The beauty of integrating into the lesbian scene in New York is that it happens faster than you can say dyke. Now, I wish I could say that the city is inundated with 18+ venues, but most dyke bars and clubs are 21 and up, so underage revelers need to cherish their trusty, chalked-up fake IDs. One universal perk is cheap covers, but be aware that drinks can get pricey, and tipping scantily clad go-gos even more so, if you lack self-control.
There are currently no lesbian guides being published (Tulip tearfully folded and HX: For Her is a distant memory), but all is not lost. When you walk out of your first lesbian event in the city, just remember to smile seductively and grab any leaflets that catch your eye: Not only may the flyer girl be cute, but you could land on some new—or otherwise unknown to you—soirees or discounts.
Your first stop is the lesbian staple Meow Mix (269 E Houston, 254-0688), an all-time fave boasting a scene full of riot grrrls and those who love them. For their Thursday-night party, Gloss, coveted femmes and sleek butches don their flashiest garb and wreak saucy havoc as they dance and drink into the wee hours. The music varies from ’80s favorites and hip-hop to KTU essentials. To the west, G’s Spot (at 2is, 248 W 14th, 807-1775) features multiculti women enjoying an early-evening buffet (savory Caribbean eats like jerk chicken and Jamaican patties), open poetry readings, and then—if you wait around—one of the hottest hip-hop, r&b, and house weeklies to hit town.
On Fridays, Henrietta’s (438 Hudson, 924-3347), the West Side’s notorious bridge-and-tunnel bar, is an entertaining meeting place for sporty types and women spun in leather, and there’s rarely a cover. Her/She Bar (at Escuelita, 301 W 39th, 631-0558), delivers witty drag queens lip-synching to, say, “Survivor” while making endearing clit-licking jokes during their 2 a.m. sets. Lithe dancers steam up their mini-podiums to merengue, salsa, house, and hip-hop beats all night long. Finally, there’s Clit Club (formerly at 219 Flamingo, relocating at press time; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for more info), one of the oldest locales in the city. If your mama was gay and partying back in the day? Chances are she used to go there. Since its move from Mother almost a year ago, this club has reestablished its momentum with two floors of unbeatable hip-hop and house music, and more than a handful of loyal clubbers. Intimate dwellings for luscious go-gos also provide a cool distraction for the drink-and-lounge crowd.
I can safely vouch that Lovergirl NYC (True, 28 E 23rd, 254-6117) has the monopoly on Saturday nights for twentysomething dykes. (Full disclosure: I might be biased, ‘cos I’m a dancer there.) The charismatic Deborah Korn—this scene’s only MC—revs the crowd into a boozed-out tizzy as DJs Chip Chop, Millie, and Mary Mac serve up house, hip-hop, r&b, and reggae mixes. The women—coming from all ethnic sectors—are haltingly beautiful and drippin’ with sensuality. Don’t miss the multitude of dancers—catch some of us as we work the pole onstage (yes, climbing that thing is as hard as it looks), contort in the cage, and do a restorative two-step (it gets hot up there!); you can also enjoy Angel Baby’s lap dances in the downstairs lounge.
It’s Sunday, and Starlette (Starlight, 167 Ave A, 475-2172) brings its low-key, lounge-y meat market to everyone who wants to unwind after a chaotic weekend. On Monday, the largely black and Latina clientele of Pleasure (Bar D’O, 29 Bedford, 627-1580) and the eclectic crowd at Fourplay (Parlay Lounge, 206 Ave A, 228-6231) demonstrate that the weekend isn’t the only time for perpetual drinking and dancing until your muscles spasm. Trust!
At the end of the night, either you’ve made some new friends or realized that you hate the party scene altogether. Fear not—there are actually alternatives to hearing the din of drunken lesbos. At Bluestockings (172 Allen, 777-6028) the coffee is hot and the performances and readings are plentiful—keep a lookout for an upcoming “Cunt Reading” and “Drag King Event”—and the women, well, they’re smart! Talented! Literary! Need I say more? If you’re hungry, don’t bother trying to find a lesbian restaurant, since Rubyfruit (531 Hudson, 929-3343) is the only one, and unless you’re into chillin’ with women your mother’s age, I would steer clear. If you’re up for something as stimulating as clubbing minus the high energy, check out sex seminars at Toys in Babeland (94 Rivington, 375-1701). Learn about the joys of sex-toy penetration or befriend your local dildo. Not only are the classes educational, but the on-display plugs, lubes, and vibrators give new meaning to reckless shopping—in this big city, there’s no need to live vicariously.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on August 21, 2001