LAST DAYS FOR LESBIAN LOUNGE
July 1, 2008 --
RUBYFRUIT, the beloved West Village lesbian bar and restaurant, is closing after 15 years - a victim of rising rents and smaller crowds. "It was the first of its kind as a meeting place for local lesbians and those visiting New York from all over the world," owner Debra Fierro told Page Six. "But there have been great strides, and I think lesbians are comfortable anywhere now." The bar, named after Rita Mae Brown's best seller "Rubyfruit Jungle," was written about in Patricia Cornwell's thrillers and hosted Martina Navratilova's retirement party. It once employed as a bartender Tammy Lynn Michaels, who later "wed" Melissa Etheridge. Straights like Liza Minnelli and Ashford and Simpson also dropped in. Fierro is talking with Socialista owner Armin Amiri and others about taking over the space. But her last few weeks at Rubyfruit have her "totally heartbroken. I love this place. When I told some of the women at the bar the other night, they were crying."