I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that lesbian bars are shutting down at an increasing rate across most of the Western world and, I assume, the planet in general. This cuts off a lot of access to our community and helps to render queer women invisible.
To make matters worse, the majority of gay-friendly spaces cater to gay men and, while most are welcoming to LGBTQ+ women and nonbinary people, it can still be alienating to not have a place of one’s own in our city centers. That’s why I’ve prepared a list of all the lesbian bars that I could find all around the globe so that whether you’re a local or you’re planning a holiday, you can check them out and meet your queer siblings in a safe place.
How we sourced the lesbian bars
Finding these bars was frustrating at times. I could stumble upon an article about a fabulous lesbian bar and think that I’d really like to go there if ever I was in Athens or Istanbul, only to click through to the Facebook page and find it had been closed permanently. Still, I found some incredible lesbian bars for every type of lesbian.
I haven’t included:
- LGBTQ+ bars that are open to all genders, but are designed with gay men in mind, even if they do host a ladies’ night once a month
- Weekly or monthly parties for queer women. These parties tend to be at rotating venues that change month to month. They’re not at venues for queer women year-round.
- Bars that aren’t open to transwomen, because I wouldn’t want to support TERFs or patronize anywhere that wasn’t trans-inclusive
I have included lesbian bars that allow all genders in, but have tried to note this in the description.
To help you find your chosen country, I’ve listed the countries in alphabetical order. If you can’t find your country, then I’m afraid that’s because I couldn’t find anything there. If there are missing locations, please let me know in the comments.
Please note: This list may be incomplete for several reasons. First, in countries where it is illegal or dangerous to be LGBTQ+, lesbian bars may need to be underground in order to survive, which means no one was posting about them online. Second, I cannot rattle off all countries and territories in the world from memory, so I used a list to help my research that may have been incomplete (although I hope it wasn’t). Third, at the time of writing, all of these places were open, but by the time you read this, some may have closed and, hopefully, some more may have opened.
Photo Credit: Espeto Bambu
This bar, Espeto Bambu, whose name translates to Bamboo Skewer, is an intimate and casual location in Cerquira César, but you can still get your groove on here during their live musical performances. It caters to LGBTQ+ women with a heavy focus on female performers.
Sabor A Mi
Photo Credit: Sabor A Mi
Santiago’s lesbian bar, Sabor A Mi features live music, good food, decent drinks, and, according to one very persuasive comment on Trip Advisor, very attractive women. While the party gets going around midnight, ladies who get there earlier can enjoy a slightly more relaxed atmosphere.
Photo Credit: Roxie
Roxie is a Shanghai bar that is open every day and hosts a range of activities, including a queer pop quiz on Wednesdays and DJ nights on the weekend. It’s operated by Dutch-born Ting Ting, who wanted the bar to also act as a community for its patrons and encourage them to get involved.
The name of this San Jose lesbian bar, Buenas Vibraciones, literally translates to Good Vibrations and I definitely think there’s a double entendre in there somewhere. While men are welcome here, it is most definitely a lesbian bar, with good food and drinks, as well as a mixture of entertainment, including karaoke and live music.
Photo Credit: JampaDampa on Halloween
JampaDampa is a Prague lesbian bar that is fairly low-key, which means it’s the perfect place for a quiet drink with your friends. The energy picks up on the weekends, but it’s never a full-blown rave.
Photo Credit: Vela
Vela is a Copenhagen lesbian bar and nightclub that is always a party after dark, with ladies dancing, kissing, and doing shots. However, they also host a range of queer cultural events, including live music, poetry, and literature readings.
Photo Credit: La Mutinerie
La Mutinerie is Paris-based lesbian venue and is not just a bar, but is also a cultural and political space, allowing patrons to participate in collaborative actions, like workshops and meetings, to advance the queer feminist cause in France.
Le So What
Club La Gata
Photo Credit: Club La Gata
This Frankfurt lesbian bar, Club La Gata claims to be the oldest continually operating lesbian bar in the world, having opened in 1971, which makes it the perfect place to enjoy a drink and learn about queer history in Germany.
Check out more lesbian travel tips for Germany?
Photo Credit: Bar Goldfinger
Bar Goldfinger is a Tokyo lesbian bar that opened in 1991 and is probably the most famous place for LGBTQ+ women in Japan. On Fridays, they have mixers to invite the rest of the queer community in because, as the owners say, sexual boundaries are shifting more than ever before.
Photo Credit: Diamond Holic
Diamond Holic is a shot bar and is one of the largest women-only bars in Japan, with regular events, reasonably priced food and drinks, and some of the cutest girls in the country. The staff try to help people mix, so don’t be scared of going there on your own.
Photo Credit: Cafe ‘t Mandje
This lesbian bar was originally opened in 1927 by Bet van Beeren, making it one of the oldest gay bars in Amsterdam. It closed in 1982, but Bet’s niece Diana opened it again in 2008. They have regular events featuring jazz music, singalongs, and even a snuggle club.
Photo Credit: Bar Buka
Bar Buka is located in the Pijp area of Amsterdam, this is one of the newest lesbian bars in the country. It has a relaxed vibe with no fancy dress codes, meaning it’s a place to truly be yourself.
Photo Credit: Pink Hole
This Seoul-based club, originally known as the Pink Button, attracts a young crowd with its loud dance music and strobe lighting. It does allow men to enter provided they are accompanied by a woman.
Check out more lesbian travel tips for South Korea:
- Lesbian Travel Guide: Seoul South Korea
- Obsessed Street Art: Hongdae South Korea
- Work Hard, Play Harder, Korean Nightlife in Seoul
Photo Credit: Aire Chicas
Aire Chicas is a Barcelona lesbian bar and a great place to party if you’re low on funds with cheap drinks, regular themed events, and free admission on most days. But that doesn’t mean it’s not a classy place to let your hair down.
Photo Credit: Escape
Escape, this woman-only club in Madrid was launched in 2004 and features a variety of dancers and live performances. Be prepared to dance until dawn because they’re open until 6 am.
Photo Credit: Taboo
Taboo, this lesbian bar has been open since the late 1970s and is a place for newly-out or closeted women to interact with their community.
Check out more lesbian travel tips for Taiwan:
Shela Tomboy’s Club
Photo Credit: Shela Tomboy’s Club
This Pattaya lesbian bar, Shela Tomboy’s Club is a casual place, with plenty of butch and femme customers, which routinely stays open until past 5 am. But be warned, it is a frequent target of police raids.
Check out more lesbian travel tips for Thailand:
Photo Credit: Gia Club
Gia Club, this Istanbul-based lesbian bar is located on the second floor above a coffee shop. While primarily a place for women-only, it does let women bring male guests on some weeknights.
Photo Credit: Bigudi Club
Bigudi Club, this was the first ever exclusively lesbian venue in Turkey, aiming to provide a free space for women who love women to fight male hegemony. They also host a number of workshops and exhibitions for women. It has been closed, moved, and re-opened several times, but as of November 2018, it has returned to its original location on Mis Sokak.
Photo Credit: Mikey
Vanilla, this Manchester-based lesbian pub looks fairly quiet from the outside, but looks can be very deceiving. Behind the white brick walls, you can find hundreds of gay women dancing to house music and drinking cocktails in a place often called “the Lesbian Mecca of the north”. It’s a fierce champion of lesbian culture, has chilled-out evenings for those not into raving, and was awarded the coveted “Best Bar in the UK” title several times by the lesbian magazine Diva.
Photo Credit: R. Burgess
She Soho, this basement bar is the only female-priority venue in London, acting as a nightclub and a community hotspot for LGBTQ+ women. They also host regular events including comedy open mics, drag king cabaret shows, and burlesque nights.
Photo Credit: The Fox
The Fox is the only lesbian bar in Birmingham and is a great spot to hang out with friends or find a date. While the bar is small, it has a beautiful monochrome décor and an outdoor beer garden, which is a lovely place to have a pint in the summer. Men are allowed in provided they have a woman with them.
Check out more lesbian travel tips for the United Kingdom:
- The Ultimate Lesbian Travel Guide to Manchester
- Travel Journal: 48 Hours in London
- Ultimate Guide to Lesbian Travel in Brighton
- 8 Things to do in Glasgow Scotland
Photo Credit: Wildrose
Wildrose, this Seattle-based lesbian bar offers a laid-back atmosphere with a range of seasonal parties, karaoke nights, and DJ sets. They serve a variety of drinks and food to suit every taste, with every Tuesday being taco night. (It feels like there’s a dirty joke in there somewhere.)
This is a chilled-out lesbian bar in the West Village of New York City, featuring a pop-laden playlist and a disco ball, with a daily happy hour in the early evenings. Plus, the venue is redbrick and stained glass, so it’s worth the trip for the Instagram photos alone.
Photo Credit: Gossip Grill
Gossip Grill, this San Diego women’s venue is a bar and grill during the day but transforms into a dance club after dark. They have regular karaoke nights, a generous happy hour, and again Taco Tuesdays. (I am now really craving a taco.)
My Sister’s Room
Photo Credit: My Sister’s Room
My Sister’s Room this is the ‘number-one lesbian bar’ in Atlanta, offering a ‘safe haven and home to everyone who enters’. It’s won tons of awards for everything from food to entertainment to ‘best lesbian theme night’, so if you happen to be in Georgia, there is more than enough reason to drop by.
Photo Credit: Cubbyhole
Cubbyhole, this New York lesbian bar, which opened in 1994, is particularly famed for its décor, which features Chinese lanterns and various ornaments suspended from the ceiling, as well as magazine clippings and small toys plastered to the walls. It’s truly a kitsch place to hang out, with happy hour lasting until 7 pm Monday through Saturday. The bar allows men to enter, but they operate a women-first policy. Also, the bar is cash only.
The Lipstick Lounge
Photo Credit: The Lipstick Lounge
The Lipstick Lounge, this Nashville lesbian bar offers you your best chance of finding a cowgirl to dance within the words of country star Kacey Musgraves “Kiss lots of girls, if that’s what you’re into” – but that’s not the only reason you should visit. They’ve got live music, nightly karaoke, and on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, you can give your brain a workout with their fun trivia nights.
I hope that this has been helpful for you and given you some great lesbian bars to visit anywhere in the world. Now I’d like to hear from you. What is your favorite bar on the list? What’s your favorite lesbian bar that has now closed? And what lesbian bars have I missed off the list? Let me know all that and more in the comments section.