Iconic haunts close, new spaces take root

CHICAGO – People fill the bar and patio at Nobody’s Darling on a Saturday in early May, sipping craft cocktails and listening to the music of a local queer DJ.

“We’re so much more than a cocktail bar,” said co-owner Renauda Riddle, 42. “We’re almost like a community center.”

Nobody’s Darling is one of an estimated 27 lesbian bars in the U.S., down from the hundreds that existed in the 1980s, according to The Lesbian Bar Project, an awareness campaign that runs a website and released a short film and TV series on the topic.

It’s also one of six new spaces added to the The Lesbian Bar Project’s list since last summer. As the COVID-19 pandemic ebbs, a resurgence of lesbian bars, restaurants and pop-ups has begun in parts of the U.S., according to filmmakers Erica Rose and Elina Street, co-directors of the campaign.

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