Tel Aviv's Last Lesbian Bar Closes Its Doors After 14 Years

It would be hard to fill the void left by the Minerva, which wasn't just another hangout for Tel Aviv's lesbian community; it was its beating heart.

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The Beit Hasho'eva bar officially closed its doors on Sunday, bringing to a halt 14 years in which it served as the heart of Tel Aviv's lesbian community.

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The Beit Hasho'eva bar in Tel Aviv, August 3, 2009.Credit: Nir Kafri

Throughout the years, the Minerva, as it was formerly known, was burnt down, reopened, sold to different owners, only to return to the hand of community stalwart Adi Keizerman under the new moniker "Beit Hasho'eva."

It was always changing. Its basement first served as a gallery, then as an empty dark room. A pool table went in, and then out, a stage and smoking lounge were added, the DJ booth moved around a bit, but in essence things stayed the same.

However, the Minerva wasn’t just the lesbian community's favorite hangout, but an inherent and important part of the life of that community. It has not finally closed its doors, after 11 years as the Minerva and 3 as the Beit Hasho'eva following the owner's wishes to turn the building into a luxury high-rise.

In its final closing time, the bars black walls were lit with soft spotlights which illuminate the bar that stands at the Minerva's center. Tall, square tables are positioned around, under a row of brothel-like red lanterns. The DJ's booth stands on a small podium.

Facing it, behind a black curtain and a old lit-up Motel sign, a smoking lounge appears with three couches and illustrated pink wallpaper. The minimalist décor in the bar was meant to serve the girls who came there, getting out of the way of the odd look across the room.

And at the time of its closing, squares and hipsters, fat and thin, young and old – the entire community – came to pay their last respects to the Minerva, the only exclusively lesbian bar in a city advertising itself as a refuge for Israel's LGBT population.

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