Owning It (Part II): 8 Red Hot Entrepreneurs

photo by Raven Howard
Brooke Webster
Owner Cattyshack, Coffeeshack

Her bar is synonymous with Brooklyn lesbian nightlife (one word, Cattyshack.) Yet owner Brooke Webster remains, pretty much, anonymous. This, however, does not bother Webster, who, in the past decade, has managed to create two seminal Meccas for lesbians in the five boroughs—the aforementioned Park Slope hangout Cattyshack and its defunct predecessor, Lower East Side staple Meow Mix. Webster seems divinely unaffected by her success, and her role in making Park Slope, through her establishment, the lesbian capital of New York City. “Nightlife has changed a lot over the last 13 years,” says Chicago-native Webster. “It used to be that lesbians got the offshoot of what was marketed to gay men,” meaning one-night-a-week parties at places like The Boys Room, that had six nights reserved for gay men. This was a pattern that Webster successfully broke with Meow Mix, which closed in 2005, and Catty, which opened that same year. If Webster’s not quick to brag, it may be because she’s preoccupied with laying the groundwork for what will be Cattyshack’s neighboring extension, Coffeeshack. Before the year’s out, bar-goers and Slope locals will be privy to a 24-hour diner with vegetarian, vegan and organic options (and breakfast around the clock—right next door. The two-story coffeehouse-restaurant will be “a cross between Whole Foods takeout, a Waffle House and an IHOP.” says Webster. “With a healthy twist.” Loyal and involved customers suggested the eatery, an “afterclub” if you will, which is poised to add to the Slope’s swelling reputation as the place for dykes of all stripes. Despite her success and good fortune, Webster says that she’s still developing her business wisdom, and the fun of it all doesn’t elude her.