“It’s weirdly wholesome rubbing shoulders with warm and fuzzy gays and shopping for chest harnesses and pup masks while you drink. I don’t know why, it’s just cute and cozy!” - David R.
Taking up an entire wall along the Eagle’s neon-tinted dancefloor is something every queer Houstonian should recognize: the iconic mural from one of Houston’s historic, dearly departed gay bars, Mary’s on Westheimer. Painted by gay artist Scott Swoveland, this image is a symbol of sanctuary. Another wall showcases a timeline of Houston’s gay history, almost like a living museum for the queer community. Every bit as iconic as the art on display, Houston’s Eagle is also known for its friendly staff and diverse crowd. With two stories, a back patio, and a kinky little shop on the premises, visitors are in for much more than just an energetic dance floor with a killer DJ.
The gayest little dance hall in Texas
This queer honky tonk has major Texas cred; it used to be the historic Esquire Ballroom, where Willie Nelson played in the live band, writing future classic songs in his head while driving up from Pasadena every night. Way out on Hempstead Road, Neon Boots lies outside the bounds of the Gayborhood, but that actually makes it feel like its own pulsing little universe where you can get your Brokeback boogie on with a cheap drink in your hand. Neon Boots’ size and crowd set it apart from other gay country bars, and you’ll find a more even split between genders here. The line dancing lessons make for a super unique date night, too.
“I don't get to the scene much cuz I'm a mostly closeted pansexual, but I've been to JR’s a few times and it's wild to see just how gay a gay bar can be!” - David L.
Established in 1978, JR’s Bar & Grill is a staple of gay Houston; when people come to town and want to visit a gay bar, they go to JR’s. The fact that closeted folks feel safe here speaks volumes, and after chatting up the friendly bartenders it’s easy to see why. An expansive space with a huge back patio and multiple dance floors, there’s plenty of room to let go and find the vibe that best suits you. The sights are just as lively as the sounds, too: JR’s is known for its super-cute go-go dancers who work hard for their tips. Save some of those dollars, though, because like any staple gay bar worth its salt (and sugar), drag shows are a regular feature.