Lush, the northeast Minneapolis bar and restaurant, popular for cabaret and drag nights as well as epic brunches with bottomless beverages, has closed. According to a social media post, the business ownership is in transition, in the hopes it will go from a male/cis ownership to an ownership structure that will better honor the community it serves.
Lush first opened in 2008 as Lush Food Bar. It won City Pages distinction as Best Gay Bar in 2016, “Lush has become something of a queer arts center, with burlesque, drag, live music, and a piano bar, all under one roof and open to all age groups and demographics.”
As recently as June 15, Lush had been planning to reopen, after closing in response to the coronavirus pandemic. At the time, expanded patio seating and extensive sanitary measures were supposedly being implemented for a planned mid-July re-opening. Instead, an announcement appeared on its Facebook page on Friday June 26, Lush said it would re-open some time in the future with, “a redesigned concept, a new leadership structure, a reimagined entertainment program and an enhanced commitment to diversity and equity. As part of this redesign, all positions across our organization will be re-hired in a transparent and equitable process.”
The announcement purportedly took staff members by surprise, sparking anger in the comments section. A second post published on Sunday June 28 explained that two of the three owners had resigned. The apology from the third owner, Ken Darling stated, “It was completely inappropriate for LUSH staff and performers to learn of such important developments via a Facebook post instead of being communicated with directly.” He stated further, “I would like to turn over ownership of LUSH to a group of leaders who are not cis, white males. I want the people who make LUSH great to also own it.”