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The Oldest Gay Bar in Queens Secures Its Future in Jackson Heights

Plus, Donna is back in Williamsburg with tacos — and more intel

The exterior of Friend’s Tavern.
Via Google Maps

The oldest gay bar in Queens, Friend’s Tavern, will remain in Jackson Heights at 78-11 Roosevelt Avenue, near 79th Street. Owners and husbands Eddie Valentin and Casimiro Villa recently purchased the building that has housed the bar for nearly three decades, Qns first reported.

The bar, which opened in 1989, has come be more than just a place to get a drink, dance, or sing karaoke. Since opening, the bar has become a community hub, particularly for the Latinx queer scene. The New York LGBT Historic Sites Project also describes Friend’s involvement in local social justice work and serving as a queer safe haven in the area.

Though it was not immediately clear whether Friend’s was in imminent danger of closing without purchasing the site, many gay bars have feared they wouldn’t be able to survive the pandemic.

Bushwick has gained three new supermarkets to help alleviate food insecurity

Bushwick Daily reports that the city’s Food Retail Expansion to Support Health (FRESH) program will install three supermarkets in the neighborhood at 54 Noll Street, 1389 Broadway Avenue, and 605 Hart Street. The new grocery stores are aimed at helping neighborhood residents, 17 percent of whom are currently food insecure, according to the news report. The opening dates have yet to be set.

Donna is back in Williamsburg — kind of

Beloved Williamsburg bar Donna, known for its standout piña colada, closed in late 2020. But fans of the spot can rejoice: The bar is returning, albeit temporarily, as a food pop-up at Nicky’s Unisex with its burritos and tacos. The Brooklyn pop-up starts on November 30 and will run from Sunday through Tuesday — though it’s not clear for how long — at 90 South Fourth Street, near Berry Street.

Art thieves have met their match at restaurants

Customers stealing plates, candles, and the like from restaurants is nothing new. But after two incidents of stolen art at Jolene and Four Horsemen went viral, Grub Street investigates how restaurant owners are using social media to call out the thieves.