The Best LGBTQ+ Bars In The US

Whether you are looking for a rowdy dance club, a convivial piano bar, a sporty gay bar, or a chill lounge — the thing that ties all LGBTQ+ establishments together is community — a safe spot for newcomers and a familial site for the elders. We put together a list of the best LGBTQ+ bars across the nation to feel the love and celebrate inclusion. Some are brand new spots filling a void in less represented areas, and others are historic bedrock establishments of the gay rights movement. When many of these places came into existence, they were underground operations. Now widely recognized as cornerstones of equality, the transition of these establishments shows just how important it is that places of acceptance exist.

When considering the subjectivity of being the "best," we considered several aspects. In compiling this list, we looked at a space's quality of food and drinks, creativity in event planning and hosting, the interior design and ambiance, service, contributions to society, and most importantly, a feeling of safe fellowship. So, pony up to the bar, pour your favorite drink, and show some pride for the 21 spots that made our list.

Trevi Lounge — Fairfield, Connecticut

The Trevi Lounge in Fairfield, Connecticut, is a safe haven with a casual atmosphere. While inside might be peppy with karaoke, drag shows, guests playing pool, and DJ nights, the outdoor patio is a relaxed spot to chat and chill. A few years ago the Trevi Lounge began hosting a series of live musical theater and has since showcased many favorites such as, "Little Shop of Horrors," "Xanadu," and "Hedwig and the Angry Inch."

Owner and operator Katia Capozziello opened Trevi Lounge after the closing of Cedar Brook Café, which had a huge impact on the gay community in Fairfield County. According to Westchester & Fairfield County Business Journals, Capozziello wanted to fill the gap and create a refuge in the area. Frankie M. Cyanide, the host of Wacky Wednesday, told Restaurantji, "If you've ever felt like an outsider at other LGBTQ establishments, this is the place for you. Drag kings and things get just as much love as drag queens. Bisexuality isn't laughed at. WLW aren't pushed aside. Trans and POC voices are respected and amplified. Am I biased because I host a weekly show here? No. I host a weekly show here because I trust the place to be welcoming to all."

Henrietta Hudson — New York City

According to Smithsonian Magazine, lesbian bars are not as easy to come by — and getting harder to find. However, in New York City's West Village, Henrietta Hudson has been doing business as a self-described "queer human space built by Lesbians" for 30 years! As such, Hen's (as it's affectionately known) stakes its claim as the longest-running lesbian bar in the country. This legendary spot is a cozy lounge for relaxed evenings, with certain nights dedicated to a more raucous sort of club atmosphere. After three decades in business, Henrietta's has undertaken a huge renovation which has brought along new work nooks, dining areas, and expanded outdoor space.

At Henrietta Hudson, the drink menu is delightfully called "Gender Fluids" and there is a charcuterie bar to grab a nosh if you're peckish. Grub Street writes that Hen's is a strong supporter of women-owned companies, stocking its bar with bottles produced by women and people of color and sourcing their food from businesses like Cowgirl — a female-owned bar and restaurant also on Hudson Street. Henrietta's is also a popular spot for themed nights, such as locally famous watch parties for The L Word. In comments to Grub Street, Henrietta's longtime owner and activist Lisa Cannistraci compared the bar's everlasting presence to that of Cher. Fortunately, as Hen's moves into a new chapter of existence, the queer community of West Village doesn't yet have to consider life after love.

The Stonewall Inn — New York City

A historic spot, The Stonewall Inn, located in the Greenwich Village section of New York City, is a national monument to the movement for LGBTQ+ rights. The Stonewall Inn refers to itself as "the place where pride began and the place where pride lives." It's an honest title that captures the fight for dignity which took place around the Inn's premise.

Before, in, and following 1969, police raids on gay bars were a regular occurrence. At the time, New York State had inequitable laws that encouraged harassment by the police department and made targets out of establishments like The Stonewall Inn (via the Library of Congress). Such laws technically prohibited queer people from dancing together, criminalized anyone found in drag, and restricted bars from serving alcohol to gay people. Prior to the uprising, which began on June 28th, 1969, the Stonewall Inn was raided about once per month. However, on that fateful evening, the patrons of The Stonewall Inn stood up to police terrorization. During the raid, customers at The Stonewall rebelled and resisted, which led to a massive protest. Several days of demonstration followed, and The Stonewall Uprising became a huge turning point for gay rights in America and beyond.

Today The Stonewall Inn is one of the most revered gay bars in New York City, if not the world. Each night is an adventure, from burlesque shows, drag nights, dance parties, piano bar cabaret, and karaoke. In addition to a full bar, The Stonewall Inn has partnered with Brooklyn Brewery to create The Stonewall Inn IPA, a brew that commemorates The Stonewall Uprisings. This session IPA benefits The Stonewall Inn Gives Back Initiative (SIGBI), which strives to create more safe spaces for the LGBTQ+ community.

Club Feathers — New Jersey

Club Feathers is a staple in New Jersey — for 43 years, the establishment has been raking in patrons and awards, such as Club of The Year, New Jersey from New York City's Get Out Magazine. With such prestige, Feathers considers itself the number one Gay & Lesbian Hot Spot in the Garden State, and we aren't arguing with that. This Riveredge playland boasts a New York City club experience with New Jersey prices. In the venue's early years, Club Feathers faced harassment from the local government, who attempted to shut it down multiple times, and Out New Jersey writes that the building was even set on fire twice with Molotov cocktails. As we know, the building remains today, though it has always been standing on the right side of history.

Proprietor Paul Binetti opened Club Feathers as a safe and familial spot for the gay community, and it is now the last operational gay nightclub in North Jersey. Binetti is also very active in charity work — serving hot food to the locals in need and providing aid to disadvantaged queer youth. Club Feathers is known for an array of live entertainment featuring drag queens, go-go dancers, and bumping DJ sets. There are weekly Latin nights, drag shows, karaoke, and dance parties, and they have a full bar and kitchen that dishes out classic bar food to keep you grooving throughout the night.

801 Bourbon Bar — Key West

With its large dance space downstairs and upstairs theatre used for cabaret and drag shows, 801 Bourbon Bar is a hub for the gay community in Key West, Florida. If you were unaware before now, Key West is an extremely inclusive place to visit, and its longstanding establishments, such as 801 Bourbon Bar, make the town a safe and accepting place. And though it is far from the cruise ship docks, fear not — there are still plenty of opportunities to cruise once you hit the bar at 801; according to information from the bar's website, the specialty drinks change daily. 

The incredible host, Sushi, brags that her legendary drag cabaret is the longest-running show in Key West (via Instagram). In addition to the epic performances put on at 801 Bourbon Bar, the establishment has been giving money made from weekly drag bingo games to different charitable causes for decades. As In Key West writes, 801 Bourbon is interconnected to two other bars. Every night is action-packed between the three of them, from glow parties and pageants to themed dance nights; this place is always hopping with something to do. Check-in for the fantastic Happy Hour, and stay until you can't tell the time anymore. 

Lookout — San Francisco

LookOut is located right in the heart of San Francisco's Castro district and features a wrap-around porch perfect for people watching and a spacious inside for more of the same — but louder. The building has been in existence for decades, cycling through bars of different names and owners throughout. According to San Francisco Gay History, LookOut is the most recent iteration and the brainchild of Chris Hastings, once of Catch Restaurant. Hastings opened the bar with the explicit goal to both serve and become a part of the local gay community (via Vice). Most can agree that LookOut has become the social hub he envisioned.

Lookout is the place to be for parties and events, but it is also known for its charitable events, including Jock Sundays. On Sundays, patrons come for a drink and to support LGBTQ athletic teams. Each week, athletes donning their team jerseys (or something less) host a fundraising event. Per Hastings's comments to Vice, these events were already close to having brought in $1 million for LGBTQ charities as of 2016.

Of course, LookOut has more than just special events. It makes a great everyday spot too. Brunch, lunch, and dinner are all served right. The menu includes grilled, savory pupusas as a starter, exceptionally flavorful pizzas, and even Impossible plant-based meat burgers. Of course, you can expect fun events and dancing DJ nights, and drag brunches where the food is as exciting as the show. You may not like sports-themed events — but who doesn't love brunch?

A-House — Provincetown

Short for Atlantic House, A-House in Provincetown, Massachusetts is many things. It is located in one of the oldest historical buildings in town, constructed in 1798; it's a former tavern owned by Provincetown's first Postmaster, who turned the historic building into a tavern and ran it until his death from Cholera in 1834. A-House is a former writer's hangout that Eugene O'Neill and Tennessee Williams would visit in the 1920s. (Today, a nude photo of Tennessee Williams strolling on Provincetown beaches still hangs in the bar). While A-House has always been a sanctuary for nonconformists of all walks of life, it became a gay establishment in the 1950s and has been a staple ever since.

In the bar's own words, A-House is "Provincetown's most popular and only year-round dance club." More than a single establishment, this club is closer to a neighborhood of interconnected gay bars, each one with a different theme. There is the Little Bar, an inclusive cruise bar with a pay-to-play jukebox. From there, revelers can enter The Macho Bar (claimed by A-House as Provincetown's original leather and Levi bar) or the Big Room, where most of the dancing happens. Provincetown's online home describes A-House as a bar without pretension, a place where everyone is welcome. Local DJ and Billboard Magazine reporter David LaSalle has been spinning for nearly 30 years, keeping A-House dancing seven days a week. 

Sidetrack — Chicago

There are no Sunday scaries at Sidetrack. Each week, the Chicago institution hosts a Sunday Funday. The event is indoor and outdoor all day, careening into the night with a dance party that features show tunes. Sidetrack also hosts an event called Outspoken, which is an LGBTQ+ storytelling event that occurs every first Tuesday of the month. Sure, there are your typical drag events and trivia nights. Still, each month Sidetrack hosts special themed parties ranging from all things Beyonce to everything about Lady Gaga, or ones that seek to answer the classic debate: Taylor Swift or Ariana Grande? Possibly, Sidetrack's best event is Dog Day Saturdays, where guests are encouraged to bring their pups along.

While being open for 40 years, Sidetrack has grown from one tiny room with beer cases as seats and no sign on the front to a multiple-level complex that spans more than eight storefronts. Yelp voted this inclusive enclave as the Number One Gay Bar in the U.S. in 2021. With so much going on, and so many diverse sections, it's easy to get sidetracked in the aptly named bar. The cocktail menu rotates seasonally, with one recent edition featuring Harry Styles-inspired drinks like the Watermelon Sugar High (a mix of Grey Goose watermelon & basil, St. Germaine elderflower, and Red Bull watermelon). Sidetrack, we adore you.

The Phoenix Bar & Lounge — Las Vegas

The Phoenix Bar & Lounge has been previously known as the Escape Lounge, but despite the name change, it is still a retreat. At 4,800 square feet, this bar and restaurant have several patios and just as many lounge atmosphere vibes. The Phoenix also features an abundance of entertainment with darts, massage chairs, hookahs, video poker machines, pool tables, and not one but two happy hours each day. The restaurant serves elevated bar food (buffalo cauliflower bites and carne asada tacos, to name a few), and the bar menu has a rotating cocktail list that is constantly reborn.

Perhaps the most interesting thing about The Phoenix is that its status as a gay bar does not eclipse the fact that it is also a "Burner Bar," meaning it doubles as a meeting place for enthusiasts of Nevada's famous Burning Man festival. The bar hosts Burning Mondays, a once-a-week meet for local Burners and fans of Burning Man culture to gather. It's truly a retreat for free spirits of all kinds. The proprietors state their mission is dedicated "to show pride in our community through acceptance and inclusion, communal effort, art, self-expression, and participation."

Bacchus Waikiki — Waikiki, Hawaii

As if Hawaii couldn't get more welcoming, Bacchus Waikiki is considered one of the friendliest bars on the island of Oahu. Expressing what it means to have the "aloha spirit," Bacchus Waikiki serves up smiles alongside great cocktails. Visitors can look forward to musical bingo nights, trivia competitions, stage and screen nights, in addition to regular dance parties. The cocktail menu is sharp and concise, consisting of beach classics: Think mai tais, Coladas, and lemon drop martinis.

Bacchus opened in August of 2011, just a short walk from Waikiki Beach and close to the Ritz-Carlton. The location is easily accessible, and although it is in a tourist area, it has a local yet inclusive vibe. Bacchus is cozy in size and features a lanai area outside that's perfect for ambient lounging. In addition to a full bar, they have a kitchen menu of comfort food, including sandwiches, flatbread pizzas, and desserts. The word on Tripadvisor is that you can always find someone from the Aloha Bears (a group of local bears) or the Hawaii Gay Flag Football League there on a Friday or Saturday night. A regular community is always a good sign.

Crush Bar — Portland, Oregon

As southeast Portland's favorite LGBTQ+ watering hole, Crush Bar has been serving locals and visitors for over 20 years. With a full kitchen, it's a great place to grab a bite and a cocktail, plus they offer many vegan options (as is common in Portland). Drag brunch, queer trivia, stand-up comedy, and Nintendo Switch parties are just some of the events hosted there. The wrap-around outdoor patio is a relaxing spot to gab with friends, and inside is a stylish lounge with blue walls and a disco ball shimmering overhead. According to 10 Best, it's also the official spot for the Naked Bike Ride after-party, a local event for body confidence and cyclist safety.

The prices at Crush Bar are great — happy hour runs from 3 pm until midnight, and food and cocktails start at just $3. The logo is a clear indication that all are welcome at Crush Bar. It displays restroom-style graphics of two men holding hands, two women holding hands, and a man and a woman holding hands. With such a warm and welcoming atmosphere, it is hard not to have a crush on Crush Bar.

Tavern on Camac — Philadelphia

Tavern on Camac in Center City is a three-in-one business in a 19th-century brick row home, including The Tavern Inn, The Piano Bar, and Ascend Nightclub. At The Tavern, you can expect an intimate dining experience that ranges in choices from pub burgers, lamb bolognese, and seared Barnegat light scallops. The 100-year-old building is on one of America's most historic streets, and portions of the basement were used in the Underground Railroad! The Piano Bar is a cozy place to see different performers every day of the week. Ascend is where to go if you want something a little wilder. Events include Friday Country Line Dancing, DJ-led dance parties Friday and Saturday nights, and Showtune Sundays that morph into Sunday Tea Dance.

According to Center City District, Tavern on Camac was once known as Maxine's in the 1920s and then Raffles in the 1980s. Today, Tavern on Carmac is Philadelphia's longest-running gay bar and is certainly considered the local gayborhood spot.

The Triangle Bar — Denver

Located in the historic old Triangle Lounge building in the heart of downtown Denver, The Triangle Bar features upscale locally-sourced meals and bespoke cocktails with names like "Bend and Snap" and "Burn Book." The design of The Triangle Bar is sleek and contemporary. The building itself has a triangle shape from the outside. There are tables with small fire pits in the middle — perfect for a winter night in Colorado. This modern bar and lounge are also champions of eco-mindfulness and boast that they are partially fueled by wind power. They compost, recycle and use compostable plasticware and recycled paper products.

During the day, Triangle Lounge serves as a quaint cafe to grab a coffee and a bite, but it gets a bit wilder at night. They have unique events, in addition to the typical drag shows and sing-a-long bingo. The Real Housewives of Denver Brunch is a brunch event where the juiciest episodes of your favorite reality television guilty please are played. During the season, there is a Housewives-themed drag show.

The Round-Up Saloon — Dallas

If you're looking for a place to work off your BBQ, The Round-Up Saloon might be your spot. The Saloon also serves as a dance hall that offers free lessons sure to cure your two left feet. There's a reason the Dallas Observer calls it the "Best Place to Scoot Your Boots." Two-step, bar coast, freestyle, line dancing, and hoedown lessons are available. Of course, there will be an opportunity to show off your skills at one of their many dance nights.

Located in the Cedar Springs neighborhood, The Round-Up Saloon is the most spacious of gay bars in the area. A dizzying amount of hunky cowboys don the walls of this multi-room bar. There are six bars inside and a two-story outdoor patio. It is a choose-your-own-adventure type of place — maybe one of the bars is hosting karaoke, another one having a riotous dance party, with swing lessons in another — there are so many options to choose from. Or you may just want to rest your boots out on the patio and relax. Whatever you choose is a boot-scootin' boogie of a good time.

Gossip Grill — San Diego

Since 2009, Gossip Grill has been a refuge for the women of the Hillcrest neighborhood in San Diego. But, don't worry, according to the bar, they also "play nice with the boys and everything in between." Owner Moe Girton strives to be inclusive in all respects. She tells Lesbian Bar Project, "Gossip is all about our queer community. We are all Family! Whether it's enjoying drinks and dinner in a safe, fun environment or standing with them and for them, Gossip continues to support our Queer Community daily."

There is a chilled-out scene at the patio bar in Gossip Grill, equipped with fire pits and bright umbrellas that create a festive, shaded environment. Inside the bar, a lively dance floor and restaurant await. The eatery serves lofty comfort food (we're keen on the deviled egg of the month), and the cocktail menu is full of punny names like the "Coochiecabra" or the "Hump and Dump." Don't be surprised to see a huge crowd when it's raining. At Gossip Grill, they say, "when it rains, we pour," and an all-day happy hour backs up the claim. A cabaret brunch menu promises a good time with quality food and drinks in a safe, relaxing space.

Good Friends Bar — New Orleans

With a motto like "Always Snappy Casual," Good Friends Bar is the place to be for fun times that don't require too much planning. Good Friends is a multi-level venue — the downstairs has an impressive mahogany bar (292 square feet!) with brass rails decorated in quirky gargoyle vases full of calla lilies. The brick fireplace and custom art make for a cozy place to chat with friends or meet a date. Six 42-inch flat screens play Saints football games on Sundays or display lyrics on karaoke nights.

Upstairs, The Queens Head Pub is decorated in an opulent Victorian style with deep maroon and gold walls, gold candelabras, and chandeliers. The brooding design is offset by the bright and peppy works of Earl Hebert and Andy Warhol. Take in a French Quarter sunset on the wrap-around balcony while enjoying the sites of the Southern Decadence festival during the Labor Day weekend. The festival is known as the "Gay Mardi Gras," and it's every bit as fun as the traditional festival (maybe even a little more). The pub is sometimes known as "Balcony Bar" because of this stunning outside area.

Babes of Carytown — Richmond, Virginia

With this next bar, the name should tell you everything you need to know — Babes is set in the Carytown neighborhood of Richmond, and yes, there are babes there. Babes of Carytown is an LGBTQ+ owned and operated venue that has been in business for over 35 years. You can expect three bars, a dance floor, pool tables, and an outdoor patio. The food is "Southern Pub" style, and they boast the biggest and the best burger in the entire neighborhood.

Owner Vicky Hester has always wanted Babes to be everybody's bar. The establishment has a little of everything — live music, karaoke, drag shows, DJ nights, and even a beach volleyball court. A write-up in Wine Enthusiast describes it as "an undeniably campy escape from the everyday, a refuge as whimsical as it is inviting." Accordingly, Babes is the type of place you go to experience true joy, the kind that is very hard to capture regularly in adult life. Maybe it is the sun-soaked, sand-filled volleyball court, or perhaps it is the delicious food served in an inviting atmosphere, but Babe's is a bar where people can enjoy being themselves no matter their gender, identity, ability, or sexual orientation.

Karla's Restaurant and Bar — New Hope, Pennsylvania

The entire town of New Hope feels like a giant Pride Festival 24/7, to the point where the town is now considered a specific destination for an accommodating and accepting gaycation (via Fagabond). The whole town is a vibrant and inclusive community and has been since the early 1940s (via Visit Bucks County). Karla's Restaurant is located on a quaint, cobblestone Mechanic Street and is a staple of New Hope, where the eatery has embodied the town's spirit since 1978. During the lunch and dinner hours, the restaurant serves European fare in its brick-floored dining room, filled with hanging plants and peacock chairs. If the weather is nice, you can expect the huge French doors to open, turning the entire building into a joint inside-outside dining area.

At night, the upstairs bar serves fresh fruit martinis with a side of sass. Come for the Full Moon Dance Parties once a month when the moon is at its brights. Other events include Good Mixxer dance night, occasional drag shows, and the famous High-Heeled Drag Race, in which participants wear high heels as they each carry a pumpkin up the steep-hilled Mechanic Street. In tradition, the giant pieces of produce are decorated and returned downhill, all taking place with a special festival known as Out in October.

Madison Pub — Seattle

Madison Pub is located in the Capitol Hill area of Seattle. And this is not your average gay bar. It's an LGBTQ+ sports bar that shows all local Northwest sporting events and does so without any cover charge. Aligning with the sporty vibe, Madison serves kombucha on tap alongside its draft beers. The bar also hosts pool and dart tournaments and trivia nights. EverOut calls it a remarkably popular little watering hole with incredibly loyal patrons. The outlet goes on to say that Madison Pub is the friendliest and least stressful gay bar on Capitol Hill.

Having been in business since 1986, Madison has been instrumental in the growth of the Capitol Hill area. Owner Roland Hyre spent eight years in the US Navy serving on a submarine. When he retired from the Navy, he began working at the pub until he took ownership in 2011. Pop in to watch a game, play some pinball, or enjoy old-school arcade games. Or just to enjoy the unpretentious, no-frills atmosphere. Madison Pub isn't the most dressed-up or flashy place, but it is a gay bar where everyone can be themselves in a dressed-down atmosphere.

This Is It! — Milwaukee

This Is It! opened in 1968, and according to Urban Milwaulkee, it is the oldest continually operating gay bar in the city and all of Wisconsin. The establishment received its name when June Brehm, a supper club entrepreneur, was looking for a spot in downtown Milwaukee for her next venture. When she discovered the lounge on East Wells Street, she said, "This is it!" After Judy's passing in 2010, her son Joe helped ease the transition to new owners, George and Trixie Mattel. When This Is It! first opened, patrons were largely closeted or felt targeted. This Is It! offered a safe haven with dim lights, a back entrance, and a supportive community in those days. Today, the bar is still a refuge, only now with a more outspoken approach.

These days' spirited theme nights include Gayme Night, Screen Queens, karaoke, trivia, and drag bingo. It's certainly no shrinking violet anymore — instead, brightly painted rainbow crosswalks lead the way to the centrally-located bar. History has a place at This is It! and so do any who seek a welcoming, inclusive, and equitable environment. When you arrive here, you're just as likely to feel that you've finally found the home you were searching for.

Stache — West Hollywood

Short for mustache, Stache is titled to pay homage to the millions of gay men who lost their lives during the AIDs epidemic. While many LGBTQ+ establishments have been praised for standing the test of time or coming of age during periods where opposition was stacked against them, Stache is on a more modern mission. You might say they're applauded for carrying the torch. What Now Los Angeles reports that Stache opened in our post-pandemic world after many like-minded businesses were forced to close. Now, the West Hollywood hotspot is pursuing the just cause of creating a new space for its local LGBTQ+ community.

Stache is a restaurant, bar, and nightclub, delightfully self-described as an "all-inclusive social house for every form of self-expression." The 3,093 square-foot space (including the outside area) is home to a full-service restaurant that offers many plant-based options, a huge dancefloor, and wide-open lounge areas. Events outside of the average drag show and karaoke include vogue-ing classes, political watch parties, book clubs featuring queer authors, and short film festivals. Stache is more than your local gay bar; it is a community center focused on strengthening the ties of all who need it.