Saturday, May 30, 2015

Club Libations

Club Libations
Club Libations
Location: 231 North Broad Street (some sites say South Broad Street), Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.

Opened: 1998 or before?

Closed: 2009?

From what has become my gold mine for lost lesbian bars, Clubfly:

Type: Lesbian Club
In a nutshell: A rare find and dance club for lesbians of color. Open Friday and Saturday nights...

This truly is a "rare find" as I seldom find lesbian space that is predominantly for Black women or women of color. Of course, Clubfly reports that it is now "closed," but with no date.

Here is more from Philly2Night:

A rare find and dance club for those who range from gay to straight with everything in between. This upstairs hideaway is the ultimate girls for girls' night scene. Not your typical underground finding above a Northern Italian restaurant. Known as Libations, it is a local change from popular LGBT night spots.

So we also find out that not only was this lesbian space limited in time (Friday and Saturdays only), it was limited in space, i.e. confined to the second floor--a familiar location for dedicated readers here at Lost Womyn's Space. This is a very familiar pattern existing from at least the nineteenth century and the era of ladies restaurants and ladies dining rooms, which were nearly always placed on the second floor above the "main" (men's) facilities. Also reminiscent of racial segregation in general, and the way in which Black patrons were often limited to the balconies in movie theaters.

The more things change, the more they stay the same. We may have the right to vote, the right to go to college (if you are willing to go deeply in debt), but the overall spatial pattern of pushing (limited) women's space to more marginal real estate (i.e. the second floor, which may be accessible by stairs only) remains.

GayCities adds a few more details:

Upstairs women's bar and nightclub
Dark and dive-y, this bar, upstairs from a Northern Italian restaurant is popular with ladies on the weekends. The dress is upscale.

Tags: Mostly Women, 20-somethings, 30-somethings, African American, Dancing
Fortunately, GayCities also has some customer reviews which are always nice to have. Sadly, they also document the entrenched racism/sexism that still exists in the GLBT community:
From October 2009:
coming to philly
From January 2008 (PhillyStud9):
Not what it used to be
Libations has now become the kiddie club to hang out at on Friday and Saturday night. Back in the day(1998-1999) it was great, all races, all ages. Not is just the menatlly young black crowd that is not worth the $5 cover charge....
Also from January 2008 (SoulSista):
Can we do better ?
First, Libations isn't a nightclub...its a bar that's gay on the weekend. This bar is definitely not for the mature crowd and the people there are not social at all. Most just stand against the wall with a scowl on their face. While I waited for my sweety to get her drink, I looked around the bar at all the depressed faces. My fiance and I went because we wanted to get out of the house...bored as we usually are in this city. Sadly Libations and Sister's shows the racial divide in the community. if you are looking for fun, smiling faces, diversity and great atmosphere..skip this club.
Sister's was another lesbian bar in Philadelphia--now lost as well (2013). 
And finally, here is a great narrative from April 2007 by Nigia at uwishunu:
The dramatically narrow, dark staircase at the top of Philadelphia restaurant Upstairs At Varalli, reveals that the underground scene has emerged. Located at Broad and Locust, it is a light at the end of the tunnel for Black and Latino lesbians looking for an underground scene. This upstairs hideaway is the ultimate girls for girls’ night scene. Not your typical underground finding above a Northern Italian restaurant. Known as Libations, it is a local change from popular LGBT night spots. The night club is also an alternative scene for hip-hop and R&B lovers. This club mixes up the local Philadelphia LGBT scene and puts a definite twist on Philadelphia night life.

Libations is an experience of real underground Philadelphia nightlife. The life that many thought only existed in cities like New York, D.C and Atlanta. The club blends the intimacy of a small 21 plus venue with the atmosphere of a dance heavy mega-club. The walls sweat in hip-hop and R&B rhythms that keep the crowd moving and when it dies down to a simple two-step, female bar tenders serve up the best, only to rejuvenate the crowd who always finds its way back to its dance floor.

So yeah, it is definitely not an ambiance for the mild with a cultural scene that exudes of modishly chic women and flair. This Friday and Saturday night hang-out has a sound and a style that calls for you to roll out of the house in only the best and latest attire. A style that creates a fashion playground that can range from diva avant garde to edgy androgynous. Let’s just say that with its pulsating realm and indulgence for eye catching ladies, Libations night club keeps its girls fully aroused.

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