It can be hard to find a space that feels safe, welcoming, and joyous when you belong to a community that has fought for decades for space.
Even when you’re part of such a community, not every space the community has carved out will feel right for you.
This is often the case with lesbians, as well as bisexual, trans, and queer women. Speaking from experience, living in Los Angeles, a city with a vibrant and fun LGBTQ community, most spaces here are dominated by men. It can definitely feel alienating and frustrating.
There are places out there catering to women within the LGBTQ community — it’s just a matter of finding them. Or at least keeping this list handy.
1. La Mutinerie, Paris
What better place to have a night out than the City of Love? Formerly known as Unitty Bar, its website describes it as a bar that is ‘festive, cultural and political’.
‘It is a feminist place, by and for girls, dykes, bis, trans’ queers, participative and open to everything.’
The bar organizes various events to provide a space for inclusion and a reflection upon culture and politics.
2. Bar Goldfinger, Tokyo
Located in Tokyo, Japan, this bar presents itself as a women only bar since 1991.
However, every Friday the bar has an overall LGBT mixer for everyone in the community. As they explain: ‘Now, there are so many people who are coming and going through sexual boundaries, so every Friday we have [a mixer] open to all LGBTs.’
Still, it is a space for women ‘to the last’.
3. Lipstick Lounge, Nashville
This spot in Tennessee opened in 2002, with ‘women in mind’. It was originally intended exclusively as a lesbian bar, but has since broadened to more patrons with its lively and friendly atmosphere.
It’s ultimately advertised as a ‘bar for humans’. It offers everything someone could want in a bar — karaoke, trivia, dancing, signature cocktails and more.
4. Le So What, Paris
Another hot spot in Paris.
This bar in the European city appeals to patrons for its ‘uniquely feminine’ vibe and delicious mojitos. Reviews of the bar describe it as a place mostly for older gay women.
5. Beaulah Bar, Cape Town
This dance party in South Africa is a hopping time for everyone in the community, though it’s mainly for women.
‘Upmarket but boho-chic, homey and relaxed,’ is how GayCities describes Beaulah Bar.
The name of the bar translates to ‘beautiful’ in local gay slang and offers DJs, live entertainment, and great happy hour specials.
6. SHE Soho, London
This is one of London’s best spaces for LGBTQ women. It’s described as the ‘only women-priority venue in London, drawing a great variety of LBTQ+ individuals all year round’.
The bar offers drag king cabaret, burlesque shows, and more. They also offer great happy hour deals and a variety of female talent, from DJs to more.
7. Aire Sala Diana, Barcelona
Aire Sala Diana is hailed as the best lesbian hot spot in all of Barcelona, Spain. While, like many other lesbian spaces, it has opened its doors to everyone and not just queer women, it remains solidly a space for women.
Not only does it have great music, from classics to Latin, it also has a fabulous female striptease show.
8. Henrietta Hudson, New York City
First opening in 1991, this bar is considered one of Manhattan’s best lesbian bars. The space is lesbian-owned and operated and ‘renowned across NYC and the world for its friendliness, free spirit, and ever-inviting atmosphere’.
It also describes itself as ‘age- and gender-diverse, gay-boy friendly, and tourist-accommodating’ with an excitement and sex appeal that gets ‘inevitably more intense as the evening goes on’.
9. Cafe ‘t Mandje, Amsterdam
This is one of Amsterdam’s oldest and most classic gay bars. Lesbian Bet van Beeren first opened it in 1927. Unlike many other gay bars at the time, it was not primarily for men, but instead a space accepting everyone — lesbians, prostitutes, pimps, and more.
The bar originally closed on 1982 before her niece, Diana, reopened it in 2008, complete with the entire original interior. Such as the cut-off ties pinned to the ceiling. It’s said the ties came from misbehaving patrons and that Bet cut off the ties herself.
10. Gossip Grill, San Diego
Known as Southern California’s women’s bar, this patio bar and grill, first opened in 2009, has since become a dance club too.
‘As the San Diego sun sets, Gossip transforms into a dance nightclub for the ladies,’ the bar staff says. ‘Don’t worry we also play nice with the boys and everything in between.’
It offers tons of fun days, including karaoke, happy hour, and, of course, Taco Tuesdays.
11. Pink Hole, Seoul
Though not the biggest lesbian bar in South Korea (that would be Labris), Pink Hole (originally Pink Button) has its own character and charm to appeal to crowds. It’s one of the city’s first gay bars and the first to organize lesbian-only events.
Its interior features a VIP room, a powder room, and laser lights to make the dance floor that much cooler.
12. My Sister’s Room, Atlanta
Atlanta isn’t just a bustling city in the South and the setting of the first two seasons of Queer Eye, it also has a fabulous lesbian bar.
Self-described as the city’s ‘number-one lesbian bar’, this space lesbian-owned. It’s a lesbian bar where everyone is welcome and it’s a ‘safe haven and home to everyone who enters’.
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