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Lesbian Cocktail Bar Dorothy Re-Opens This Weekend Under Split-Rail In Ukrainian Village

After several starts and stops, the low-key bar with '70s vibes reopens Saturday. "This is sort of like a neighborhood cocktail lounge that happens to also be a lesbian bar," its owner said.

Interior of Dorothy, a new bar in Ukrainian Village
Provided/Jordan Graves

UKRAINIAN VILLAGE — A ’70s-themed lesbian cocktail bar is reopening — for the second time — in the basement of a Ukrainian Village restaurant and art gallery this weekend.

Dorothy, 2500 W. Chicago Ave., will reopen its doors Saturday in a renovated space underneath the Split-Rail restaurant and The Martin art gallery.

The bar was started in February 2020 by Split-Rail owner Zoe Schor and business partner Michelle Szot, who has since left the business.

Dorothy was only open for a few weeks before COVID-19 shut down the state’s hospitality industry in March 2020.

Dorothy reopened almost two years later in January 2022. But COVID numbers were again on the rise, leading owners to close the bar for a second time.

“We were only open for a few weeks in January. The timing wasn’t right. Omicron was raging, it was just a challenging time,” Schor said.

Six months later, Schor feels like the time is finally right to reopen the bar for good.

Credit: Quinn Myers/Block Club Chicago
Rainn T., Whitney LaMora, and Zoe Schor behind the bar at Dorothy, 2500 W. Chicago Ave. in Ukrainian Village in February

A former Ukrainian sports bar, Dorothy features retro ’70s furniture, a conversation pit and a vintage bar top left by the space’s previous tenant.

Schor hopes it will become a space for queer people and all neighbors to come together for drinks, conversation and eventually, events.

“So often queer bars are either in a very queer neighborhood, which means that it’s not accessible to everyone in the city. So often queer bars are extremely loud. And so this is just sort of like a neighborhood cocktail lounge that happens to also be a lesbian bar,” Schor said.

“We’re creating a space where people are comfortable, people can settle in, hang out, have a drink and not feel like they have to scream to be heard, or jump onto a dance floor.”

The bar’s focus will be on cocktails, but will also have beer, wine and champagne available.

Dorothy can be easily missed if you don’t know where it is. Patrons enter through a red door on Chicago Avenue, and then walk downstairs.

Schor said while the bar is in no way a secret, the seclusion is definitely part of the appeal.

“We don’t have a giant sign outside, so we are relying on word of mouth and people hopefully knowing we’re there. But we do want people to know we’re there,” she said.

Dorothy will be open 6-10 p.m. Thursdays, 6 p.m.-12 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 6-10 p.m. Sundays.

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