In our slightly serious, slightly silly list of the nation's Queerest Cities, the presence of a lesbian bar was one of the considerations. We knew that LGBT spaces were disappearing from Miami to Missoula, but we were shocked at how few cities still have bars or clubs that cater specifically to women who love women (really, L.A.?). With that in mind, we pulled together this nondefinitive list of lesbian bars that are still alive and kicking ass.
The Closet, Chicago
Known as one of Chicago's best LGBT bars, the Closet is "big fun in a li'l gay bar," according to the Chicago Bar Project. The neighborhood favorite, often viewed as a home away from home for queer women in Boystown (the irony), was established in 1978 by Judi and Rose. With karaoke nights and a full bar, the Closet is a hotspot that's now spanned generations.
My Sister's Room, Atlanta
Celebrating irs 20th anniversary, My Sister’s Room is Atlanta’s lone lesbian bar. With dancing, a boast-worthy selection of local draft beers, and a safe haven for all under the rainbow flag, My Sister's Room has won several awards, including Georgia Voice's pick for Best DJ.
Gossip Grill, San Diego
San Diego's award-winning women’s bar, Gossip Grill, started as a small but trendy lesbian club. It's since morphed into a SoCal institution, with women flocking to its restaurant and patio bar. Even the guys are welcome to enjoy the rockin' dance floor and stiff cocktails, though.
Pearl Bar, Houston
Boasting the best musical acts, burlesque shows, and stand-ups in all of Texas, Pearl Bar is Houston's resident women's space. Pearl is renowned for its free-spirited outdoor concerts, patio hot tub soirées, and dance events.
Lipstick Lounge, Nashville
Seeking some camaraderie in Nashville's east end? You'll find it at Lipstick Lounge. With a crowd of regulars and a steady stream of live musical acts, this melting pot barroom offers an atmosphere both electric and friendly.
Henrietta Hudson, New York City
Manhattan’s number 1 lesbian bar for over 20 years, Henrietta Hudson is Gotham's go-to place for lesbian culture. Henrietta Hudson (a feminine take on the nearby river and the explorer) prides itself on age and gender diversity and an all-welcoming atmosphere for LGBT folks, tourists, and allies. The West Village haunt even hosts same-sex marriages and has been awarded Best Lesbian Bar – New York City. Owner Lisa C. started HH in 1991 after her working at Cubbyhole, another iconic lesbian bar in NYC.
Wild Side West Bar, San Francisco
A Bay Area classic, Wild Side West is a truly San Franciscan establishment, from its backyard beer garden to its vintage selection of jukebox records. Opened in 1962 by Pat Ramseyer and partner Nancy White, this haven has lived through the times of Harvey Milk into a new age of LGBT history. Pat died in 2010, but she lives on through the Wild Side.
One of the oldest lesbian bars on the West Coast, Wildrose is part clubhouse, part restaurant, and part refuge, making it a favorite among Seattle's queer community. The Rose has been proudly women-owned and -operated since 1984.