Mirs and I just got back from an impromptu tour of lesbian bars in Manhattan. I’m not sure what to think, really, therefore I’m having a hard time writing.
I think it goes back to the emphasis that we as a culture put onto television and the world of TV Land. If you think about lesbians and lesbian culture in the media the first thing that comes to mind is the L Word. You think of women who are tall, thin, beautiful, and career minded.
They go to The Planet where they have either completely meaningless or completely important conversation over good food and good coffee-and good friends. They live in beautiful houses and have jobs that we all wish we had. I’m sorry, the fact that Alice took her little radio show to the Internet and then to daytime TV is pretty remarkable.
Then again, Leisha is Leisha and Alice is a product of Ms. Chaiken’s imagination. This is the real world and I live in Manhattan.
I’ve had this dream since I was about 20 to open up my own place. This place is called the Living Room. It’s a small place but it’s not tiny. It’s warm and it’s comfortable. It has a large space in the front and an outdoor space in the back. The seating area is set up like a living room. There aren’t any tables with 4 chairs around it, rather a large sofa with an amazing oriental rug and a arm chair. There are these little vignettes all over the space and commissioned art work on the walls. During the day we’re a cafe-we serve wonderfully strong coffee. Just coffee. Yes to espresso, cappuccino, machiato. The end. Nothing else. No flavors, no frills just good, strong, wonderful coffee.
So during the day this place is open, well lit and welcoming. I bake scones and breads for the AM crowd and my baking is so amazing that people know to get their early because if they arrive too late, the scones are gone. During the day it’s laid back, it’s chill, it’s so very, very queer.
At night I serve a set menu. They’re my recipes, my creations. The wine list is small and concise and phenomenal. It has very specific wines, organic, from small vineyards that need a little love, maybe.
For entertainment it varies each night. There is spoken word, live music, comediennes. No DJ’s really, just woman connecting, interacting, networking.
So this is my dream. I’d love to make it a reality. I just had a really good facebook chat with a dear friend of mine who has the same love and passion for creating culinary feasts in her teeny tiny apartment in Brooklyn. She’s always wanted to open a place too. We’re both serious, we’ll see. You’ve heard it here first.
Back to my girl bar tour and the conversation Mirs and I had at our last stop.
We started at Cubby Hole. It was early, maybe around 6PM. The scene was amazingly wonderfully calm. Cubby Hole is this very very small, kitchy little place in the Village. The drink specials are amazing-$3 mix drinks. When I’ve come here in the past it was at night and you could barely get into the door. It was refreshing to be able to see it in the light of day in all of it’s glory. The crowd was very mixed and very white. There were older gay men at the bar. A few gay boys with girls in a corner, a middle aged lesbian couple in a corner and Mirs and I. I forgot that it’s a Cash Only place and got raped by Chase bank and their astronomical $3 banking fee.
We finished up our cheap drinks and made our way to Henrietta Hudsons. This place was totally different. It was my first time at Henrietta’s and I think we’ll definitely be back. In comparison to Cubby Hole it was a lot larger, but it’s still a small place. They too had some great drink specials. It was buy on get one when we arrived just before 7PM. The crowd was all lesbian which was refreshing and all lesbian women of color. Mostly Hispanic and black and my sweet Jewish girl was the palest thing in sight. The music here was a lot better, the women were all older than us.
We stopped for some food before heading to NoWhere Bar on 14th Street for their Trans night. It was definitely the queerest of them all. Lots of gay boys, a handful of gay girls and lots of older cross dressing men. I even got a pot brownie from a friendly man and his girlfriend in celebration of Amy’s birthday. We found good drink specials here too, $3 again-which was niiice. At this point we’re both pretty “good”.
We started talking about the “scene.” Mirs claims that she’s not into the lesbian scene and I’m not sure that I’ve seen a scene at all to make any sort of judgement-good or bad. What is it about the severe lack of girl bars in Manhattan? I mean, don’t get me wrong. I loved Henrietta’s and I have a soft spot in my heart for Cubby Hole. Granted, we’re home now at 10:30 and visited places in the afternoon on a Thursday night. It’s not necessarily the best time to check it out.
It’s my mission this summer-I told Mirs I want to be the Manhattan Lesbian It Girl. I’m on a mission-a Queer Mission-to find the lesbian scene in Manhattan, find the ladies, to mingle and mix, if it’s the last fucking thing I do!