Thursday, June 21, 2012

Chueca Bar

69-04 Woodside Avenue today
Chueca Bar

Location: 69-04 Woodside Avenue, Woodside, New York, USA

Opened: Around 2005

Closed: Around 2009

Here's the venue description from Clubplanet:

Chueca float at Heritage of Pride (2005)
Chueca Bar - By definition it is anything that is not straight, whether it be crooked or winding. To the lives of many, however, Chueca means much more than that. It is a Latino Lesbian Bar in Queens, New York but it is not just a place - it is an identity, a home, a place in your heart. What started as a dream for one Latino Lesbian woman is now considered home to many.

At NYC Gay Pride (2007)
Chueca is a Spanish word meaning “not straight,” and everyone speaks that language inside this Colombian-owned Jackson Heights lesbian nightclub. The space’s scruffy interior—barely lit in blue neon and festooned with mirrors—resembles a delightfully sleazy South Beach joint. The few small tables and stiff chairs keep the dark-haired, midriff-sporting patrons on their feet, where they’d probably be anyway, writhing to salsa and reggaeton on the mis-matched tiled floor or shooting pool beneath an aptly Sapphic etching of two nudes embracing. Friday and Saturday nights are the main attractions, as the tight-knit crew of scantily dressed chicas packs in for Latin D.J.'s, body shots off the good-looking bartenders, and swills of Chueca’s namesake drink (Malibu, Bailey's, and Kahlua lit afire).

On any given Friday or Saturday night they're perched at tables or at the cushiony black-lined bar snapping drinks back like it was a little agua, as the crowd gets naughty and the bartenders take to dancing on the bar.

At Queens Pride (2009)

Latina lesbian dance bar, ask for a flaming shot.
Ditto for New York on Tap:

Lascivious latina lesbians prowl this Woodside nightclub.

In an 2005 article on the Latino/Latina gay community in Queens, we hear the following from Chueca's owner:

Chueca patrons "belly up"
to the bar (2005)
“I like to say we’re about 85 percent Latino and 15 percent Latino lover,” says Fernanda Mendez, owner of Queens’ only Lesbian bar, Chueca. (The name loosely translates to anything that’s not straight.) “The Latin culture in general, gay or not, is very happy and free-spirited. We like to enjoy ourselves, and the general community likes that energy. We work hard like everybody else, we reach our goals, but we like that spice-that caliente. Everyone has some of that salsa in them.”

Mendez’s watering hole is crammed with caliente. On a Saturday night, about 300 women come through the doors of the small Woodside Ave. club to dance-and drink the club’s specialty cocktail, aptly named La Chueca. (It’s a combo of different liquors, set ablaze, and then sucked through a cocktail straw as gathered crowd chants, “Chuuu-ecaaa!”)

Several websites report that this venue is now closed, but no date is given. Based on the dates for the photos and customer reviews (which are uniformly enthusiastic), I would judge that this place opened around 2005 and stayed open until at least June 2009.

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