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Club Cumming, Lance Horne
Photograph: Jeff Eason Mondays in the Club with Lance

The best gay bars in NYC

The best gay bars, clubs and pubs in New York to drink and party the night away all year round

By Ethan LaCroix and David Goldberg
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Nightlife in NYC may always be in flux, but for the LGBTQ community, some places will always be home. Whether you're looking to see the city's best drag queens in the East Village or an avant-garde party in Bushwick, we've got the best queer spots for cabaret, drag, dancing and beyond. 

 

 

Best gay bars in NYC

11. 3 Dollar Bill/Sutherland

LGBTQ+ East Williamsburg

In recent years, Bushwick has quickly become a queer paradise, with bars like the Rosemont and the Deep End throwing bashes every night, and the Bushwig festival rising in prominence year by year. And with the June 2018 opening of this double-trouble nightlife hub, the neighborhood may be embarking on a new golden age. Enjoy drinks in the lovely Americana bar 3 Dollar Bill, which features shows and events like Sunday BBQ parties; then head to Sutherland, the fabulous warehouse space in the back of the venue, for thumping dance parties every night guided by sound systems inherited from venues like the Roseland Ballroom. Some of the best drag performers and DJs in the city have begun their takeovers of the new spot; get in early and join the community.

12. The Cock

Bars Dive bars East Village

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. 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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13. Macri Park

LGBTQ+ Williamsburg

Brooklyn's best drag queens love this spot for a round of karaoke, performing or just a casual nightcap. Hang out in the chill backyard or head inside for a low-key kiki with the city's best performers on any given night. 

14. Henrietta Hudson

Bars Lounges West Village

A can’t-miss combo of a Melissa Etheridge–heavy jukebox and strong drinks poured by cute chicks has kept this lesbian spot busy since 1991. Reggae and hip-hop spin most nights, inspiring a good bit of rump shaking among the young, flirty patrons. Weekends bring a higher bridge-and-tunnel quotient, but it’s nothing a Naughty Girl (blue curaçao, coconut rum and pineapple juice) can’t help you overlook.

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15. Industry Bar

Bars Lounges Hell's Kitchen

The men behind longstanding Chelsea haunts Barracuda and Elmo Restaurant bring you this sultry midown drinkery. Unlike cozy Barracuda, Industry is a sprawling, high-ceilinged space, featuring a long concrete bar (manned by hunky, often shirtless bartenders, naturally) a stage hosting drag and music performances and a sizeable dance floor. Those seeking a more intimate scene will find plenty of private nooks and comfy couches.

Hombres
Photograph: Alex Strada

16. Hombres Lounge

Bars Lounges Jackson Heights

A long and narrow dance hall dressed resembling Babylon from Queer as Folk, Hombres has a more Manhattan vibe than the other gay bars on the Jackson Heights strip. Nightly $3 tequila/vodka shots and $4 frozen margaritas (and near-nude Latino go-go boys atop the bar) keep the young and beautiful coming back, with the crowd overflowing the sweaty dance floor and spilling out into the street. A downstairs lounge is only open for private events, so if you’re not lucky enough to snag one of the few barstools, you may as well dance all night. Hombres is something of a destination for Long Islanders and Connecticut gays, perhaps thanks to the ample on-street parking just outside.

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The Duplex
The Duplex

17. The Duplex

Theater Off-Off Broadway West Village

Setting the pace for campy, good-natured fun, the city’s oldest cabaret is still going strong. In the ground-floor piano bar, the merry singing waitstaff and pianists are often excellent; drag performers often grace the tiny stage of the  lounge upstairs, which has a separate bar.

The Eagle
Photograph: Luciana Golcman

18. The Eagle

Bars Lounges Chelsea

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 warmer months, the roof deck is a surprisingly lovely oasis.

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19. Flaming Saddles Saloon

Bars Beer bars Hell's Kitchen

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.

Marie's Crisis Cafe
Photograph: Glenn Wood

20. Marie's Crisis Cafe

Bars Beer bars West Village

The draw at this beloved West Village institution ain't the drinks—cheap beer, vodka highballs—it's the old-school piano-bar experience. Belt out a Broadway tune with the rest of the bar, and keep an eye peeled for legendary pianist Dexter Watson, who's been a fixture at Marie's for ages.

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Best gay clubs in NYC

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