Three of Cups

in Restaurants and Cafes

The Three of Cups, a lesbian feminist restaurant and bar opened at 12418 Buckeye Road in 1977. The Three of Cups was a collectively operated feminist restaurant that provided “all women, regardless of sexual preference, economic status, or race” with a feminist “woman-identified environment.” The Three of Cups provided a space for lesbian and feminist women in Cleveland to socialize and collectively participate in feminist consciousness raising, activism, cultural events, and community building in the late 1970s. Community members Roberta Steinbacher and Ruth Miller provided much of the money needed for members of the East Side lesbian feminist community to purchase the former Ben Schwarz bar, located at 12418 Buckeye Road. Though Steinbacher and Miller provided a substantial initial investment, the Three of Cups was operated collectively. Soon after opening, a Bar Committee was established to help facilitate the collective process and get additional women involved in the business’ operations. The Committee was open to all women who utilized the space. The Three of Cups’ two full-time employees, Sally Tatnall and Jean McCullough, ran and maintained the business. Volunteers solicited from the women’s community provided the rest of the labor necessary to operate the Three of Cups’ restaurant and bar.

The Three of Cups provided a multipurpose “woman-identified environment” that facilitated the growth of Cleveland’s lesbian and feminist women’s communities. The Three of Cups advertised itself as a multipurpose space where “women could gather in a comfortable, hassle-free atmosphere” and participate in the Cleveland women’s community events. Community members, including straight feminists, frequented the restaurant during the daytime. Women could purchase “reasonably priced” homemade lunches and dinners (often vegetarian) from the Three of Cups’ restaurant. Prices were offered on a sliding fee scale to accommodate women that could not afford the prices listed. The bar was more popular with a predominantly lesbian crowd in the evenings. The Three of Cups also served as a meeting place for many lesbian and feminist groups, organizations, and cultural productions in the late 1970s. The restaurant and bar frequently hosted meetings and events organized by Cleveland lesbian and feminist groups. Oven Productions staff regularly utilized the Three of Cups’ space to conduct post-concert feedback sessions with performers and production staff. The Three of Cups hosted an array of dance parties, celebrations, and fundraisers for women. Live musical performances starring women’s music performers were often featured at the bar. In 1979, the Three of Cups changed its name to the Side Door. The Three of Cups/Side Door closed in 1980 after experiencing financial difficulties.

Additional information coming soon.


  • “Bonds and Barriers Among Women.” What She Wants. November 1980. Page 9.
  • “Debra Hirshberg Interview, 11 July 2023.” Cleveland Voices.
  • Kosa, Ann. “Hearing From Feminist Consumers.” What She Wants. May 1977. Page 1.
  • “Milestones.” What She Wants. April-May 1980. Page 9.
  • “New Women’s Bar Opens in Cleveland.” High Gear. March 1977. Page 3.
  • “Open Letter From the Three of Cups.” What She Wants. October 1977. Page 2.
  • “Sally Tatnall Interview, 19 July 2023.” Cleveland Voices.
  • “Three of Cups Forms Bar Committee.” What She Wants. May 1977. Page 1.
12418 Buckeye Rd., Cleveland, OH 44120 (Three of Cups).

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