Monday, March 21, 2011



Location: 531 Hudson Street, New York, New York, USA

Founded: 1993

Closed: 2008

Here's how the New York Post announced the closing of Rubyfruit in 2008:

RUBYFRUIT, the beloved West Village lesbian bar and restaurant, is closing after 15 years - a victim of rising rents and smaller crowds. "It was the first of its kind as a meeting place for local lesbians and those visiting New York from all over the world," owner Debra Fierro told Page Six. "But there have been great strides, and I think lesbians are comfortable anywhere now." The bar, named after Rita Mae Brown's best seller "Rubyfruit Jungle," was written about in Patricia Cornwell's thrillers and hosted Martina Navratilova's retirement party. It once employed as a bartender Tammy Lynn Michaels, who later "wed" Melissa Etheridge. Straights like Liza Minnelli and Ashford and Simpson also dropped in. Fierro is talking with Socialista owner Armin Amiri and others about taking over the space. But her last few weeks at Rubyfruit have her "totally heartbroken. I love this place. When I told some of the women at the bar the other night, they were crying."

Actually, I figure the place was doomed after getting a snarky review like this one from the New York, which manages to elicit every lesbians-are-dowdy-and-uncool stereotype there is. And once a nightspot is proclaimed unfashionable--especially in a hyper image conscious place like New York--you're as good as toast:

Named after Rita Mae Brown's Sapphic classic Rubyfruit Jungle, this West Village stalwart remains hopelessly lost in lesbian chic circa 1985. With Victorian fringed lamps, red-brick walls and antique mirrors, it feels like a retirement home for diesel dykes and high school gym teachers—the only thing missing is a portrait of Gertrude Stein over the fireplace. If you're hungry, the romantic downstairs dining room serves pricey, passable American cuisine. At the very least, Rubyfruit makes sure the Jersey girls don't have to go too far across the river for lady-on-lady action. — Michelle Handelman

When things get happenin', the bartender habitually cranks up the Bee Gees' "Woman to Woman"

1 comment:

  1. This was no no way the first women's restaurant in NYC. Damn, history is lost. And my memory is going. First there was the little restaurant on Hudson that Rita Mae Brown mentions in ?6 of 1? I think. Then the restaurant above the black mostly lesbian bar on ?McDougle? I think. Then the restaurant that opened in Brooklyn in the Heights ... that one didn't last long, I don't believe. Wish my memory would come back.


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