The best gay bars in NYC

The best gay bars, dance clubs, and pubs in New York to drink and dance the night away

Photograph: Liz Clayman
Atlas Social Club

Don't let the naysayers fool you: The Internet and Grindr have definitely not caused the death of the New York gay bar. NYC is still home to so many LGBT drinkeries, the options can be staggering—but it's really hard to go wrong. Whether you want to cruise the Hell's Kitchen main drag, drink in the Village's historic watering holes, or hop on the train to check out the scenes in Queens and Brooklyn, you'll find a friendly crowd eager to make new friends—and maybe even an IRL hookup. Many of the best bars also have top-notch DJs, fierce drag-queen performances or fun cabaret shows, which are often free. Just do yourself a favor while you're out there: Keep your phone in your pocket.

LGBT and gay bars in NYC

1

Nowhere

A friendly, spacious bar, Nowhere attracts attitude-free crowds—and the place is filled with everyone from dykes to bears, thanks to a fun lineup of theme nights. The pool table’s also a big draw.

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East Village
2

Cubbyhole

Cubbyhole is one of the Village’s more festive and hetero-friendly gay-and-lesbian bars. Chinese paper lanterns, tissue-paper fish and holiday decorations hang from the ceiling. Barstools are upholstered with glossy vinyl bearing pictures of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and Porky Pig. Eclectic? You bet. Best of all, drafts of Bass, Guinness, Miller Light and Stella are cheap.

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West Village
3

Industry Bar

This sultry, cozy bar—with a small stage, DJ booth, pool table and couches for lounging—is the newest venture from Bob Pontarelli and Stephen Heighton, the men behind Barracuda and Elmo Restaurant.

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Hell's Kitchen
4

Barracuda Lounge

This classic, no-attitude gay lounge in Chelsea has outlasted many others due to its combination of cozy couches, awesome drag shows, cheap drinks and friendly bartenders.

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Chelsea
5

The Eagle

Whatever your kink, this fetish bar will satisfy with its array of beer blasts, foot-worship fêtes and leather soirees, plus simple pool-playing and cruising nights. In summer, it hosts rooftop barbecues.

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Chelsea
6

Flaming Saddles Saloon

City folk can party honky-tonk–style at this country & western gay bar. The 74-seat spot is outfitted to look like a Wild West bordello, complete with red velvet drapes, antler sconces and rococo wallpaper. Throw back a shot and wrangle yourself a mate, or chow down on hearty grub like Texas red chili or Angus beef burgers. Don't miss the entertainment—performances by bartenders dancing in cowboy boots add to the raucous vibe.

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Hell's Kitchen
7

Rockbar

This reincarnated Christopher Street watering hole has a queer rock & roll theme, with frequent special events and a lively local crowd.

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West Village
8

The Stonewall Inn

The birthplace of gay liberation says “yes!” to empowerment and “hell, yes!” to go-go boys. The high-energy dance music draws a mixed, flirty crowd. Drink at one of two bars, or shake your groove thing on the dance floor upstairs. Daytime brings gawking tourists, but the evenings are still for partying. Theme nights include the Latin house party Uncut Wednesdays, but true to the bar’s democratic spirit, everyone is welcome.

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West Village
9

The Cock

A self-described “rock and sleaze fag bar,” the Cock is just the sort of dark, sketchy dive where you can unleash your inner sexy beast. The dearth of uptown attitude (or any apparent concern for cleanliness) pulls artists, musicians, writers, fashionistos, tourists and closeted rebels in stiff polos, all of whom can appreciate a little dirty fun. Homeskool Mondays feature DJ extraordinaire Jon Jon Battles. Weekends get so crowded (midnight to 3am) that there’s often a cover charge. Stuff your pockets before coming here; it’s cash only.

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East Village
10

Ginger’s Bar

Not many lesbian bars are as welcoming to men, gay or straight, as Ginger’s is. Two rooms and a spacious garden accommodate everyone, even decompressing softball teams from nearby Prospect Park. Small tables are a good place to chat and listen to the juke; the back room draws cue-carrying pool sharks, but skill-free shooters are welcome too.

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Park Slope
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Comments

2 comments
mcfutch
mcfutch

How about an update on this outdated post?  Last time I checked, New York City was comprised of FIVE boroughs, but you wouldn't know it based on this Manhattan-centric list,

Nunya B
Nunya B

How lazy was this article's author? They clearly haven't actually been to some of these places in years - Stonewall, for instance, hasn't had "Uncut Wednesdays" since the previous owner was in control of the place over seven years ago.