Research indicates that lesbians who frequent bars are more likely to drink and that lesbians drink more than their heterosexual counterparts. We explored in detail the consequences of lesbians' bar attendance. We conducted 35 in-person, semi-structured interviews and analyzed the data using qualitative methods. The findings are organized into the following categories: safety and support over the life course; lesbian identity development; reduction of stress; and social networks and intimate relationships. In each category, participants' stories are presented to highlight the health tradeoffs associated with bar patronage, the psychosocial importance of the bar, and the relationship between minority stress and alcohol use. Public health implications are discussed.