Perhaps the most hit or miss lesbian event in Los Angeles is Girlbar. And when I say "hit or miss," I mean it. You can have the time of your life one night, and want to gouge your eyeballs out the next.
I first went to Girlbar about six years ago. During that time, half of the girls there looked like Olsen twins. They frequently had their boyfriends along to watch them “experiment.” (I wonder how that worked out?) The other half were equally young, extremely butch, and permanently boyfriend-free.
A few years ago, the crowd shifted to a slightly older and much more sexually self-actualized group. That was great while it lasted, but, eventually a number of competing promoters showed up. A lot of the Girlbar regulars abandoned ship, and all that remained were a bunch of tube-top clad girls from the Inland Empire (which included the go-go dancers).
So I hadn’t been in quite some time, but a group of us somehow got coerced into it by a friend a couple of weeks ago. It was actually … really fun and pretty hot. Dare I say it, but Girlbar just might be back!
After ascending the gigantic fire escape/staircase into the current venue, Ultra Suede, we forked over our cover charges. The cover can be avoided or at least alleviated if you get on the list in advance or show up early, but that’s not how I roll.
Upon payment, you are stamped on the inner-wrist with dark black ink that reads “GIRLBAR.” It looks like a prison tattoo and doesn’t wash off for days. Plan your weekend accordingly.
That night happened to be the 20th Anniversary of Girlbar. The Girlbar website indicates that the owners started in November of 1990, so I’m not sure if the 20-year anniversary calculation is a math issue or if lesbian years are different or what. Regardless, that’s a really long time to keep a party going, and co-founders Sandy Sachs and Robin Gans clearly know what they’re doing.
The place was packed to the gills with women of all descriptions, with a strong concentration of the young and hot variety. The music was great and the pole dancers were quite … talented. Women stood around them, doling out huge wads of cash. That must be a pretty good gig, if you can handle the audience participation element. I guess the “no touching” rule doesn’t apply in lesbian clubs. A number of girls faux made out with the dancers.
I was walking through the club with Dara Nai when a couple of AfterEllen.com readers spotted her and began shrieking and convulsing. One girl was so excited that she ended up pulling the other girl’s hair, which led that girl to shout out one of the best things I’ve ever heard in a nightclub, “Ow! This s— is real!”
I never have my camera handy when I need it the most.
A shockingly good time was had by all. Clearly, Girlbar deserves another chance. We wound up staying until closing, which is only slightly embarrassing.
At the end of the night, I made it down the crazy stairs without killing myself. My hair remained attached. Best of all, my wrist stamp wore off in time for Thanksgiving dinner.