Meet NYC’s New Bar Concept for Queer Women, grotto

A dearth of spaces for queer women in NYC has brought life to grotto: a new one-of-a-kind sapphic cocktail bar concept that invokes a comfortable, safe, and atmospheric place intended for queer womxn, as well as those who identify as trans and non-binary. 

Occupying the Parlor Room at Soho House’s Lower East Side outpost Ludlow House until February 26, grotto is open for dinner plus cocktails every Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Sunday brunch is also on the agenda this next month and a half. 

Cofounders Austa Somvichian-Clausen and Victoria Geddes are a Brooklyn-based couple who became frustrated with the lack of date night haunts for queer women. Creating grotto for the community is their solution. 

Grotto NYC women posing
Victoria Geddes and Austa Somvichian-Clausen

While Geddes brings her seasoned creativity and professional art background to the table, Somvichian-Clausen is a hospitality savant, a result of her prolific journalistic career that has seen her write hotel, restaurant, and bar reviews galore. In addition to spaces, her love runs deep for penning stories about cocktails, a penchant that has inspired grotto’s bespoke drink menu. 

“Our cocktails are meant to be inventive but still approachable, with no fluff or filler. We’re grateful to have received support from women-owned brands such as UME Plum Liqueur, which guests can find in our Plum Negroni alongside Roku Gin. We also have a delicious fig and vanilla-injected cocktail that utilizes Basil Hayden Bourbon. Our take on the Espresso Martini features Mr. Black, Agua Magica Mezcal, and Amaro Montenegro, and was inspired by the movie Practical Magic,” says Somvichian-Clausen. 

The pair’s trendy taste flows into grotto’s aesthetic, from goody-bag-esque matches imprinted with an illustration they conjured themselves to the pop-up’s partnership with NY-based curator Carly Beddoe of dream sequence, who has populated the space with for-sale items such as brass and marble candelabras, crystal coupes and trays, as well as feminine busts.

Somvichian-Clausen and Victoria Geddes hope to helm a permanent space for grotto in the future. But for now, their focus is on this current Ludlow House pop-up, along with potential spring and summertime plans that include hosted weekenders upstate and a Hamptons location.

To book a reservation at grotto, click here. 

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