Top 10 gay bars in Paris

There’s fun to be had any night of the week at these gay bars around the city

© Dan Vuletici

Paris is a European capital for all things gay and fabulous, from extravagant local personalities to a neighborhood teeming with addresses for a night of cavorting. The Marais, centrally-located just north of the Hôtel de Ville and south of the Place de la République, is the epicenter for nightlife catering to boys and men of all walks, but it's just the beginning. Starting an evening in or around the Marais is the best way to find out from the locals what's going on in other gay bars around town. Whether you're looking to share casual drinks, dance until dawn, or have a brush with a local Parisian, there's fun to be had any night of the week. 

Top 10 gay bars in Paris

1

Les Souffleurs

Critics' choice

Les Souffleurs is all about relaxation, refinement and modernity, a hip little gay bar in the centre of the Marais that would be difficult to spot if you didn’t already know it was there. Once inside, you almost feel that you’re in Berlin: hyper-styled barmen, classy décor and carefully selected music. In the daytime, it’s a quiet escape from the frenetic Marais, welcoming to groups and people going solo, settled comfortably in leather sofas. But the temperature goes up quickly at night...

Read more
The Marais
2

Le Spyce Bar

Critics' choice

More than an essential gay bar and club in the Marais, Le Spyce is a rallying cry. You can’t miss it, the frontage ornamented with a huge screen that flashes up the name of the current night in rainbow colours. It gets boiling hot inside especially on weekends, with no a/c – it’s a young, happy, sweaty, undressed, excitable crowd, ready to dance and take people home on a whim. There’s an informal (read barely-there) dress code on the dance floor... 

Read more
The Marais
3

Banana Café

Banana Café, an institution the Les Halles neighbourhood, attracts a younger set of locals, suburban Parisians, and travellers who have strayed from the core gay scene of the Marais. With themed soirées, drag shows and go-go boys that could have taught Joséphine Baker a few moves, it’s a solid choice for any night on the town. The ground floor bar and adjacent terrace serve up happy hour drinks including €3 pints from 6-11pm, though service is far from attentive... 

Read more
4

FreeDJ

If you want to dance, and claustrophobia is no issue, FreeDJ, right around the corner from Open Café, is a top choice for an all-nighter with no cover to pay. Upstairs, the bar and a foosball table occupy those looking to chat or share a cigarette in the glassed-in smoking room. Head downstairs and the intimate cellar welcomes those looking to hit the dance floor with like-minded gentlemen. Soirées like Wednesday’s RnB night keep the weeknights new and fresh... 

Read more
5

Le CUD Bar

When the bars and restaurants start close, the party is far from over in the Marais. Things at the Cud, an unfortunately-named but sinfully fun venue, start to heat up around 2am as party-seekers leave other venues for this classic and basic cave bar. Located off Rue du Temple on a tiny street, this is one of the best late-night spots in the Marais. The seating area upstairs is for amateurs, since the real party is in the vaulted cave below... 

Read more
The Marais
6

Sly

A newcomer to the gay scene, Sly is a kitschy bar down the street from the Bear’s Den that attracts a much younger set of guys and their gal friends. It seems trendy with its flashy lights and risqué videos on the flat screen inside, but there’s nothing pretentious about the bar or its patrons. The best spot is on the tiny heated terrace, offering some of Paris’s most eclectic people-watching on Rue des Lombards, but the seating inside is cozy and inviting if it’s too late to snag a seat outside... 

Read more
7

La Perle

Critics' choice

The Pearl achieves a rare balance between all-day and late-night venue, and has a good gay? straight? whatever vibe. In the morning, it draws early risers; lunchtime is for a business crowd; the afternoon reels in retired locals, and in the evening, screenwriters rub elbows with young dandies, keeping one eye on the mirror and an ear on the electrorock. The menu runs from omelettes to salade marine. Expect a DJ later on.

Read more
The Marais
8

Café Cox

Critics' choice

The aptly named Cox bar is a mainstay, centrally located in the Marais on Rue des Archives where, on warmer evenings, the crowd spills onto the pavements with only a feeble chain rope to keep patrons from taking over the street. This watering hole attracts a manlier set of slightly older bikers and leather fans that seems intimidating at first, but if it’s your scene, prepare for a hearty welcome, even if you’re a bit younger with a full head of hair. And no, it hasn’t changed hands since it opened in 1995... 

Read more
The Marais
9

Raidd Bar

The infamous 'shower bar', Raidd welcomes a trendy mix of younger locals, innocent study abroad students, and other voyeuristic internationals to the Marais who don’t just come for the pricey drinks. Instead, they crowd around to ogle the scantily-clad go-go boys who make you feel dirty while they get clean, stripping down and lathering up in the glass shower by the bar. Each Thursday, Raidd has an extended shower show, featuring four different male specimens...  

Read more
The Marais
10

Le Feeling

An unusual combination, Le Feeling is a low-key gay and lesbian hangout with the atmosphere of a small local bar. It won’t be to everyone’s taste, but the rainbow décor, Dalida soundtrack and easy-going staff are the perfect antidote to the tumult at Spyce just over the road. It’s at its best in summer, when the long bar is open onto the street. The mixed clientele includes a lot of regulars, and the general atmosphere is chatty and welcoming. On the other hand, there’s no wasting time... 

Read more
The Marais

More gay bars in Paris

Le Quetzal

This bar is considered to be one of the 'musts' of the Marais, as it's often filled with hot men and a few drag queens who help to keep things lively. You might be able to find some action in the small dark space upstairs.

Read more
4th arrondissement

Open Café

Open Café is an institution in the Marais where the gay community congregates at night before heading off in all directions. Centrally-located among all other hotspots, it’s a no-brainer to start a soirée, or to finish if the scene is good. Young and old, sporty and chic, local and foreign all collide for a happy hour (6-10pm) on pints followed by specials on Champagne until closing that provide the perfect social lubrication for the rest of the evening. A welcoming atmosphere makes this a good meeting point... 

Read more
4th arrondissement

Duplex

For those looking to drink and mingle without any flashy lights or erotic undertones, the Duplex is the place for you. Tucked away on a side street in the Marais, its shabby appearance doesn’t instill confidence, but that’s part of the charm. Upstairs you’ll find a smoking room and a small balcony for surveying the rest of the ground floor crowd, a mix of 20-40 somethings looking to hang out in a stress-free environment. Hipsters and bikers join preps and expats around the central counter for affordable beer...

Read more

Le Krash

A gay bar for blokes with one thing on their mind, and a certain taste. You can’t miss the red sign at the end of the little Rue Simon le Franc, just behind the Centre Pompidou. Inside, a large room with a long bar, a cage on the floor and a cramped smoking room at the back. You enter, buy a drink, and leave your bags in the obligatory cloakroom (€2). Apart from that, it’s pretty good value: expect to pay €3.90 for a half pint and around €8 for a vodka Red Bull... 

Read more
The Marais

Bear's Den

As the name implies, the Bear’s Den is Paris’s premier address for the cross section of the gay community known as bears. A bit older, hairier, and stockier, you won’t find these guys hanging out in the trendier, more refined bars. This lot carved out their niche on the fringe of the Marais on the lively Rue des Lombards where they fill the terrace and spill onto the street every night of the week, beers in hand.  Welcoming and friendly, if just a bit imposing... 

Read more
The Marais

Queen

Looking for glitz, glam, and sparkles? Queen is as close as you’re going to get in old gay Paris. This institution was home to artistic director David Guetta in the early '90s when it was the place for the gay club scene. These days, it hosts parties every night catering to all tastes and sexualities, leaving Sunday night the dedicated evening for gay parties. Though some of the shine has worn off, it’s still loads of fun for guys to bring their girlfriends who want to see gay nightlife à la Carrie Bradshaw... 

Read more
Champs-Élysées

Red Light

The former Enfer ('Hell') remains a trance, techno and house dynamo with local and global DJs spinning to a young, up- for-it, often gay, well-groomed crowd. Expect a mixture of local and international DJs.

Read more
Montparnasse and south Paris

Comments

0 comments