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10 Best Gay Bars in the Nation

Posted by Laura Smythe on

These 10 gay bars wave their rainbow flags higher than all others. Mingle with the ultra-friendly crowds and you might just meet your new best friend. The staff and customers at these hotspots are fully committed to helping you feel right at home. They offer inclusive atmospheres, friendly faces, community activism, strong drinks and creative events that make for the best gay night out ever. You’ll find these top bars in some of the nation’s hottest cities as well as smaller cities notably devoted to the LGBT community. Whether your style is neighborhood water hole or all-night clubbing extravaganza, we’ve got the perfect spot for you.

Check out the 10 hottest gay bars in the U.S.

10. Changes in Seattle, WA

Cocktails at Changes

Every Pacific Northwesterner’s favorite gay bar can be found right off the University of Washington’s campus in downtown Seattle. Finish your homework before visiting, because Changes bartenders don’t know the meaning of weak drinks. This pub draws community members from all of Seattle’s neighborhoods like Ballard, Queen Anne and, of course, the U-District. Walk in and the low-key vibe will make you forget all about next week’s Spanish test. Sundays and Wednesdays draw in a huge crowd for karaoke nights starting at 9 p.m. This is your spot to cheer on the Seahawks and make new friends from around the city. Don’t miss incredible deals like $3.50 burgers on Tuesdays.

 

9. Neurolux in Boise, Idaho

Bloody Marys on the Bar

We all know there’s never a bad time to chill out to live music over happy hour specials. You can catch indie shows and sip a beer at Neurolux 365 days of the year. Settle into this trendy lounge bathed in soft orange and pink light and grab a drink from the somehow even trendier bartenders. The pool tables, live music and laid-back vibe make this the perfect spot to show off your artsy side on your next date. Forget about your stress during the extended happy hour running from noon to 8 p.m. That $7 PBR pitcher won’t drink itself.

 

8. Kobalt in Phoenix, AZ

Bingo at Kobalt

Kobalt loves its karaoke nights, where you can belt out the lyrics to more than 30,000 different song choices. This hotspot in central Phoenix attracts people from all walks of life with its energetic theme nights every day of the week. Leave your attitude with your jacket at the door – Kobalt strives for a neighborhood feel in the big city. Grab an ever-rotating daily drink special from the sweetest bartenders in downtown Phoenix. The expert mixologists will even cheer you on as you hit the stage for Saturday’s popular Showtunes event (AKA karaoke a la Disney movies). Laugh till you’re in tears at Drag Bingo Mondays and don’t bother checking the time while dancing Fridays away because it’s all day happy hour.

 

7. Twist in Miami, FL

The Bar at Twist

I hope you’re ready for a night you’ll never forget (or maybe one you’ll never remember) because Twist hits hard. Welcome to your personal wonderland of LGBT partying. This gay bar in party-centric South Beach features seven bars, three dance floors and more drag queens and go-go dancers than you can count. Twist never charges cover, so all your cash can go toward a night’s supply of vodka tonics. The neon lights, plush leather couches and velvet-topped bar stools will make you feel just like the celebrities who constantly visit the spot. This is the longest running gay nightclub in Miami, but the music changes from room to room so there’s always something new. There’s no shortage of events at Twist. Win a $100 bar tab at Pusilla’s Underwear Contest on Sundays or end up tasting cinnamon for days with $5 fireball shots at Tuesday’s Globoy theme night.

 

6. Mad Myrna’s in Anchorage, Alaska

Cabaret Show at Mad Myrna's

Stepping into Mad Myrna’s happy, welcoming atmosphere almost makes you forget Alaska’s Republican voting history. Jeff Wood, whose stage name is Mad Myrna, opened the bar in the 90s so Alaska’s LGBT community would have a safe, familiar place to come to and have fun. Anchorage’s LGBT community describes Myrna as a trailblazer who has cheered for marriage equality on the side of the road, given youth bus tours of Anchorage’s gay history and advertised his bar as a gay bar since opening day. The vibrant LGBT crowd gets down to cabaret shows, karaoke nights and live bands all week long. The room gets packed on weekends for the Friday Night Diva Variety Show for Alaska’s best drag queens and kings ready to show their skills. Treat your taste buds to the ever-changing food menu provided by different food trucks like waffle, chicken and Korean taco trucks that swing by Mad Myrna’s throughout the week. The bar hosts fundraisers for members of Anchorage’s LGBT community and organizations like The Imperial Court of All Alaska, Standing Together Against Rape, the Women’s AIDS and Crisis Center and the Food Bank of Alaska.  “We have a lot of talent in such a small place…It’s a very happy, open, wonderful environment to be in…We know everybody who walks through the door, and if a stranger walks through the door they don’t remain a stranger for very long. It’s a fantastic family to belong to,” Vicki Evans, Mad Myrna’s Marketing Promotions Coordinator, said.

 

5. Cafe Lafitte in Exile in New Orleans, LA

Cafe Lafitte in Exile

This respite in the middle of the French Quarter is open 24/7 so you never have to worry you’re late to the party. Locals and tourists alike flock to Café Lafitte in Exile every night of the week. The spot opened in 1953, making it the nation’s oldest operating gay bar. Grab a drink at the killer extended happy hour from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Then, try your hand at games like pinball and pool. Check out what’s happening on Bourbon Street from the wraparound balcony. Belt your heart out to some Beyoncé on Wednesday’s Karaoke Nights and drop by on Sundays for Trash Disco theme nights.

 

4. Tracks in Denver, CO

Clubbing at Tracks

Tracks has been THE ultimate LGBT nightclub in Denver for more than 35 years. The club keeps you on your toes with décor that changes every single night. Tracks’ “Be You” campaign makes the venue inclusive to both the LGBT community and allies. Drag queens flock from all over the country for the nation’s largest drag show held here once a month. Every month you’ll also find the country’s largest lady’s party with a giant roller skating rink in the club’s event center. Drink your way through the club’s seven bars and three rooms, each playing a different music so you don’t get bored. Theme nights are frequent and rotating like Lumberjacks and Disney Gone Wild. Sing along to karaoke on Colorado’s largest LED screen while sipping the night’s theme-reflecting drink special, like the Blue Balls cocktail during the New Year’s Eve Frozen theme. Tracks gives back by holding fundraisers for Planned Parenthood and the LGBT center at the University of Colorado. The club even raised $8,000 for Puerto Rico’s hurricane relief fund.  “It’s a place just to feel safe in being who you are…We work to make sure we have a diverse array of styles and DJs that come in so we’re not tailoring our club experience to one type of audience. We pride our self in ‘What’s at Tracks tonight?’” Club Manager Isaac Domingue said.

 

3. Saint Felix in Los Angeles, CA

Inside Saint Felix

Class and comfortability collided in 2008 when Saint Felix’s flagship location opened in West Hollywood. Owner John Arakaki, who has a background in music, dedicated himself to making Saint Felix an inclusive space. “We’re there for you. Sometimes in big cities, that gets lost in the customer experience. We wanted a cool, trendy, cutting-edge concept that was very open minded, celebrated diversity and was open to everybody,” Arakaki said. The crowd comes for the innovative cocktail list that Arakaki spent months creating with mixologists. Take a seat at the purple backlit bar under the chandeliers and spice up your day with a Firecracker. The bartenders will even customize it to suit your optimal spice level. The patio at Saint Felix is the perfect place for LA’s free-spirited to relax during the week for its popular happy hour or for bottomless mimosas brunches during weekends. Saint Felix participates in fundraisers for community members and has contributed to Saddle Up, an organization helping raise awareness and funds for HIV/AIDS services.

 

2. UBar in Philadelphia, PA

UBar Philadelphia

Philadelphia’s vibrant LGBT community recognizes UBar as one of the most inclusive gay bars in the city. Swing by this friendly neighborhood bar in Center City’s Gayborhood for heavy pours and light snacks like soft pretzels. Snag a bar stool under the rainbow-colored lights while you can— this neighborhood haunt can fill up fast in the evenings. UBar has employed the same ultra-friendly staff for years, so customers come back for the familiar faces. The tavern keeps it simple with eight draft beers, well liquors and classic cocktails. Take the edge off Mondays with UBar’s special $5 margaritas all day from 11 a.m. to close. “UBar has an eclectic, welcoming, modern yet homely feel. They have great food and their bartenders are top notch.  The gay community can be judgmental, but you never feel that at this bar,” West Chester University 2017 grad Sean McCarson said.  

 

1. The Stonewall Inn in New York, NY

The Stonewall Inn Neon Sign

You can find this welcoming tavern in the heart of Greenwich Village. The Stonewall Inn is the birthplace of the gay rights movement. Grab a beer as you soak in the history— the 1969 riots spurring the movement happened right here. Check out multiple events and performances every day of the week like 90’s karaoke and drag bingo. “My favorite part about performing at The Stonewall Inn is the simple fact that it is the legendary Stonewall Inn. Knowing I’m in the very place where Marsha P. Johnson stood. History was made in that bar, and I feel like a part of it,” said Elijahda Warner. Make sure to check out the two for one special at Big Gay Happy Hour from 2 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Or, dance the night away at a DJ Battle during Saturday’s dance parties. On Friday night’s Lesbo-a-Gogo you’ll learn some new moves from the go-go dancers. Polish the Queen, a weekly drag competition with a $100 prize, even make Tuesdays an unforgettable night.

 

Need a cute LGBTQ pride tee for your night out?

Featured image from Pixabay


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