The 50 Greatest Gay Bars in the World
By Out.com Editors
The City of Brotherly Love's best gay bar is arguably its skankiest. Woody's slutty bartenders sling flavored Stolis in plastic cups to barely legal students and lifer townies. Wednesday college nights are the best, when the bar's (inexplicably) carpeted floors are packed with kids from U. Penn., Drexel, and Thomas Jefferson University. (215) 545-1893
Definitely the best Latin club in the area, Karamba makes a point of embracing elements of Latin American culture beyond Mexico. Friendly and colorful, it's the kind of place where you're as likely to run into a papi chulo as you are a Celia Cruz look-alike. ''Az'car!' anyone? (602) 254-0231
SANTA FE, NM
SILVER STARLIGHT LOUNGE AND CABARET
Yes, this is a bar in the RainbowVision gay retirement home'er, 'condominium, independent and assisted living community''but the Starlight offers the best damn pomegranate margarita (made by Mike) you're ever going to have.
Off the beaten path in the Belltown neighborhood, Re-Bar is full of surprises. Patrons compete in spelling bees, play bingo, or have video game tournaments, but the biggest events take place on Re-Bar's stage, ranging from comedy to Shakespeare to drag shows to a cappella performances'it's
like being in college on speed. On Saturday night the DJs play pop and hip-hop are the major draw. (206) 233-9873
DUPLEX DINER (pictured) D.C.'s gay A-list assembles at this tchotchke temple every Thursday night to gawk and squawk. Though the lobbyists and Supreme Court clerks that gather there are a highly compensated bunch, it seems like no one pays to play, since they've all slept with the hunky bartenders. Don't miss the naughty bathrooms, where postcards of gay resorts and Madonna propaganda serve as wallpaper. (202) 265-7828
Drinks? Nah'it's all about two floors of more than 80 hot male exotic dancers (completely nekkid, BTW) go-go dancing and grinding, and if one tickles your'ahem'fancy, it's lap-dance time! 'Nuff said, eh? The Canuck male stripper overload almost makes us forgive Canada for unleashing C'line Dion. Almost. (416) 977-2160
Just north of Quepos on the west coast of Costa Rica, Arco Iris ('rainbow' in Spanish) has long been a gay enclave. There are plenty of gay or gay-friendly guesthouses and restaurants, and the gay nude beach is a hot spot during the day with Euros, Canadians, and Americans as well as Costa Ricans. When the other more touristy bars close at midnight or 1, the disco at Arco Iris starts jumping and doesn't stop until 5, attracting locals and only the more adventurous visitors. Anything goes in this down-home, decidedly rustic dance club, where men and women, gays and straights, professionals and prostitutes, and Costa Ricans and Ticos alike mix and mingle, and language is no barrier to the business at hand. It's the melting pot of Quepos'it's like New York City on the beach. No number available.
The grand facade of this colonial-style church belies the sensory overload that waits inside. A Br'er Rabbit impersonator serves watermelon slices, a laser light show illuminates the spectacular go-go boys on stilts, and a m'lange of high-energy beats emanates from the many nooks and crannies in this multilevel party kingdom. Fridays and Saturdays boast a raw dance party reminiscent of New York's Limelight complete with an all-star lineup of DJs (Offer Nissim, Peter Rauhofer). An in-house bodega serves up hot tacos and lavish fruit cocktails, and siesta rooms are available for the faint-hearted. 011 52 483 528 60671
CLUB 69 AT THE ROXY
Held every Thursday at the Roxy, Club 69 reeks of rabbit-hole mischief, where burlesque meets ninja turtles, and trannies and showgirls show off. Performances include break-dancers, trapeze artists, and magic shows, and electro-infused beats tickle the ears of the straight, gay, and straight-up pijos in the crowd.
011 54 11 47 79 9396
Maybe the last gay bar in Prague that still has a buzzer. This minor irritation is quickly forgotten once you step inside (you'll be reminded when you have to leave and the door won't open). Intimate basement, youngish crowd, few tourists. Never uncomfortably full or uncomfortably empty.
011 42 224 257 869
The French are not known for their friendliness, but Okawa is charming and cozy, with staff who will go out of their way to engage you. Okawa stands out on Rue Vielle-du-Temple, a street punctuated with the gay bars of the Marais, the gayest part of gay Paris. It's mixed and relaxed, with a fair standard of food and a varied clientele of locals and tourists.
011 33 (01) 48 04 30 69
Le Raidd is an enduring favorite in the cruisy Marais district. Its most famous feature is the Plexiglas shower stall above the DJ booth, where naked boys rhythmically rinse all night long. A good evening starts during happy hour in the streetside patio and ends downstairs on a couch in the
dark lounge with a new Parisian friend. No number available.
Like a French speakeasy, this hush-hush place requires skill to find, but is worth it once you get there, if only because the crowd is so decidedly unanything (not queeny, beefy, or hipster), except hot. Although not particularly fashionable, it's always crowded in a good way, with lots of nooks for snogging. 011 33 (0) 140 209 859
Oui, you'll probably end up shelling out a thick wad of euros at this heaving Paris megaclub, situated on the superchic Champs-Elys'es. But once you get inside'and we suggest arriving very, very late'you'll be greeted by bouncing fashionistas, muscular strippers, and, of course, sashaying drag queens. Resident DJs include heavyweights like Paul Van Dyk and Deep Dish, and the fete rages on until 6 or 7 A.M.
011 33 (0) 892 707 330
On approach, the lights from the shuttered windows of this former power station are blinding, but an enormous Ferris wheel inside sets the stage for Berghain, the ultimate ringmaster's den of iniquity: myriad caves, dens, dance floors, locker rooms, and bathtubs. Panorama Bar, a world-class dance club with an unrivaled lineup of international DJs, occupies the upper level. 011 33 (01) 40 20 98 59.
The crowd is young, rugged (think T-shirts, flannel, and leather), and 'ber-naughty at Berlin's classic gay den. It's so notorious that a German tabloid reported the city's flamboyant mayor, Klaus Wowereit, knew the exact date the doors of its dark, shadowy back room opened. (He couldn't, however, recall the year World War II ended.) 011 49 30 2134570
No European neighborhood embodies decayed decadence like Lisbon's Bairro Alto'so it's no surprise that the seaport's most fabulous gay bar is nestled among its cobbled hills. Packed on the weekend with dark-haired Portuguese demigods, the old-school hangout is best on weeknights just before a long evening stumbling around town.
011 351 21 346 6471