Food & Drink

The 10 Best Gay Bars and Clubs in NYC

Published On 08/12/2015 Published On 08/12/2015

We know that you know all about Hell’s Kitchen, where you can basically fall into a gay bar, but the LGBTQ scene is hardly limited to one 'hood. From Downtown dives to patios across the river, here's our lineup of the best of New York City's gay nightlife.

The OG of NYC: The Stonewall Inn

53 Christopher St, Manhattan
Hailed as one of the birthplaces of the gay rights movement, this West Village stalwart hasn’t lost its luster. It's a great spot, whether you’re looking for drag, bingo, karaoke, or just a good ol' dance party, and no matter if you want weekday drinks in the neighborhood or a Saturday night destination spot, Stonewall has a little something for everyone.
 

Best Tuesday turn-up: Strut at ACME

9 Great Jones St, Manhattan
Before ILoveMakonnen started going up on a Tuesday, Westgay did. And now that Westgay is closed, a new player has entered the coveted Tuesday night slot: Strut. Rembrandt Duran -- one of New York’s hottest new it boys! He’s really it!! -- leads the way on this weekly party featuring big names in fashion, art, and nightlife. It's located in the basement of ACME restaurant, and the speakeasy vibe is as stylish as the crowd. Get there early -- there will definitely be a line.

flickr/ricoslounge

Best dancing: Bedlam

40 Ave C, Manhattan
A staple of NYC nightlife since 2010, here’s what you’ll find: a line down the block, a packed dance floor, male models, stiff drinks, the finest throwback jams, and a majestic taxidermied moose head. A slew of DJs spin various nights during the week, but it’s Saturday night that really draws the crowds out.
 

Best dive bar: The Boiler Room

86 E 4th St, Manhattan
Not much has changed about this hot, hot spot since it opened in the late '90s, except the neighborhood around it. With pool tables, a jukebox, no windows, and $4 well drinks after 10pm every night of the week, it’s never not packed.
 

Best longstanding lesbian bar: Henrietta Hudson

438 Hudson St, Manhattan
Henrietta has been a pioneer in the lesbian nightlife scene for over two decades, and doesn’t show any signs of slowing down, despite all the hoopla around NYC’s lesbian bars disappearing.

Courtesy of LoveGun

Best BK parties: LoveGun

617 Grand St, Brooklyn
From the owners of Eastern Bloc and Bedlam (one of whom happens to be Anderson Cooper’s boyfriend, Benjamin Maisani) comes the latest addition to the Williamsburg gay scene. The space (it used to be a fish market!) is unusual and has a tendency to feel a little cramped, so your best bet is to hit it on a guest DJ party night when they open up the two floors. Midweek, aim for the $2 vodka hump day special!
 

Best for the ladies: Cubbyhole

281 W 12th St, Manhattan
Drink prices have hardly increased since the joint opened in 1994, but we can't say the same about the decor, which has accrued an unreasonable amount of model airplanes and Chinese lanterns over the years. Cubbyhole opens its doors for everyone, but definitely caters to the ladies, so come by for happy hour specials every night of the week, and start a conversation with the babe next to you about all the crap on the ceiling.

Courtesy of Phoenix Bar

Best place to see and be seen: Phoenix

447 E 13th St, Manhattan
This legendary hotspot has survived hurricanes, blackouts, and pretty much everything in between, and still remains a magnet for beautiful editors and artists, and the people who design their clothes.
 

Best backyard in Brooklyn: Metropolitan

559 Lorimer St, Brooklyn
Drinks are cheap, the vibe is laid back (at least on the huge patio), the men are bearded, and skee-ball is totally an option.

Facebook/Boxers NYC

Best shirtless sports bar: Boxers

37 W 20th St, Manhattan
Pool tables, pizza, and plenty of plasma TVs for game-watching. The drinks tend to be a little overpriced, but the two-for-one, Monday-Friday happy hour sidesteps that quite nicely. And be aware: the bartenders only really wear... boxers!

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Wael Davis is a native Washingtonian living in the Big Apple, devouring all things digital media, nightlife, and fried. Follow him on Twitter: @waeldavis.

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1. The Stonewall Inn 53 Christopher St, New York, NY 10014 (Greenwich Village)

Considered the birth place of the gay rights movement, Stonewall Inn is still a popular watering hole for members of the LGBT community today. Whether you’re looking for drag, bingo, karaoke, or just a good ole dance party, this spot has something for everyone.

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2. ACME 9 Great Jones St, New York, NY 10012

This Noho bistro headed by Chef Mads Refslund serves up tasty Nordic-meets-American dishes. Plus, there's a kick-ass cocktail club downstairs with Dj's every night after 11pm.

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3. Bedlam 40 Avenue C, New York, NY 10009 (Alphabet City)

Since 2010 Bedlam has had people waiting in lines down the block to get in to i's packed dance floor, complete with the best throwback jams, and a majestic taxidermied moose head. For the full experience, come by on a Saturday night.

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4. The Boiler Room 86 E 4th St, New York, NY 10003 (East Village)

Not much has changed at this East Village mainstay since it opened in the late '90s, with pool tables a jukebox, no windows, and $4 well drinks after 10pm every night of the week.

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5. Happy Ending 302 Broome St, New York, NY 10002 (Lower East Side)

Located in a one-time massage parlor, this appropriately named bistro now has a Michelin-starred chef serving up hearty French dishes like steak tartare au couteau with "Mediterranean and Japanese flavors", plus lamb two ways: tandoori style and roasted chop.

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6. Henrietta Hudson 438 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014

The self-proclaimed number-one lesbian bar in Manhattan, Henrietta Hudson has a friendly, welcoming atmosphere that offers events and happy hours. They have received over 100 GONYC Magazine Reader's Choice Awards, including Best Bartenders and Best Door People.

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7. Cubbyhole 281 West 12th Street, New York, NY 10014

Cubbyhole has been a staple on the NYC scene since 1994, and proudly boasts being gay, lesbian, and straight friendly. It's decor is as colorful and eccentric as it's atmosphere, so make sure to get a good look at the ceiling when you arrive!

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8. LoveGun 617 GRAND ST, New York, NY 11211

This fish market turned gay hot spot features guest DJ party nights and two dollar vodka hump day specials. On top of those perks, the bar is owned by Anderson Cooper's boyfriend, Benjamin Maisani, owner of Eastern Bloc and Bedlam.

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9. Phoenix 447 East 13th Street, New York, NY 10009

This gay hot spot has withstood hurricane, blackouts, and everything else you could possibly imagine. Still, it has managed to remain a go-to bar for New York's creative elite, hosting editors, artists, and designers.

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10. Metropolitan 559 LORIMER ST. , Brooklyn, NY 11211

Cheap drinks and a casual vibe are just two of the many perks you can expect at the Metropolitan. Their outdoor patio is open all year, and they offer two different fireplaces to cozy up to in the colder months.

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11. Boxers 37 West 20th St., New York, NY 10011

New York's premier gay sports bar offers pool tables, outside terraces, plasma screens, brick oven pizzas and beer on tap. They have a great 2 for 1 happy hour Monday through Thursday and the bartenders wear nothing but...you guessed it...boxers!

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