Meet So.Gay, the new destination created by gays, for gays 🏳️‍🌈 So.Gay is bringing gay culture to life 🏳️‍🌈 Meet So.Gay, the new destination created by gays, for gays 🏳️‍🌈 So.Gay is bringing gay culture to life 🏳️‍🌈 Meet So.Gay, the new destination created by gays, for gays 🏳️‍🌈 So.Gay is bringing gay culture to life 🏳️‍🌈 Meet So.Gay, the new destination created by gays, for gays 🏳️‍🌈 So.Gay is bringing gay culture to life 🏳️‍🌈 Meet So.Gay, the new destination created by gays, for gays 🏳️‍🌈 So.Gay is bringing gay culture to life 🏳️‍🌈 Meet So.Gay, the new destination created by gays, for gays 🏳️‍🌈 So.Gay is bringing gay culture to life 🏳️‍🌈

Club Lambda is placing Black gay culture at the center of the dance floor

Share This Post

A gay couple created New York’s first Black-owned gay nightlife empire

Harlem and Brooklyn might have been at odds in history, but they have both served as emblems of Black culture. Even so, many gay men of color have long struggled to find representation within both areas. Club Lambda, the Black-owned gay bar in Greenpoint that opened in 2022, is working to change that, and it’s only growing in popularity.

Charles Hughes and his husband, Richard Solomon, are leveraging nightlife to bridge the Black queer communities in two neighborhoods that once existed worlds apart—before developers displaced local roots. 

“We saw the success of Lambda Lounge [in Harlem] and agreed that other boroughs needed access to LGBTQ urban markets. So we decided to open in Brooklyn,” says Hughes. “It’s common for people to begin the night at one place and make their way across town by the end.” 

Even today, it’s typical for New Yorkers to stick to their neighborhood for going out. Lambda has gradually become a name on the lips of Black gay New Yorkers when you ask them about their weekend plans. 

Club Lambda, in particular, is becoming a fixture in Brooklyn, recently named one of the “best bars in NYC right now” by Thrillist. The club offers two dance floors on separate floors that feel like different venues; plus, there’s a lush garden where you can smoke hookah or weed. Lambda symbols are marked all over the venue, ensuring everyone’s affiliation is to a good time. 

Screenshot 2024 04 23 at 8.15.43 AM
Image courtesy of Club Lambda

The club is open every Friday and Saturday. Hughes clarifies that while their parties might celebrate Black and Latin culture, everyone is welcome. Additionally, they’re open twice a month on Thursdays and once on Sundays and host a monthly lesbian night.

There is a $10 cover after midnight, but this is when the club gets lit and crowded, so it’s worth it. 

Just as lesbians in New York need Henrietta Hudson and gay male tourists need Industry, Black gay men need spaces where they’re not a minority – and always feel safe and free to let loose. But that doesn’t mean other identities aren’t welcome inside. 

“We get a lot of white guys [at the door] that come that ask for permission to come in, which is absurd,” says Hughes. “We’re for all communities.” 

Hughes and his husband might’ve been new to the entrepreneurial bar scene but not to business. They own a residential building in the Bronx, and the “Lambda” concept was born from a liquor brand they cofounded, aptly named Lambda Vodka. 

Naturally, their clubs became their best clients. 

Hugh’s drive comes from his entrepreneurial mother. “My thing is, I don’t want to sit on money too long because I’m gonna spend it on Jordans and vacations,” he says. 

Instead, he’s always on the hunt for the next venture. 

Screenshot 2024 04 23 at 8.15.36 AM
Image courtesy of Club Lambda

Hughes believes a lack of education and access to funding has prevented much of the Black LGBTQ+ community from becoming entrepreneurs catering to their demographic. He thinks it’s essential to create awareness that there are several avenues to entrepreneurship if you educate yourself on available resources (including grants) and how to access them. 

Of course, this doesn’t level the playing field regarding the prejudice and discrimination in every industry, but he says it’s worth the fight. 

Gregory White,  a producer at ABC’s “Tamron Hall,” says a friend brought him to check out Lounge Lambda because of its ownership – and mission of community empowerment. 

“Who wants to venture to Hell’s Kitchen and Chelsea all the time when you can support an establishment in your neighborhood run and operated by people who look like you?” says White. 

When asked whether – as a Black gay man – he feels different in predominately Black or white spaces, he says he’s comfortable around all races and cultures, but it’s more of an issue when it comes to venturing into uncharted nightlife territory. 

“There are times when I do feel the difference, specifically in an establishment I’m not familiar with,” says White. If you were to take me to a place like Gym Bar in Chelsea or Hush in HK, then I’d be fine because I’ve been there many times, and therefore, I know what the clientele encompasses. I even know the bartenders on a somewhat personal level, so that feeling of familiarity is comforting for me.”

However, if you were to take him to a place he has never been to and the demographic is mainly white, then he may feel uneasy. “I’d start to think I’m being judged and probably don’t belong in this space,” adds White. 

Queer spaces haven’t been immune from peddling discrimination against their own people, as identity is nuanced, and hate can permeate any group. Kristopher Fraser, a stylist and former fashion journalist at WWD and The Daily Beast, says it’s important for individuals to be informed of the pockets in which their dollars are going. 

“The idea of Black-owned LGBT spaces was treated like a foreign concept for decades, and in 2024, it’s great that there are finally some options,” says Fraser. “For many years, gay bars especially have had a concentration of ownership among gay wealthy white men.”

Screenshot 2024 04 23 at 8.15.29 AM
Image courtesy of Club Lambda

Fraser notes many of these white owners “failed to foster inclusive spaces properly.” He reflects on the alleged toxic and racist environment that closed down the once popular gay club the Q. “The LGBT movement was built on the backs of queer Black and brown people, and it’s important we have spaces where we are not just welcomed but celebrated,” adds Fraser. 

Any queer person who doesn’t understand the revolutionary nature of the Lambda concept should consider themselves privileged or lucky. 

In quantum mechanics, lambda is the symbol for wavelength, which describes how subatomic particles move and interact. 

Lambda Lounge and Club Lambda might represent different neighborhoods, but they’re united in the wavelength of a community that has been a pivotal part of New York’s infrastructure, economy, and heart. 

Related Posts

Phillip Collins is helping spread Good Black Art across America 

Phillip Collins, the founder of Good Black Art,  experienced...

2 viral twinks break the internet with a “Second Thought”

Gay men need a "Second Thought" on quick-hit hookup...

The 12 hottest pics from Sniffies’ Pride Party

Go behind-the-scenes of Sniffies HQ for the platform's hot-AF...

PHOTOS: Archer’s House Party takes over Fire Island

Archer, the dating app for gay and queer men,...

So.Gay’s 5 home fragrance picks from gay-owned Poured Candle Bar

Gay men, perhaps more than most, appreciate the intoxicating...

NYC Hot Spots: The Nines

From ambiance to happy hour to events to location,...