Though home to a recently estimated 756,000 people who identify as L.G.B.T.Q., New York has few designated public spaces for queer women, especially after the shuttering of lesbian bars like The Dalloway and Meow Mix.
For all the talk of social and cultural progress, there’s been in the last few years, there are still few tangible solutions to meet the needs of many groups of people. It was only when Sage Fuchs and Jane Goldstein recognized the limitations in their own social lives that they decided to take it upon themselves to represent a community.
Recent college graduates Jane Goldstein, 24, Blaire Preiss, Kelsey Hunter, and Sage Fuchs created Ellis (named after Ruth Ellis, the oldest known “open” lesbian who came out in 1915 and lived to be 100 years old) an exclusive community revolving around nightlife and social events by and for women. By using attractive New York venues and encouraging openness and exploration, Ellis has tapped into a cultural moment to offer something for groups long overlooked. And while dating has been a major draw—fluidity is a key part of their ethos—creating an environment for women, regardless of identity, is the ultimate goal.
In an interview with Guest Of a Guest Fuchs explains: “I think that’s what we pride ourselves in, is these charming environments. Not just a dive bar, but these beautiful places you can go and hang out with your friends, where you actually want to be”
“Two of the oldest bars for lesbian women, which it’s great that they still exist, are Henrietta Hudson and Cubby Hole. We would complain every weekend and be like there’s really nowhere else to go, you wanted to change it up a couple times. And we were like let’s stop complaining and do something about it. That’s where it all started.”
The parties are invite-only, but not as strict as, say, Soho House; once a woman receives an invite, she is welcome to refer a friend, who will be added to the invite and distribution list. Rather than charge a membership fee or a cover charge, ELLIS takes a cut of the bar tab at each event to stock away for its next one.
Read more: Hilary Weaver, Vanity Fair’s Inside the “Soho House for Lesbians” and Their First Hamptons Shindig, and Zara Barrie from GoMag, Lesbian Social Diary: The ELLIS Beach Party Was The Answer To My Gay Prayers
Thank you all for kicking off the Summer Rooftop Series with #ELLIS! See ya at the next one! More pix to come… . . . #ELLIS #ELLISpresents #roofELLIS #ELLISchicks #ELLIShangover #girlparty #roofparty #SIXTYSoHo #A60 #queer #fluid #drinks #soho #NYC #newyork #newcrew #girlssquad Thanks to @sixtyhotels for the beautiful space and @notgracechu for the sexy pix!