A new LGBTQ dance space is coming to East 12th and Chicon streets.
On Sunday, Cheer Up Charlies owner Maggie Lea announced on Instagram plans to open the She She Lounge in the Rio Rita space at 1203 Chicon St.
Lea explained in the post that the space will have a dual identity, serving coffee as Rio Rita during the day and hosting queer dance parties as the She She Lounge at night. The inspiration for the club’s concept came from, among other things, a “friend who lives here in Austin but also owns a bookstore coffee shop in Croatia that turns into a secret dance club at night,” Lea wrote.
Rio Rita, self-described as a “mild-mannered coffeeshop by day, swanky lounge by night,” closed in 2019. According to the Austin Chronicle, Lea and her partner Tamara Hoover took over the lease on the space from original owners Donya and Randall Stockton (who once owned several clubs around Austin, including Beerland) in November 2019.
At the time Lea was going through chemotherapy for breast cancer, and between her treatment and the coronavirus pandemic, plans to revamp the space were stalled.
Lea said in the post that the club’s energy will be similar to that of the original Cheer Up Charlies location.
“Can’t wait to bring that energy that we had with Cheer Ups on East 6th years ago back to East 12th St. East Austin needs a designated LGBTQIA+ space and needs queer people and queer ownership to bring it back!” she wrote.