Are you looking for the best New York City gay bars? Well you’ve come to the right place! Whether, you’re visiting NYC during Pride or outside of Pride season, you will find a Pride-vibe year-round throughout the gay bars and nightclubs of New York.
New York City is well-known for its grid-system and therefore its divided and unique neighbourhoods and boroughs. The city is also well known for its enormous, intricate, and ever-changing nightlife. Below, you will find 20 of the best gay bars in NYC organized by neighbourhood.
As a traveller, you’ll notice each neighbourhood is bigger than it appears on maps. And most nights, you’ll find yourself bar hopping from one to another in the same area, instead of visiting a gay bar in Hell’s Kitchen and then a 40 mins ride to the next gay bar in Brooklyn. Usually, you’ll say, “I’m going out in the West Village” and that’s where you’ll bar hop, or you may visit the neighbourhood next-door for a change of scenery.
With the list of 20 NYC gay bars, you’ll find a wide variety of unique gay bars tailored to specific themes, interests or tastes, including gay bars with special events or drag queen shows.
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Best Gay Bars in Hell’s Kitchen
1. DBL (Dive bar lounge)
Hell’s Kitchen is the neighbourhood with the highest number of gay bars in New York City. DBL is your stereotypical “hole in the wall” gay bar with a fun vibe with cheap drinks! This is the perfect New York spot to start your night in Hell’s Kitchen. Best known for its $4 absolute drinks and $4 fireballs shots. The crowd is generally younger here.
2. Vodka Soda & Bottoms Up
Known as “Vodka Soda” or “Bottoms Up” by locals, this gay bar offers more of a loungey/dance atmosphere with a mix of drag nights. They also offer $4 drinks! This would be a great second stop if you’re bar hopping, or also a good start to the evening. Crown is a good mix of 20-30 somethings.
3. The Ritz
The Ritz in Hell’s Kitchen is a gay bar known for it’s 7 nights a week of dancing your heart out on two different dancefloors, with multilevel dancing and cute gogo boys. Having bars on each floor gives plenty of options for your night out. The crowd is generally 20-30 somethings with a slight mix of older crowds.
4. Flaming Saddles
Flaming Saddles is a country and western gay bar that will exceed your expectations. Even if you’re not into cowboys or country music, you must make a pitstop to enjoy this“coyote ugly style” gay bar! The bartenders get on the bar and dance to a variety of country and top 40 songs as well as sometimes pour shots into your mouth if you want one!
Industry is a popular chic gay bar with lots of space to sit, drink and hangout. After work hours, this gay bar is bustling into the night and offers a stage for drag and live performances. The crowd is mixed but generally a great spot to meet locals or friends, to hangout and dance into the night.
Therapy is a chic bi-level gay bar that offers a hangout lounge on both floors, and a dance floor on the top floor. This hotspot attracts a younger crowd and offers an eclectic mix of drinks, food as well as music genres, from pop and house to techno and rave.
Rise bar is a gay bar inside Hell’s Kitchen but also close to the Upper West Side. It has great music, music videos on the walls and plays music that you want to dance too. The music and energy is high, so if you’re looking to have conversations with people, it’s definitely a challenge, as people come here to drink and dance.
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Best Gay Bars in Chelsea
Depending on the night and your preference, ReBar can be one of the best gay bars in NYC. Check what’s on for a mix of circuit nights, leather nights, or drag show nights. Depending on the theme that night, and your preference, this is a must to check out. It’s a medium-sized space but is usually full with local guys, especially local muscle bears. The crowd is a mix of all ages, and definitely worth visiting.
9. Gym Sportsbar
Gym Sports bar is a gay bar in Chelsea where many gay locals come to hang, watch sports at the bar, play pool, ad enjoy happy hour drinks. This gay bar always draws in a nice, welcoming crowd. If you’re looking for a laid back spot to relax and enjoy a drink or two, check our Gym Sportsbar.
Boxers is another large gay sports bar with an open atmosphere. It’s a great hangout spot to meet friends or locals. It has two levels with big TVs, pool tables, popular brick-oven pizzas and drink specials. Another great happy hour spot if you’re in the Chelsea area!
Best Gay Bars in West Village
11. Stonewall Inn
The Stonewall Inn is a national landmark located in the West Village: This is the gay bar known widely as the birthplace of the LGBT+ rights movement in 1969. You can’t visit New York City without a visit to the gay bar with so much historical roots to our community. It’s a right of passage. This year is the 50th anniversary of Stonewall, so expect large crowds this summer. In my recent visit, the bartender offered to make everyone popcorn as my friends and I hung out and drank together.
12. The Monster
The Monster is another gay bar in west village directly across the street from Stonewall Inn. This gay bar is also a long time establishment that opened in 1970 and is known almost exclusively for being a piano bar and cabaret. It’s a classic gay hangout spot that offers a piano bar upstairs and a full dance floor or stage with drag performances downstairs. The crowd, especially upstairs at the piano bar, is more “daddy-type” as described by local friends for those interested.
13. Marie’s Crisis Cafe
Just across the street from the Stonewall Inn is Marie’s Crisis Cafe, which isn’t necessarily a “gay bar” but truly brings in a large gay crowd as it’s a sing-along piano bar. This tiny, piano bar is truly unique and those who are showtune lovers, or want a musical fix in the city, grab a drink and sing your heart out with everyone. Although there’s often a line to get in (that’s when you know it’s good!), it’s worth waiting to join in on this iconic New York experience.
Pieces is a gay bar on the smaller size, but don’t let the size underestimate how much fun this spot can be. This gay bar is more intimate and has drag shows most nights as well as karaoke on Tuesdays. It is a long-standing LGBT establishment of NYC’s gay scene. It’s also the gay bar Adele and Jennifer Lawrence visited together for a fun night out together.
Best Gay Bars in East Village
Nowhere is a beloved neighborhood queer dive gay bar with a long standing establishment in the East Village. If visiting, expect decent music, good food and strong drinks, all on the cheap side. If you’re into dive bars or looking for cheap drinks to start your evening with friends, this is a gay bar you can count on! It also has a jukebox and events like Macho Mondays.
16. The Boiler Room
The Boiler Room is an average pub style gay bar. It draws a crowd of locals and is worth visiting if you’re staying nearby. Expect a low-key gay bar with a jukebox & a pool table.
17. The Cock
Who knew The Cock was a gay bar in NYC? The Cock is certainly what a gay man might expect of a gay bar with such an eccentric name: dark, dirty and why not, intriguing and potentially fun for those of you who fancy the leather-loving daddies and bears.
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Best Gay Bars in Upper West Side
At the moment, Suite is the only gay bar in the Upper West Side of NYC, even though right on the border of upper west side is Hell’s Kitchen, which has a ton of gay bars. Expect a small, friendly gay lounge with a neighborhood vibe and as one might expect, weekly events including its well-established drag-queen karaoke.
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Best Gay Bars in Brooklyn
The Metropolitan is a gay bar that fits the vibes and energy of Brooklyn itself; divey and dynamic. The crowd is a mix of gay and straight locals that come to drink on the outdoor patio, or participate in their weekly themed events, like Queeraoke or drag show performances.
20. 3 Dollar Bill
3 Dollar Bill is becoming one of the best gay bars for a fun night out in NYC. This queer-friendly dance club in Brooklyn has scheduled themed events and concerts. It’s a great venue with a very nice sound system to see a band or dance to DJ sets. It has an artsy environment with a great atmosphere. The best events are on weekends, but this gay bar also is great weekday spot with friends! This queer venue also has the best pool table (including best balls and poles, if you know what I mean) in all of Brooklyn according to my local gay friends.
About the author:
Ryan Thomas Woods is the voice behind OutWithRyan.com; a travel blog with travel inspiration and tips for all travellers, but especially, LGBTQ+ travellers. He encourages others to travel fabulously and to visit popular and off-the-beaten-path places. Ryan was recently voted Travel Influencer of Year in Canada and dedicated the award to all LGBTQ+ travelers making the world a better & safer space for the community, as he strives to do on his website & social platforms. You can find him on Instagram and on his travel blog www.outwithryan.com.