NYC Lez 101: A Guide to Lesbian New York

Notoriously, lesbians don’t party as hard as gay dudes. But while it’s true that we can’t keep a consistent weekend nightlife scene for the life of us, there’s a lot to be said for being a queer lady or NB/GNC person in the big Apple. Here’s a brief survey of NYC’s #LesbianCulture, courtesy of the lady*-loving Slutever staff.

See below for a totally unbiased and unquestionably comprehensive account of all the sapphic-centric things to know about or partake in if you too are sapphic-centric. A text-based starter kit for being queer in the city, if you will.

1. Cubbyhole

New York’s one and only dyke bar! Except Henrietta Hudson, which doesn’t really count, because I don’t like it as much. Cubbyhole is reliably packed, but there’s always space for you, especially if you’re cute (you are). If you go during happy hour, you might just get a free slice of pizza and a shot of whatever the fuck kitchen sink alcohol they haven’t been able to pour consensually down anybody’s throats. You also might get a hot girl’s phone number, or, in my case, end up talking outside for 20 minutes with a person whose vegan-ness needed to be justified by a lament about being able to taste the chicken’s sadness in her last-ever omelette. Tragique.

2. Henrietta Hudson

As mentioned, HH is bigger and therefore sometimes awkwarder than Cubbyhole. And they don’t have all the STUFF ON THE CEILING that Cubbyhole has!!!! But you know, Henrietta Hudson has old butch vibes, and frankly, I can get down with that.

3. Personals

Personals is a (currently) instagram-based platform for members of the queer community to find love, sex or friendship. Written in the style of old school lesbian and gay newspaper personals ads, these are often hilarious and sweet – although if one more person writes on their ad that they’re “looking for someone to smash the patriarchy with” I might pull a Sylvia Plath and put my head in the oven. While not strictly New York-based (lesbians who use Personals always seem to be frantically U-hauling to other sides of the continent for each other), the founder lives here and a lot of the posts feature lonely NYC dykes.

4. Vacancy Project

If you were to happen upon the Vacancy Project Instagram, you wouldn’t be remiss to mistake it for a queer modelling agency for hot people with wet hair. But it’s actually a hair salon, helmed by local dyke-about-town Masami Hosono, where every queer person and their hot queer cousins get their hair chopped into cute, wet, bobs. My personal dating site wet dream is a mashup of the hot people on VP’s instagram and Personals, so.

5. PAT

PAT started out as a monthly night for queer women which just happened (and happens) to take place in bro-central, AKA, the Williamsburg-Bushwick border. It happens on Thursdays, cause god forbid the lady queers get a weekend night all to themselves. It is also an OG JD Samson night, which means that former-Le-Tigre-member-cum-DJ JD hosts this joint, and the lesbians go where she does, so. Occasionally you’ll be minding your queer business at PAT and two not-so-gentlemen will sidle up to you out of the blue and hit on you with the kind of Neanderthalian cluelessness Williamsbros do best, but when you tell them this is the only place in town you’re free from dudes like them, they totally, respectfully, kindly, understand and leave you alone. Jk lol.

6. Ladylike

Ladylike (and Vacancy Project!) founder, Masami Hoson

Every so often, on a seemingly completely arbitrary schedule, Ladylike rolls around. Ladylike is the sole (official, that I know of, whatever) Manhattan-based night primarily for queer women, and it tends to cull a fittingly glam crowd. When it does happen, it takes place – like PAT – on Thursdays, because the one time it happened on a Saturday they let the straight people in at midnight and all the dykes’ girlfriends suddenly had headaches and needed to be escorted home.

7. The Woods (Wednesday)

I have literally no clue what happens at this bar on any day of the week other than Wednesday but it is probably reprehensibly hetero, and I advise everyone to steer clear. It took me a while to finally go (all the elder lesbians in my life chortled: “I haven’t been there in 8 years!”) because I thought it would be bro-y lesbians – you know, like fuckboi bois. But it was actually pretty fun, until I got a headache and had to be escorted home.


GUSH is, like Ladylike, not the most consistently thrown “les party” in town, but when it happens, it happens. It calls itself an “intersectional party ft. interdisciplinary QTPOC talent,” and is a space primarily for queer and trans BIPOC. Its last event was on a boat, and everyone wore white, like that one time on The L Word.

9. Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art

The Leslie-Lohman Museum is NYC’s hub for all things queer and arty. They have great exhibitions and programming. Just, like, look at their website.

10. L Word Trivia

As far as I know, L Word Trivia hasn’t happened in a minute, but it’s such an important THING that it would be weird not to list it. The gist of the matter is: there are teams, tricky questions like “What color are Jenny’s dog’s fur-ribbons when she freaks out at her assistant about them?” (The answer is mauve. They should have been orange.) and copious amounts of alcohol. Betty, of “talking laughing loving breathing” fame played once. As you can guess, it’s a time. Unless you don’t know your trivia, in which case you will be violently ostracized.



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