After 18 years of service, The Lexington Club shut its doors in 2014. Lesbian bars are closing at a rapid rate. We have to treasure those that are left while they’re still around. But also commemorate the service and space that was provided by the bars that have closed. This video remembers The Lexington Club with JD Samson and bar owner Lila Thirkield.
“It was a dive, but people really felt like they had a place that they could always go to be safe.”
Thirkield talks about the importance of accessibility through affordability. How she wanted her bar to feel like a community space where no one was turned away, they kept their drinks reasonably priced and never charged a cover. She wanted to make sure there was never a barrier to being in the space and feeling like you’re a part of community.
JD Samson remembers The Lexington feeling like a place where family came, every time she was in San Francisco she went for a beer. But Thirkield feels that lesbian bars are set up to fail, because they only target less than 5% of the population. How can a business model like that succeed? When rent doubles and gentrification pushes out that 5% of lesbians to other neighborhoods across the Bay bridge—there was no way to keep the doors open.