Bars and restaurants have often served as critical safe havens for the LGBTQ+ community. Throughout much of history, operating such establishments was a radical act—one that some proprietors risked everything to do. The founder of the earliest lesbian bar in the United States was deported for obscenity and later murdered. In 18th-century England, when homosexuality was a crime punishable by death, the propietors of “molly houses” still welcomed patrons, even in the face of police raids and brutality.
Today, queer-friendly drinking and dining establishments in many countries are decidedly out and proud. From New Orleans, which boasts one of the oldest continuously-operating gay bars in the United States, to New York, where a legendary subterranean piano bar now inhabits the space of a famous “boy’s bar,” many of these spaces are steeped in history. Come for a drink, stay to celebrate the generations of activists who fought for the rights of these places and their patrons to exist.