“This is a lesbian takeover. We come here on Thursdays and we just take over Mina’s — all the beautiful lesbian women in Miami,” said Lourdes Bermúdez, a Miami insurance broker. “This is what we need and this is what we are seeking.”
Mina’s, a cozy yet spacious eatery specializing in a wide range of Middle Eastern cuisine, began the women’s events in August when producer Bridget Hieronymus, newly arrived from Washington, D.C., and New York City, presented the idea to restaurant owner Yasmine Kotb.
“I had an event elsewhere and half the women who attended that event told me about Mina’s and that I should reach out to her, so I did,” Hieronymus said. “It’s been a great atmosphere and a great partnership. The outside area, the music and the lights, the mood — it’s awesome. Women love it.”
Kotb said she wanted to create a space where lesbian, bisexual and transgender women could mingle and network. Since the first event, hundreds of women have attended the monthly lesbian takeovers.
“This event isn’t about finding a partner, it’s about having friends, making community and being among your peers,” said Kotb, who opened Mina’s three years ago. “I think part of the reason it was so successful is that there aren’t many places for people to meet in Miami, and some in Fort Lauderdale, but the attendance proved there was a need for something like this in the city and in the neighborhood.”
The back patio of Mina’s is a lush garden lit and decorated with multiple bars. The restaurant also has tables for reservation inside for guests to eat dinner before they step outside to enjoy the event. Kotb notes that the event is open to all people of the LGBT community and welcomes anyone to her restaurant to enjoy the experience. Kotb has had regulars who she said have become like family; some have been attending her restaurant since their first dates.
“I remember couples who are now married with children. It’s only been three events but I’m sure those kinds of stories will come out later, but I’m excited to see how these stories will develop. What I see is a very open and friendly group of people who are open,” said Kotb, who is married to Carla Silva, former executive director of the Alliance for GLBTQ Youth in North Miami. “This is a more comfortable loungey vibe than a club, it’s also all ages so you see all age groups being represented.”
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If you go
What: A Lesbian Takeover at Mina’s: A Different Kind of Ladies’ Night
Where: Mina’s Mediterraneo, 749 NE 79th St., Miami
When: 5 to 11 p.m. the third Thursday of each month. Next event: Nov. 17
Cost: Free and open to the public. Cash is encouraged to pay for drinks at satellite bars.