The good stuff

#SaveOurSpaces: The history behind the name of NYC’s newest bar: Good Judy


GayCities is committed to helping LGBTQ venues across the U.S. to survive the coronavirus pandemic.

Today’s highlighted fundraiser is for Good Judy, which opened its doors on South Park Slope, Brooklyn, New York, in July 2020, in the midst of the pandemic.

(Photo: Good Judy)

Despite opening at such a challenging time, this piano bar and lounge picked itself up an instant following. The team works hard to make everyone on the LGBTQ spectrum feel welcome, along with allies. It also helps that it has a glorious outdoor patio, bedecked with colorful murals, which has allowed it to continue to serve customers when others have been restricted.


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“We have been overwhelmed by the enormity of the positive response to the space we have created,” it says on its fundraiser page. “It has been a struggle but it has been worthwhile to know that we are making a place that is fostering such a sense of community.”

Related: Gay bars in New York

However, being a new venture has put it at an additional disadvantage.

“As a new business that had not been in operation prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, we were ineligible for any of the funding that was made available for struggling businesses. That means that we have been flying by the seat of our pants as we press forward, knowing that every night, every drink made, and every pretzel bite served spells the difference between covering our costs and continuing to operate or the potential of shuttering for good.”

The management of the bar appreciates New York City’s rich LGBTQ history and the name taps into that lineage.

As explained on its website, in previous decades, many queer people had to use coded language when referencing each other or their sexuality.


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“The term ‘Good Judy’ is almost certainly a reference to queer icon Judy Garland, an alternative to the mid-twentieth century phrase, ‘Friend of Dorothy’. Your Good Judy is your bestie, your ride or die, your family.

“Our namesake is a tribute to those who needed coded language and a reminder that many still do. In honor of our queer history and with determination for all our futures, Good Judy opened its doors on July 11, 2020. So next time you hear someone say ‘I’m meeting my Good Judy at Good Judy,’ you’ll know exactly what they mean.”

Helping Good Judy and other bars like it is the reason why we’ve set up a donation fund to help #SaveOurSpaces. Head here for more info and to donate.


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