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.

(A sign at De Trut informs patrons of a strict "no fag hags" policy.)

THE NETHERLANDS

AMSTERDAM

CHURCH: Church boasts a calendar of nonstop kink that includes Wednesday night’s Naked Bar (dress code: buck naked), Friday’s underwear party, and Sex on Sunday every other week (free condoms and, um, coat check). You won’t go home feeling dirty, though; there are showers downstairs for that after-party scrub-down.

DE TRUT: An antidote to the cruisier scene, this queer Sunday night underground dance party (doors open at 11, but the line forms early) is fittingly held in a former basement squat and offers the best flashbacks to Amsterdam’s flower-power glory days. That means the city’s artiest insider crowd, an eclectic playlist (indie to incomprehensible), and the most altruistic bar tab in town, since all profits go to worthy gay causes.

POLAND

WARSAW

GLAM: One of Warsaw’s premiere dance clubs, Glam has a 300 meter dance floor which is invariably packed and blares dance, house, and Europop on a steady rotation. If that’s too much for you, take a seat in the club’s chill out lounge and make a friend for the night.

AIOLI: Though more of a restaurant than a bar, Aioli is the perfect place to unwind after seeing the polish capital. Though Aioli boasts a satisfying menu with specializing in burgers and Italian offerings, its impressive List of wines and spirits is the real star.

PORTUGAL


LISBON


SETIMO CEU: 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.


RUSSIA

MOSCOW

12 VOLT: A mixed crowd of younger and decidedly, intentionally hip Moscowites help give poppy, colorful 12 Volt a rush of authentic, unedited Russian flair.
SHARM: Russia's government and public at large railing against "homosexual propaganda," but you wouldn't know it by looking at Sharm's dance floor, where men and drag queens let loose to Russian and Europop.

SPAIN


BARCELONA


AXEL SKY BAR: Perched atop the Axel Hotel, which bills itself as hetero-friendly, Sky Bar commands stunning views over the Catalan city, and it's also handily situated by the hotel's pool and Jacuzzi. The bar opens up in May, with weekly parties to kickoff summer. Located in the Eixample, the heart of the gay quarter of Barcelona, Sky Bar is perfect for kicking off an evening or hanging out all night.

DIETRICH: The easiest place to pull a boy (probably a tourist) in the Gaixample, this is the spot where people meet up with pals before moving on to some place better. A little careworn, it's a perennial fave—partly to the cute bartenders who speak English (and a few other languages).

METRO: While so many of the discos come and go, Metro remains. It's the big, fun dancefloor as well as the clandestine backrooms. And no matter what your taste, you'll find plenty of others looking for a good time time with the resident DJs.

MADRID


MUSEO CHICOTE
: Keep your eye on the back booth at this Franco-era speakeasy on Madrid's pulsing Gran Via, director Pedro Almod'var and his posse hang out here. Anyone fashionable is welcome among the mostly gay crowd here, where handsome bartenders can hand-crack ice for your mojito or serve you at your art deco banquette.


SEVILLA

ITACA: While this gay club’s décor leaves something to be desired, its Thursday-Saturday parties pack in the hot locals to cruise. Stick around for the 2 a.m. curtain call with the city’s finest drag acts.

HERCULES MITICO: This hole-in-the-wall bar is located in the heart of the city’s thriving gay strip, La Alameda de Hercules. With its tinted classic Spanish décor (Damascus wallpaper and sultry red lights), its perfect for dancing to hard techno beats.

SCOTLAND

GLASGOW


THE POLO LOUNGE: 
Glasgow, like its sister city Edinburgh, has a small gay scene in proportion to its size. This is because its bars overall tend to be mixed. Of the five or six gay bars or clubs in the city, the Polo is probably the most popular. Polo is stylish downstairs, with a warren of dance floors and seating areas.

EDINBURGH

REGENT: This is more a gay pub than a gay bar. No blaring Kylie, no vodka-heavy cocktails in martini glasses, no go-go boys. It’s a pub, so you’ve got a wide selection of ales, traditional décor, and a mixed crowd spanning all ages. The friendly atmosphere is conducive to conversation, that thing we did before Grindr.

SWEDEN

STOCKHOLM

PATRICIA: Housed on an old steam ship, Patricia regular lures hundreds of gay men for a rocking Sunday night dance party. She's a siren, but not the kind with a post-coital appetite.

SLM: SLM doesn't stand for slim-fit; it's an acronym for Scandinavian Leather Men. Check it out to at least see what a strapping Swede looks like in straps.

SWITZERLAND

Zurich

CRANBERRY BAR: 
Boasting two floors, Cranberry Bar attracts a young and old, gay and lesbian crowd while showcasing expert bartenders who offer novel and classic drink creations to satisfy any palette. Recently refurbished, there is now more space—including more private space in the upper floor bar to utilize however you choose. The cocktails are award-winning and, even better, we notice that people don't text/look at their smartphones while they're having a beverage in your company!

TURKEY

ISTANBUL


BAR BAHÇE
: This cozy tavern is tucked away in a quaint alley in the bohemian Cihangir neighborhood. During the week it's perfect for intimate t'te-'-t'tes, though once Friday rolls around, bartenders shower the bar top with whiskey and set it afire to the delight of a mixed crowd of Turks and tourists'guys, girls, trannies'who usually get caught up in sing-alongs to golden oldies and international hits.

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