Austa Somvichian-Clausen & Tori Geddes



Austa Somvichian-Clausen (left) and Tori Geddes, founders of sapphic cocktail bar concept, grotto, are on a mission. The author-journalist and multi-media art project manager want to create spaces where LGBTQ+ women feel they can fully express themselves—something which Somvichian-Clausen noticed that they lacked in their community. “As a couple, Tori and I were always on the lookout for a queer space [where] we could have a date night, and were shocked to realize that such a space didn’t exist,” she recalls. So the couple created grotto, a cocktail bar concept that holds pop-up events in the New York City area that center queer women. For the couple, grotto is about giving women space to make connections and enjoy their time. “I love seating strangers together and seeing them become best friends, or have apparent chemistry by the end of their grotto experience,” Somvichian-Clausen says. “We’ve been told by regulars that they now have grotto group chats with the friends they’ve made there, or have made repeat reservations for grotto (but now together).” The couple hopes to soon find a permanent home for grotto. “It’s been so wonderful hosting a pop-up so far,” Somvichian-Clausen says, “but we know we can take the grotto concept even further if we were able to have a location of our own.”

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