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Step Inside a Houston Reimagination of New York’s Most Legendary LGBTQ Bars

In a pop-up series, Houston’s Trash Panda Drinking Club will channel New York’s Stonewall and Cubbyhole Bar and Houston’s shuttered LGBTQ restaurant La Strada

A black-and-white picture of Stonewall Inn in 1969.
Trash Panda Drinking Club will give itself a Stonewall Inn makeover in honor of Pride month.
Stonewall Inn

Trash Panda Drinking Club’s executive chef Adriana Maldonado is curating a Pride pop-up series that will allow Houstonians to step back in time and revisit some of the most pivotal moments in America’s LGBTQ history through New York bars Stonewall Inn and Cubbyhole.

For one night only on June 6, Houston bargoers can experience a reimagination of Stonewall Inn. Following a violent police raid, the New York bar, which still exists, kicked off the LGBTQ movement and a series of historical riots in support of gay rights in 1969. According to a release, Maldonado and her team will decorate Trash Panda with historical images from Stonewall and will tap Stonewall bartenders Mel Albaladejo and Mike Salanari, who will serve the historic bar’s signature drinks from 7 p.m. to midnight. Maldonado will also offer a New York-themed food menu, featuring chopped cheese sandwiches and New York-style pizza by the slice. Kurt Kelly, the owner of Stonewall Inn, confirmed that the bartenders and Ms. Stonewall 2023, the most recent winner of the bar’s annual beauty pagent will be in attendance, representing Stonewall in person. DJ Chauncy D, who has DJ-ed at Stonewall for around a decade, will also play a live set.

Stonewall Inn’s current location.
Stonewall Inn is still in operation today.
Stonewall Inn

The Stonewall pop-up will be followed up with Trash Panda’s channeling of Cubbyhole Bar, New York’s legendary lesbian haunt, on Tuesday, June 13. Launched by Tanya Saunders, a German-born American who fled Nazi Germany in the 1930s and came out in the 1960s, the Cubbyhole officially opened in New York under its most recent name in 1994.

The second part of the series, which will mark Cubbyhole’s first pop-up outside of New York, has tapped Cubbyhole bartenders Danny Reiche and Deb Greenberg, who will take over Trash Panda from 8 p.m. to 12:30 a.m., serving drinks, including Cubbyhole’s signature Dyke Beer. Bargoers can also experience Maldonado’s New York-style menu, with complimentary slices of cheese pizza served for 30 minutes in homage to the Cubbyhole’s free pizza tradition — plus music by DJ Rozes and DJLC, who are also a part of the LGBTQ community.

Trash Panda’s final Pride event on Saturday, June 24 will honor Houston’s shuttered La Strada. From noon to 5 p.m., Maldonado will serve her rendition of the restaurant’s beloved weekend brunches, with its missed flatbreads, salads, calamari, eggs Benedict, and a series of drag performances.

Cubbyhole Bar’s entrance, featuring a large bush.
Cubbyhole Bar in New York has long served as a haven for the lesbian community.
Cubbyhole bar’s interior, with people sitting at tables, and bright air balloon fixtures hanging from the ceiling.
Cubbyhole first opened in NYC in 1994. One of its signatures is its free pizza nights.
Cubbyhole Bar

As a part of its Pride celebration, Trash Panda will also donate a portion of its proceeds in June to wayOUT, a non-profit organization that works to support safe spaces and empower LGBTQ youth to feel comfortable in their identities.

Maldonado, who is a part of the LGBTQ community, said in a statement that LaStrada was the first LGBTQ establishment she visited in Houston. She also spent much of her time at Stonewall and Cubbyhole while working in New York, all of which inspired the series. “They are two of the most iconic LGBTQ bars in the world, and I could not be more excited to showcase how amazing they are to the Houston market,” Maldonado said.

Trash Panda Drinking Club

4203 Edison Street, , TX 77009 (832) 582-5659 Visit Website