This week, the queer cinephiles of New York are gathering together for the start of NewFest. Now in its 34th year, this LGBTQ festival shines a spotlight on queer movies and media, juxtaposing big names such as Demi Moore and Academy Award winner Dustin Lance Black with indy darlings like Drew Droege and The Cockettes. This year’s highlights include Authentic Voices of Pride presented by Chevrolet, a 360-degree program tackling some of the LGBTQ community’s most important issues, All Man: The International Male Story, which explores the homoerotic clothing catalog that provided a generation of gay teens with masturbatory material, and Keep the Cameras Rolling: The Pedro Zamora, a documentary about the eponymous gay Real World alum.
Since festival venues are spread across NYC, there will be many opportunities to explore Manhattan as well as Brooklyn in between showtimes. As a longtime homo-haven, Brooklyn provides an apt backdrop for NewFest, reaching back to the 1800s when poet Walt Whitman spent the bulk of his career writing in the borough. This queer tradition continues into contemporary times, where it serves as stomping grounds for Gotham’s edgier LGBTQ+ communities, providing a counterbalance to the more mainstream ‘mos of Chelsea and Hells Kitchen.
For out-of-towners and borough-averse Manhattanites venturing east for NewFest, we’ve compiled this guide to five of Brooklyn’s best queer bars and restaurants for pre or post-film merriment.
See you out at the movies!
Got breakfast on the brain? Or maybe you’re in need of an afternoon pick-me-up. Oh, you’re looking for something sweet? Well, let Úrsula satisfy all three of your cravings. Located in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Crown Heights, Úrsula brings New Mexican flavors to NYC.
This queer-owned eatery was created by Eric See, whose goal was to bring the taste of New Mexico to Crown Heights. By the looks (and taste) of it, he does just that.
Ursula’s standout is its breakfast burrito. Filled with New Mexican chiles, savory hash browns, and fluffy eggs, this breakfast slays, but make sure to grab it before 12 pm. Otherwise, you’ll have to deal with their delicious, stuffed sopapillas – a yummy consolation prize.
But don’t forget to pair your email with one of Úrsula’s assortment of tea lattes, like the Sakura or their version of Horchata. Coffee is available for those in need of their usual “cup of joe”. But you know what also goes well with a caffeinated beverage? One of Úrsula’s homemade pastries, like rosewater concha, bizcochitos, and rhubarb and ricotta pastelitos. Of course, we can’t forget about the
Did we mention there are vegan and vegetarian options available?
Whatever you’re craving, make sure to enjoy all that Úrsula has to offer in its outdoor seating, amidst the Brooklyn brownstones of Crown Heights.
If you’re looking for subtlety, then you don’t go to Guevara’s. However, if you’re looking for a colorful and flamboyant oasis to refuel and recharge, then consider this your spot.
With indoor decor consumed by luscious plants, vibrant outdoor seating embedded into the streets of Brooklyn, and the smell of sweet pastries in the air, there’s a reason why Guevara’s has a line outside the door. It’s not just your ordinary cafe, it’s an experience.
This trans and woman-owned bakery and cafe describes itself as a “plant palace serving coffee, pastries, and vegan eats in Brooklyn”. And it does just that. Guevara’s can satisfy any appetite with its delicious plant-based eats.
From the guava and cream cheese donuts to empanadas to chilaquiles to chocolate babka, there’s no wrong choice at Guevara’s. And if you’re not able to make it during their day shift, don’t fret! Just make sure to check out this plant-powered cafe in the evening where you’ll be swept away in happy hour cocktails and if you’re lucky, live music.
If you’re in Brooklyn, make sure to check out all that Guevara’s has to offer at their Williamsburg or Clinton Hill locations.
Originating as a jazz bar, The Rosemont has since transitioned into an award-winning queer lounge. Residing in the hipster hamlet of Williamsburg, this establishment has an ample patio in which to sip post-NewFest cocktails while enjoying the crisp autumn air, and a sweaty dance floor to warm you back up.
The Rosemont also serves as a venue for live events, weekly parties, and fierce drag shows. Those attending NewFest for their Thursday viewings should swing by afterwords for its RuPaul’s Drag Race UK watch party hosted by Glace Chase. Lean into the theme of Anglophilia by starting your evening with a viewing of TRAMPS!, a documentary about London’s post-punk era, then dipping into Rosemont for the tail end of RPDR UK. God save the Kweenz!
Once the sun starts to set over the East River, sashay from the festival to Good Judy. Since 2020, this queer watering hole has prided itself on providing an inclusive experience for Brooklynites of all genders, orientations, and integers on the Kinsey Scale. Think of it as Park Slope’s Cheers, where everyone knows your name – and pronouns.
After a long afternoon of queer cinema, you can quench your thirst with one of their sassily- named signature cocktails. The ‘Golden Girl’ will thank you for being a friend with its sweet synergy of mezcal, yellow chartreuse, Pineapple, lime, and honey. The ‘Don’t Stop Now’ keeps the night pumping with vodka and gin sweetened with strawberry champaign shrub and peach liqueur. And the ‘Seriously’ doesn’t fuck around, balancing tequila with pineapple, lime, and fernet float.
Once you snatch your cocktail, head down to the Blue Room to catch one of their famously frenetic drag shows, or hit the mic yourself at karaoke night. As they say at Good Judy’s, “everyone is welcome here, everyone belongs.”
3 Dollar Bill
After a day of sitting in cramped theaters, stretch your legs at 3 Dollar Bill. Describing itself as “Brooklyn’s premiere queer bar and performance venue,” this proudly inclusive nightclub offers a slew of entertainment options running in tandem with NewFest.
In anticipation of Halloween, Neon Coven and Jan have teamed up to present a double feature of the cult films Jennifers Body and the Rocky Horror Picture Show on Oct 13th. For more movie mayhem, on Oct 14th RuPaul’s Drag Race alum Maddy Morphosis hosts Shrekfest, a celebration of dance, drag, and everyone’s favorite ornery animated ogre. And on Oct 20th, when Brooklyn gives you (organic, locally sourced) lemons, make Lemonade at A Night of 1000 Beyoncés, presented by Nick O.
Whether you’re there to catch a drag show or serve a look at the bar, 3 Dollar Bill will provide you with an inclusive queer experience.