Chicago’s Last Queer Bar Owned By Two Lesbians, Celebrates Black Queer Culture


Renauda Riddle and Angela Barnes wanted to rescue a Chicago-based bar called Joie De Vine, so they made it happen by becoming the new owners of it, according to NBC News.

The last bar in town for queer women was transformed into Nobody’s Darling — which is an inclusive cocktail bar. Bisexual or nonbinary individuals who would like to feel at home while grabbing a drink are not refused.


The establishment which is located at 1744 W. Balmoral Avenue in Chicago began serving clientele in May. The second Black-owned gay bar in Chi-town’s name was inspired by one of Barnes’ poetic favorites called “Be Nobody’s Darling” by Alice Walker. Some of the cocktail bar’s alcoholic beverages are inspired by Black writers, activists and thinkers who embrace being queer, like the owners.

“We put our love into this bar, and people feel it,” Riddle said, according to NBC News. “The energy as soon as you walk in the door, people say they feel that energy. It’s a beautiful space.”

Riddle and Barnes aspire to make Nobody’s Darling a leading establishment to grab a cocktail in Chi-town. Their unique business fills a void which is evident in other U.S. cities. Lesbians who want to have a place to socialize and enjoy adult beverages do not always have the luxury.

When Rachel and Sheila Smallman made attempts to locate a lesbian-friendly bar in 2016 while traveling, they discovered that most establishments were “cisgender gay men” friendly, PBS News Hour reported.

Customers and workers in a gay bar located in New Orleans made their opinions known by yelling for them to leave because they were female. The experience led them to open Herz—which is the sole lesbian-owned bar located in Mobile, Ala., according to the article.

Riddle and Barnes are among revolutionary business owners who want their establishment to illustrate the idea that more “nightlife spaces catering to queer women” can be opened.

“I feel really strongly that this should be an inspiration for more women-centered or lesbian bars to open back up,” Barnes said to NBC News. “It’s just so important, and … very exciting.”

Renauda Riddle and Angela Barnes
Renauda Riddle and Angela Barnes (Facebook Nobody’s Darlings)



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