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Pearl Bar: The only lesbian bar in Houston

Bar owner Julie Mabry said this was her dream since she was 16 and the bar is meant to genuinely provide a safe space for her community.

HOUSTON — Real pearls are extremely valuable and the same could be said for Pearl Bar Houston.

"Genuinely providing a safe space for my community," said Julie Mabry, owner of Pearl Bar.

Mabry says she is living out her teenage dream.

"I just became obsessed with the idea of having a lesbian bar just for a safe space," said Mabry.

Marby describes Pearl as a women-forward, all-inclusive LGBTQ queer safe space, but like a house party.

In 1980, there were 200 lesbian bars like Pearl. In 2022, according to the Lesbian Bar Project, there are less than 25. 

Texas has two of them. Pearl Bar Houston is one.

"When you walk in here and you see those pictures," said Mabry. "For me, if it's someone who's not in the community and they look at that it maybe just opens their eyes a little bit. And actually, one of our main regulars is a straight man who is an ally and has been coming here for seven years."

Leo Rodriguez and his wife have been Pearl regulars since 2016. He's who Julie is just talking about.

"Love the place," said Rodriguez. "They see me there Tuesday through Sunday. Not on Monday because they're closed. It's a centerpiece for sure. For the community, people like me that you know call it a home."

A home serving as a safe space and a dream becoming a reality in the form of a Pearl. 

"This was my dream since I was 16," said Mabry. "I'm sober. I'm almost 10 years sober. There's a lot of people that come in here that aren't even drinking that just feel safe in this environment."

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