5 cafes making space for sober socializing in a sea of gay bars

Listen, we love gay bars here at GayCities, but sometimes these safe spaces aren’t exactly “safe” for everyone. Whether you are sober, dealing with substance abuse issues, or just like to be in bed by 9 pm, you might feel excluded from the queer social scene. Though it is not a new concept, queer cafes in the US are few and far between.

These five, located in some of the country’s gayest cities, show the benefit chill daytime queer cafes bring to the community. 

Milk-SF

San Francisco, CA

 

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Support local artists while sipping drinks that taste like works of art at Milk-SF. The walls of this rainbow coffee shop are covered with work from local LGBTQ artists. In addition to art, they sell locally made trinkets and crafts. Hosting events like pop-up markets and drag shows, this spot is all about supporting the community. Carrying the best bagels in San Francisco, weekly Italian soda specials, and plenty of vegan and gluten-free options, you might just become a regular. 

RELATED: These cruisy San Francisco cafes just might be the gayest in the world

Bluestockings Cooperative

New York City, NY

The queer cafe at Bluestockings Cooperative is a radically inclusive space perfect for cozying up with a book or talking social activism with your neighborhood queers. Bluestockings Cooperative is New York’s only queer, trans, and sex worker run bookstore. Not only do they have a huge selection of LGBTQ books, but Bluestockings also serves as a mutual aid center offering harm reduction support and non-judgmental resource research. Needless to say, spending money here in any way is something you can feel good about. Plus the cafe is completely nut-free with vegan and gluten-free treats, so all your besties can join. 

Liberation Coffee House

Los Angeles, CA

This stunning queer cafe and community space at the Los Angeles LGBT Center’s Anita May Rosenstein Campus is a great place to connect with other queers looking to get involved. Liberation Coffee House is run by the center’s intergenerational Culinary Arts program, which prepares LGBTQ youth and seniors for jobs in the restaurant and hospitality industries. The calming, sunset-inspired design makes it a great place to work, relax, and connect. Also, all the proceeds are reinvested into the center’s life-changing programs, so you can actually feel good about ordering that third croissant. 

Squirrel Chops 

Seattle, WA

 

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This queer-owned, woman-owned coffee shop hair salon combination is all about local, from their hand-crafted coffee to the community they serve. The haircuts are rad, fairly priced, and definitely queer-friendly. Connect with your favorite stylist and gab salon-style, or get to know other patrons over a cup of coffee and one of their famous toasties. Squirrel Chops welcomes all to come in, encouraging community gatherings. They’re also very vocal about social causes like Black Lives Matter and LGBTQ rights. This sleek yet rustic cafe is a great spot to meet queers in Seattle’s popular Central District.

Gossip Grill

San Diego, CA

 

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Gossip Grill is a double whammy of endangered queer spaces, a day-time hang, and a lesbian bar. While the indoor and outdoor bars still serve up drinks for those who want them, lunchtime at Gossip Grill doesn’t have to be boozy. In addition to their “liq-her” cocktails, the menu features a wide selection of “dry hump” mock-tails to enjoy in the San Diego sun. There’s also a full food menu with vegan and gluten-free options that are as beautiful as they are delicious. This all blends in with the woman-forward aesthetic, friendly staff, and overall good vibes. It is basically The Planet but real and Jenny Schecter isn’t there to ruin the vibe (too soon?)