Houston, We Have a Problem
Hey Hillcrest. It’s Gossip Girl here. And I have the biggest news ever. We just rang in 2020, and I’m sure everyone has some exciting gossip and stories to share. I for one had a very low-key New Years because I’ve been a little too messy over the holidays. But, let’s dive into this next edition of “Houston, We Have A Problem.” Title aside, this column isn’t just about problems, but also about why certain places in our little slice of society are so important to the gayborhood experience. For those of you who figured it out already, I think it’s time we share some Gossip, don’t you?
Gossip Grill is absolutely on my list of favorite bars for a day or night out in San Diego. From the artwork, the strong drinks, the staff and the food, Gossip is more than meets the eye. It can serve as both a cozy brunch spot and a club experience during a Friday night on the dance floor. The staff makes every interaction count. Creating memories is something they do best. After all, what’s a night without a little gossip? It’s also the only bar for queer women, lesbian women and femmes in Southern California.
Over the last decade alone, many gay bars have closed their doors due to the changing cultural norms and the shifting attitudes regarding where our community tends to go. Lesbian bars in particular have been the main casualties, and San Diego is one of the few cities left that has held onto a lesbian bar. Gossip Grill has managed to weather the storm and carve out a place as a thriving and much-needed staple to break up the monotony that is Hillcrest.
When you walk down the street of our vaunted gayborhood, you are likely bombarded with advertisements featuring ripped gay men baring their six packs. While there is nothing inherently wrong with that (it is a gay neighborhood), let’s not forgot the L in LGBTQIA+. Gossip’s biggest strength, aside from the hearts of their staff, is the fact that they are an open and inclusive space for all walks of life, but especially for women. On any given night in Gossip Grill, there’s one thing that may capture your attention. The big purple neon sign sprawled with the words, “Welcome Home Beautiful.” In my column, we’ve talked about chosen families, spaces created for survival and remembering that going out also means respecting each other. That neon sign, in all its simplicity, encapsulates the feeling that Hillcrest is here to invoke. It is a home for so many women and queer people in general, and it is important to remember why this space is valuable.
I fell in love with Gossip after one of my first experiences going there. After having about 4 Moscow mules and two shots of fireball, I decided to do what anyone who makes bad decisions at midnight wants to do. I danced. I also begged the DJ (sorry Dida), to play me one Ariana Grande song. She played me an 8-minute medley. I danced my heart out and I was grateful to be given the space to just be my drunk and uninhibited self. Fully acknowledging that it’s not a space specifically created for me, yet I’m nonetheless encouraged to be as free as the women who enter the doors. That moment defined my admiration for Gossip Grill.
As a gay man (at least for us in San Diego), I can name multiple spaces that truly cater to what we want, yet only one for women. Yet despite its designation as a lesbian bar, Gossip has fostered a unique atmosphere that caters to all creeds and identities. Their success is merited because of this idea that inclusivity isn’t just a word used to get people in the door. My own personal nights out at Gossip are met with a sense of warmth knowing that I can go somewhere, be safe, have impeccable cocktails and, also know that my friends, no matter what their gender identity or expression is, have a place where they can be who they are as well. This isn’t to say other bars/clubs don’t follow the same principles, but Gossip Grill’s atmosphere and patrons exemplify that in a way that they generally cannot.
Whether it’s the bars we go to, the people we hang out with or the reasons we’re out in the first place, going out is one of the cornerstones of what it means to be an adult and to be part of this family we call the LGBTQIA+ community. We all could use a refresher on being more mindful to one another. This involves both remembering the spaces we go to fulfill different niches for some of us, but also encourage us to share in solidarity with our fellow community members.
Next time you’re out, think about supporting the spaces that represent some of our more underrepresented community members. Give a thought to where you can go and see those in our L and T communities feel at home. We wouldn’t be where we are today without the work done by women of all gender identities. As Southern California’s only queer women’s bar, I want to encourage folks to continue to show up and cherish Gossip for the home and family that those open doors provide. Anyways, until next time. You know you love me…XOXO Gossip Girl.
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