Cocktails, Sweets, and Photo Ops: The Story Behind Babe Cave
'If Barbie had a club, it would be the Babe Cave'
Everything about Babe Cave is pink, gaudy, and over the top. Owners Robbie McNair Guzman and Michael Ann Gosby call it “the original pretty girl playground,” and they make no apologies for it. They serve fruity cocktails, charcuterie boards, and dessert towers among a myriad of photo-ready backdrops that cater to Instagrammers and TikTokers.
“Men have man caves, so this is for us,” Guzman says. “Everyone is welcome, but it’s really about women. Most nightclubs are seedy, dark, ugly. … This is a non-threatening environment for girls to be girls. Barbie had a dream house, but if Barbie had a club, it would be the Babe Cave.”
Business partners Guzman and Gosby (both women) opened Babe Cave in the loft above their event planning company, Good Life at Enderly Park, in January. They moved into the 10,800-square-foot space in September 2019 and filled the first floor with party decor, tables, linens, and prop rentals. They planned for about 100 events per year, at Good Life and elsewhere, and added a baker’s kitchen upstairs and a walk-up cocktail bar downstairs for on-site events. Business was good—until COVID.
Guzman and Gosby sold floral arrangements to stay afloat and opened for brunch service once restrictions eased. In February 2021, they hosted a sold-out Galentine’s Day brunch for 100 guests. After that success, they hired a food truck vendor and hosted Sunday brunch each week.
Guzman, who began her career as a promoter and owned the uptown nightclub Club Ice from 2006 to 2014, estimates that 90% of their brunch clientele was female. “They’d coordinate their outfits and come to celebrate birthdays or bachelorette parties, and I saw all these women taking pictures of their food and drinks,” she says. “They kept posting everything, and our pages would go viral with cocktail content. People were already taking pictures in the event space downstairs, so I just found a way to monetize it.”
They transformed their unused loft into a pink-blitzed cocktail lounge with crystal chandeliers, velvet chairs, and four photo zones, including one that changes with the seasons. Their namesake backdrop is an 8-by-12-foot photo booth with a plant wall that displays the words “Babe Cave” in neon pink letters beside a cascade of red and pink roses. Guests can book the Babe Cave for $150 an hour Monday through Thursday, or two hours Friday through Sunday with a $330 food and beverage minimum.
Behind the bar, a neon pink sign reads, “Pretty Girl Playground.” Cocktails have names like Pink Gummy Bear and Barbie Dream, and mixologist Shahana Jones garnishes them with whipped cream, cotton candy, and edible flowers.
The menu consists of light bites like Avocado Toast, Lobster Dip, and a Salsa Trio, and everything is artfully arranged on plates and platters with color-coordinated serving utensils. Dessert towers have three tiers of cupcakes, cake pops, and chocolate-dipped strawberries. “(The food) has to be photogenic, but it has to taste good, too,” Guzman says. “And if I’m selling $15 cocktails, you shouldn’t just take a picture of it. You should like it.”
Babe Cave holds 60 to 75 people, and Guzman says they’ve been booked every weekend since opening. They use a rotation of female DJs but keep the music at “talking volume.” The lounge has seating for 20, plus an eight-seat community table that’s first come, first served. Guests can’t have food or cocktails on the pink couches—those are reserved for photos—but they can meander through the space with drinks in hand.
Tickets to Babe Cave are $40 on Saturday nights and include one drink. Additional cocktails range from $10 to $15, and guests can preorder food online or purchase it on-site. A tab at Babe Cave can escalate fast, but Guzman makes no apologies for that, either. “When you’re booking hip-hop artists, you’re charging $100 just to get into the club, and tables start at $1,500. These are the price points,” she says. “We’re selling luxury. There’s not a need in the world for what we do. This is something people want.”
At first blush, Babe Cave is a marketplace for grandiose narcissism and a social media-obsessed culture—its owners won’t dispute that. But it’s also a place where women can come as they are, designed by two women who decided to go for it. “The intellectual property, the physicality of the work, this is all us, this is all girls,” Guzman says. “We don’t have a cleaning service. We mop the floors and scrub the bathrooms ourselves. Michael and I call ourselves the Black unicorns. We pull it off and make it happen.”