Sunday, November 30, 2014


Blue Pride having press conference in front of
Cups (1995). A group of US LGBT police officers
were harassed here by Puerto Rican police officers.

Location: 1708 Calle San Mateo, Santurce
San Juan, Puerto Rico

Opened: 1980

Closed: Early 2011

The description from GayCities makes Cups sound pretty interesting:

Tropical bar for women
The only place in San Juan that caters exclusively to lesbians, Cups has offered great entertainment since 1980. Come on Wednesdays or Fridays for live music and cabaret, or on Thursdays for karaoke.

So does this one from Moon Travel Guide:

The local lesbian crowd gathers in the laid-back ambiance of Cups (1708 Calle San Mateo, 787/268-3570). DJs spin dance music on Wednesday night, karaoke is Thursday night, and live music is Friday night. There are pool tables, too.

As does this one from the Backpacker:

Old San Juan. For the a friendly low-key lesbian bar that attracts a mix of all nationalities.
And Fodor's:
This woman-oriented bar in the middle of Santurce has been a mainstay of San Juan's nightlife since 1980. Karaoke on Thursday is especially popular. It's open Wednesday to Saturday.
From Go Magazine (December 2008):
For a ladies-only atmosphere, check out Cups (1708 Calle San Mateo), San Juan’s only exclusively lesbian bar, which combines live music, dancing and billiards.
And from the same magazine a few months earlier (July 2008):
Further along Ponce De Leon, near the San Mateo Church, is Cups (1708 Calle San Mateo), a women’s bar and tavern. Spacious enough for live music, dancing and billiards, this hip lesbian haunt has something for both the pool shark and the party girl.

On the other hand, the description of Cups from ClubFly is a little less promising:

Type: Lesbian Bar
In a nutshell: Cups Bar and Lounge is a San Juan lesbian bar well frequented by gay boys. Wednesday and Friday features a 2 for 1 happy hour from 5pm ...

Trip Advisor doesn't sound so hot either:

Cups (gay/lesbian dancebar)

As for customer reviews, here's a yelp customer review from Jennie T. of Chicago ( December 2009):

This is the ONLY lesbian bar I know (so far). It seems as though everywhere I go, gay bars usually only consist of a lesbian night or a women's night, but there isn't a bar for women by women who love women. In other words, this bar/nightclub is absolutely awesome!

We went here last Friday night, and they had a live band playing. The music was pretty good.

There was also a cute curly-haired bartender who made us a chocolaty drink that I didn't expect to be delicious (because I don't really like chocolate).

Now, why isn't there a place like this in Chicago? Well, you know I'm definitely going back the next time I'm in San Juan!

A customer at GayCities also gave Cups a good review (September 2010):

Spent 7 days in puerto Rico and found this jewel. A def lesbian hangout but the staff is inviting and bilingual. It was a great way to relax and meet some new people. people drive from all over for there Thursday to Saturday happy hour from 7pm to 9 pm. Club closes at 2 am but more parties till 5am on the same street.

It did NOT a get a good review from an African-American woman, also at GayCities (January 2010):

Well all I can say is that my partner and I went to CUPS tonight and we felt like we were about to be lynched!!! The service was horrible and unwelcoming. The bartender assisted everyone else, including people who walked up after me, and then served me when she felt like it. My advice to all the African American people who are thinking about going to this club, DON'T!!!

But despite all the reviews good and bad, we also see that the owner of Cups, a woman by the name of Dr. Rosalinda Ramos, was considered a "longtime lesbian activist on the island." See here.

A 1995 incident involving a group of LGBT police officers meeting in Puerto Rico being harassed by local San Juan police at Cups was reported in the New York Times. This is also a good account by a gay officer from the NYPD about the incident.

A yelp commenter from November 2012 notes that Cups was closed. ClubFly and a number of other sites also report the same. Lonely Planet states that Cups closed down in "early 2011."

Also see this January 2014 piece called Reclaiming Lesbian Spaces in Puerto Rico that mentions Cups.

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