Famous Lesbians Open New Lesbian Nightlife Spot In Lesbian New York, We Think We’re Into It

by Gabrielle, Gabby and Vanessa

The Dalloway is New York City’s newest hotspot for girls who like girls in the heart of Soho. In the few months since its grand opening, it’s gone from sparkly newcomer to nightlife staple, impressing lesbians and their trendy friends with its swanky vibe and amazing parties. Owned by attractive lesbians Amanda Leigh Dunn and Kim Stolz, The Dalloway is equal parts bar and restaurant, with something for everyone. Even homebodies (like us) can enjoy a quiet dining experience on the top level while party-goers mingle on the floor below.
The Sign
The name, which Kim thought of, is an ode to the closet that Virginia Woolf spent her life in. According to Amanda, The Dalloway’s goal is to “create an environment so that no one ever has to feel that way and has a home.” Despite this mission, if you’re looking for rainbow flags, you won’t find them here.  This is an establishment based on being subtle; it’s a lesbian-implied space rather than a gay bar, which Amanda hopes means people will feel as comfortable bringing their parents here as bringing a hot date. “We don’t want anyone to feel unwelcome,” Amanda said, “and we don’t want anyone to feel exploited.”

upstairs at the dalloway via yelp

upstairs at the dalloway via yelp

The response so far has been overwhelmingly enthusiastic. Not only does The Dalloway fulfill a specific need in the community, but the food and the cocktails are actually really amazing. Amanda recommends trying their take on the Bloody Mary, called “The Clarissa and Mary,” as well as “The Night and Day,” which is ginger spiced rum. In terms of food, Amanda thinks that the hanger steak is to die for, and says she most frequently orders the brussels sprouts salad and the scallops. There are vegan and vegetarian options as well (we specifically asked for you).
Scallops
So, clearly we were dying to find out for ourselves what the deal is over at this fancy new place. Read on to find out the highly informed and reputable opinions of Gabby, Gabrielle and Vanessa, otherwise known as a portion of Team Autostraddle NYC.

via Dalloway Intern on Instagram

Vanessa, Gabby, Stef and Gabrielle via Dalloway Intern on Instagram


Gabby: If you were wondering where all the fancy dykes chill, it’s The Dalloway. Straight up, no filter, on and off the rocks, The Dalloway is the spot. It’s the spot that’s better than you on it’s worst day. Seriously. If you need a chaser, then go home. The Dalloway is the place for all of the lezbo, queermo, homofab people that watch The Real L Word and wish that was their life. It’s full of expensively dressed, super scene happy, high fashion queers ready to drop $15 on a mixed drink and act like it’s nothing. Cuz it is, fyi. Listen, I wanna hate just cuz it would be funny but this isn’t hate, this is real talk. I’m not cool enough for The Dalloway.

Gabrielle: I was super excited to finally go to The Dalloway because I’ve been following their Instagram and Twitter accounts and drooling over the pictures of fashionable lesbians having the time of their lives. I wore galaxy tights, a high-waisted black mini skirt and gold collar tips. I tell you this because I would never wear that to any of the other queer bars in New York City; anything other than skinny jeans and some well-placed layers always makes me feel out of place at Metro or Ginger’s or wherever. I’m pleased to report that not only was I not the most dressed up person there, but that I observed many women wearing stilettos WITH slouchy indoor hats—so really anyone could go either way with their outfit.

I went around 7pm with my friend Leah, and it was pretty empty when we got there, so I got to take a good look around. The decor is super classy and minimalist, and also pretty masculine; it’s a no frills kind of joint, with leather details and a fireplace (!!). The lighting is also super dim, so that everyone looked gorgeous but also kind of blurry. By the time Vanessa, Gabby and Stef got there, several hours later, the place was packed and everyone was having a great time. I only ran into two people that I know, which is crazy because I feel like when I go to gay bars I recognize at least half of the people there. It’s definitely a scene I’m not familiar with but it was nice to have a change of scenery while still surrounded by dykes.

Vanessa: Let me reiterate Gabrielle’s point: The Dalloway is not Cubby or Metro. It doesn’t scream “NYU Gender And Sexuality Studies Major That You Probably Slept With Freshman Year And Has Since Gone Vegan” so much as it screams “Power Dyke.” Bette Porter would be so at home at the Dalloway. Do you know what I mean?

Gabby: Right, would I host an Autostraddle meet up there? Yes, but only if we could rent out the entire place. Would I tell you it’s a good place for nerdy, socially awkward, Adventure Time loving queers to go socialize? Hell to the fuck no. It’s a bar for people who want to be seen with other beautiful people. It’s a pulsing nerve ready to make high profile connections. It’s the place to take a sexy queer lady client and seal whatever deal needs sealing.

Vanessa: I did feel like I could bring both gay and straight friends and everyone would have a grand old time, which was refreshing and cool.

Gabrielle: Oh and also I caught a few glimpses of Amanda. I don’t know if you know this but she’s really pretty.

Vanessa: I did not see Amanda or Kim and honestly I was upset about it. But other than that I had fun! Everyone was nice and while it was definitely a little bit cliquey, what bar in New York City isn’t? That’s how I felt about the pricing, also. The price will definitely be a dealbreaker for some — there’s no way around it, it is not cheap — but all nightlife in New York has a tendency to be expensive, and if that’s not something you can afford (or want to spend money on) there are plenty of cheaper options. If money isn’t a worry for you, I think you should know about the Dalloway.

Gabby: Establishments like The Dalloway add to the diversity of our queer community. I didn’t notice any instances of drama or drunken hot messery. All the queers and dykes and fags seemed professional and well versed in the secret language of the NYC social scene. I wore a red baseball cap and no one gave a shit. I didn’t get any side eye or experience any inter-dyke haterade. The bartenders were ultra sexy, like Aqua Girl sexy and the drinks were strong, tiny but strong, like a hard femme in the best way. There isn’t much I can say about The Dalloway that isn’t positive. If you want to be SEEN, go there and go there with some fly bitches to up your chances of getting snapped by the sweet photogs.

Gabrielle: The bottom line is that I’m looking forward to getting super dressed up again and bringing my girlfriend so that we can cuddle in a dark corner and drink things we can barely afford. I’m so glad that there’s now an option for girls who like girls who want to be swanky while also staying in a lesbian-created space.


So there you have it: All Our Feelings About The Dalloway! But why take our (many) word(s) for it? If you’re 21+ and in the neighborhood, check the place out for yourself! There’s plenty to do, what with Singles Night on Tuesdays, A League Of Their Own Flip Cup Tournaments on Wednesdays and Girls Who Love Girls Who Love Girls Night on Thursdays. Also coming up this week is the Valentine’s Day Lesbian Prom we told you about in our Valentine’s Day Party Round Up (which — shockingly — takes place on Thursday, February 14th) and Lesbian Day on Friday, February 15th! It also looks like Midnight Brunch is now a thing, which means all Vanessa’s hopes and dreams are coming true. For more details go to The Dalloway’s Upcoming Events page on their website, and be sure to find them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, too — pretty girls, Real L Word cast member sightings and general debauchery guaranteed.

Avatar of Vanessa

Vanessa is a queer feminist writer, NYU grad, crush monster, and Jewish Grandma In Training. She has a radical brain, a mushy heart, and a million floral print dresses. She's currently on a big adventure but she'll be back one day, pinky swear. In the meantime, she can sometimes be found on twitter and instagram.

Vanessa has written 198 articles for us.

36 Comments

  1. Thumb up 4

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    I am so excited about this! I am visiting NYC in April and I now have something really exciting to add to the spreadsheet of activities that will also help me cross “pretend to be Bette Porter” off my life goal list.

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    i’ve been here a couple of times and i feel weird about the fact that i LOOOOVE ITTTTT. i wanna go here for all my dates going forwards, except i don’t want to pay for anything. if anybody wants to buy me some delicious expensive specialty cocktails, i promise to at the very least hold your hand. (cough)

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    Oh yes, that place is fantastic. Skip the upstairs if you aren’t into fairly pricey small plates (but go if you are, the food is really well done) and just go straight downstairs to the more laid back bar below. There’s couch type seating down there and it’s great for small groups of friends to grab a corner and talk over some great drinks. (Go on a weeknight and you’ll even find space to relax and sit down.) Don’t forget to try the Captain’s Breakfast. It may have been the best drink I had in NYC this last trip.

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      I’m pretty sure the entire world would love your black suede platform wedges and you should wear them everywhere, but you’re right that The Dalloway might love them even more.

      (FWIW: Henrietta Hudson, Stonewall and even Cubbyhole all seemed like fine places to rock femme too the last time I was there in a dress… none of them are as high fashion as The Dalloway, but don’t let that stop you from classin’ a place up if that’s what you’re feeling!)

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    gabby, i shared a lot of your feelings when i went.
    i was there on a date, and it was a nice date place, but when we decided we wanted a second drink, we went somewhere else. i also didn’t get to see downstairs because there was a private event happening.
    i did get to see kim and amanda, but mostly i felt very out of place, like they could see i was only pretending to be the kind of person who wears fancy clothing. (that might also have been because i was trying to be dapper, and which feels strange on me)

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    I really like it there. I like dressing up, but I really hate being hit on by men/turning down men/being asked to justify my sexuality to men so having a place where i can be fancy and gay is really cool. it IS expensive, but i love the paper dart cocktail, mm lemon and sage. also, the bathroom doors are cute.

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    I’ve been to the Dalloway a couple of times. The excitement I had following the opening wasn’t lessened at the first impression, but I was greeted with a different experience than I imagined. They were kind of trying to redefine the lesbian scene in NYC and I appreciate that. Bringing my gay male friends here lets them know that not all lesbians are as tragic as they may think.
    The food portions need to be bigger. I just believe that if you’re serving great drinks that kick, allow people to order food that will balance that out. Maybe that’s just my take.
    All-in-all, I know that summer time will only bring more patrons to the establishment. If they get a DJ by summer, like Whitney Day that isn’t afraid to play all genres of music, I will make it my home instead of just an occasional thing.

    Oh and highlighting the thoughts of each person in your review was GREAT!

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    I have wanted to check this place out for a while now, but was a bit reluctant because too fancy places often make me feel really uncomfortable. Afer reading this…well, I am probably not cool enough.:)
    Still, it is great that there is one more “lesbian option” in NYC now!

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    I think this write-up sums the Dalloway up well. But after going a few times, on different days, I can’t help but feel as though I’ve been had. I too couldn’t wait to go because of all the blurry pictures on instagram of all the gorgeous lesbians having SUCH A GOOD TIME. I was there last night and saw the truth behind those pictures, friends. Amanda’s friends were playing beer pong and flip cup (not so much a “tournament” as a well-dressed clique playing 2-3 endless games of beer pong and 1 of flip cup. As far as I could tell, no one who wasn’t part of the IN crowd had a chance to play, even though only about 10 people were playing. Just sayin’)…anyway, the point is, the clique crowded around the beer pong table, and took what I am sure are closely cropped pictures that don’t show you the fact that there were only about 15 other people in the bar. And many of those people were looking on wondering why they were paying $12 per drink to feel left out of the cool kids club. It felt juvenile, and made me feel like I was in high school again, and I can feel like that for free. (And also pretty much never actually feel like that? With the exception of when I’m at the Dalloway.)
    Meh.

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    I have more negative feedback than positive.

    I LOVE the idea of a swanky lesbian spot and the Dalloway IS it. BUT, the reason why you wont be seeing my pretty little lesbian self there again is because of the patron and sprite that I ordered which costed me $19 That to me screams offensive where. Not even high end night clubs and strip clubs charge that much.

    Also, a key factor in a great night out is MUSIC. It was a Saturday night and there was no live DJ and they just played music off an ipod .:(
    The two important things that make a great party are the drinks and music.

    Yes, the Dalloway has the swanky lesbian scene cornered but they really need to work in their music and if your going to charge $19 for a drink, it should at least be a double. I had such a boring time there that even if I wanted to go back..I just simply cant.
    Super Disappointed…and yes I am a femme lesbian who deck out in nothing but designer

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    I love seeing how The Dalloway has blown up into a hot spot. I was fortunate enough to be there the first week and at the opening. I have gone back at least once a week on various nights since then. I have also heard people complaining about the food size and how expensive drinks are, but when you compare it to other places, it is typical in NYC. I can’t believe the outdated and empty Henrietta Hudson’s still charges a cover, even when there are 4 people in there. The Dalloway clearly states that they have ‘small plates’ similar to tapas. Personally, I love ordering several options with friends and trying different things. They even give you complimentary s’mores for dessert. The staff goes above and beyond, which is also rare for a lesbian bar (aside from a few of my favorites at Cubby). I have never had anything put positive experiences there, including with the owners. They are friendly and remember me each time we come in. Being public figures, I have seen them pose for pictures for fans without it being an issue. As far as the music, I have literally held up my iphone so I could ‘shazam’ a song. You’ll hear the entire bar break out into a sing-a-long as they did last night. When I want ‘thumpa thumpa’ dance music, sure, I go to a Whitney Day night, but Dalloway is not a ‘dance club’. The only thing I wish is they had a rooftop so I could sit outside in the summer months. It’s not for everyone, but it’s a welcome change for a lot of us…of all ages and backgrounds. Just talk to people and you’ll be surprised how many girls are looking for friends (or others) to hang out with.

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