Gossip Grill in San Diego is on a shortlist of remaining lesbian bars across the country.
There's another pandemic happening in America: The darkening of lesbian bars. This was already a problem before the COVID pandemic, but due to the tenacity and quick-thinking of their owners and supporters, most have managed to survive the viral threat.
One of those sacred spaces is located on University Avenue in San Diego, California; it's called Gossip Grill. For just over a decade this out-of-the-way spot has grown into quite a powerhouse, and that's no small feat.
Set among the hustle and bustle of San Diego's gayborhood known as Hillcrest, Gossip Grill is a beacon of shelter to lesbians across the country. According to The Lesbian Bar Project, there are only 21 lesbian bars still around in The United States.
These dwindling spaces are primarily for women, non-binary folks and trans women. Male gay bars often dominate queer bar scenes, but when it comes to females they seem to have a harder time finding a place of their very own. That being said, according to their Facebook page: Gossip Grill, "plays nice with boys too."
The lack of female-centric nightlife inclusion is so scarce The Lesbian Bar Project was created to save those still in existence by igniting a fundraising effort. "Without space, we lose power, validity, communal safety, and access to intergenerational dialogue," reads the project's homepage.
One thing that Gossip Grill has going for it (other than a clever play on words in homage to a popular television show), is owner Moe Girton. She has become an LGBT San Diego icon given her work, fundraising and determination.
During the pandemic, Moe gave live social media mixers and tutorials to keep the spirit of San Diego alive. Gossip Grill also announced remote ordering and delivery during California's stay-in-place directive. To keep things entertaining, at certain times of the day you could get food delivered by a drag queen.
“We will not give up,” she said to LGBTQ Nation back in the dark ages of December 2020. “We are resilient, I am committed. I am committed to the community, committed to my staff…. We’re all family and we take care of each other and we will get through this.”
What might set Gossip Grill apart from the crowd is the gratifying food choices--the clue is in its name. With a long list of delicious small bites, appetizers and informal entrees, the bar-slash-eatery has earned quite the reputation and ranks among the best of Hillcrest's renowned comfort cuisine. Try not to scrape the dish with your tongue after finishing a serving of their famous oven-baked spinach dip.
And what's a bar without drinks? There are too many great ones to list here, but take our word for it, they are "poured to your liking."
As far as entertainment, the "Grill" has plenty when the sun goes down and it becomes a nightclub. From drag king shows to girls-night-out merrymakings, this is one spot where soul meets body; as the song goes.
Standing out among gay nightlife in any big progressive city is rather tough. Compound that with being a women's bar and your chances of survival dwindle. With only about 21 of them left in the nation, you can imagine the dedication it takes to prosper.
Sadly, even gay male bars are seeing a decline since the great pandemic of 2020.
But Gossip Grill is finding its second wind. God willing, the downtrodding Delta Variant memes don't apply here. From great people to exhilarating vibes and tasty meals, this is one lesbian bar that stands by its neon motto, "Welcome Home Beautiful!" And no radical virus is going to stop them.
Visit Gossip Grill's website for more information HERE. And if you happen to visit, let them know Gaycation Magazine sent you.