Nobody's Darling, an LGBTQ Bar

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When one of their favorite bars closed, longtime friends Angela Barnes and Renauda Riddle knew the loss would be felt in their community. The pair combined their skills, interests, and experiences to open their own bar. 

Nobody’s Darling Was Born 

“We wanted to create a place where we would want to drink and socialize,” Barnes says. “That meant creating a bar where the cocktails are well crafted, creative, and delicious, the music is enjoyable, and the crowd is friendly and laid-back.”

Nobody’s Darling opened May 2021 in the Chicago neighborhood of Andersonville. “As Black queer women, we knew that we had to be intentional about the vibe and the vision so that people knew what to expect,” Barnes tells CircleAround. She and Riddle chose the location to honor the former lesbian-owned wine bar Joie de Vine. 

The Bar Is Meant to Be a Safe Space 

According to a profile from Block Club Chicago, the name of the bar was inspired by an Alice Walker poem called Be Nobody’s Darling, an ode to outsiders and outcasts. “So many members of the LGBTQA+ community do not feel safe in certain spaces. This is especially true for queer women of color,” Barnes says.  

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, many LGBTQ+ bars — especially lesbian and/or Black-owned bars — were forced to close. NBC News reports that rising rents, loss of regular income, and socioeconomic wealth gaps all contributed to this. That’s why Barnes and Riddle knew it was so important they help revitalize their community. “We knew that if we created a space where we felt safe and we welcomed others into that space, we could build trust within our community among people who have historically not been centered,” Barnes says. 

Nobody’s Darling Aims to Support Its Community 

While the majority of Nobody’s Darling’s clientele identifies as lesbian or queer, the bar is meant to be inclusive for all. “We just really feel it is important to make sure we are identifying others in our intersectional community to support and uplift,” Barnes explains.  

Nobody’s Darling stocks spirits and other products that are female-owned, queer-owned, Black-owned, and “all the intersections thereof,” Barnes adds. To help support small businesses in their neighborhood, they do their best to serve only locally made products. “We want to promote those products that aren't necessarily promoted in other venues,” Barnes emphasizes. “Allyship means that we look for ways to support our community in a meaningful way.” 

The Bottom Line 

Nobody’s Darling is swiftly becoming one of the most popular hangout spots in Chicago. “Now that we have almost a year under our belts, we are excited to try more creative offerings on our cocktail menu and continue to look for fun ways to bring in the neighborhood and community,” Barnes says. Today, their bar is just one of two Black-owned queer bars in Chicago, but Barnes hopes more people will continue to build safe spaces for queer folks across Chicago and beyond. 

Tags: Entrepreneur, Women in Business, LGBTQIA+

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Written By

Katka Lapelosová

Katka is a writer from New York City, currently living in Belgrade, Serbia. See Full Bio

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