Manhattan’s Last Black-Owned LGBTQ Bar Needs Your Help

How you can help save Harlem's Alibi Lounge

Alibi Lounge
The Alibi Lounge is one of the last Black and Latinx-centric LGBTQ bars in New York.
Alibi Lounge/GoFundMe

With the nationwide protests in support of the Black Lives Matter movement swinging into full gear right around the time Pride Month kicked off, there’s never been a better time to support the Black LGBTQ community. (Though, of course, the best time to support marginalized communities is all the time, and activism shouldn’t end with a specific cultural moment or month). So if you’re looking for a way to show your support for the Black community this Pride Month, the last black-owned LGBTQ bar in Manhattan is a great place to start.

The Alibi Lounge in Harlem is close to shuttering for good after being robbed in the midst of New York’s prolonged coronavirus lockdown, which had already posed a significant financial strain on the business. Now the bar’s owner, Alexi Minko, is fighting to save the business he founded in 2016 as “a safe heaven for everyone in the world, but especially for the LGBTQ community of Harlem,” he told Paper.

A GoFundMe Minko started for the bar has already raised more than half of its $50,000 goal, which Minko said will go to support his efforts to “keep my black/latino LGBTQ employees on payroll, pay rent, taxes, and utilities covering the months we quarantined.”

Minko opened the bar ten years after immigrating to New York from Gabon with the intent “to provide employment, training, and potential small business ownership skills to the LGBTQ black/latino young adults of Harlem,” he wrote in on the GoFundMe page. According to Paper, the bar is one of the last such dedicated nightlife spaces for queer people of color in New York, and it’s currently at risk of following in the footsteps of fellow Black and Latinx queer bars that have closed in recent years in Brooklyn, Chelsea, Washington Heights and Midtown.

“In my humble opinion, there’s no other place like Alibi Lounge for the queer community in NYC especially in northern Manhattan and its borders,” Minko told Paper. “It’s a neighborhood bar where everyone knows your name and that has an identity very much like the community that it serves.”

You can help keep this important cultural space alive by donating here. And while you’re at it, here’s a list of other Black-owned restaurants and bars that could always used your support.

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