The 50 Greatest Gay Bars in the World
By Out.com Editors
LOS ANGELES, CA
Perhaps the social epicenter of hard-partying Alterna-Wood, Akbar is the go-to spot in the middle of Los Angeles's antigloss neighborhoods of Los Feliz, Silver Lake, and Echo Park. The stuck-up attitude of the Westside just isn't tolerated here, and the haven that the place represents from all that West Hollywood phoniness gives the place its ample charge. Great indie music on the jukebox, stiff drinks, hot guys, good times. Gay guys, women, and straight dudes pack the joint nightly, and the bar has expanded into a full-fledged dance club on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. When Dirty Dirty House Club takes off on Thursdays, the crowd gets pretty diverse'the more racially mixed vibe is a welcome change in the often-segregated L.A. nightscape. (323) 655-6810
A perennial 'Best of L.A.' champ, this over 16,000-square-foot party place attracts celebs aplenty (mostly queers and straight lassies, but occasionally a famous straight lad). Famous for creative cocktails (mmm, creamsicle!) and the perfect patio, this is where many a gay Angeleno brings his or her out-of-town pals to see'and experience'the heart of WeHo.
MIAMI BEACH, FL
THE RALEIGH HOTEL*
Miami Beach hotels boast the finest in poolside partying, and nothing tops the Raleigh. Its distinctively designed art deco pool and adorable cabana bar were the setting of several Esther Williams movies and draw an incredibly attractive mix of locals and visitors. The Raleigh's Sunday Soiree pool party (noon-10 p.m.) is an especially popular place to slurp copious amounts of hangover-battling bloodies.
NEW HAVEN, CT
Southern Connecticut's biggest gay destination draws a widespread crowd to its three sleek floors of dancing and debauchery. From Yale and Wesleyan undergrads to Bridgeport riffraff, the crowd at Gotham Citi is looking to branch out and hook up. Find a friend early, because after hours the basement turns into a hard-core goth playground with thumping house and gloomy performance art'unless you're into that.
NEW YORK, NY
After a long week in the big city, a drink at a sexy club in the heart of the new gay village (Hell's Kitchen) is therapeutic. The centerpiece of this chic, brick-and-wood bi-level club is the staircase, a virtual runway that leads to the lounge, which features cabaret, comedy, karaoke, and a comfort-food bar.
Notorious for decor that looks like a party supply store turned upside down and shaken out, the Cubby Hole is a closet-size West Village lesbian mainstay. The bar draws neighborhood professionals for a well-priced happy hour and a mixed crowd for nightly drink specials and a jukebox heavy on current pop favorites and lesbian standards vvfrom k.d. lang and Melissa Etheridge. The bar's leave-a-drink-for-a-friend board offers the bashful an easy way to make a move on a regular.
While Friday night theatergoers are hitting the barricades nearby'well, after the long shows'the toned and tightly T-shirted are literally rubbing up against one another (sometimes a busy room is a good thing) to get to the bar and the gorgeous upper-level lounge under the huge retractable roof. Don't eat too much garlic at the attached restaurant if you plan to sweet-talk a cutie at the bar.
Predictable, yes. But reliable too. Manhattan's ever-busy gay staple shows no sign of flagging, and though you really may not care for Musical Mondays, this two-floor Chelsea staple has something for everyone'especially when you're wasted and not too fussy. Happy hour fans sing karaoke and swill cheap cocktails served by pec-heavy, underwear-clad bartenders, while young nightlife lovers revel in trancey Top 40 remixes until the wee hours.
WHITE HORSE INN
Come for the party carpet'featuring stars and rainbows that glow in the black light'and stay for the karaoke (the winner of the East Bay Idol contest takes home a cool grand) at 'the Ho,' an East Bay institution that's one of the country's oldest gay bars. The Ho's comfy, campy aesthetic provides a welcome respite from the high-gloss bars across the bay in the Castro. (510) 652-3820