After 30 wild years, NYC’s oldest lesbian bar gets a makeover

photo via Facebook

GayCities’ new series “Gay Bar of the Week” showcases LGBTQ-friendly bars around the world that help bring our community together. These bars go above and beyond slinging drinks and dancing go-gos by making safe, inviting places with lasting impact.

Presenting this week’s pick:

Henrietta Hudson

photo via henriettahudson.com

Best of GayCities 2021 Nominee – “Best Lesbian Hangout”

Gayborhood – West Village, Manhattan, New York City

Years in business – Since 1991, 31 years

Queer quotient – 5/6

Using Kinsey’s scale, rating the level of queerness from 1 (totally straight) to 6 (as queer as they come), we rate this bar as a 5. It attracts a mostly lesbian crowd but has a large following that draws in bi-curious bar-goers from all walks of life. Henrietta Hudson is known as a “queer-human bar” built by lesbians, welcoming to every member of the LGBTQ+ community (allies included).

Vibe check – Lavish and Litty

Henrietta Hudson got a makeover last year. Once a crowded nightclub, it recently transformed into a moody wine bar with specialty cocktails, charcuterie, and cheese pairings. Its newly updated interior nods to a midcentury-modern feel typical of any trendy, upscale space in Manhattan. A cross between a living room and a petite cafe, this new look features comfy armchairs, plush ottomans, work nooks, and a social gathering area for community events. Its outdoor parklet space adds a welcoming hangout area during the warmer months, and it can get pretty lively and litty on the weekends. 

 

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Specialty cocktail – Teremana Mama

Folks love the Teremana Mama,” a refreshing cocktail composed of Teremana reposado tequila, Stirrings blood orange blend, lime juice, and a salted rim. They also offer a black cherry hard seltzer made in-house. 

The ‘instant hangover’ – W.A.P. Shot

If you want a big bang for your buck, try the “W.A.P. Shot,”  a mix of vodka, peach schnapps, and cranberry juice. Or the “Buttery Nipple,” a shot of vodka, butterscotch, and Bailey’s. 

Bartender’s choice – a glass of wine

Try a bottle from their wine list. Henrietta Hudson focuses on sourcing from femme-identifying and BIPOC winemakers. 

 

 

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Fun fact

Henrietta Hudson occupies the former location of Cubby Hole, another popular NYC lesbian bar. When Cubby Hole closed its doors in 1990, Lisa Cannistraci, a former Cubby Hole bartender, joined forces with Minnie Rivera to transform the space into the bar we know and love today. The two often say, “The bar was literally built by lesbians with donated boom boxes and labor and materials.” (Cubby Hole eventually re-opened on 12th Street in 1994.)

Noteworthy events

Henrietta Hudson made a wild reputation with its popular dance parties. Though sadly, it will be a while before packed dance clubs are back in full swing. So, they’ve adapted their model from a crowded nightclub to a spacious, airy lounge for the community to gather safely. That being said, Henrietta Hudson still hosts large events, including themed nights with DJs, gay TV watch parties, and, of course, weekly happy hours. The bar also offers free COVID-19 testing during events, going even further to help keep the queer community of Manhattan safe. 

 

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Discover more LGBTQ-friendly bars in our New York City Guide.