It’s no exaggeration to say the movement for LGBTIQ+ rights would not exist without lesbian bars. 

Yet even before the challenges of the pandemic, these crucial community spots were becoming an endangered species. Today, of the nearly 69,000 watering holes in the USA, a mere 27 of them are lesbian bars – down from about 200 in the 1980s. You can chalk up this diminished showing to online dating, or to urban gentrification, or to (largely positive) societal changes. But no matter the reasons, the Lesbian Bar Project is raising funds for and awareness about the small handful of full-time queer-gal hangouts still proudly welcoming patrons from coast to coast.

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After raising more than $260,000 since its 2020 launch, the Lesbian Bar Project has boosted support for these last-standing bars, thanks partly to the support of multi-talented performer (and “professional lesbian”) Lea DeLaria. DeLaria executive-produced and served as narrator for the short documentary of the same name (directed by Erica Rose and Elina Street), which was featured in the Tribeca Festival and earned several prestigious awards. The project is also the subject of a three-part TV series currently streaming free on the Roku Channel.

Beyond this admirable endeavor, there’s an IRL way to show some love for lesbian bars: visiting them for some in-person patronage (matronage?) in any of the two-dozen US cities where they’re still shaking, stirring, pouring – and welcoming. While these bars exist, of course, mainly for lesbian and queer folx to feel safe and comfortable, respectful LGBTIQ+ allies are most welcome, too. For – just as DeLaria does in the short film – there’s always room to throw back a Jägermeister shot.

The jovial scene inside NYC's Cubbyhole
The jovial scene inside NYC's Cubbyhole © Cubbyhole

Henrietta Hudson & Cubbyhole, New York City

West Village icons of lesbian culture

Each of these legendary bars has served the lesbians of New York City and beyond since the early 1990s, when they were among several other downtown girl bars. Only a few blocks apart, they each serve up a different vibe: Cubbyhole is adorably compact, while Henrietta Hudson is roomy, with plenty of dancing and karaoke. Together, they are beloved lesbian-centric institutions of the West Village, each located just a short walk from the Stonewall National Monument.

Wildrose, Seattle

Serving the best of the Pacific Northwest’s lesbian scene

Anchoring the lesbian contingent of Seattle’s LGBTIQ+ neighborhood since 1984, the Wildrose has everything you’ll ever want or need in a corner bar. Think a pool table, happy hour, karaoke, theme nights, DJs, a flirty bar for singles and plenty of tables for catching up with old friends.

Walker's Pint in Milwaukee
Walker’s Pint in Milwaukee © courtesy of Walker’s Pint

Walker’s Pint, Milwaukee

The corner tap for everyday Janes and sports fans

Maintaining a safe, friendly spot for women is the mission of Walker’s Pint, one of the best, most easygoing hangouts for lesbians in the Midwest. A fixture on a 2nd St corner in Milwaukee’s Walker’s Point neighborhood since 2001, it draws mostly women (and a mix of other folx) for pool, patio time, live music and sports events (Bucks and Brewers fans are most welcome).

Herz, Mobile, Alabama

Welcoming southern outpost for sports, hookahs and fancy cocktails

In a state that’s politically flaming red, you’ve got to raise a glass in solidarity with Herz for representing and serving the LGBTIQ+ community in Mobile, Alabama. Opened in 2019 by dynamic married duo Sheila and Rachel Smallman, Herz survived the pandemic with support from the Lesbian Bar Project and loyal locals who need a friendly community gathering place like this in the conservative South. A place where they can just be themselves. 

Blush & Blu, Denver

Drag kings and burlesque are only the beginning

Just down from Denver’s LGBTIQ+ Center on Colfax – and a mainstay of the city’s queer scene – is another community space, this one with all manner of lesbian-centric fun. Three-story Blush & Blu offers strong cocktails, arcade games, a library lounge and a busy calendar of events spanning burlesque shows, poker nights, live comedy, lesbian speed dating and more.

Wild Side West, San Francisco

The West Coast’s oldest lesbian bar that’s still pouring

This San Francisco outpost of lesbian pride has encouraged radically queer flirtation since 1962. Wild Side Wes moved from its original Broadway location up to Bernal Heights back in 1976; today, it still feels the love of devoted queer women (and their pals) who flock here for weird-but-true trivia nights, stiff drinks and an eclectic beer garden. 

Sue Ellen's lesbian bar in Dallas
Sue Ellen’s lesbian bar in Dallas © courtesy of Sue Ellen’s

Sue Ellen’s, Dallas

Send the boys to JR’s and invite the women here

Opened in 1989 and occupying its spot on Throckmorton St since 2008, Sue Ellen’s is the longtime ladies’ choice in central Dallas. The space features two stories, an outdoor patio, pool tables and stage for live shows; it’s easy to start early with happy-hour drinks at the bar, and end by kicking up your heels with late-night dance parties.

My Sister’s Room, Atlanta

Hotlanta’s favorite Midtown women’s bar

Celebrity pop-ins, live shows, strong drinks and sultry weekend soirees keep Georgians coming back to My Sister’s Room in Midtown Atlanta. This out-and-proud, lesbian-owned club has welcomed women since 1996, amplifying the “L” in the LGBTIQ+ appeal on and around Piedmont Ave.

Ginger’s Bar, Brooklyn

Proud queer outpost in the heart of Brooklyn

The last strictly lesbian bar in the outer boroughs of New York City, Ginger’s brings cool old-school pub vibes to Park Slope. Bartenders and patrons here are equally sociable, making this one of the easiest bars in town for bellying up solo and meeting new friends. There’s a pool table, drink specials, karaoke nights and a fabulous backyard usually buzzing with a mix of lesbians and the people who love them.

Pearl Bar, Houston

The lesbian hitching post of Houston

Many agree with what the Pearl Bar team says about this spot: it’s “the best damn lesbian bar in Texas.” This giant, rustic-style bar is a quick jaunt from Montrose, Houston’s LGBTIQ+ neighborhood. Women love the big and colorful patio, crawfish boils and barbecues, rollicking shows and the spot’s great big heart. Stop in to enjoy a place where queer folx come to carouse with their community.

New Favorites

When the best of the best includes a few bonus contenders

On a note of optimism, several bold entrepreneurs have added even more pride to the lesbian bar roster of late. Standouts among these newer queer-gal hangouts include Nobody’s Darling, a refined cocktail lounge in Chicago’s Andersonville; As You Are in Washington, DC, a cafe and bar that warmly welcomes lesbian, trans and non-binary folx; and The Sports Bra in Portland, which specializes in all things regarding ladies’ athletics. 

Be sure to check out more fabulous hangouts for queer women in Nashville; Phoenix; San Diego; Richmond; Oklahoma City and Tulsa, Oklahoma; Worcester, Massachusetts; Bloomington, Indiana; Columbus, Ohio; and beyond. They’re all listed at

The site also lets you contribute to the comeback with a donation – and see what the project is doing to support lesbian bars in Germany in 2023.

This article was first published Jun 30, 2022 and updated Jun 13, 2023.

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