FRIDAY OPEN THREAD: What’s Your Favorite Local Hangout?

Hello, vegan frittata servings! Welcome to the Friday Open Thread, a safe space in which we declare our greatest wishes and fears. That, and a space for sharing pics of your pets girlfriends and updates on your job, thesis, and/or general existences. It’s gonna be so great! We’re gonna have so much fun!

Louis Wain: The Bachelor Party

Louis Wain: The Bachelor Party

I’ve just moved to a new city (duh) and I’m super excited to GET OUT THERE with Autostraddle and Lez Backpack and see the fuck out of it. I’ve got so much exploring to do! Of course I need to find a coffee shop that fits me and a queer space that sees me and a park I can escape to when I experience seizing panic. How else could this place ever really be home?

This new series also has me thinking about how much I didn’t realize I’d really grown to fit into Washington — how I knew neighborhoods by heart and could rattle off a list of good restaurants in an instant. I seriously took that stuff for granted, and now I’m wandering around like a chicken without a head looking for them! I took for granted that I knew how to get to all my favorite bars by bus and train, by heart. I took for granted that they were starting to get to know me at my favorite brunch spots. And now, I’m really stressed out because in order to figure out my day I have to use fucking Yelp instead of my head and my heart. I don’t wanna feel like a tourist! I don’t wanna be super uncool and have no recommendations for my friends when they come to town!

It’s stressful, to say the least. But it’s got me wondering what everyone’s favorite spots are, and how they found them. Where are the places in your city that feel the most like home? What bars or coffee shops or vegan joints do you report to on the regular to get your fix, or flirt with a cute barista? Who do you know by name at the dog park? When did you finally figure out your neighborhood, and what are your favorite spots there?

But please do feel free to come in here and hang out with me even if you don’t feel passionately about where you are, or if you’re not participating in the miniseries. I still love you! Plus, if you don’t have any recs in your city we’re probably on the same level right now, anyway. So tell me about your life instead: your trials, your tribulations, your doubts, your frustrations, your violence, your turbulence, your fear, your confessions, your anguish, your pain, your joy, your sorrow, the promise of another tomorrow, and also whether or not you got that Michael Jackson reference. OH! And please show me photos of your dogs, as per ushe. PLEASE.

Okay, adventurers and explorers! Spill!

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Carmen is the Managing Digital Editor at Ms. , host of Bitch Media's POPAGANDA podcast and co-founder and Contributing Editor at Argot magazine. She previously served as Straddleverse Director, Feminism Editor and Social Media Co-Director at Autostraddle. You can find her on Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr or in the drive-thru line at the nearest In-N-Out.

Carmen has written 927 articles for us.


  1. Unfortunately the one spot I got to on the regular where every body knows my name is my local home services office. I had surgery a couple weeks ago, so my days consist of Netflix and going and getting my dressing changed. Before surgery I enjoyed going to the ihop in my neighborhood early on Saturday mornings cause the waiteress is the best. She once told a rude customer to leave after and she refused to sell him beer at 7am.

  2. I’ve been homesick for three years, I don’t belong on this thread!

    That said, I had a moment driving alone earlier today when I was like, “Alright. Okay. You’re pretty. Right now, like this, you’re very, very pretty, and you’re safe, and it almost feels good.” I didn’t want to overthink it or look away too soon, because it just doesn’t happen here.

    Home is the Best Coast, and it’s always much too far away.

  3. I also just moved out of the DC area! I am now in Paris, which is awesome, but for the first few weeks it was super overwhelming getting around, finding things to do, and of course making friends, since I literally didn’t know anybody. But I am slowly getting the hang of it. And earlier tonight, I went to my first meeting for queer women at Paris’ LGBT center, and it was just… magical. A mix of French people and foreigners like me, and I’m pretty sure I heard at least 5 languages being spoken. Queer women coming from all over to talk, laugh and build community is a pretty fabulous thing.

    It’s still weird not being in DC (there are so many places and people I miss!) but I have a pretty good feeling about this city too. And if there’s anyone reading this who lives in the Paris area, I am always looking for people to scout out new bookstores with, or find the best croissants. :)

    • Actually, do you have any suggestions for cool coffee shops / hangouts / groups / bars / brunch places in DC? I’m starting to get to know the place but I’d love to get recommendations from other people in the queer community. Thanks!

  4. I’m of the favorite-rock-under-the-pines in the nook of the arboretum sort. I’ve a bench I like, too, that overlooks some water, but I don’t so much have places where I go to meet people when it’s raining. And since I acquired a less sociable dog (somewhat anti dog, not enthused about men), I don’t tend to meet as many humans outdoors.

    “Can I pet your dog?”
    If child, woman, or elderly,
    If man,
    If unleashed dog,
    “Recall your dog!!! Not friendly!”

    I’ve been doing too much of the last recently as the humans ineffectively yell at their dogs while they gallop over and shove a muzzle between my legs. Seriously– I get the urge to have an off lead dog, but these are areas close to traffic with lots of wildlife and they clearly have an insufficient recall. As well as areas with leash laws. Y’know. Laws. Rules. Made up for safety. Also, skunks.

    • ^clarifying

      Shoving my dog’s muzzle between my legs 1) sort of immobilizes her; 2) limits her ability to make aggressive eye contact and START THINGS; 3) is just plain distracting and kind of like a game. Muzzle play works well with her. With dogs on leashes that walk by, she can hold a sit and we can play touch games as they walk up and as they leave but coming closer is so potentially dangerous when the other human has no control.

  5. I may actually be moving TO the D.C. area for next summer! A couple weekends ago my university hosted the 11th national OUT for Work conference. I was apprehensive about going since I’m extremely closeted due to family issues, and I assumed you had to be out to go to Out for Work, but the school career counselor assured me that wasn’t the case.

    So I went, and it was amazing. There were So. Many. Science. Queers. (This was kind of a problem for my liberal arts friends; one of the main complaints was that there were very few opportunities for non-STEM fields. Hopefully they can get a broader selection of employers in the future.) But this worked out well for me, since I’m a math/statistics and public health major and I want to go into data analysis and epidemiology. And there was a company there that has an ENTIRE DEPARTMENT devoted to epidemiology (which, for context, is an incredibly specific and niche field), and they hired me for an internship this summer in D.C!! I still have around two years left until I graduate but they also said they often hire their summer interns straight out of college and pay for higher education. So I’m very excited!

  6. Heyyyyyy reporting from Las Vegas!!! Kinda buzzed but I look extremely dapper. LA is great. Stuff in DTLA is really great. I know a sushi place in weho I really love especially shoei their sushi chef and one in Woodlands Hills.

  7. I’m not a hangout place person and it’s one of those things I wonder if it would have been true no matter what or something from the years of well fuck it abuse and ostracism from my peers growing up.
    Not all days are bad days of course, but on bad days I’m hyper-vigilant beyond what seems healthy to me among people like a bar or something where people are socialising in group.

    Some one laughs? Must be they’re laughing at which sometimes it makes me want to get in their face, be stupid and ask shit that character in Goodfellas.
    I think someone is staring at me? Goodfellas again or worse the creeping feeling they mean me harm. I once had room full of people throw things at me, it was mostly paper, plastic, small school supplies but there was a rock. More curious about where the damn hell someone got that rock from than haunted about it.
    So it makes sense that creeping feeling happening.

    On really bad days all that makes me feel broken and not just annoyed with myself.
    I know I’m not broken, but one can feel that way.

    It is a bit of shame I’m not hangout place person because there’s lots of great places to hangout at here.
    But there’s this bar I that has a place in my heart with these good old fashion style NOLA burgers. Thick juicy with flavour in the meat and not depending on a condiment to provide the flavour, served with the bun open and the toppings on the side like.
    They play rock music on the speakers and never anything of the top of the pops.
    I can just sit in a booth or at a table with group, eat my burger, nurse a margarita, maybe eat the group serving size of steak fries by self without having to interact with anyone or even see them depending on seating.
    It’s peaceful, I like it.

  8. I just moved to Los Angeles and can relate to a lot of the posts here – the homesick/overwhelmed ones as well as the confidence/exploration feelings. This is a well-timed thread because I’m also looking for places to “feel like home.” I spent the last two years in VT (first doing trailwork all over the state, then based out of Burlington as a social worker) and got so used to “my” comic shop, “my” local pub, “my” etc. Obviously L.A. is very different. I have friends here whom I adore, but everything feels so macro. While that’s part of the reason I came (self-growth… stop being so egocentric you tiny little fish etc.) it can be hard. I haven’t found a queer community. My work schedule and social ineptitude makes that difficult. However, some places that are starting to feel like home are:

    Topanga Stage Park: It’s close to where I live, and if I get down in the canyon far enough it’s easy to forget there are 10,000,000 people here… for just a moment.

    Kulak’s Woodshed, North Hollywood (music venue): I’m a musician and this is a venue that hosts open mics for the common folk. There’s a really supportive crowd, kitschy decorative… vibe, feels like a Midwest coffee shop, minus the coffee – and the only open mic where I’ve seen anyone over the age of 40.

    The Snug, Burbank (pub): Feels “could be anywhere” and dive barrish, they don’t allow babies and this was very surprising to some patrons I encountered recently (and, I presume, to their baby). My best friend Zach and I go here a lot. The staff are friendly and the pretzels are stale.

    Need to get out into the rest of the city more, but I work a lot, and usually over weekends. I played a show at Room 5 Lounge the other day, that was a cool place. I want to find a queer bookstore or coffeeshop, something other than a gay bar, basically, but haven’t had much luck so far.

  9. I’ve got 2 places I really like. One is a local coffee shop that I used to go to all the time in highschool and the other is a cute hipster bar called the owl though I’ve only been to it a couple times so far.

    On a completely unrelated note I have my second ever date on Tuesday and I’m super excited and also nervous. I have no idea what to wear and no friends to ask but I’m sure I’ll figure it out.

  10. After a long, drawn-out breakup with my hometown of Sacramento, I just moved back to the Pacific Northwest. Portland, specifically. I love it here. The rent in Downtown or close-in is getting higher, leaving me perfectly happy in a treehouse vibey apartment in the SW hills.

    The only drawback to that is the extra distance I have to go to find neighborhood spots. But there are a few! Sasquatch Brewing Company has a rad selection of ciders. Like seven. On tap. Yes. Salvador Molly’s is just up the road, and their dinner menu is excellent. The thirsty crowd can and should get an Amazombie fishbowl.

    Also, the lady who works at the convenience store by my workplace in the Lloyd District makes fun of me for how many taquitos I buy. But yesterday, we high-fived because it was Friday.

  11. K Fetisch in Neukolln, Berlin is my favourite hangout bar. It isn’t exactly queer but it’s on the good side of hipster. Very political space with movie screenings, protest plannings, refugee involvement, etc.
    On a good day, you can show up with your laptop and hang out on the very comfy couches to work and or smile at girls but after 8pm, no more laptops allowed. Reasonably priced drinks, friendly service, plus they have a huge selection of books and games at the non smoking area which makes all the interesting queers in town stop by every so often

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