Tag: Bars

These six gay bars received grants from HRC to help them survive COVID / GayCities Blog

These six gay bars received grants from HRC to help

Partying on the El Rio patio in pre-pandemic times
Partying on the El Rio patio, in San Francisco, in pre-pandemic times (Photo: El Rio)

Six U.S. bars serving the LGBTQ community are among the businesses to receive grants from advocacy organization HRC (Human Rights Campaign) to help them survive the pandemic.

Across much of the world, gay venues are struggling to survive. Trading conditions were tough before the pandemic. Lesbian bars, in particular, have fallen in number dramatically over the last decade. Now, with lockdown restrictions in many areas, the situation is dire.

Related: The iconic venues that won’t be returning after COVID-19

HRC has patterned with broadcaster SHOWTIME to launch its ‘Queer to Stay’ grant initiative. It announced the ten queer-run recipients of it ‘LGBTQ+ Business Preservation’ grants last week.  The successful businesses were selected from a huge number of applicants. The exact size of the grant has not been revealed, with a HRC spokesperson telling the Bay Area Reporter only that it’s, “five figures.” Each business will receive the same amount.

“We must preserve affirming, welcoming community spaces for LGBTQ+ people – including young people who may not have supportive families or communities at home,” said HRC President Alphonso David in a statement.

“HRC is thrilled to be partnering with SHOWTIME to support LGBTQ+-serving businesses in order to ensure that they can continue to provide a space for LGBTQ+ people to express ourselves freely, find community and be our authentic selves.”

The bars and clubs to receive grants were the following.

The Alibi Lounge, New York

The Alibi Lounge (Photo: Facebook)
The Alibi Lounge (Photo: Facebook)

The Alibi Lounge in Harlem is one of New York City’s only last remaining black-owned LGBTQ venues. It’s been in danger of shuttering since the start of the pandemic.

“The award is great recognition for the hard work that we do every single day,” its owner, Alexi Minko, told GayCities. “In a pragmatic way it will help with everyday, common expenses for a small business (rents, salaries, we had to pay sales tax on the 21st for instance).

“We also have a fundraising campaign on GoFundMe called “Everyone Needs An Alibi“. We have been humbled by the level of support! Supporting a small local business is investing in the long-term future of a neighborhood, especially when the small business is black gay-owned in a minority-dominated area!”

Related: NYC’s last Black-owned gay bar fights for survival

Pearl Bar, Houston

The Pearl Bar is Houston’s only lesbian bar. It posted a message about the grant to its Instagram last week, saying, “It has been a hard road getting through this, but between our community and this ‘Queer to Stay’ initiative, we are excited to open slowly starting this weekend.”

Bar owner Julie Mabry said in a statement, “We deserve to spend our money where we are treated with respect and welcomed from the moment we walk in the door. Even through this pandemic, it has become more obvious than ever that there is still a lot of hate in this country and I think now more than ever we need to protect our safe spaces.”

El Rio, San Francisco

(Photo: El Rio)
(Photo: El Rio)

El Rio has a history going back to 1978 when it was opened in the Mission district by Malcolm Thornley and Robert Nett as a Leather Brazilian bar. They retired in 1997 and the bar was taken over by Dawn Huston. General manager Lynne Angel told Bay Area Reporter that El Rio brings together, “an extremely diverse intersection of communities in San Francisco,” and that “the heart of our community includes LGBTQ+ communities of color and their friends.”

The bar is currently closed, as per San Francisco city restrictions. Huston told BAR, “Currently, we are in hibernation mode and plan to use the funds to maintain ourselves until we can safely reopen.”

Herz, Mobile

Herz is the only lesbian focused space in Mobile, Alabama.

“We are so grateful for the grant as it has allowed us to make some much-needed repairs, as well as meet the demands of the business that would have otherwise been extremely difficult to meet,” manager Rachel Broughton told GayCities.

“With recent hurricanes, curfew, and bar closures we have seen a significant decline in business and we’re not sure when the curfew will be lifted in our area. The grant from HRC and SHOWTIME has made all of the difference in the world!

The bar would still welcome more funding via a new Crowdfunder it’s launched.

My Sister’s Room, Atlanta

My Sister’s Room has been Atlanta’s premier lesbian bar for almost a quarter of a century.

“Being one of the most diverse bars in the country where everyone is welcome makes a huge impact on our community. People want to come where they see a reflection of themselves,” said owners of My Sister’s Room Jennifer Maguire and Jami Maguire to the Georgia Voice.

“People have been coming to My Sister’s Room for years for gatherings, community, or in times when they need a friendly face. They know that they have a place to come home to. We hope to continue the legacy another 25 years.”

Blush & Blu, Denver

“Distinct drinkery” Blush and Blu is the last remaining lesbian bar in Denver, Colorado (compared to 15 years ago, when there were around five bars catering to queer women).

“We are so proud to be selected as a recipient of the #QueerToStay business preservation initiative!” the bar said in on Instagram. “Thank you @HumanRightsCampaign and @Showtime for putting a focus on LGBTQ+ businesses as we navigate these uncertain times.”

Besides the aforementioned bars and clubs, four other businesses received grants: Amplio Fitness in Rocky Rover, OH; Doyenne barbershop in Charlotte, NC; Freed Bodyworks – a wellness and yoga center – in Washington DC; and SalonBenders, a hair salon in Long Beach, CA.

Related: ‘Sit On My Face’ fundraiser helps San Francisco gay bar survive pandemic 

Madrid Gay Bars – The Globetrotter Guys

Madrid Gay Bars - The Globetrotter Guys

Madrid Gay Bars - The Globetrotter Guys

The main gay area in Madrid is called Chueca and is named after Federico Chueca who could be considered Madrids first gay icon. The area spans about 1km north of Gran Via (one of the main streets) and east to west between Calle Hortaleza and Paseo de Recoletos. The main bulk of gay bars in Chueca are found within ten minutes walking distance of Plaza De Chueca – where the metro station is found. 

Chueca is walkable from the ‘city centre’ (Plaza Del Sol) or just a couple of metro stops.

It is obvious you have arrived in the gay district given that the walls of the metro station in Chueca are painted floor to ceiling in rainbows!

However, it’s not all about Chueca as you will find gay bars scattered all across the city as far as Lavapies. Equally, when it comes to large gay events and parties in Madrid, the venues are sometimes scattered around but easily accessible.

What Are Madrid Gay Bars Like?

If you have travelled to Spain before you will know they do things differently here. Whereas your night might start at 10/11pm in the UK or US, the main gay bars and clubs in Madrid are just opening their doors at 1/2am, getting busy at 3am and continuing until 6/7am in the morning.

Full Story at The Globetrotter Guys

Madrid Gay Travel Resources

Manchester Gay Bars – The Globetrotter Guys

Manchester Gay Bars - The Globetrotter Guys

Manchester Gay Bars - The Globetrotter Guys

Before leaving the UK we lived in Manchester, the gay capital of the North, for 10 years and absolutely loved this city we came to call home.

Manchester has been named amongst the Top 10 most exciting cities in the world, according to a recent poll by Time Out and is an incredibly gay friendly city.

Manchester has been one of the top gay destinations in the UK for a long time. It has one of the UK’s largest gay prides and one of the best gay scenes (Canal Street).

Here is our mini guide to the best gay bars in Manchester (and gay clubs).

The Gay Village Manchester

One of the things we love the most about Manchester and why it is one of the best gay cities in the UK is Manchester’s Gay Village.

Manchesters Gay Village is made up of Canal Street and a few surrounding streets. This is in the very centre of the city, minutes away from the main train station (Manchester Piccadilly).

Canal Street is full of gay bars from the start to the very end of the street.

We love the fact that everything is so close together and that you can easily do a bar crawl and not have to travel or get taxis between bars like you need to in some other cities.

Read on for the best gay bars in Manchester:

G-A-Y Manchester

Every time we have been to G-A-Y we have had the best night. The music varies on each floor but you can always guarantee the best of pop, 90’s and current chart toppers will be played somewhere (which we love).

Drinks are reasonably priced here too and the crowd is typically quite young and trendy.

Full Story at The Globetrotter Guys

Lancashire Gay Travel Resources