick up. If you want to support Lady’s Room, visit the bar for drinks and drag, live music or donate to their GoFundMe.
My Sister’s Room (Atlanta, Georgia)
The location may change, but My Sister’s Room is an Atlanta institution. Founded in 1996, the bar has had to move locations a few times in its tenure, but the party doesn’t stop at MSR. Drag, dance parties, Femme Fridays with resident comedian Kia; there’s a little something for everyone at MSR. Owners Jami Atlanta and Jennifer Maguire also created “Sexacola Beach,” an annual women’s weekend in Pensacola, Florida.
Pearl Bar (Houston, Texas)
This lesbian bar has a Texas twist. Pear was founded in 2013 by owner Julie Mabry and has been serving the Houston lesbian and queer women’s community ever since. Saddle up to the bar on Sundays for crawfish or on Thursdays for “Steak Night,” followed by drag bingo. You never know when a lesbian celebrity might show up for an event! With plenty of outdoor seating, you can enjoy a hot Houston night under the stars.
The Ruby Fruit (Los Angeles, California)
The newest entry of this list, opening Feb. 21, The Ruby Fruit is the first lesbian bar/restaurant to open in Los Angles since 2017. Ruby Fruit is different from most of the bars in the country: it’s an intimate wine bar with small bites available, like smoked mushrooms or mortadella with hot honey. Named as an homage to the Rita Mae Brown book of the same name, Ruby Fruit calls itself “a strip mall wine bar serving the sapphically inclined” where all are welcome.