Lesbian Bar Misses Being Only Bar In Town In Danger of Closing

SANTA FE, NM— Situated in an ordinary stripmall next to a Payless Shoes in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Fanny’s Hideaway is nicknamed The Only Lesbian Bar in the Desert. A sandwich chalkboard reading “Yes, we’re still open! (Cash Only)” stands outside. Inside, owner Debbie Barley, a hardy 62 year old Queens native in cargo shorts, sanitizes the bar in preparation for tonight’s event, a fundraiser to pay the rent. 


But these days they’ve got competition. After nearly three years of the Covid-19 pandemic and an imminent recession that has caused countless restaurants and bars to shut down, Fanny’s Hideaway is miraculously still around, and forced to share attention with other bars in danger of closing.


“It’s not just the pandemic. We’ve always been this far from closing.” Debbie tells us. Fanny’s Hideaway has almost shut its doors over two dozen times in its thirty-one year history.


Linda Ormond and her wife Sasha Wake-Ormond are probably Fanny’s Hideway’s most loyal patrons, since 1994, when they moved to Santa Fe from Chicago. “I get a little miffed when I see all these other bars doing crowdfunding and things like that. Fanny’s is the original about-to-close bar. And we’re kinda proud of that.”


“We were almost shutting down before it was cool,” bartender Amber Valdez added, “now it’s like, they can’t come to our fundraiser because Gianni’s (a bar in the same strip mall) and Monkey Bar (across the street) are also having fundraisers.”


But the bartender, and many patrons, also admit there is good reason for the bar’s bad business. “Fanny’s is kind of a terrible bar.” says Sasha Wake-Ormond, “they only have Bud and Bud Light, and unroasted peanuts. It’s disgusting.”


With changing times, Debbie finally joined social media in mid-2020 in hopes of attracting more, and hopefully younger, customers. She’s been posting about Fanny’s on Nextdoor almost every week.


“Wait, there’s a lesbian bar in town?” read a comment from Earline Park, a 28 year old pansexual woman, who lives just a mile away and had never heard of Fanny’s.


Later that night, Earline and her friend Clare Saber, 27, showed up to the fundraiser. Fanny’s ran out of Budweiser earlier in the evening so the two friends drank Bud Light. Neither ate the unroasted peanuts.


As Debbie closes up, her phone dings. It was the owner of Gianni’s asking her for tips to keep his bar open. Debbie sighs, “I really miss the old days.”

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