A handful of new—or soon-to-debut—F&B concepts and art-focused venues foster inclusivity and acceptance with thoughtful design elements.
Tarek Merlin, cofounder of Feix&Merlin Architects, and his partner Mark Osman-Barter recently opened Corner, a new coffee shop and creative space in the New Cross section of London. Home to a subterranean art exhibition and event space, the tranquil urban sanctuary aims to put the LGBTQ+ community first and promote inclusivity through its branding and design. “We are passionate about equality, diversity, and inclusion, and we wanted this to be reflected in our approach and the way we present ourselves to the community—a welcoming space open to everyone,” says Merlin. “It was important for us to visibly show our support for the LGBTQ+ community, so we chose to add the LGBTQ+ letters to the windows, as a proud statement about inclusivity as you enter.”
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Telly Justice and Camille Lindsley are the partners—both professionally and romantically—behind HAGS, a restaurant coming soon to New York’s East Village. The pair draws upon their culinary backgrounds (Justice started her career as a cook in vegan cafés and anarchist kitchens, according to Eater), community-oriented principles, and queer sensibilities to create a dining experience built on inclusivity. Reminiscent of a potluck, HAGS will be characterized by a flexible menu and a laidback atmosphere, while prioritizing the emotional and physical comfort of kitchen and front-of-house employees. Locally based Carpenter + Mason is designing the space, which is the former home of David Chang’s Noodle Bar.
LGBTQ+ charity QUEERCIRCLE unveiled a permanent space in London’s Design District earlier this month. Designed by locally based firm David Kohn Architects, the two-story cultural hub comprises a main gallery, reading room, and project space that will host rotating exhibitions and programming aimed at the LGBTQ+ community both hosted onsite and virtually. The inaugural exhibitions include Let Me Hold You, a solo exhibition presenting new work by British painter Michaela Yearwood-Dan, and ‘The Queens’ Jubilee,’ an archive show celebrating the radical drag queens of the Gay Liberation Front coinciding with the 50th anniversary of UK’s first Pride march. Both shows are on view through September 8th.
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David Bowie is the muse for newly opened Rebel Rebel in Portland, Oregon. Self-described as “unapologetically queer,” the approachable neighborhood bar in Old Town offers a contrast to the area’s reputation as the capital of Portland’s club scene. LED pride flags are on display in the windows, while gold-trimmed Art Deco wall carvings, painted black wooden panels, and murals of jewel-tone vines characterize the interior. Rebel Rebel “amounts to a sometimes claustrophobic hall bathed in neon hues and shadow, with a corner stage and booths further inside for watching drag shows or setting up base camp before dancing to local queer DJs,” Eater writes. “I want Rebel Rebel to be a space where every single person who identifies with any single thing they identify as, even allyship, to come in and have a good time,” says owner J Buck.
The Sports Bra
Also located in Portland, the LGBTQ-owned Sports Bra debuted in April. The new sports bar and restaurant is devoted to screening women’s games and matches—making it a first of its kind, reports Portland Monthly. The décor of the venue also pays tribute to female athletes, including Brandi Chastain, Serena Williams, and Sha’Carri Richardson, via framed jerseys, artwork, and other memorabilia. The concept has so far been well received. “It’s one thing to expect it and another thing to see it,” owner Jenny Nguyen said of the crowd on opening day.