Our Complete Visitors Guide To New York City Gay Bars

June 21, 2024

Our Complete Visitors Guide To New York City Gay Bars

New York City has an energy that is un-matched. It is a part of the United States, but it has a very unique feel to it. People visiting this city notice it immediately. For one thing, everyone belongs here. It doesn’t matter where you’re from, how you define yourself or what things you like. Everyone can find a home in New York City. That’s why so many people are drawn to this city and its reason for celebration 365 days a year. 

If this is your first time reading our blog, here’s our introduction. We are a team of NYC-based trip consultants who share our knowledge to help travelers discover the NY experiences they want. We use our shared knowledge, connections, and network to give our customers the same experience our friends and family receive when they visit. We’ve rounded up the best gay bars to make your life easy. However, if you’d like a personal recommendation to figure out which bar works best based on your trip plan, request a tailored plan.

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Gay Bars In The West Village

Julius | 159 W 10th St, New York, NY 10014

Julius' is a beloved dive bar in New York City that has been serving customers since the 1860s. It is widely considered to be the oldest gay bar in the city. The bar has a rich history, including a "Sip-In'' event in the 1960s that led to a state Supreme Court ruling that gave greater protections to gay bar patrons in NYC. Today, Julius' is a fun and lively spot where patrons of all ages can enjoy drinks, music, and food. The jukebox is always playing and the atmosphere is always lively. The bar is cash only, but that only adds to its charm. If you're looking for a fun and historic spot to grab a drink and enjoy the company of a diverse crowd, Julius' is the perfect place for you. So, it's a perfect place for LGBTQ+ people to enjoy their time with their friends and family.

StoneWall Inn | 53 Christopher St, New York, NY 10014

The Stonewall Inn is a historical landmark and an important gathering spot for the LGBTQ+ community. Located in New York City, it was the site of the 1969 Stonewall Riots, a pivotal moment in the gay liberation movement. As a National Historic Landmark, it continues to bring together the LGBTQ+ community through regular events such as drag shows, dance parties, piano nights, and Pride-themed events. Although it is a popular destination for tourists, it should not be overlooked as it is a must-visit spot for anyone interested in LGBTQ+ history and culture. The Stonewall Inn provides a unique and meaningful experience, where you can learn about the history and culture of the community, and feel the sense of belonging and acceptance.

Cubbyhole | 281 W 12th St, New York, NY 10014

Cubbyhole is a beloved lesbian bar located in the city that has managed to maintain its local and friendly feel despite its small size. The bar is known for its welcoming atmosphere and patrons often become friends quickly. The bar has undergone some renovations recently but has managed to retain its iconic charm, and kitschy ceiling decor. Straight men are welcome but should be aware that it's primarily a lesbian-frequented bar. The bar is one of the last surviving lesbian bars in the city and it's a must-visit spot for anyone interested in LGBTQ+ culture and community.

Playhouse | 100A 7th Ave S, New York, NY 10014

Looking for a fun and unique night out? Look no further than Playhouse NYC! This basement bar is the perfect spot to let loose and have a great time. Playhouse was transformed from an old Broadway theater into a modern LGBTQ+ bar and event space, providing a one-of-a-kind experience even for NYC. The dim lighting and lively atmosphere will put you in the mood to dance, and with a stage and dance floor that can't be found anywhere else in the city, you'll be able to let loose and really immerse yourself in the music.

Heneritta Hudson | 438 Hudson St, New York, NY 10014

Henrietta Hudson is another popular destination for the LGBTQ+ community and, similar to Cubbyhole, is considered as one of the few remaining lesbian bars in NYC. However, Henrietta Hudson offers a distinct atmosphere from its more casual counterpart, with a lively and energetic atmosphere complete with disco balls and a vibrant dance floor. The bar has been in operation since 1991 and has been consistently drawing patrons with its colorful lights, go-go dancers, and trendy music selection. On weekends, one can expect to find queer ladies DJing on the turntable, a lively crowd and plenty of happy hour deals. Henrietta Hudson is an ideal destination for sapphics seeking a fun and upbeat night out in an accepting and comfortable environment.

The Monster | 80 Grove St, New York, NY 10014

The Monster Bar is a long-standing LGBTQ+ establishment, having been in operation since 1981, owned by Charlie Rice. The bar is named after a carved wooden sea serpent from a Coney Island carousel, and it attracts a mature crowd, making it a popular spot for older members of the LGBTQ+ community. The bar features a service bar on one side and a lounge area on the other on the ground floor. The basement level is where the real fun happens, with regular drag queen shows and various theme nights that are sure to entertain patrons. If you're looking for a night out with a mature crowd and a unique atmosphere, the Monster Bar is a must-visit spot.

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Gay Bars In The East Village

Nowhere | 322 E 14th St, New York, NY 10003

If you're looking for a fun and lively weekend spot, be sure to check out Nowhere, a gay bar that's known for its unique atmosphere. Despite its unassuming name, Nowhere offers a dark and dingy environs that many people find appealing. You'll enjoy the affordable drink prices, great music, and a newly replaced pool table. Not only that, but the patrons are friendly and you're sure to make some new friends. Plus, if you head in later in the night, you may stumble across a raunchy party that you won't want to miss. Overall, Nowhere is a great place to experience something different and have a good time.

The Cock | 93 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10009

The Cock is a split level gay bar located in New York City that is as raunchy as its name suggests. The bar is known for its seductive and intimate atmosphere, making it a perfect spot for those looking for a different kind of nightlife experience. The bar's decor and ambiance create an atmosphere similar to the Red Light District, on the ground floor you’ll find a dive bar and art gallery and in the basement a space for live performances. The Cock hosts many events throughout the week, such as drag revues, live music, and parties. They also often have cover charges late at night, so make sure to check their schedule before heading out.

Phoenix | 447 E 13th St, New York, NY 10009

Phoenix is a gay bar located in the heart of East Village, New York City that has been popular with the LGBTQ community since the 1990s. In recent years, Phoenix has undergone a resurgence and now offers a variety of themed parties, queer trivia nights, karaoke, and live DJing. Originally catering to a crowd of gay rockers, Phoenix now caters to all types of patrons. The bar offers great drink specials, making it a perfect spot to meet with friends or even mingle with some new people. The bar really starts to heat up later in the night so be sure to stick around.

Club Cumming | 505 E 6th St, New York, NY 10009

If you're looking for a different kind of nightlife experience in Manhattan, Club Cumming is a must-visit destination. This gay bar and nightclub, owned by actor Alan Cumming,is focused on performances, cabaret and comedy. The venue’s atmosphere and variety of entertainment draws in patrons from all over the city. Not only that, but you'll find the bar’s mixed drinks and classic beers are just as good, making it the perfect spot for a drink before or after a show. Club Cumming is a great place to experience NYC’s artistic culture and you may even spot some Broadway celebrities.Be sure to check out the Club Cumming website for events and plan your visit accordingly.

The Boiler Room | 86 E 4th St, New York, NY 10003

The Boiler Room is a classic gay dive bar located in the East Village of New York City. It has a laid-back atmosphere, with a pool table and jukebox available for guests to enjoy. The bar is cash only, and does not have any signature drinks really emphasizing the bar’s back to basics style. If you're looking for a casual spot to grab a beer and relax, The Boiler Room is perfect for you. It's a great place to ditch the pretentiousness and enjoy an ice cold draft in a low-key, but still gay-centric setting.

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Gay Bars In Chelsea

Barracuda Lounge | 275 W 22nd St, New York, NY 10011

Barracuda Lounge is a renowned gay bar and drag lounge located in Chelsea. The bar features a friendly and comfortable atmosphere, including comfy couches and talkative bartenders. Its affordable happy hour specials has made it a popular destination among locals and tourists alike for over 25 years. Barracuda Lounge is famous for its drag shows, which are held almost every night of the week, and its drag competitions held on Thursdays. The performances are a must-see for entertainment and the venue has welcomed some of the most famous drag performers in the city. If you're on the West Side and looking for a fun and unique night out, Barracuda Lounge is a great option, although visitors should note the bar is cash-only.

Boxers | 37 W 20th St, New York, NY 10011

Boxers Chelsea is a gay sports lounge and bar located in Chelsea, and one of 2 Boxers locations in NYC. The two-level space is perfect for men looking to meet others with similar interests, and offers a variety of amenities such as pool tables, plasma screens for watching the game, brick-oven pizza, an outdoor patio and of course a wide selection of beers on tap. The bar is also known for its great happy hour specials and boxers clad bartenders. If you're looking for a fun and casual spot to hang out, watch the game, and enjoy some delicious food and drinks, Boxers Chelsea is the place to be.

The Eagle | 554 W 28th St, New York, NY 10001

The Eagle is a popular gay bar located in Chelsea, New York City, catering to the leather, daddy and bear communities. The bar features two levels, each with its own full bar, and a rooftop area for when the weather’s warm. The drinks are reasonably priced, and patrons can enjoy some of the best of Falcon Studios on the TV screens around the bar. The Eagle has a unique atmosphere and is a great spot for those looking for a specific community and vibe. However, it is important to note that attire is not a requirement, and everyone is welcome regardless of how they dress. The bar also features a leather and fetish gear shop in the bar’s iconic industrial elevator, in case you start feeling a bit left out.

Gay Bars In Hells Kitchen

Flaming Saddles Saloon | 793 9th Avenue, New York, NY 10019

This spot is a hollerin' good time with its western-style saloon decor, and bartenders dressed in western attire serving up drinks with a side of entertainment. Get ready to two-step the night away, as the bartenders occasionally perform choreographed dance routines to popular country songs by Dolly Parton, Shania, and The Chicks. The atmosphere is lively and the fun doesn't stop there, patrons can even earn a free shot during the show by catching the attention of a dancer.

Boxers HK | 735 9th Ave, New York, NY 10019

One of two Boxers locations on this list, Boxers HK is a fun and casual gay spot to catch the game, enjoy some drinks and hang out with friends in Hell’s Kitchen. The bar offers a casual and relaxed atmosphere, with amenities such as pool tables, plasma screens for watching games, and a variety of beer and pizza options. While the atmosphere at this location is primarily that of a traditional sports bar, there is also a DJ who spins music downstairs for patrons who may want to dance and party. The bar also features a spacious terrace that is available for use when weather permits. Just like the other Boxers location, the bartenders here are known for serving drinks in nothing but their boxers. Boxers HK is a great option for those looking for a fun and casual spot to catch the game, enjoy some drinks, and socialize with others.

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Rise Bar | 859 9th Ave, New York, NY 10019

This gay bar in Hell's Kitchen knows how to throw a party and keep the good times rollin'. With daily happy hours, karaoke nights, and dancing to the hottest DJs, there's always something happening at RISE. But that's not all, they also offer weekly theme nights and their highly-acclaimed "Drag Brunch" every Sunday. So gather your squad and make sure to check out their website to reserve a spot, you don't want to miss out on the fun!

Industry | 355 W 52nd St, New York, NY 10019

With three large areas, each equipped to handle a crowd, Industry offers something for everyone. From the classic bar room, to the intimate lounge area with a sexier vibe, and the performance area where drag queens and DJs take the stage daily, this hotspot has it all. During busy times, guests can check their bags and coats by the entrance before letting loose and early birds are in for a treat, with $2 off every drink from 6 pm-9 pm.

Hardware | 697 10th Ave, New York, NY 10036

Hardware is a must-visit gay bar in Hell's Kitchen, known for hosting some of the best drag performances and performers in the city. The bartenders are friendly and efficient, making sure you always have a drink in hand. The back dance room is where the party really heats up, with a giant disco ball and fog machines to add to the ambiance. Whether you're looking for a fun night out with friends, or just want to see some amazing drag performances, Hardware is always a great choice.

Atlas Social Club | 753 9th Ave, New York, NY 10019

Head on over to Atlas Social Club in Hell's Kitchen for a retro athletic-club-themed gay bar experience like no other! The party planners behind popular gay hotspots Bedlam and Splash have outdone themselves with this one. This throwback spot has vintage boxing posters and muscle magazines covering the walls and the TVs are always playing classic sports films. The Happy Hour has two-for-one drink specials, and the party doesn't stop until the early hours of the morning, so come ready to dance! Of all the queer bars in Hell's Kitchen, Atlas Social Club has a unique and alternative vibe that'll make you tend to only get in Brooklyn or Downtown.

Ritz Bar & Lounge | 369 W 46th St, New York, NY 10036

The Ritz is where you go to let loose and get sweaty on the dance floor. With two bars, a backyard patio, and a street-facing patio, there's plenty of room to get your groove on. Downstairs, you can catch a drag queen show on the always-packed dance floor, while upstairs you can get wild to dance and house music. Some LGBTQ+ folks think The Ritz is the best place in the world to party, while others think it’s too overhyped. We're somewhere in the middle - but we think you should check it out for yourself.

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Gay Bars In Brooklyn

Metropolitan | 559 Lorimer St, Brooklyn, NY 11211

Giving an attitude straight out of pre-gentrification Williamsburg, this gay bar has been around since 2002, and it's stayed true to its roots. This bar has fog machines, go-go dancers, billiards, and a huge backyard for summer barbecues and year-round fun. Unlike some other bars in the area, Metropolitan doesn't follow the trend of signature craft cocktails and experimental art events; this bar is all about keeping the good things the same.

Gingers | 363 5th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11215

Good news, ladies! Ginger's is back and better than ever! The pandemic may have temporarily closed its doors, but this beloved lesbian bar in South Brooklyn has made a comeback thanks to generous donors and a new business partner. One of the few remaining lesbian bars in NYC and uniquely Irish in influence, Ginger’s features an amazing outdoor space as well as fun events like drag shows, themed dance parties, poetry nights and crafting parties. Ginger's is the perfect spot for the sapphic and LGBTQ+ community to come together and have a good time.

The Rosemont | 63 Montrose Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11206

You can really party the night away and get the full hipster experience at The Rosemont in Williamsburg. This gay bar on Montrose Ave is the perfect spot for a fun night out with friends and popular with younger members of the LGBTQ+ community. Enjoy a variety of theme nights, trendy DJs, and cheap happy hour cocktails. The Rosemont is located near The Metropolitan, making it an easy bar hop spot for late at night. Sing your heart out at karaoke, enjoy live music, and catch a drag show or catch your breath on their outdoor patio.

3 Dollar Bill | 260 Meserole St, Brooklyn, NY 11206

You’re basically guaranteed a night of fun and excitement at Brooklyn’s 3 Dollar Bill. Though it may not have the historical significance of some other bars, this gay bar has plenty to offer. At the front, you'll find an efficient bar, and the dance floor with two stages on either end is perfect for letting loose. If you need a break, head out to the outdoor patio and grab a bite from a local food truck. The colorful lights and upper performance platform add to the lively atmosphere and excellent vibes.

Good Judy | 563 5th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11215

Good Judy, located in Park Slope, is a gay bar that offers a unique nightlife experience. The venue, brought to you by the team behind C'mon Everybody, boasts a two-floor space that includes several booths, banquettes, and high-top tables, perfect for socializing and enjoying a variety of drinks, including jello shots. The bar also has a packed events calendar, featuring a variety of activities such as dance parties and live piano karaoke on a weekly basis. With its central location in Park Slope, Good Judy is a great option for those looking for an exciting night out without having to rely on a backyard party.

Club Lambda Brooklyn | 1031 Grand St, Brooklyn, NY 11211

This black-owned gay bar, owned by husband-and-husband partners Charles Hughes and Richard Solomon, is a one-of-a-kind destination in NYC, created to provide a safe and inclusive environment for minorities in the LGBTQ+ community. Inspired by the success of their first venue, Lambda Lounge in Harlem, the team has brought their unique brand of fun to Brooklyn. The sleek and modern design of Club Lambda BK, located in the heart of East Williamsburg's nightlife scene, features bright neon accents and a sunroom that allows natural light in, creating a unique atmosphere.

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Gay Bars In Queens

Albatross | 3619 24th Ave, Queens, NY 11103

Experience a fun and budget-friendly night out at Albatross, one of Queens' most beloved queer bars! Originally created as a lesbian bar, Albatross now caters to the entire LGBTQ+ community and actually tends to draw in more gay men these days.The bar offers $9 16-ounce cocktails and throughout the week, you can enjoy events like karaoke, drag bingo, drink-and-draw events with live models. There are also screenings of must-see TV events such as major awards shows and Drag Race. If you're looking to make a night of it in Astoria, don't forget to check out Albatross' sister bars Icon and Kween

The Deep End | 1080 Wyckoff Ave, Queens, NY 11385

This gay bar is not just known for its great drinks but also for its delicious food. The brunch and dinner menus attract a diverse group of customers throughout the day and evening. The decor of the bar is unique with murals with a subaquatic theme, and the patrons are primarily locals from Bushwick and Ridgewood, who come to escape the hustle and bustle of Hell's Kitchen. This unpretentious spot is a favorite amongst the locals, a perfect place to make new friends and have a great time.

Dave's Lesbian Bar- Pop-Up in Astoria, Queens | Check site for location

Step into Dave's Lesbian Bar, a monthly pop-up event created by Kristin Dausch, also known as "Dave", a Midwest transplant who arrived in New York in 2009 and started working as a nanny while also pursuing their passion as a singer, songwriter and performer. After three years of co-hosting the long-running local open mic program "Show N' Tell," and observing the emergence of neighborhood mutual aid organizations during the COVID-19 pandemic, Dausch had a vision to create a lesbian and queer friendly bar and music venue in the neighborhood that also functioned as a mutual aid hub during the day. With the steady closure of lesbian bars across the country, documented by the preservation campaign The Lesbian Bar Project, Dave's Lesbian Bar aims to provide a safe and inclusive space for the community that might otherwise not exist.

And last but not least ...

Gay Bars In Harlem

Lambda Lounge | 2256 Adam Clayton Powell Jr Blvd, New York, NY 10027

Experience the perfect blend of uptown swag and downtown elegance at Lambda Lounge, Harlem's premier gay bar! With limited options for LGBTQIA+ community north of Hell's Kitchen, Lambda Lounge is a vital staple for the community and the sister bar to Brooklyn’s Club Lambda. Opened during the pandemic, this black-owned bar offers a luxurious and elegant atmosphere with tufted leather sofas, exposed brick walls, and colorful mood lighting to complement its signature cocktails. Take advantage of the Happy Hour special from Tuesday to Friday, where you can buy one drink and get one free. If you're planning to come with a group, you can also reserve a private section in advance to ensure you have a space to enjoy.

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