Cool Friends: Sarah Hallonquist of Dyke Beer
This week’s Cool Friends interview brought to you by fellow Brooklyn-based newsletter writer Becca Stickler. Becca is the author of Read Something Queer, a weekly newsletter about queer books and queer pop culture.
Portrait by Jeanette Spicer
Meet Sarah, an activist, organizer, and co-founder of Dyke Beer. As part of the duo behind Dyke Bar Takeover, she’s spent three years working with Loretta Chung to raise awareness about the disappearance of dyke space and create new spaces for queer peple. Now, to further that mission, they’ve created their own beer—which you can find in bars all over NYC.
Loretta and I met each other about three years ago and started the organization, which we still run. The idea behind it is that there’s a lack of visibility about the lack of dyke space and the fact that we’ve lost a lot of dyke bars. There were over 200 in the 1980s, but the majority of those have closed. There are just three left in NYC, and only one of those, Cubbyhole, is open right now.
So we thought, why not take straight spaces and create queer parties in them? After those events, we’d take any money we got from covers and give it to a non-profit, and pay the artists who’d performed.
What are you hoping to accomplish with Dyke Beer?
With Dyke Beer, the concept is to give information to audiences who might not be familiar with LGBTQ+ rights, or who might not know about lost dyke space. The craft beer community is, if we’re being honest, a lot of straight white men—and if they don’t have queer friends of family, they might not be paying attention to LGBTQ+ rights. So this is really an educational campaign for folks to be a bit more educated. Maybe they’ll take that information and have conversations with other people in the future, or maybe they’ll just understand what’s going on a little more. And that’s the mission behind all of this.
In the future, we’d love our own dyke bar or coffee shop or brewery or something. But of course that’s way in the future—and we’re mostly concentrating on the beer right now.
What’s your favorite part about working with this community?
This is my community, and it includes my friends, my partner, and my queer family. I just love working for all of us and for everyone who cares about us. And I love that we have a positive outlook. We’re not looking back at all of the spaces we’ve lost and thinking that means we can’t have them anymore. We’re actively creating educational campaigns so that we can create new spaces in the future.
There are exciting things on the horizon. Recognizing the history is important, but being able to thrive and to create joy and move forward with both new generations of queer people and old generations of queer people is important, too. So it’s extremely rewarding to be able to do this kind of work with this community.
Upcoming Dyke Beer events:
4/24 Queeraoke @ Bodeguita Bar
5/2 Karate Queer @ Prospect Park
5/9 Burlesque at Bayeux @ Bar Bayeux
5/16 Dyke Cookout @Queensbridge Park
5/23 Sunday Tea @Maite
5/29 Mad Deep Burlesque/Drag Show @ C’Mon Everybody
6/6 Burlesque at Bayeux @ Bar Bayeux
6/12 Dyke Beer Pride Edition @ Greenpoint Beer & Ale Co.
6/24 Open Mic @ Someday Bar