The fight to save one of America’s last lesbian bars: ‘We’re like an endangered species’

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07/07/2021

There are only 21 lesbian bars remaining in the US – a vertiginous drop from 200 in the 1980s. The much-loved Cubbyhole is one of them. Everyone at the Cubbyhole has an origin story. Mona Williams was 21, queer, and had been kicked out by their family when they first arrived at the quaint little lesbian bar on a street corner in New York’s West Village. They had Googled “lesbian bars in New York” and found themselves outside the bar a few hours later, alone and not knowing what to expect. “I got really dolled up, wearing this leopard-print dress. I remember being really nervous. I was like, ‘I don’t know anyone here. How am I going to talk to people?’” they recall. But it wasn’t uncomfortable for long. “I walked in and was surprised by how many freaking lesbians there were in one spot,” Williams laughs. They even remember their first bartender. “Debbie was her name. She was a dream, this little thing – shorter than me! She made me feel so welcome. She was like, ‘I see you there sitting all alone. What can I get you?’”

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