The Best LGBTQIA+ Nightlife Spots in Atlanta

These are the best bars, clubs, and recurring events for celebrating queer life in Atlanta.

Atlanta is one of America’s most underrated LGBTQIA+ capitals, and that’s largely due to its diverse groups of passionate activists, talented queer artists, and, of course, legendary bars and clubs. Consider that, depending how you count, there are only around 14 states in America that still have a fully operational lesbian bar, and Georgia just so happens to be one of them. And while most cities only celebrate Pride in June, Atlanta has celebrations like Black Gay Pride and Atlanta Pride around Labor Day and National Coming Out Day, respectively. Anytime is the perfect time to show your pride in Atlanta—and there are no better bars for doing so than these 10.

Midtown
At the intersection of 10th Street and Piedmont Avenue, Atlanta’s Rainbow Crosswalks isn't the only attraction. 10th and Piedmont is a spirited community-servicing restaurant that flaunts a vast menu including everything from classic Southern staples to seafood and vegan items. But when the clock strikes 6 pm, the eatery and its adjoining brother location, G’s Midtown, becomes the perfect setting for a weekly social set full with countless cocktails, karaoke, and of course, gorgeous people.

Bulldogs Bar Atlanta
Bulldogs Bar Atlanta

Midtown
Entering this famed Peachtree hotspot immediately places you amid inexpensive, yet highly potent, cocktails, the latest chart-topping urban hits, pool tables, and a patio for reprieve if your engagement gets a little too hot. And, because bragging rights mean everything in the Hollywood of the South, Bulldogs prides itself as not only being the “Original Atlanta Black Gay Pride Party Spot” (it opened in the late '70s), but also one of the best gay bars in the nation.

Cheshire Bridge Road Corridor
This scene staple is a playground for entry-level fetishes like leather and jocks and the occasional DILF sighting, but the party emporium also features acclaimed international disc jockeys and is the new home of the acclaimed “Stars of the Century” weekly drag show. It’s also a classic local spot for bears, where hairy chests, broad shoulders and backs, and rhythmic body contact reign supreme.

My Sister's Room-MSR
My Sister's Room-MSR

Old Fourth Ward
This lesbian-owned and -operated spot has reigned supreme for decades. Stiff cocktails, bottle service, a full kitchen, burlesque performances, and community-based philanthropic offerings are all on deck. And don’t be shy if you’re not a lady who loves ladies because MSR prides itself on being a haven for anyone who desires high-level happiness and good vibes.

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Marquette Lounge
Marquette Lounge

West Atlanta
Here’s the thing—what happens at the Marquette generally stays there, which is why the Westside Atlanta lounge has limited social media and web presence. But we can tell you this late-night locale features engagements like “Turn Up Tuesdays,” “Wasted Wednesdays,” and “Hush Night,” a celebration of trans performers. Doors open nightly at 11 pm, so it’s a guarantee that you’ll be racing the sun home.

Midtown
Plan a trip to Las Margaritas and be prepared for a potent combination of Latin influence and LGBTQ effervescence. After downing a Latin Monster Fishbowl or a few Mexican Aguas with Rum, you’ll understand why the spot is most popular for their booze-fueled Cinco de Mayo block parties. Unfortunately, Las Margaritas is not currently open, but that’s only temporary. The fabled hangout spot will be back between mid-to-late 2022, so get ready to return to Las Margaritas in the near future.

Mary's
Mary's

East Atlanta
Sometimes the perfect watering hole isn’t about bells and whistles, but about perfect pours, people, and a hell of a party—enter East Atlanta’s grand dame, Mary’s. Heavy-handed bartenders, show-stealing hosts, and unapologetically happy patrons all rule this world, providing unpredictable, yet perfectly played parties in the heart of East Atlanta. Come for the karaoke and leave with... well, that’s up to you.

Woofs Atlanta
Woofs Atlanta

Midtown
Though the idea of playing sports satisfies a certain level of bravado, the perfect alternative to dodging bodily harm and working up a non-flattering sweat is watching the gamut of games and matches with perfectly chilled cocktails and bar fare at Woofs, Atlanta’s only gay sports bar. Show your team spirit, in comfort, as dozens of televisions showcase gladiator-style battles and animalistic instinct from wall-to-wall.

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Satchel B. Jester is a contributor for Thrillist.

Joshua Robinson is an Atlanta-based contributor for Thrillist. Follow him on Instagram and Twitter at @roshrisky.