Pride Month, aka June, is a time for celebrating and empowering the many sexual and gender identities embraced by the LGBTQ community. It’s also when members of that group and their loved ones can simply be themselves while downing a tequila soda or beer in the sweltering heat. From dive bars to drag events to dance parties, here’s where to toast everything special about New York’s LGBTQ scene.Read More
19 Fantastic LGBTQ Bars in NYC
Here, queer, and ready to party
Crowds at Hell’s Kitchen bars tend to run toward the white and upwardly mobile, but Posh is one of the more diverse queer establishments in the area, inviting all kinds into its tight, charmingly divey and discofied space. Grab a cheap after-work drink or join revelers voguing to Donna Summer and Madonna in the back area until 4 a.m., when everyone spills out front onto the small patio for a last smoke. Daily happy hour runs from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m., when all beers are $3.
Venture to this cavernous 10th Avenue bar in a former electrical-supply store for a hip scene. The design is understated, no one takes themselves too seriously, and regular drag and DJ shows feature stars including Shequida Hall and Lina Bradford. Happy hour runs from noon to 9 p.m. on Monday through Wednesday and on Thursdays and Fridays from noon to 8 p.m. Deals include $5 well drinks, beer, and wine, as well as $6 Stoli. Saturdays and Sundays bring the “Skinny Brunch” drag show which features $5 margs, mimosas, and bloody marys, and $7 Long Island iced teas.
New York, NY 10036
A lounge with ample seating and colorful decor, Barrage is a prime meeting spot for a cross-section of gays both older and younger. Drink specials are offered throughout the week, including $9 frozen margaritas and frozen cosmos on some nights. The bar also hosts regular Latinx-focused nights.
4. Vodka Soda & Bottoms Up
New York, NY 10036
The name of this two-floor, centrally located Hell’s Kitchen watering hole seems like a joke, but it hosts some of the more raucous nights in the neighborhood. The narrow first-floor bar is easygoing, with friendly bartenders, while the second floor is where young (mostly) men rip off their shirts and shake their butts in the blue lighting. Drag shows up there are excellent, and the small balcony is a pleasant place for a break from all the sweat. The bar has regular rotating drink specials, including $4 cocktails on some nights.
This mini-chain of sports-centric LGBTQ bars draws a diverse group of folks through its doors. They may be catching a game, watching the latest RuPaul’s Drag Race with a drag queen MC, or simply chatting after work while enjoying the spacious environment and attractive bartenders wearing, yes, only red boxers. It’s known for its daily two-for-one happy hour, and the pub-style food is decent. There are additional locations in Hell’s Kitchen and Washington Heights.
Lesbian bars are all too rare in New York and the rest of the country, cementing their importance in the queer bar scene. Dating back to 1994, Cubbyhole is the most famous of such venues and promotes itself as accessible to lesbians, gay men, and straight people. It’s a very tight space, and the ceiling is adorned in random, bright decor that gives it a funhouse feel. Happy hour runs Monday through Saturday until 7 p.m. with half off well drinks, wine, and beer. Other specials run throughout the week, and expect a particularly big and rowdy crowd during “Margarita Tuesdays,” when margs are just $3. Note: Cash only.
The longest-running gay bar in the city, this West Village institution proudly displays its history. The woody corner tavern looks like it’s hardly changed over the years, and elderly regulars who have seen it all frequently school newbies from their perch on the stools. Grab a cozy table in the back for a group and order the juicy, freshly griddled burger. Happy hour runs from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and Sunday has all-day beer specials with $2 off all taps and bottles. All day every day, Long Island iced teas, Sex On The Beaches, and Lemon Drops are $6. Cash only.
8. The Stonewall Inn
Ground zero for the 1969 riots that helped launch the gay rights movement, Stonewall is still a rousing, if now slightly sleeker and occasionally touristy, Village destination to pay tribute to the movement. Downstairs, there’s a pool table and large bar area with bar seating and tables. Upstairs, there’s another bar plus a dance floor and stage that hosts various events, including drag shows, 90s karaoke, and more.
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9. Hangar Bar
New York, NY 10014
Queer people of color can rightfully feel excluded by many of the gay hotspots dotting the city. Hangar is an under-the-radar neighborhood bar filled with black and brown patrons that’s equally inviting to everyone else. Grab a beer and play pool surrounded by the whitewashed walls covered with a giant rainbow flag. There are regular drink specials. Cash only.
This subterranean East Village queer dive features a draft beer selection that’s a step above the standard dive, doled out by personable, knowledgeable bartenders. There are seemingly endless dark nooks for kicking back or impromptu makeout sessions. The infamously risque Macho Monday Night parties ($5 cover) aren’t for the faint of heart. There are happy hours, and after 10 p.m., the dance parties begin. Check the website for specific events. Credit card minimums are high, so bring cash.
11. Henrietta Hudson
On a stretch of the West Village near the Hudson River, this bar primarily caters to lesbians and queer women and is one of the longest continuously running lesbian bars in the country. The funky brick-walled space decorated with stained glass and a disco ball hosts rotating DJs spinning tunes. There’s a pool table, and some nights are no-cover. The vibe is extremely makeout-with-a-stranger. Daily happy hour runs from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
12. No Bar
No Bar is a hip new inclusive LGBTQ bar from Angela Dimayuga. It hosts a slew of events, including various dance parties and karaoke, and the best way to stay in the know is to check the website or Instagram. It’s the queer bar to go for a complex cocktail or for souped-up bar eats like rock shrimp poppers or a dry-aged beef and mushroom burger.
13. The Boiler Room
New York, NY 10003
A long-running and homey dive, Boiler Room is where laid-back East Village residents go to simply hang out and guzzle bogglingly cheap well drinks. The ambiance is nonexistent, but the pool table, photo booth, and digital jukebox provide all-night entertainment. Cash only.
14. The Exley
Though not formally gay, this tiny, adorable Williamsburg bar in a renovated garage near the BQE is a frequent way station for hip queer locals. Go for the packed RuPaul’s Drag Race viewing nights, when a projector screen covers the large oil painting behind the bar, or visit on a low-key night for the smartly curated house cocktails, including a $10 old fashioned.
15. Macri Park
This sister bar to nearby Metropolitan in Williamsburg is less crowded and way more laid back. Sit back in the booths of the tunnel-like space or head to the quaint backyard. There are drag shows, weekly karaoke, and more events, usually posted on Instagram.
16. The Rosemont
This über-cool yet cheerful gay bar occupies a roomy, thoughtfully designed space with a backyard in South Williamsburg. Drag nights and karaoke are major draws, while top-notch bartenders can make a classic cocktail any night of the week. Happy hour runs Monday through Friday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. with $8 classic cocktails and $5 well drinks, wine, and beer.
17. House of Yes
A nightclub for those who can’t stand nightclubs, Bushwick’s House of Yes packs costumed and adventurous patrons into its massive, elegant indoor-outdoor compound with multiple bars. Covers can get steep for events including queer dancing and drag performances, but they’re almost always worth it. Gaze at the talented acrobatic dancers contorting themselves from the ceiling any time of the week.
18. Ginger's Bar
Brooklyn, NY 11215
While Ginger’s in Park Slope is a lesbian hangout at its core, the bar welcomes all members of the LGBTQ community and attracts bargoers of all ages and genders. It’s a legit dive with low-lighting, cheap drinks, kitschy decor, and a pool table. The bathrooms are plastered with a collage of gay magazine clippings and posters from throughout history, and the only thing interrupting the bar’s throwback vibe is the fancy digital jukebox. There’s an enclosed garden out back, and the bar never feels clubby, so it’s an ideal spot for a chill night of pool and music. It’s cash only, and the bar allows outside food. With plenty of space, it’s great for large parties.
19. Xstasy Bar and Lounge
An escape from the usual Brooklyn gay spots, this clubby joint in the Greenwood area has a strong Latinx influence and retro decor. Join others in the salsa action during Rumbanation Fridays and the Saturday night dance parties. Tuesdays bring two-for-one drinks. Other events include karaoke and RuPaul’s Drag Race viewings. Expect nearly-nude young men to be dancing on a stage late at night.