My Lover Cindi – Adelaide’s nightclub for every body

One of the latest additions to Adelaide’s nightclub scene is My Lover Cindi – more than just a nightclub or bar, but a night haven for Adelaide’s queer community (and its allies).
22 Feb 2022
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One of the latest additions to Adelaide’s nightclub scene is My Lover Cindi – more than just a nightclub or bar, but a night haven for Adelaide’s queer community (and its allies). Replacing the German Club in the heart of the city on Flinders Street, My Lover Cindi offers a safe, accessible, and inclusive environment for all members of the LGBTQIA+ community.

Known as the ‘utopian queer night space,’ there’s no doubt My Lover Cindi lives up to its reputation with founders, Kate Toone and Rachel Hosking, doing everything possible to make sure the venue is welcoming and accessible (physically and otherwise).

For Kate and Rachel, establishing My Lover Cindi was a way to address the lack of diversity in Adelaide’s nightlife, particularly for members of the queer community who have a disability. 

“For us, it was about recognising that there is an intersection between queerness and disability. So many of our friends in the community said to us ‘I can either go to a disability-friendly space or a queer-friendly space, but not to somewhere that is both.’ We know that people with disabilities are finding it hard to access community, romantic relationships and platonic relationships; all of those things can happen in venues like ours,” says Kate.

According to a 2019 report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, more than one million Australians avoid situations because of their disability, and an estimated 371,000 had difficulty accessing buildings or facilities, including social spaces like nightclubs. 

“Rach and I have friends who use mobility aids, and it was just bizarre to us that we wouldn’t be able to invite certain people for a night out. The first thing we did when we were looking at opening was put out a community survey. We consulted community members who may not have access to other community spaces and asked them what was preventing them from having access,” says Kate. 

Based on the community feedback they received, the duo found that it was common for members of the queer community who live with a disability to face more than just physical barriers, but social and cultural barriers as well. 

So, when they decided to open My Lover Cindi, they knew there was a broad range of areas they needed to cover to make the club truly inclusive.  Some of the measures they have taken to address some of these barries include having a step-free entrance, located on the side of the venue off a sloped laneway; removing the bathroom doors to accommodate those with mobility aids; designating a quiet room for patrons seeking a break from the noise and activities; and making sure there are no strobe lights or smoke machines to accommodate people with sensory issues. 

They also regularly host events to bring the community together; events that have become essential in maintaining social connections during COVID and ongoing lockdowns. In fact, opening My Lover Cindi at the height of the pandemic meant that Rachel and Kate had to think of alternatives to dancing and live performances with strict social distancing rules enforced at the time. 

“We opened in the middle of the pandemic, in April 2021. So, we really had to be quick on our feet. We sat down and brainstormed how we could overcome challenges – like people not being allowed to dance – and what we could do sitting down.  We did quiz nights, wine tasting evenings. We created our spin on the Paint and Sip trend; we call it Muse and Brews. Your ticket gets you a glass of champagne, and a canvas, and we pay a queer artist to come in and teach a class for a couple of hours. The classes have been super fun and as safe as possible, given the limited capacity of the club. For us, it’s just meant that we needed to be very creative,” says Kate.

Despite some of these challenges, Kate says the response to My Lover Cindi has been overwhelmingly positive.

“The feedback has been really beautiful, and we've had some people who are the first to buy tickets to any event that we publish. They've been excluded for so long, which is just horrible, and now they're finally getting to access the nightlife,” says Kate.

Kate says that everyone can play a part in creating more inclusive, accessible spaces:

“We would love to inspire other businesses to step up as well, and to think about the small things they can do to improve accessibility. Obviously, some things can be tricky if you’ve got limitations in terms of your budget or your building, particularly if you’re a small business. But, it’s often the small steps you can take that could mean a huge difference for someone with a disability and them being able to access your business.”

My Lover Cindi is located at 223 Flinders Street, Adelaide SA 5000. For full accessibility info, please see pinned Instagram guide.