200 of the Greatest Gay Bars in the World

6.27.2013

By Out.com Editors

Where to imbibe, get down, and let loose around the world, from Arizona to Kathmandu.

PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania

THE BIKE STOP: It's all right if you're not a musclebound leather daddy; the only requirement at The Bike Stop is loving rock-and-roll. And, yes, the men rock, too.

TAVERN ON CAMAC: A piano bar downstairs and a night club upstairs, this staple in the City of Brotherly Love is lively and refreshing exercise in high and low, and consistently leaves patrons feeling like a million bucks.

WOODY'S BAR
: 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 is filled by kids from U. Penn., Drexel, and Thomas Jefferson University. Woody’s had some recent work done, the bar now has red brick wall and a wooden floor and the dance area has a glamorized with deco style finish.

PEORIA, Illinois

BUDDIES ON ADAMS: It won't take out-of-towners long to make new friends at this fun-loving and quaint but never precious local gay bar.

PHOENIX, Arizona

CHARLIE'S: After work or after hours, the unabashed crowd at Charlie's, a glammy dive bar on an industrial strop, always keeps things lively for Phoenix residents and visitors alike.

KARAMBA
: Definitely the best Latin discoteca in the area, Karamba makes a point of embracing elements of Latin American culture with dance jams like salsa, merengue, reggaeton, and Latin pop. 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.

PONTIAC, Michigan:

LIBERTY BAR: Most gay bars have theme nights, but how many have evenings dedicated of Euchre foursomes? Probably not many, and certainly none in Pontiac so next time you're near Motor City, drive on over to check out this charming space and its charming men.

PORTLAND, Oregon

CC SLAUGHTERS: While you may think that Portland is a bit tame compared to other larger metropolises, that doesn't mean it doesn't have a queer homebase: CC Slaughters, a go-to since 1981.

HOBO'S: Carefully exposed brick, piano leather booths and well-rounded dinner menu tell you right away Hobo's doesn't live up to its name. It's a midscale restaurant and bar that courts a more refined, casual crowd. Perfect for a casual drink.

SILVERADO BAR: A haven for Portland hipsters, bears, twinks and femmes, Silverado's will feel like your favorite neighborhood gay bar within minutes, and it may be enough to lure you to Porlandia.

PROVINCETOWN, Massachusetts


GIFFORD HOUSE BAR: Located at the tip of Cape Cod, this hetero friendly bed and breakfast appears quaint to first timers. But, being a gay couple’s destination, they know what it means to have fun. Stop by the Lobby Piano Bar for drinks and then head over to Club Purgatory to complete your night of debauchery.

REHOBOTH BEACH, Delaware

BLUE MOON: Blue Moon is probably one of the more common bar names around, but there's nothing common about the Blue Moon in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. For over 30 years this family-run operation, once a Sears Craftsman house, has served up fine dining, fine drag queens, fine tunes, and even finer drinks. 

SAIPAN, North Mariana Islands

GODFATHER'S: Much like Rick's Café Américain in Casablanca, this is the spot that everybody comes to in this American commonwealth, one of the most naturally beautiful islands in the world, the international crowd is friendly and very lively. Try the catch of the day, or, if you’re feeling a bit homesick for the mainland, opt for the pizza and tacos.

SAN ANTONIO, Texas

HEAT: Featuring a front room bar, video lounge, dance floor, and back patio, Heat’s the type of place where you could easily start and end your night without having to bar hop. Heat stays open till 3 am or later most nights, so the club makes for a nice after hours spot—that is if you haven’t already left with Mr. Right Now.

PEGASUS: Known for a nightly karaoke and frequent drag acts, Pegasus is a mainstay of the San Antonio gay scene. As straight-friendly as they come, it’s a good place to bring straight pals when you’re out with a mixed group. Come early for the $2 well drinks to start your night right.

SPARKY'S: This English-style pub is frequented by a mixed crowd and features a robust wine list and extensive bill of fare. Come early for a late lunch or stop by later for the happy hour specials. Located on the San Antonio Strip, it’s the perfect place to pre-game before heading over to Heat or Pegasus.

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico

CIRCO: This small spot in Santurce, the hub for gay nightlife, packs 'em in—for the drag queens, for the dancing—and, even better, no matter how crowded it gets, there's always a great vibe.

BATUCADA: Enjoy a night of unabashed karaoke fun at this unassuming and awesome San Juan hot spot.

(Revelry at Rich's.)

SAN DIEGO, California

RICH'S SAN DIEGO: Especially bumping on the weekends, Rich’s is where everybody ends up. Steamy, slightly sleazy, and always something good to cruise here while you dance to pop beats.

SAN FRANCISCO, California

BADLANDS: The video dance bar Badlands compensates for its small size with 2-for-1 happy hour Monday—Saturday, and a lively crowd. A time-tested dance soundtrack fills the bar each night.

HOLE IN THE WALL SALOON: Walk through the dark doors of this seemingly intimidating bar and you'll find a friendly staff serving cold, cheap, and strong drinks. No pomp and circumstance here. Hole in the Wall is exactly what it says it is.

MOBY DICKS: Divey, dirty, and the drinks are cheap: what else could you expect from a place called “Moby Dicks”? While always a good time, the tantalizing and mysterious “Dick@Nite” and “Drink and Draw” art class are events to be marked in red on your calendar.

THE LOOK OUT: Known for a balcony that offers exquisite views of the Castro, The Lookout is the perfect place to survey the City by bay. Though happening any night of the week, the mix your own margarita bar on Saturdays and the “ultimate happy hour” on Fridays are the big draws here. Much like the men of San Francisco, views of the city look even better through beer googles.

SANTA FE, New Mexico

ROUGE CAT: Leopard wall-to-wall carpeting sets the tone at this two-level "nightclub" bar where you can't help but let loose on a scarcely populated dance floor as locals sip and gossip in banquets on the side.

SAVANNAH, Georgia

CLUB ONE: The hot spot became famous for the performances of The Lady Chablis after Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil put it (and her) on the map. But it's been a popular favorite for college kids, locals, and out of towners for generations (been voted the city's best dance club since 1991).

SCOTTSDALE, Arizona

BS WEST: This hotspot gay bar is for both the Scottsdale and out-of-town crowd. A laid-back, flip-flop and shorts dive bar with gorgeous guys, its 2-for-1 Wednesdays and Saturdays runs all day until close.

SEATTLE, Washington

CC ATTLE'S: Serving generous pours and never charging a cover, CC Attle's is a relaxed “come as you are” spot catering to a bearish crowd. The food’s good—by restaurant standards, even—and the friendly but not overly cruisy atmosphere makes CC Attle's a good place to kick back and unwind

THE CUFF: Don’t let the name fool you, The Cuff isn’t exclusively a bear/leather bar. The crowd’s become more diverse over the years, so whatever your type, you’ll be able to find and grind up on him in the din of The Cuff’s techno charged DJ sets.

PONY: We can tell you about the great party music and the fun go-go boys. But this place is really popular because it harkens back to a sexy the '70s vibe. Yeah, we mean sex. No need to worry about bachelorette parties here. This place is for the gayest of the gays.

PURR: Where the drinks are strong, the Whitney is blaring, and the boys are waxed to a T. This Capital Hill cocktail lounge gets pretty cruisy on the weekends, but during the week the laid-back atmosphere makes it the perfect place to unwind after work.

RE-BAR
: 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 nights the DJs play pop and hip-hop, which is the major draw.

ST. LOUIS, Missouri:

JUST JOHN'S: A prime example of Southern hospitality, this St. Louis bar has some of the friendliest staff and patrons around. Make new friends on a warm summer night at the patio bar or the climate controlled Florida Room. On Wednesdays, Just John’s hosts Jane, a “lady friendly event” where live female fronted bands perform at John’s. If you’ve ever been curious what a woman fronted Queen tribute band would sound like, wonder no more.

ST. PETERSBURG, Florida:

GEORGIE'S ALIBI: A low key place to play pool, have a beer, and just chill with a $3 Long Island Georgie’s Alibi is the heart of St. Petersburg’s gay scene.  If the daily drink specials and a weekly drag show aren’t enough of a draw, they’ve just christened STUD, Georgie’s Sunday Levi and leather party.

SYRACUSE, New York:

RAIN: Syracuse lounge Rain caters to a diverse crowed of college kids, lesbians, drag queens, and other queers which ‘defy categorization.'

TOLEDO, Ohio:

R-HOUSE: A staple of Toledo gay nightlife—it kind of is Toledo’s gay nightlife—this neighborhood watering hole is relaxed, unpretentious, and delightfully high camp. Whether you’re here to unwind or take in a drag act, it’s always a good time.

VENICE BEACH, California:

ROOSTERFISH: Pay your respects to history at Venice Beach's Rooster Fish, an institution since its 1979 founding.

WASHINGTON, D.C.


DUPLEX DINER: D.C.'s gay A-list assemble here 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. A popular cocktail is the lemon-squeeze—careful, its deadly.

JR'S BAR: Just a stone’s throw away from Dupont Circle, JR’s Bar is a perennial favorite in D.C.s gay community. Open for 25 years, JR’s home to a stellar college night and the always popular Retro vs. Top 40 dance party. If that doesn’t seem like your scene, their Monday show tunes night might be more your speed.

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