The Best LGBTQ+ Bars in Los Angeles

From dive bars to roving dance parties to a strip mall wine bar for the sapphically inclined.

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Following the example of other nightlife venues and events, LA’s LGBTQ bars are slowly returning to life and welcoming patrons of all identities, orientations, and proclivities on their dance floors. Once firmly headquartered in West Hollywood, our city’s LGBTQ scene has since expanded to include worthwhile spots in Silver Lake and Downtown, plus a few roving parties that pop up at different venues around town.

More than a place to catch an entertaining drag brunch or dance until you drop, LGBTQ bars sprang up out of necessity to offer those communities safe spaces to meet others, congregate, and, of course, celebrate identities that society has not always so readily accepted. It is all the more disheartening that so many LGBTQ bars have closed in recent years (RIP Oil Can Harrys and Fubar), particularly in spaces catering to lesbians, trans women, and other queer identities.

While the Oxwood Inn, LA County’s last surviving lesbian bar, closed its doors in 2017 after serving the San Fernando Valley for 45 years, we’re happy to report that a new guard is stepping up to create inclusive spaces, ranging from an underground club series to community-oriented queer field trips. Though most of these newcomers still lack permanent locations, we’ve got our fingers crossed that we’ll soon be able to add another entry to the dwindling list of lesbian bars that remain in the US.

In the meantime, mosey on over to any spot on the list below to see the new generation. Here are our favorite LGBTQ bars across LA.

West Hollywood
After shutting down during the pandemic, we weren’t sure if Mother Lode would survive. But last year, the oldest gay bar in WeHo’s Rainbow District finally reopened. Established in 1979, Mother Lode’s aesthetic remains the same despite lighting and sound system upgrades. The pool table is gone, but that just allows for more room on the dance floor.

Silver Lake
The Ruby Fruit opened in 2023 and is described as a “strip mall wine bar for the sapphically inclined.” This lesbian-owned queer bar isn’t just for lesbians, though, it’s for anyone who hasn’t found a home in more male and loud music-driven environments. The Ruby Fruit welcomes nonbinary, gender-nonconforming, and trans people. They even serve lunch, brunch, and dinner now, so come in for a glass of natural wine, some food, and great conversation.

West Hollywood
You won’t find a better deal than The Bayou. It takes its New Orleans theme so far; even its prices on food and drinks will make you feel like you’re not in Los Angeles. This is the “lower back tattoo of WeHo,” and it’s for those of us who want to celebrate all things fun, drunk, and wild. With its friendly atmosphere, it won’t take long to feel at home in this special little dirty dive bar.

East Hollywood
With a Wednesday comedy night, queer speed dating, and spring fling dances, Honey’s at Star Love is an excellent mix between a dive bar and a community hangout space. They even have spirit-free beverages for those who prefer to have a good time sober. Karaoke is also on Wednesdays, and every Thursday features an underground BIQTPOC dance party. You’ll find a reason to hang out at Honey’s any night of the week.

Boyle Heights
Redz Angelz is a hidden gem with great music, an outdoor patio, and a long history. It’s believed it first opened in the late 1950s and became a popular lesbian bar that catered to working-class Mexican clientele. Redz Angelz represents the important intersection of LA’s race, class, gender, and sexual identity with a side of Trash Queen Bingo and drag shows. Ownership changed in 2016, but Redz remains dedicated to the LGBTQ community.

After three years in West Hollywood as Bar10, the most inclusive stage in LA has moved downtown and changed its name to 10DTLA. Located across from Grand Central Market, 10DTLA is a queer bar and event space that hosts drag shows, cabaret, burlesque, and underground dance parties hosted by some of the city’s best DJs. While this isn’t a traditional bar with regular hours, you'll want to be there if this event space is hosting. The energy that made them successful in WeHo has only been empowered by the new sexy DTLA digs.

West Hollywood
Stache pays homage to the hidden LGBTQ+ spaces that once made up West Hollywood with red lights and a clandestine entrance. Stache feels like a members-only club that requires a knowledge of Drag Race trivia and Screen Queens to join. But don’t worry; they do offer VIP and bottle service if you want to go all out. Great happy hours, dance parties, and movie screenings make Stache a special place in WeHo where you’ll want to be a regular.

Various locations
This party with rotating local talent happens seasonally and prides itself on creating an inclusive environment where everyone feels free. For Pride Month, Lez Croix has events on June 9 and 11 to celebrate its seven-year anniversary. Check out Friday’s two-room dance party or Sunday’s day party featuring cocktails, mocktails, food, and music. Purchase tickets here.

Various locations
We might be stretching the definition of a gay bar with Queer Field Day, but we resonate with the mission of this ongoing series that endeavors to create safe spaces that helps queer people find local community, with events ranging from beach meetups to bar takeovers with trivia to crowding Staples Center stands for Sparks games. Queer content creator Lilly Brown is behind the series and was inspired to create an inclusive space geared towards queer people that didn’t require being in a bar, which is only inclusive for people who drink or are over 21. Follow Queer Field Day’s Instagram to be notified about upcoming events.

West Hollywood
This lively spot, named for the revolving door at its entrance, was a favorite among WeHo’s LGBTQ bar-hoppers before it shuttered and re-opened in 2011. A contemporary version of the “video bar” of yesteryear, the Revolver of today has upped its game by adding drag, karaoke, and happy hour specials on weekdays, and live DJs, go-go dancers, and laser light shows on weekends to round out its diverse party calendar.

Silver Lake
Those who aren’t formally initiated into leather and kink culture may be too intimidated to pay this indoor-outdoor bar a visit, and that’s really too bad. On weekdays, Eagle LA is simply a casual neighborhood watering hole for those who prefer draft beer, rock music, and porn on the TVs to other bars’ Top 40 and music videos. On the third Saturday of each month, Eagle LA hosts a femme-centric party called Cruise LA (not to be confused with their weekly Cruise event on Saturday nights that is “no theme, no cover, just hot horny men”), usually in collaboration with queer producers like Homocult and featuring Lez Croix DJs like Romy and Your Muther. Other ongoing events include a Sunday Beer Bust with $4 domestic drafts, Lucki Break on Tuesdays with happy hour drinks and free pool, and Wednesday’s Hump Night with $11 domestic pitchers and $6 well drinks from 9 pm–2 am. Weekends are typically when the kinksters come out to play, showing up in droves for “gear nights” dedicated to leather, rubber, and other kinky scenes.

Various locations
This LGBTQ-led, astrology-themed dance series offers free entry all-night to whichever zodiac sign is currently ruling the season. Formerly a monthly party held at The Satellite (RIP), Gay Asstrology now hosts its events at SuperNova, an outdoor comedy venue in Hollywood. The next event is a Gay Asstrology Pride on June 10.

Various Locations
Catch One, formerly Jewel’s Catch One, holds the distinction of being the longest-running Black gay club and one of the first Black discos in the country. Formerly owned by Jewel Thais Williams, the club is now under new management but pays homage to its past by hosting events by A Club Called Rhonda, an all-inclusive rave series that was founded in LA but has since gone international. The next event, Conducta & Space Dimension Controller, is June 3 at Los Globos and features an all-night-long extended set from Conducta.

Outside of New Jalisco Bar, Downtown Los Angeles was practically a no man’s land for queer people until just a few years ago. These days the neighborhood’s steel and concrete acts as the setting for a thriving scene of LGBTQ tastemakers and young professionals, and this bar is that scene’s home base. Featuring some of the city’s most diverse party programming, including RuPaul’s Drag Race viewing parties; Gay Ass Bingo on Wednesdays; Fat Slut, a hot body-positive party on Fridays; and Puteria, a sexy and sweaty Latinx dance party on Saturdays. Holding the title of DTLA’s largest gay bar, this sprawling, multi-room space packs people in and keeps them fed with a full menu of bar eats.

Echo Park
Stud Country is an event hosted every Monday and Thursday at Club Bahia. The line-dancing event has become so popular that it essentially feels like its own queer bar at this point. There’s a full bar, and they do take requests if you’re worried about hearing country music all night! Created by two friends who wanted to honor the rich history of gay cowboy culture and queer dance spaces, Stud Country makes line dancing easy and accessible. All levels are welcome, but you’ll want to arrive by 8:30 for the first lesson. Miss it? Don’t worry; there’s an open floor, too, for those who want to choreograph their own moves.

This longstanding Downtown bar has always been a divey refuge for local Latinx gays, who saunter through the door seeking community, stiff cocktails, and even stiffer go-go dancers. Just don’t be surprised if the dancers’ makeshift stage is a couple tables pushed together. It’s a no-frills, no-attitude option for drinking, dancing, and drag, not to mention an important space for a community that put DTLA on the map.

West Hollywood
Located in the heart of WeHo, this nightclub offers up a dance floor every night of the week, regularly blasting Top 40, hip-hop, and Latin soundtracks for the crowd. Every Monday, Micky’s hosts Showgirls, a drag show led by Morgan McMichaels and a rotating cast of queens, with music by DJ Paulo Ramirez. The drag show starts at 10 pm, but beforehand at 9 pm, the club hosts Season 5 of Project Drag, a weekly competition with the winner crowned as a new Showgirls cast member, plus a prize that includes $5000 in cash, $100 gift card from Queen Custom Claws, a gift card from Serena ChaCha Wigs, make up from Camarillo Beauty, and a photo shoot from We Love Queens. On Thursday nights, the upstairs room is transformed into Club Arriba, featuring Latin music and dancing. Stop by at noon on Saturday for “Bring it Back to Brunch,” a drag show brunch where $20 will get you a mimosa and brunch combo, and $5 specialty shots and $6 wells are on offer. Micky’s also has a full kitchen with elevated bar foods like sweet potato truffle fries, poke, and an old-school smashburger, plus vegan options.

Silver Lake
Another bar that’s more “neighborhood watering hole” than fog-filled nightclub, Akbar has long been a refuge for the city’s queer community (and our allies) who seek nothing more than stiff drinks and a jukebox. The bar’s backroom gets a bit more inventive, hosting events that span karaoke, craft nights, live comedy, and of course, lots of dancing with DJs.

North Hollywood
A popular spot for weekday happy hours and weekend evenings, The Bullet Bar draws a decidedly casual crowd made up mostly of guys who prefer a drink at the bar and a smoke on the patio to the dance floors and long lines of the city’s other nightlife offerings. That said, if it happens at a gay bar—think queer film screenings, BINGO, beer busts, disco Sundays—you’ll find it here.

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Ashley Ray-Harris is a LA transplant who will only consider herself a native when she has her children here. She’s a TV writer and stand-up comic whose work has been featured in Bust, Vulture, and the New York Times. She was a 2021 HBO Queer Comic to Watch and 2023 BET Black Woman Comic to Watch. Her writing has appeared in The Cut, New York Magazine, Harper’s Bazaar, and Cosmopolitan.