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Trend Alert:Sincerely Safe Spaces

Where: HAGS, New York City

What: Radical, unapologetic luxury

Who: Camille Lindsley & Telly Justice

Words: The A+ Team
Images: Dillon Burke

March 26, 2024

There’s no debating that trans and gender-diverse folks are marginalised and vilified beyond reason. With surging vitriol and identity-based violence against the trans community, safe spaces are as important as ever. Globally, the hospitality industry is seeing a trend emerge in response to a glaring lack of restaurants that treat inclusivity as beyond a buzzword.

Take HAGS. This intimate New York City restaurant creates a fine-dining environment – the kind of spaces all too often excessively gendered – that’s profoundly queer and a sublime restaurant experience by any other metric.

The word “community” gets bandied about often, but HAGS truly shows up for its locals.

Intimate, ambient and accessible; HAGS’ dining philosophy extends to its venue design and physical experience.

HAGS, Masters of:

01. Demystification 

Owners, F&B veterans and couple Camille Lindsley (sommelier) and Telly Justice (executive chef) have a history of social activism that’s somewhat at odds with their work in fine dining. To avoid culinary gatekeeping, all HAGS recipes are available online for all to see – not just those in Manhattan with money to burn. 

02. Put Up or Shut Up

The word “community” gets bandied about often in the world of F&B marketing, but HAGS shows up for its locals. It is among a very select few fine diners in Manhattan that offers a sliding-scale, Pay What You Can menu. It’s on every Sunday. 

03. Body Neutrality

Any dining environment can be a fraught space for people with lived experiences of disordered eating or body-image issues. HAGS staff is equipped to know what safe and neutral language to embrace and what to avoid. 

Check out HAGS’ Instagram and website, or make a reservation next time you’re in New York City.

This Trend Alert is excerpted from the A+ Future Trends Report 2024–25, a holistic deep-dive into what we know will impact hospitality operators in coming years. Stay tuned, the report will be made available to the public soon.

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