From the owners of Rise comes The Spot, a new club with seemingly endless potential that opened its doors in summer of 2021. Already, queer people have showed up in droves to prove that there's still a strong market for Hell’s Kitchen venues following the closure of places like Therapy and Vodka Soda Bottoms Up. When a DJ takes the aux cord here, the dance floor comes to life, complete with flashing lights and stage performers. In calmer moments, you can still anticipate pop music that sets the tone for a satisfying night out.
Just across from the Woodlawn Cemetery in The Bronx lives a vibrant queer sanctuary that eliminates the need to bar hop. Opened earlier this year by Aidan Loughran, who also founded the eatery Saints and Scholars in Yonkers, Identity has already lined up a series of unique recurring events that give gay bars in any borough a run for their money. On any given day the vibe is electric, enough so that you’ll be planning your next visit the moment you walk through its doors.
Calling Pink Metal a queer spot is a bit of a stretch, but hang inside long enough and you'll start to see that it doesn't need an LGBTQ+ label to become a cherished part of the community. The narrow femme bar initially planned its grand opening for March 13, 2020—the day the US declared a national emergency for COVID-19—but even through a pandemic, it found a way to gain a cult following among locals. Its pink neon lights and emphasis on sexuality emulate Berlin’s nightlife scene, and the regular no-cover burlesque nights and drag performances all but seal the deal. Grab a colorful craft cocktail and sidle up to the bar for an experience that's perfect for the ‘Gram and far from cliché.
Albatross doesn’t need renovations or craft beers to hold its place as one of Queens’ most delightful queer bars; their $8, 16-ounce “cock-tails” prove that sometimes cheaper is better. The establishment once catered specifically to lesbians, but later shifted its focus to the LGBTQ+ community as a whole. Throughout the week, you’re likely to stumble upon karaoke, drag bingo, drink-and-draw events with live models, and screenings of can’t-miss TV events, like major awards shows and Drag Race.
Not a hurricane, nor earthquake, nor apocalypse could get in the way of your night at Barracuda. The windowless bar shuts out the world around it to fully immerse visitors in what it has to offer. And it offers quite a bit, particularly in terms of drag: Over 25 years, it’s given the stage to all sorts of prominent NYC performers, including Tina Burner,Peppermint, and, most recently, Kizha Carr, who hosts the iconic drag competition Star Search every Thursday night.
The Boiler Room is a textbook dive bar: it’s cash only, has one beat-up pool table, lets guests choose the music with a jukebox, and doesn't believe in signature drinks. What you see—an old-school East Village watering hole—aligns perfectly with the experience you get. Whereas many gay bars center their identity around queerness, The Boiler Room looks like any straight person’s go-to spot, only you don't need to expend energy worrying about whether you're welcome. Sometimes it's fun to ditch the pretentiousness, dress down, and order a PBR for old time’s sake.