Queens has exactly zero lesbian bars, and one local lesbian is trying to change that.
Kristin Dausch, a performer, nanny and aspiring entrepreneur who has lived in Astoria for over 12 years wanted to bring a lesbian bar to her neighborhood: Dave's Lesbian Bar. After running a local predominantly queer open mic for over year years, and seeing how the community came together for the event, Dausch thought to herself, "Oh wow, this would be great if I could do this every day." Prior to the pandemic, Dausch had Broadway aspirations, but once the idea for Dave's struck earlier this year, they wanted to see if they could get community support to make it happen.
"Since I've put it out in the world, I've received nothing but green lights, a hard and fast, 'Yes, we need this,'" Dausch said. They very much want Dave's to be in the neighborhood they lived in for over a decade, "built by the community, for the community." In June, Dausch launched a GoFundMe, seeking $70,000 to open Dave's. So far, the project has raised almost $6000, with several people offering support with social media, video editing and more skills to help open Dave's.
"Whatever your strengths are, if you want to lend them to this space, they're welcome," Dausch said. "If everybody gives a little bit, and I give everything I've got, which is a whole lot, we're going to make this thing happen." They envision Dave's as a queer-centric mutual aid hub by day, and lesbian bar by night. The space can be used for a community fridge, a drop-off site for the Astoria Food Pantry, a free store, a queer rolling library, and more. "We're investing in community instead of this individualistic mindset," Dausch said, noting the pandemic's mutual aid efforts inspired the vision for Dave's.
Astoria isn't completely without queer venues: Icon, a club, hosts parties, while Albatross, which was formerly a lesbian bar, offers a divey space perfect for group hangs and drag shows. But with only two lesbian bars remaining in New York City, both in Manhattan (Cubbyhole and Henrietta Hudson), Dave's will certainly fill a void.
Dave's first pop-up will be on Saturday, July 24, starting at 2pm and raging as late as possible. The bar will be outdoors, thanks to an open street permit, adjacent to Heart of Gold, a casual beer bar at 31st Ave. and 37th St. in Astoria. The first event will feature queer haircuts by Hairrari, live music by seven "dyke-led" bands, a tattooing station and more. Dyke Beer will be served, along with more drinks for sale. A suggested donation will also be requested at the door. The business will be doing pop-ups monthly until a full-time space is secured.
"The only bearable life under capitalism I can fathom, is one where I'm surrounded by queers and music," Dausch said.