One of the last lesbian bars in New York City, the Cubbyhole, has officially reopened for business.
A large crowd of patrons flocked to the LGBTQ watering hole at 281 West 12th Street in Manhattan’s West Village on April 8 to celebrate the bar’s return after reopening last summer and shuttering again in December when it became too cold for outdoor operations.
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Known for its colorful lanterns, old school jukebox, and famous “Finding Nemo” decor, Cubbyhole has managed to survive the COVID-19 pandemic.
Other lesbian outposts in the city include the neighboring bar Henrietta Hudson and Ginger’s in Brooklyn, which remains closed. With such limited gathering space for queer women and other people of marginalized genders, Cubbyhole’s owner, Lisa Menichino, told Eater that the venue is especially important because “lesbians need a place to go.”
When the bar closed last March, Menichino started a GoFundMe to aid the business at a time when it was ravaged by the coronavirus. The establishment had no income, and for months operations looked bleak, “With no clear indication of when this will end, we worry for our future,” the bar wrote in a post requesting financial relief. To date, the business has surpassed its initial fundraising goal of $30,000, garnering more than $76,000 in donations.
Even when the business was closed, it was a magical place for the community. Earlier this year, a queer couple got engaged in front of the bar, according to a photo posted on Instagram. Like many queer bars, the Cubbyhole has adapted to the changing times to retain business — from hosting virtual events to selling online T-shirts to serving spiked hot apple cider and hot chocolate before the weather dropped below freezing temperatures in New York City.
This go-around, visitors can expect to make reservations to sit in the “cubby shack,” an outdoor wooden dining set, allowing for a socially distanced night out with friends. Longtime fans and newcomers alike can also get a taste of the pub’s fruity and alcoholic beverages from their new frozen drink machine.
The team at Cubbyhole could not be reached for comment on April 13.
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