I’ll never forget the first time I set foot in New York City’s very own Henrietta Hudson – Bar & Girl. I was a 21-year-old, lanky, excitable baby dyke brand new to New York! I had just relocated from Los Angeles to Manhattan and had no gay friends. Even though I was a cripplingly shy baby dyke creature, I knew I had to go to a lesbian bar and at least observe my fellow Sapphic sisters in our natural habitat! I furiously typed “lesbian bar NYC” into the google search bar and BAM. The first thing I laid my keen little lez eyes upon was the website for Henrietta Hudson – Bar & Girl.
I liked bars and I liked girls, so I decided to get over my dang shyness and venture off to Hens on my own.
I nervously traipsed down Hudson at 6 PM on a Thursday night. I held my breath as I entered the exotic lesbian abyss. The moment I set foot inside the bar, I exhaled. Even though it was early on a weekday, the place was teeming with diverse, interesting, and sexy women and queer people.
I ordered a glass of wine and bestowed a smile unto the cute bartender. She smiled back. Suddenly, I felt my shoulders relax, my blood pressure decrease, and the knots in my stomach begin to untie themselves. I knew I was in the right place. I just knew it. I felt so utterly comfortable in such a wholly queer space that I did the unheard of: I talked to people.
Yes, talked to people. A shy 21-year-old new to the big, bad city struck up conversations with hot, dynamic lesbians! Henrietta Hudson unearthed a tucked away confidence from within that I didn’t even know I had.
For the past ten years, I’ve been a regular at Henrietta Hudson. It’s one of the few constants in the ever-changing West Village, a place that I can always twirl on into and dance and drink and lock eyes with a sexy entity from across the room.
Which is why, my darling babes, as your lesbian big sister, I highly recommend you get yourself to Henrietta Hudson’s for WorldPride | Stonewall 50 this year! Because, no matter where you are from in this rainbow-adorned world, this is the spot to find to meet people. Flings. Babes. Lovers. Dates. Friends.
1. It’s Lesbian Owned And Operated.
Do you know what really grinds my gears as a gay woman who is serious about business? When my fellow gay/queer/lez friends go to all the straight bars during Pride instead of supporting our own.
In my humble opinion, it’s bad karma to spend your gay dollars on a business that doesn’t really care about us except for during a week in June because they want to profit off of us.
During Pride month, it’s imperative that you positively teem with good karma, especially if you want the Sapphic Goddesses to bestow you with a Pride Fling! Which is why, my darlings, you need to hit up Henrietta Hudson for WorldPride. Henrietta’s is actually owned and operated by a lesbian powerhouse and fierce force-of-nature named Lisa Cannistraci. That’s why the lovely, sparkly institution that is Henrietta’s feels so authentic. Henz isn’t owned by some straight dude, it’s owned by a powerhouse woman who actually cares about our community!
2. It’s been a lesbian bar for over 25 years!
You know that famous Robert Frost poem “Nothing Gold Can Stay?” It’s always haunted me, because it alludes to the fact that all the precious things in this world merely fade away. Hens, on the other hand, defies the theory of Mr. Robert Frost. Henrietta Hudson has been a lesbian bar for over 25 years!
That’s a big deal my darling dykes. Our girl has staying power! Her walls are bedazzled with queer babe history! Tap into that energy during Pride and breakout into full body chills. Imagine how many women have met at Henrietta’s? Take part in the lesbian legacy and meet a ~lover~ of your own at Henrietta during Pride!
3. There are kick-ass events every single day during Pride Week.
From Henrietta Hudson-produced events like Siren and Pride Soup to events in the Henrietta space like Homotown, Snatch Saturday, and—my personal favorite—”Occupy Hudson,” there are a plethora of parties to attend! Check out the official event list here.
4. There is a space for everyone (it’s big!).
One thing that my claustrophobic, neurotic, anxiety-ridden self struggles with is the lack of SPACE in bars. Henrietta’s is actually big. And, it has different sections that suit the moods of different women. There is an area that’s a total party dance-floor, and then there is an area in which you can play pool! I personally like to cozy up in the back because I’m a lounge girl. Much like The Abbey in LA, multiple vibes exist within this one bar.
So if you’re looking to meet a wild-child dance floor girl, there’s a chance you’ll find her getting down and dirty on the dance floor. If you’re into a serious pool playing down to earth dyke, head to the pool table section. If you want to meet a quiet wine-sippin’ lounge girl like moi, meet me in the back lounge chilling on the couch reading a memoir or something else antisocial. Purr.
5. It’s INCLUSIVE AF.
Your lesbian big sister never lies about anything. And here is the realest tea I’m going to spill into your lap this beautiful June day: Inclusive bars are so direly important to this community. And Hens is inclusive as f*ck. You’ll find queer babes, non-binary babes, lez babes, bi babes, gay babes, trans babes, and more. No one is judgemental, and there is a beautiful, sexy, interesting type of babe at Henz for everyone.
6. Women and Queer Babes from across the world will be there.
You know how I said I feverishly typed the word “lesbian bar” into google and Henrietta Hudson came flying right up on my static laptop screen? Well, can you imagine how many lesbians who are venturing to NYC for WorldPride | Stonewall 50 are typing the same thing into their laptops as I did so many years ago? I can’t! Women from across the world will be at Henrietta Hudson not only finding out about it through its legacy but through our best friend google.
And if WorldPride is about one thing, it’s this: meeting lesbians from across the globe. Kissing lesbians from across the globe. Starting passionate love affairs with women from across the globe.