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Bum Bum Bar, Roosevelt Avenue Lesbian Bar, Closes After More Than 2 Decades

Bum Bum Bar (Google Maps)

March 1, 2019  By Meghan Sackman

Bum Bum Bar, the gay-owned and operated bar located in Woodside for more than two decades, has closed its doors.

The bar, which opened at 63-14 Roosevelt Ave. in the early 1990s, saw three generations of LGBT owners, and appears to have closed late last year.

Its closure was announced in a release today by NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project, a group that works to highlight and preserve sites connected to the city’s LGBT community.

The non-profit says Bum Bum Bar (pronounced “boom boom”), was among the four remaining lesbian bars in New York City, and attracted a “mixed, but mostly working-class, Latina lesbian crowd.”

“It’s a really sad commentary on the state of nightlife for LGBTQ women,” said Ken Lustbader, Co-Director of NYC LGBT Historic Sites Projects. “This was one of the only places that provided the opportunity for LGBTQ women to meet each other in a safe environment.”

The group even pointed to the bar’s history in providing support for the inaugural Queens Pride Parade in 1993.

It is unclear why the bar closed, and the owner was unable to be reached for comment by press time.

Danny Hart, the site’s most recent owner, was interviewed by Go Magazine about the bar and its origins after she took ownership of it in 2016.

“The word ‘Bum Bum’ is actually Brazilian,” she said. “It means ‘the booty of the women.’ In Brazil they have a contest called the Bum Bum Contest, and it takes into account the whole physique of the woman.”

The magazine said the two gay men that opened the bar named it after the contest as an “homage to their beautiful women customers.”

The nightlife establishment, which had a 175-person capacity and a large dance floor, held a huge annual Pride event and also participated in the annual Jackson Heights Pride Parade.

The bar’s unexpected closure was met with surprise and concern.

“I was shocked to hear they were closed,” said Gwen Shockey, a Brooklyn artist who studies queer nightlife and incorporates it into her “Addresses” project–a digital map of lesbian/queer historical sites that have existed in the city. Her work is unaffiliated with the NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project.

Shockey speculated that the reason for Bum Bum bar’s closing, besides the changing neighborhood and rising rents, could be the difficulties queer women face as business owners, as her research has demonstrated.

“People have frequently mentioned that it’s harder for women to open and maintain spaces because of pay discrepancies,” Shockey said. “Women aren’t making as much money as men on the dollar and it makes it harder to succeed or have as consistent of a nightlife following as gay men.”

The NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project said its work in documenting this bar’s trajectory and that of other sites helps “document an invisible history to show the public that LGBTQ history is American history.”

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12 Comments

Liz

It is very sad to see that the only lesbian Latino club closed it door. However, I hope that a new club opens that has more respect for it customers. Something more classy and that represents 2019 not the cheap clubs of the 90 ‘s. Perhaps a grill lounge that turns into a club later at night.

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Jay

It is very sad especially because the escuelita was the nightlife for us Latinos and Latinas to hear some good Spanish music when it closed down I was thrilled to have boom booms it will definitely take a toll us or the loved Latin music I hope they will be opened or someone else the place was getting too small for such a large crowd yes it was a very large crowd so it was time to upscale but again it saddens me that is close and it wasn’t prepared to be closed at this time so for you homophobic people too bad we might not be at that location but we still exist God bless

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Bill Wilson

Good riddance to this den of filth. You will only be missed by the alcoholics drowning their sorrows in watered down booze. If all of you pooled your monies you could reopen this cesspool elsewhere. Instead you will cry about discrimination, rents, and other crap. You need a spiritual solution to your problems. Please contact AA and get the help you need.

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Friend of Bill?

Wow. Those are some words of encouragement. Why so angry? Are you sure that it’s the other people who should contact AA for help?
Are you a friend of Bill, Bill?

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Pat Myaz

Interesting career choice.. Studying queer nightlife to create a digital map of lesbian/queer historical sites that have existed in the city.

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Anonymous

As an employee of the bar it was sad to see this happen. This had nothing to do with the customers or high rents. As a matter of fact the rent was very reasonable for the size and area. I will leave it there but it was a very sad feeling inside me seeing what happened to this establishement. I’ve been there for over 20 years and this one does hurt.

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The Macho Man

I hope they open a strip club with some lesbian shows , girl on girl action.

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