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One of about 20 lesbian bars left in the entire United States down from about in the sJoie De Vine has now been transformed into a cocktail lounge with a new name.
Balmoral Ave. The cocktail lounge s a handful of other new or soon-to-be opened bars for queer women across the country, including Herz in Mobile, Alabama; As You Are Bar in Washington, D. These openings and reopenings come amid a broader trend of lesbian bars closing their doors since the s.
At first, Riddle and Barnes, who are Black and queer, struggled with what to call their new bar.
It felt like the perfect name for the space they wanted to create. At least three of their cocktails are also inspired by famous intellectuals who were Black women: The J. Kincaid Daiquiri, named after the novelist Jamaica Kincaid; A. They are considering a fourth cocktail to honor the gay Black writer James Baldwin.
Since the s, the of gay bars in the U. Between andLGBTQ bar listings dropped by an estimated 37 percent, and those catering to queer women and people of color saw declines of 52 percent and 60 percent, respectively, according to the report. While the exact cause is unclear, many bar owners say the closings were fueled by the gentrification and skyrocketing rent increases seen in cities across the U.
In Chicago, the third largest city in the U. A mini documentarylaunched in June during Pride month, is raising additional money for the bars. Even as lesbian bars dwindle, some owners are forgoing the woman- or lesbian-only label in a quest to be more inclusive.
Their main goal, however, is to be one of the top cocktail bars in Chicago, she said. Riddle and Barnes said they hope their bar will serve as an example for others who want to open nightlife spaces catering to queer women.
Julie Compton is a freelance journalist in Brooklyn, New York. Follow her julieallmighty. IE 11 is not supported.
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