Brooklyn is a whole city world unto itself, with over 2.5 registered residents. And while most of us know about New York City’s gayest neighborhoods, like Chelsea and Park Slope, in 2013 Brooklyn went beyond gayborhoods and was named the Lesbian Capital by the borough president.
In this huge city, we’ve seen several queer businesses come and go in the recent decades. Partly this is because it really is difficult to be a small business owner anywhere, especially in New York. Partly it is because the businesses have historically come under intense scrutiny and been shut down more quickly than their straight-centric counterparts. And it is also because times are changing, and what the community seems to crave are not just the secret, exclusive joints and parties as much as collaborative, broad community-centric establishments; somewhere you can bring your diverse group of friends and everyone has a great time. Nothing will take the place of some old spots in my book—like Meow Mix, The Hole, or Catty Shack—but that’s because those were my spots, when I was single, reckless and having a blast.
There are still queer parties rotating all over town and plenty of “friendly” businesses to frequent as a resident or tourist. That said, here are some of our current favorites spots and areas (not possibly exhaustive by any stretch), and a few that have come by way of recommendation. In addition, you will find dozens of restaurants, shops and bars along your walks–these are just some highlights with a history of gay support or a new story of gay fun!
They’re organized neighborhood by neighborhood–because, if nothing else, Brooklyn is a walking town where you want to go to a neighborhood/area for more than just one stop, and it’s worth checking out as many wonderful things in the area as possible.
Superfine (126 Front St.) A family-run restaurant with extraordinary fare. Check out the regularly updated menu.
Powerhouse Arena (37 Main St.) An art-centric boutique bookstore, exhibition space and event space. It’s a block from the Brooklyn Bridge Park and the Bridge itself. Independent bookstores are our friends.
Brooklyn Bridge Park Spectacular views of the East River, Brooklyn Bridge and the Manhattan skyline.