All 37 Surviving Lesbian Bars In the U.S.

It’s true that so many lesbian bars have been lost over the years — the statistic often cited in stories on this decline as well as in The Lesbian Bar Project is striking: In 1980, there were 200+ lesbian bars in the U.S. By 2021, that number was 24. But sometimes endangerment encourages preservation. In recent years, we’ve seen more lesbian bars and sapphic spaces open even against great odds.

We’ve also seen much written about the history, legacy, and disappearance of lesbian bars in the United States, with particular emphasis on that last bit. The aforementioned Lesbian Bar Project, a campaign launched in 2020 by Erica Rose and Elina Street, fundraised to support and preserve the remaining lesbian bars in the country and produce a short documentary and three-part docuseries about those endangered bars. Last year, Krista Burton’s book Moby Dyke: An Obsessive Quest To Track Down The Last Remaining Lesbian Bars In America was published by Simon and Schuster and tracked the author’s road trip to 20 lesbian bars. The same year, Greggor Mattson’s book Who Needs Gay Bars?: Bar-Hopping Through America’s Endangered LGBTQ+ Places came out, too, broadening the scope to include a wide range of queer nightlife.

Building on the work of so many queer archivists, writers, and historians, we have created this list, meant to be a living document and ongoing record, of the dyke bars operating in the U.S. today. This list is partially born of an incompleteness and rigidity we noticed when it comes to other similar lists in mainstream publications which sometimes exclude smaller bars and bars that might have a more expansive approach to the way they identify and use language but still fit within the overall legacy of dyke bars. We have not included pop-up bars/events on this list but hope to put together a guide of those soon. We welcome community input and are happy to make ongoing additions to the list, especially as — hopefully — more spaces are conceived. Many LGBTQ+ bars today focus on welcoming all queer people, and that’s true of a lot of the bars below, but we have also prioritized ones that specifically cater to and champion lesbians, queer women, nonbinary people, and trans folks every night of the week rather than just designating one night as “dyke night.” There’s always room for interpretation, and sometimes the people who best know whether a space is a lesbian bar or not are the people who frequent it and are part of its community, so again, if there’s something you think we should add, let us know!


Boycott Bar (Phoenix, Arizona)

A lesbian bar and nightclub located in the Melrose District of Phoenix, Boycott Bar throws lively parties and has a slice-of-pizza-and-a-well-drink vibe. There’s a weekly country night.

The Ruby Fruit (Los Angeles, California)

Newly opened in 2023 and already thriving, The Ruby Fruit is a “strip mall wine bar for the sapphically inclined” — an aesthetically pleasing, deeply cool little space with an incredible menu, outdoor seating, and deep roots in the community. They partner with local queer orgs and build an eclectic event menu that includes trans-led evening mixers, sip-and-sketches, wine tastings, country-western nights and daytime co-working events.


Honey’s (Los Angeles, California)

This “watering hole and queer bar” is a queer, lesbian & trans-inclusive sexy, hip, super-fun East Hollywood spot for cocktails, dancing and live music that Esquire describes as a “blub,” aka “a bar with a hint of a club or a club with the hint of a bar.” The Infatuation named Honey’s one of LA’s 20 funnest bars.


Gossip Grill (San Diego, California)

Since 2009, campy San Diego patio bar and restaurant Gossip Grill is deeply involved with its local queer community, sponsoring local lesbian sports teams and hosting karaoke, themed brunches, bingos, dance parties, comedy shows and movie nights. Plus there’s a full menu of comfort food and isn’t it great to eat comfort food in a place where you are comfortable??

Jolene (San Francisco, California)

When event promoter Joelene Linsangan couldn’t find a good space to host her hit queer dance party Uhaul, she decided to open her own — and now Jolene’s is thriving, with a pool table and dance floor and a dykey hipster vibe, rowdy parties and “a sanctuary where identities flourish, friendships thrive and celebrations know no bounds.”lebrations know no bounds.

Wild Side West (San Francisco, California)

Opened in 1962 by “out and proud lesbians’ ‘ obviously named Pat and Nancy and named for Barbara Stanwyck’s “Walk on the Wild Side,” Wild Side West moved from Oakland to the Bernal Heights neighborhood in 1976 and have stuck around for decades as a neighborhood sports bar serving a mix of lesbians and locals. It’s got a lived-in, like-home aura with a jukebox, art-decked walls, a sculpture-filled beer garden and an outdoor patio.

Mother Bar (San Francisco, California)

Malia Spanyol, who grew up in what she calls “the dyke heydey” of the 90’s, founded this spot described as “just a little women and femme centered queer bar” in the Mission District of San Francisco. With pole dancers, 90s throwback nights, a photobooth, hot goth happy hour, arm wrestling, game nights and dance parties, Mother is an inclusive neighborhood bar already beloved by locals.

Tiny Pony (Yucca Valley, California)

Tiny Pony is a great example of a bar that might not explicitly call itself a dyke bar or a gay bar but that has a reputation as one. With its queer and trans staff, it has been called the gayest bar in Yucca Valley. They’re dog friendly and have a tavern-style food menu.

Blush & Blu (Denver, Colorado)

Blus & Blu is an expansive, multi-level lesbian bar / intersectional queer space is focused on making really really good cocktails using high-quality ingredients and “a painstaking, time-consuming process,” which is very gay of them. Open since 2013 in central Denver, they’ve also got pool, video games, karaoke, chill lounge seating and a laid-back vibe.

Apt. 9F (Wilton Manors, Florida)

The clientele at this Wilton Manors gayborhood bar is a mixed LGBTQ crowd, but it is specifically lesbian-owned. This bar also earns a spot on the list, because upon the initial publishing of this list, we sadly learned The Lady’s Room — the only official dyke bar in Florida for the past year — has shut its doors. Wilton Manors has a reputation for being a destination for gay men, but it’s a great place for all queer people to visit (and should probably have the gay ass reputation Miami Beach more widely gets!).

My Sister’s Room (Atlanta, Georgia)

Lesbian owned and operated and a mainstay in the Atlanta queer community since 1996, My Sister’s Room switched locations several times while maintaining its loyal following and beloved position in the LGBTQ+ community. Now at a two-story dance venue near Piedmont Park, this “lesbian bar where everyone is welcome” hosts drag shows, burlesque, comedy, karaoke, speed dating and dance parties and also serves very good wings!! Every Memorial Day weekend they decamp for Pensacola for their “Sexacola” star-studded lesbian Pride party event.

Water Bear Bar (Boise, Idaho)

This lesbian bartender-owned cocktail bar has an upscale aesthetic and a food menu of small plates and fancy bar snacks. In addition to its cocktail list, it has an extensive NA drink list, too.


Nobody’s Darling (Chicago, Illinois)

This Andersonville neighborhood bar takes its name from an Alice Walker poem: “Be nobody’s darling; Be an outcast.” Nobody’s Darling co-owners Angela Barnes and Renauda Riddle are two Black queer women who have infused the bar with Black history, naming many of the cocktails after iconic queer Black women from history. The bar opened in 2021 and has become a neighborhood staple, often drawing in crowds in its small inside space and, during rare warmer months in Chicago, on its sidewalk patio. Barnes and Riddle injected life back into the space, which was formerly occupied by lesbian wine bar Joie de Vine. It’s a fantastic cocktail bar.

Dorothy (Chicago, Illinois)

Entering the lesbian basement cocktail lounge Dorothy in Chicago’s West Town feels like stepping back in time due to its chic 1970s-inspired decor and furniture. The bar offers cocktails and mocktails as well as beer, wine, and bubbly. It’s a romantic space that’s good for a date but also gets crowded. Events like Fruit Cocktail (a bi-monthly dance party and mixer) and Fruit Salad (a monthly queer open mic) make up their fun list of programming.


The Back Door (Bloomington, Indiana)

Part community center, part entertainment center,” The Back Door’s got a Golden Girls mural out front and a campy and cozy space inside AND a DOG-FRIENDLY PATIO. Founded in 2016 in the liberal college town of Bloomington, the bar’s politically-minded queer contingent enjoys trivia, open mics, dance parties, drag shows, live music, fundraisers for progressive causes, country line dancing lessons and karaoke. Their “darling little food truck” The Munch Box serves sandwiches, snacks and quesadillas.

Cocktail Mary (Portland, Maine)

While broadly a queer bar, Cocktail Mary pays homage to the dyke bars that precede it on its website, calling attention to the fact that multiple thriving lesbian bars in Portland, Maine have closed through the years. It feels squarely situated within the legacy of dyke bars in the area, even if it caters to a wide spectrum of the LGBTQ+ community. It’s frequented by queer women every day of the week, and its cocktails are exceptional, especially its martini highball (a bubbly martini!!!!) served at happy hour seven days a week.

Femme (Worcester, Massachusetts)

Femme advertises itself as a community space for queer women where all humans can “come together for great drinks, delicious food, and an overall, great, gay time.” Queer couple Danielle and Julie Spring started Femme in 2023 after noting the lack of lesbian bars in New England, and they host game nights, live music, meet-ups for moms and drag brunches.


Cubbyhole (New York, New York)

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JUNE 17: Customers pose and make hand gestures outside Cubbyhole, a well known lesbian & gay bar, in the West Village on June 17, 2021 in New York City. On May 19, 2021 New York Governor Andrew Cuomo lifted all coronavirus pandemic restrictions paving the way for most Pride month events to resume normally. New York City Pride weekend will be June 25th-27th.

(Photo by Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images)

Opening in the West Village in 1987, Cubbyhole is one of the few NYC queer bars that has lasted through the decades. Its small, lively space is well known for its eclectic, kitschy decor that hangs from the ceiling, making the narrow space feel, well, even more suffocating. But that’s part of the charm of Cubbyhole, where it’s dangerously easy to spend all your money on the jukebox, fighting with other queers to control the vibe.


The Bush (Brooklyn, New York)

The Bush is a very new and incredibly vibey and cool “dyke bar for the queer community” in Bushwick with clever-as-hell custom cocktails and community-centric special events and themed nights like a Bachata Sáfica dance night, Love is Blind watch party, speed dating and Queer Figure Drawing workshop.

Maite (Brooklyn, New York)

The Bush is a hopping dyke bar in Bushwick, but the neighborhood also boasts queer women-owned Maite, a Colombian-inspired bar and restaurant filled with erotic lesbian art. Cocktail names include the Bushlicker and the Dykeuiri.

Ginger’s (Brooklyn, New York)

As with a lot of queer bars, Ginger’s, which originally opened in Park Slope in 2000, was hit hard by the pandemic, but the bar was successfully able to reopen after a temporary closure. It’s cash only, and you can bring your own food. Post up at the pool table or enjoy the back patio on warmer New York nights. Ginger’s is a laid back classic and draws in a mixed-age crowd. It’s hard to leave without a story. Ginger’s also recently opened a sister bar called Mary’s Bar, which is a queer Irish pub in Greenpoint.

Henrietta Hudson (New York, New York)

Originally opening in 1991 in the space that used to be Cubbyhole before it moved, Henrietta temporarily shut down during the pandemic but then opened with a bit of a revamp, going from less of a dance club space to more of a lounge vibe. Often referred to by its nickname Hen’s, there are over 30 years of history in this space, which has seen a lot of late-night dyke drama through those years.

Arcana (Durham, North Carolina)

Queer woman-owned Arcana opened in 2015 and is a dyke bar that centers tarot, so it’s a great watering hole for the witchy gays. Events include a bachata night, figure drawing, and, of course, regular tarot readings by an all queer staff. Tarot readings happen most nights of the week and are first come/first served. Prices vary by reader.

Slammers (Columbus, Ohio)

Columbus has one of the most underrated but thriving LGBTQ+ communities in the country and thus hosts Slammers neighborhood bar/pizzeria, Ohio’s only lesbian bar. They’re lesbian owned and operated with family-friendly weekend events, a diverse crowd, darts and cheap drinks.

Frankie’s (Oklahoma City, Oklahoma)

Known for killer drag shows and fun, cheap drinks, Frankie’s OKC is a friendly and beloved community space.

Yellow Brick Road Pub (Tulsa, Oklahoma)

After being destroyed by a fire in August 2022, the Yellow Brick Road Pub community turned up to get this dive bar rebuilt, remodeled and reopened and is now back to hosting holiday potlucks, disco parties, Queer Women’s collective meetings and Ugly Christmas Sweater parties. They’ve got pool tables and a rainbow-decked outdoor patio.

Doc Marie’s (Portland, Oregon)

“A lesbian bar for everyone,” as their slogan goes, Doc Marie’s is located in the Osborn Hotel in Portland, serving a menu of small bites and casual fare alongside cheekily named signature cocktails. It opened in 2022 and is named for Dr. Marie Equi, a lesbian doctor and political activist from the early 1900s!


The Sports Bra (Portland, Oregon)

sports bra portland

A queer-owned sports bar that SPECIFICALLY centers women’s sports?! The Sports Bra is a dream come true for sapphic jocks! The menu features classic sports bar fare, and there’s a daily AND nightly happy hour. It gets rowdy for big games — in a good and very gay way!


The Lipstick Lounge (Nashville, Tennessee)

Spacious East Nashville bar The Lipstick Lounge has, as you might guess due to its location, killer live music and karaoke. Often called simply The Lip, it opened in 2002, and as of 2022, the bar added a sister concept upstairs called The Upper Lip, which is a weekends-only cigar bar.

Pearl Bar (Houston, Texas)

Founded in 2013, Pearl Bar is a welcoming staple of the Houston lesbian scene, hosting drag king nights, crawfish Sundays, steak nights and dance parties on weekends.

Sue Ellen’s (Dallas, Texas)

The oldest lesbian bar in Texas is Sue Ellen’s, a buzzy, thriving two-story nightclub that opened in 1989 with the largest game room on the strip, karaoke, live music, social mixers and themed holiday parties.

Babes of Carytown (Richmond, Virginia)

This divey dyke bar opened in 1979 and is still kicking on its humble little corner of Cary St. in downtown Richmond. I (Autostraddle Managing Editor Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya) have been going to Babes since my closeted high school days. Its front bar is chill, with booths and space to talk, while its back bar opens up to a rowdy dance floor and pool table often run by butches of a certain age. Then outside, there’s inexplicably a beach volleyball court — yes, with sand and everything.

Wildrose (Seattle, Washington)

Touting itself as one of the oldest lesbian bars on the west coast, Wildrose has been open since 1984 in Seattle’s Capitol Hill gayborhood. Enjoy all the classic events like trivia, dance nights, and karaoke, as well as special events like a queer songwriter’s showcase.

A League of Her Own (Washington, D.C.)

Taking its name, naturally, from A League of Their Own, you don’t HAVE to be a baseball gay to enjoy this lesbian bar in Adams Morgan. A League of Her Own is really more a space for dancing than for sports. It opened in 2018, following the closure of DC lesbian bar Phase 1 in 2016, which shuttered after 45 years in business.

As You Are (Washington, D.C.)

As You Are, part-cafe and part-bar, was conceived as a lesbian and queer bar by co-owners Jo McDaniel and Rachel Pike in 2022. It’s located in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of D.C. and features sandwiches, small plates, coffee, wine, beer, cocktails, and a popular weekend brunch.

Walker’s Pint (Milwaukee, Wisconsin)

Elizabeth A. “Bet-z” Boenning has owned Walker’s Pint in Milwaukee since 2001, in a time when it was one of a handful of lesbian bars in the city. Now it’s the only one. Come through for a friendly neighborhood vibe, an extensive beer list and regular events.

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Riese

Riese is the 41-year-old Co-Founder of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, video-maker, LGBTQ+ Marketing consultant and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and now lives in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in nine books, magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. She's Jewish and has a cute dog named Carol. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 3181 articles for us.

Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya

Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya is the managing editor of Autostraddle and a lesbian writer of essays, short stories, and pop culture criticism living in Orlando. She is the assistant managing editor of TriQuarterly, and her short stories appear or are forthcoming in McSweeney's Quarterly Concern, Joyland, Catapult, The Offing, and more. Some of her pop culture writing can be found at The A.V. Club, Vulture, The Cut, and others. You can follow her on Twitter or Instagram and learn more about her work on her website.

Kayla has written 814 articles for us.

23 Comments

  1. Sadly it’s 36 surviving bars, as Lady’s Room in Florida closed a couple months ago. It wasn’t in an easily accessible or progressive area (even just 10 minutes closer to the main road that goes into St Pete would have made a big difference), and I heard some things about management as well. So even though google says temporarily closed, I’ve heard through other sources that it’s definitely permanent. I live 25 minutes away so I’d been a half a dozen time, but it was usually an older lesbian vibe (and that’s older than ME at 40 years old, can imagine it feels even more awkward for any actual youngins that made their way through). For now the queer women and enbies in the area just deal with popup events, including a monthly Sapphic Sunday that I host which caters to the poly and kinky subsets of the sapphic community. Someone in the area is trying to start a permanent place called LickHer Lounge, but everyone I know thinks the name is a little much and have only been to her popups once if at all, so I don’t see her advancing to a permanent spot.

    • updated to remove it :( it was a young crowd when I went (i live in FL too) but I think it probably varied night to night! in Orlando, we have a weekly dyke night at Southern that is very popular! but it’s just the one night a week

  2. Blush & Blu is still around? Good to hear, but since when is it multi-level? I guess it’s been a few years since I popped in there (not in the Denver area right now).

    Also, I just want to say that I do not appreciate For Them making the login process weirder just for the sake of their name getting shoved in my face.

    • i just added it! mainly because we had to take The Lady’s Room off since it’s apparently closed now and I wanted some FL rep! I’ve been to 9f and it’s great and since it’s lesbian-owned I think it can count!

  3. There’s a new lesbian coming to Boston called Dani’s! Im not sure when it’s set to open. They are currently hiring and giving updates about building!! Super excited to have another queer space.

  4. I wish there were more said about the Wildrose, one of the oldest Lesbian bars in the country! They have a great food menu, flatbreads made fresh, including house-made pickles! There are also collaborative events with Seattle’s Dyke March, including speed dating, glee trivia nights and other fun events. I love my local dyke bar <3

  5. Fox Market in East Montpelier, VT! General store by day and bar by night, and pivotal community hangout for the rural Vermont queer scene. I cherish this place with my entire essence.

  6. Loved going to the gaybars in LA and NYC, but didn’t love being turned away (sober) from an empty Wildrose in Seattle when I went there on honeymoon with my wife. I don’t want to call prejudice, but I’ve never been made to feel unwelcome in a queer space before and I’m still baffled by it.

  7. Contrary to popular belief, having “…only lesbian and LGBTWORVTVDOEHTBEKXJQ+++++” friendly bar” in the description does not make said bar a lesbian bar.

    Know what makes a bar a lesbian bar? Having something similar to “…premier spot for lesbians only to gather and feel safe and welcomed amd have a great time.”

    That’s what a description for a REAL lesbian bar should read like

  8. So glad you guys put together this list. I didn’t even realize there was a lesbian bar in my beloved Portland, ME! Adding that as a must visit next time I go back. Glad to see AYA and ALOTO on the list, <3 <3 to my DC lesbian bars (tho the pop-up article is intriguing to me too because so much of the scene is in popups in addition to the main bars). Here's hoping this list grows in the next few years, especially for bars that feature trans events. We definitely need more of that.

  9. A Bar of Their Own and The Brass Strap are both lesbian bars in Minneapolis, Minnesota!! The Brass Strap isn’t open yet but A Bar of Their Own opened last month and it’s been really popular

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