Great news! Harlem’s Alibi Lounge is hiring! Alibi is the only openly gay bar in Harlem as well as one of only two Black-owned gay bars in New York City (the other being Lamda Lounge, which opened only weeks ago).
“We are hiring right now from within our community of POC LGBTQ,” noted a tweet from the company that was later reposted on its Instagram page. “Bartenders needed ASAP!”
It’s fantastic news, considering many NYC bars had to shut down and lay off staff due to coronavirus shutting down the city. Now, just as Alibi has given back to the community through its existence, it’s hoping to give back in jobs.
The hiring comes on the heels of a successful fundraising effort via GoFundMe since May of this year. Alibi suffered financially due to the pandemic and its temporary closure; however, it’s since raised over $150,000.
For Minko, though, the fundraising isn’t about the number. As long as he has enough to reopen, rehire his staff, and make Alibi available for the Harlem and greater NYC community, that’s all he needs.
“Our missions are multiple,” Minko wrote on the GoFundMe page. “Not only are we proud to be a safe haven for the uptown Manhattan LGBTQ community, a vast majority of POC, but we are also committed to promote and provide employment, training, qualifications, for all young people in our neighborhood!”
The good news for Alibi comes after a string of much worse experiences. Last year during Pride, two rainbow flags were burned outside the bar, though the community rallied around the establishment to ensure it was safe and could reinstate its flags.
In March of this year, Minko was attacked inside his bar by six strangers, which sent him to the hospital. Days later, the bar had to be shut down due to the City’s coronavirus restrictions. After it temporarily shut its doors, the bar was robbed and cash was taken from the register.
But for Minko, throughout all of the hardships, his goal has simply been to get the bar back up and running for the community. Luckily, the community wanted that as well, and it rushed to his aid.
“You gotta ask for help sometimes,” Minko told Time Out New York. “If you deserve it, and if people know you’re speaking the truth, they will come to your rescue. The community showed that they wanted Alibi to stay. It’s humbling. I wish there was a platform where I could just go and scream at people, ‘Thank you!'”