Are you looking for the best gay spaces to dance, hook up, or just get cute? Check out our list of the hottest NYC gay bars.
If you’re looking to connect with a bunch of gay men you can go to a gay bar. Gay bars are not just drinking establishments. They are the center of the LGBT social scene. People use all types of names to refer to gay bars such as queer bars, boy bars, and gay pubs. The oldest gay bar in America is Cafe Lafitte Exile which is located in New Orleans, Louisiana. Here in New York City, is the world’s most famous gay bar, the Stonewall Inn. There are dozens of other popular gay bars in NYC the gay-friendly neighborhoods of Hell’s Kitchen, the Village, and Harlem, such as Monster’s, a gay bar with a pianist, and Lambda Lounge, one of the few black gay-owned bars in the country! If you’re new to NYC or a resident who’s not familiar with the gay scene continue to read this guide on navigating the NYC gay bar scene.
Black-Owned Gay Bars
For a long time, Harlem has been the center of black gay life in New York. But there was a time when the black LGBT nightlife scene was popping. I remember back when Club Langstons, a black gay nightclub, was open black gay men from all over the city would flock to Brooklyn.
Club Lambda is a black gay club in Brooklyn. It was opened this year by the same couple who owned Lambda Lounge (they are definitely making big moves). At the grand opening many big gay influencers and celebrities including Native Son and Jussie Smollet. The venue has two floors, an outdoor patio, and multiple rooms. The decor is pretty nice as expected from the owners who own Lambda Lounge, another beautiful black gay space.
Next Lounge is another chic black gay lounge owned by promoter Leon Curry and the owners of 4 West Lounge. The lounge is located in West Harlem right across the street from Central Park. It has almost like a hidden bar or speakeasy since you have to walk down a flight of stairs to get inside. I like this setup because it allows us LGBT patrons to interact with each other freely outside the public view.
One enticing aspect of Next Lounge is its drink selection. There are cocktails named with queer and pop culture references. For instance, there’s a drunk called “slut bucket” which is an actual bucket.
What I also love about this black gay bar is the crowd it attracts. You’ll find a lot of sexy mature gay men of color, especially on Sundays around brunch hours.
Leon has special events at Next including “Weed Wednesday” during which weed smokers can come and smoke a joint and “Blackout brunch” on Sundays which has a resident DJ named DJ Logic. Sundays are the best time to come since the music is on point and men from NYC, DC, and other major cities come here.
Another great aspect about Next is that it’s small but has a very intimate vibe. If you’re looking to connect with other black gay men come here any time of the week, especially on Sunday.
New York City is definitely gone through a Black Gay Renaissance. Many black gay and lesbian promoters have been throwing successful events in the past couple of years even during the pandemic. What brings me more job is that several black gay bars and clubs have opened recently. One of them is Lambda Lounge.
The owners of the upscale bar lounge are the black gay couple Charles Hugh and Ricky Solomon. They created Lambda Lounge to give a space for the black community in Harlem. I proposed to actually host an event at this beautiful establishment but unfortunately, my plans were cut short due to the coronavirus epidemic.
The black leather furniture, brick wall, and flat-screen TVs give the place a modern look. I know some gay black men that are very selective in clubs and lounges to frequent. These same black gay men enjoy going to Lambda Lounge which tells you that the venue is very popular among the black gay crowd including the classy and sophisticated individuals. Even if you don’t drink you’ll have to opportunity to sit down and network with other gay men. This is one of the few New York gay bars that have remained open during the pandemic.
4 West is one of the three black gay bars in West Harlem. It’s owned by a black gay couple Troy Barry and Brian Clark. The venue has two floors. The lounge is open 7 days a week. One of the busiest days is on Thursday nights during which is “Trappy Hour”. Trappy Hour is hosted by black gay promoter Leon Curry. The other popular night is on Sunday which is “R&B Night”. What’s great about 4 West is that it attracts a diverse community, including homosexual and heterosexual patrons.
I just mentioned that Brooklyn may be paving the wave for the Black Gay Renaissance. But umm, Harlem continues to be the center of the black gay social scene.
Alibi lounge is another gay black-owned business on the west side of Harlem which is an NYC gay black mecca The place is a gay space for queer people of color. The owner is Alex, a human rights attorney. I respect his passion for uplifting the gay black community and pushing to mobilize us. There has been a rainbow flag posted in front of the location. I’ve had a couple of events that I hosted at this establishment at the time I created my company. The place is no hole in the wall. It’s chic and very clean. The venue has an outdoor backyard which is a nice space to relax if you need a breath of fresh air. In the past, there used to be nude parties (no sex allowed) at Alibi hosted by one of the former bartenders.
The only thing that used to bother me is that some of the drinks are a bit pricey. Overall, it’s a cool place to go to. Fortunately, despite the coronavirus pandemic this black gay bar continues to survive. and has stayed open. They recently set up a GoFundme page to continue to remain open during the pandemic
Latin gay bars
Xstasy Bar and Lounge
This Latin gay bar is located in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. It is deep in Brooklyn but if you want a cool party experience come to Xstasy. I’ve been to this gay bar during the weekdays and it’s usually mellow but on the weekends it gets full. There is the main DJ who plays a mix of house, pop, Latin, and r&b music. If you don’t want to dance you can sit and watch RuPaul’s drag race or music videos.
There are different nights such as Bingo and nights with drag shows. The crowd has a diverse mix including black gay and Spanish men. Xstasy is in a desolate area right across the street from a graveyard-looking site so I would suggest you take a UBER there or drink (if you decide not to drink)
Friend’s Tavern is located in Jackson Heights on Roosevelt Avenue, one of the busiest strips in Queens. There are several other Latin Jackson Heights gay bars and gay clubs including Club Evolution and Music Box nearby on the same strip Friend’s Tavern is one of my favorite gay bars near me. This is the oldest gay bar in Queens. I can remember one time I’ve been there for happy hour and their dance parties. At Friend’s Tavern, you will mostly see gay Hispanic men but you’ll also see some black gay men. The drinks here are not Manhattan prices so you won’t break your pockets as much as you would in the city. If you live in Queens this is one of the gay bars in NYC that you should go to.
Kween Cocktails & Kitchen
Kween is one of the newest gay bars in NYC. The bar is Latin owned and located in Astoria, Queens. One thing I loved about the bar is the decor. The venue has purple lightning which gives it a sexy vibe as opposed to many other bars with dark lightning that makes you feel like you’re in a cave. At the end of the bar, there is a fancy chair that would make you feel like royalty.
There are several events throughout the week including Fiesta Latina (Latin nights), Trivia at the Palace, and drag brunch on the weekends. The times I’ve been there I’ve seen mostly Latin and white men with a sprinkle of black men.
What I love about the venue is that the food is good. This is one of the few bars where you can actually eat and drink and be totally satisfied. I went there on Tuesday and the tacos were slamming!!
I don’t like to travel far and am always on the hunt for a gay bar near me. And Hombres Lounge is one of the best local gay hangout spots near me for the black and Latin LGBTQ community. I’ve had so many gay experiences here I don’t even know where to start. I’ve actually met my ex-boyfriend here so this place always brings back nostalgic memories. Hombres Lounge has two floors. On the first floor are the bar and the dancing section. In the basement, there are bathrooms and a seating section. The bartenders look ok and there are go-go dancers who look decent as well. As you can tell by the name Hombres has mostly a Spanish crowd. This is one of the Latin gay hangouts in Queens for the older and younger crowd so if you come here you’ll definitely fit in.
Leather gay bar
The Eagle is one of the most interesting bars on this list. This bar is not for the faint of heart. If you’re Miss or Mister Bougie do not come to this place. . But if you’re open-minded then you may enjoy this place.
Eagle is a bar for leathermen. There are dozens of locations throughout the country including Atlanta, Baltimore, and Los Angeles. Think of 50 Shades meets WWE. Yes, you would see guys with masks on and even jockstraps. You will also find lots of bears and furry which are hairy men who are considered very masculine.
Before the pandemic, there were certain nights for different fetishes like Monday nights for foot fetishes and other nights for other fetishes. The Eagle is far from a gay bathhouse but if you go expect to see cruising.
Gay bars with mixed crowds
If you’re looking to gay bar hop Hell’s Kitchen is the neighborhood to go to. One cool gay bar is the Ritz.
The RItz is one of the most famous gay bars in NYC. It has two levels and an outdoor patio Different promoters and organizations including Mobi and YSL Events have organized parties here. Chulounderwear, a queer clothing line, has its seasonal fashion show here. Ritz is known to attract Latino gay men to Hell’s Kitchen. During the coronavirus epidemic, the Ritz bar has hosted a weekly party called Papitos Tuesdays is a dance party that has performances by drag persons
3 Dollar Bill
Brooklyn is a hot spot for queer bars and 3 Dollar Bar is one of them. It’s located in Williamsburg which is a gay neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York.
3 Dollar is the biggest queer venue in Brooklyn with a huge dance floor. You will find all types of events there including circuit parties which are massive dance parties where a lot of house music is played, drag shows which are shows in which drag queens perform, and burlesque shows in which music performances take place consisting of comedy sketches and dances. Meat one of the biggest NYC gay circuit party takes place at 3 Dollar Bil.
The gay venue has both a big indoor and outdoor space. You would find festivals with vendors during certain times of the year. One special event at 3 Dollar Bill is “Meat” which attracts leathermen.
Gym Sports Bar
This bar brings back so many memories. I feel that every time I go here I get so damn wasted. Gym Sports Bar is probably one of the first gay bars in NYC that I’ve been to. It’s located in Chelsea.
This gay dive bar has outdoor seating on a small patio that could fit a group of about 10 people or so. The inside is pretty spacious. As soon as you enter the venue you will see the bar which extends a good amount of feet. At the back of the venue are a dancing space and a pool table.
There is also a lower-level of Gym Sports Bar. That section is spacious and has a decent-sized dance floor.
The crowd varies depending on the time of the day and the day that you go to the Gym Sports Bar. The last time I went was on a Thursday night and there was mostly a white older crowd in their mid-thirties and up. You do find other groups of people including blacks and Hispanics.
Gym Sports has a 2-for-1 happy hour every day on the weekdays. Just be mindful that the drinks are strong.
Just be mindful that the bartenders. In the past, this gay bar used to serve both food and drinks. I remember once having sushi at Gym Sports Bar which wasn’t pretty bad and didn’t get me sick either.
If you live in New York or visiting you should definitely check out Gym Sports Bar.
Stonewall Inn is an LGBTQ. The Stonewall riots happened in 1969 which started the gay rights movement. It was this movement that led to the 1st Pride in America in June 1970. After this NYC pride event, other Pride celebrations took place across the world, including the gay capital, San Francisco.
Stonewall Inn is located in Greenwich Village(by the West Village) which is a gay neighborhood in New York City. The bar is owned by Stacy Marie Lentz. It’s called the Stonewall Inn because the walls are made of stone. Duh!
Stonewall Inn still has that tavern look. The bar has wooden tables and counters. The rustic interior helps to maintain that nostalgic feeling of the gay old times.
Just like with any other gay bar in the city there is a happy hour with drink specials from 2 pm to 7 pm where you can get 2 for-1 drinks. I’ve been to Stonewall Inn a couple of times and the drinks are ok.
Depending on the day you may find an older crowd or middle age crowd at the gay bar. On Friday and Saturday nights, there are gay dance parties with DJs. On other days of the week, you would find a drag show from some upcoming and famous drag queens
The Monsters is another gay bar in the Village, one of the biggest gay neighborhoods in New York. There are many other gay bars in the area and the Monsters is one of my favorites.
I remember first coming to Monsters in 2016. A coworker brought me here who I initially thought was straight but turned out to be gay. And a little crazy!!! Anyway, I had a good time at the bar. The drinks were good and the bartenders seemed pretty cool.
I’ve heard about Monsters being racist but fortunately, I’ve never experienced any discrimination. At least not blatantly. My experiences were cool and I never had any bad encounters with the staff or patrons. Fortunately, Monsters has survived the pandemic. The last time I was supposed to go was during NYC Pride weekend in which the streets were flooded with LGBTQ persons and
Icon Bar is another gay bar in Astoria, Queens. The venue has a small indoor space and an outdoor seating area. I went there a couple of months ago for Karaoke Night.
It’s pretty spacious inside. There is a bar seating area and a medium-sized dance floor.
What I like is that there are different events throughout the week. On Sundays before the pandemic patrons would come in to watch Rupail drag race. There is a happy hour from 6 pm-9 pm for 2-4-1 drinks. Even outside of happy hour the drink prices are reasonable.
Boxer’s is a gay franchise with spots in Philadelphia and other places outside of New York. It’s one of New York’s best gay bars. There are locations in Washington Heights which is predominantly Hispanic and in Hell’s Kitchen which is a gay neighborhood. You’ll see sexy, buffed bartenders dressed in boxers with no shirts on. Men of all ages and backgrounds come here so you’ll definitely find people to have engaged conversations with no matter where you’re from. I like Hell’s Kitchen but my favorite location was the one by 23rd St since it had a pool table.
Before the coronavirus outbreak Boxers would be packed out on Fridays in the Hell’s Kitchen location. There would be a long line outside the bar’s entrance. There is a dance floor upstairs and downstairs. If you want to meet a lot of gay black men and gay Latin men the best location to go to is the Washington Heights location, which is in a neighborhood that is predominantly full of persons of color. There is a $5 admission to get in.
What I like most about Boxers are the bartenders. In my opinion, Boxers has the best-looking bartenders of any gay bar in the city. And just as the name implies the bartenders all wear boxers.
Julius is the first and oldest gay bar in NYC. It’s located in Greenwich Village, the gay heart of New York. It has an old-school look which gives it a nostalgic feel. You would find more of a mature, older crowd at this bar.
Hangar Bar is an NYC gay bar I’ve been to a couple of times and always enjoyed myself. In my opinion, it’s one of the best gay bars in NYC. Hangar is located in West Village, a gay neighborhood in New York City, on Christopher Street. The venue is fairly spacious and has a rustic atmosphere. There is a dance space on the main floor and there’s a small basement with another dance space. The drink specials are good and the drinks are strong.
I remember getting so twisted there I barely was able to get back home on my feet. Besides the bar, there are pool tables in the back. The crowd is usually mature men but you’ll find a good portion of the black and brown LGBT community here on certain occasions. One of the best times to come to this bar is during Pride Month(Christopher St be lit!). Fortunately, this bar has managed to survive the coronavirus pandemic and stay open.
The gay bar for wealthy men and their admirers
Townhouse is a gay piano bar lounge in the expensive district of Midtown Manhattan. You would some of the most expensive stores such as Prada and Bergdorfgood in Midtown. So as you would expect you would find wealthy gay and bisexual mature.
I went to Townhouse a few years ago and it did meet my expectations. The venue looks exactly as it’s called which is a townhouse. When your first enter the bar there is a small lobby. The floors have a red carpet which is clean. There are several rooms in the venue including a piano room. There is an upstairs and downstairs so there is room to move throughout the venue.
Do’s & Don’ts at a gay bar
Going to a gay bar can be such an amazing experience. To get the best of the experience there are things you should and shouldn’t do:
- Come dress appealing. Us men are visual creatures.
Why do we need NYC gay bars?
Some would argue that gay bars are just places where people can wasted, hook up, and do drugs. That does happen but gay bars are much more meaningful. Here’s why:
- They are safe spaces. Even though New York is very gay-friendly there is still discrimination and prejudice. It doesn’t happen often but there have been occasions where openly gay men have been verbally and physically harassed in heterosexual spaces because of their sexual orientation. Gay bars allow you to be your true authentic self and feel safe. You can dance, talk, and dress however you want without fear of verbal or physical assault.
- Escape from reality. Once you get inside a bar you would feel totally disconnected from the outside world. The music, the crowd, and the atmosphere would put you into a zone.
- Meet hot gay men. The most obvious reason to go to a gay bar is to meet tons of gay guys. You’ll find so many types of gay men from fem, masculine, furry, and so many other types. Not to mention New York City breeds a type of swag that you won’t find anywhere else.
What’s special about NYC gay bars?
I’ve been to gay bars in many other states and can say that NYC gay bars stand in their own category. There are many gay-friendly cities like West Hollywood and Atlanta with amazing gay bars but they don’t compare to the venues in NY. The NYC social gay scene has a vibe and energy that’s unmatched. I’ve been to plenty of gay bars around the country but I can say that New York has some of the best ones. There are dozens of gay bars in NYC each with its own personality. For instance, the Townhouse in Midtown Manhattan is an actual townhouse that attracts wealthy men, Lambda Lounge in Harlem is a chic lounge that attracts gay men of color, and Boxers is a bar that attracts a diverse crowd and has shirtless boxers that are dressed in boxers.
Types of persons you’ll meet at a gay bar
One of the best aspects of going to a gay bar is the types of people you’ll meet. You would find heterosexual, homosexual, transgender, and other types of persons. Here are some of the common types of persons you would meet:
- Touchy feely person. There’s always that one person in a club or bar that pushes physical boundaries. They would try or actually touch you even if your body language would say that you’re interested. Keep conversations short with them and don’t let them push your boundaries
- Trade. Trade is defined as a person that appears very masculine. He wears athletic clothes like a NY Yankee fitted and construction timberlands. This is the ideal hookup partner for many gay men.
- Twink. Twinks are the opposite of trades. A twink is petite and looks young. He is considered fem and a bottom to most.
- The talker. This person loves to strike up conversations and can talk about anything under the sun. I’m not much of a talker so I can tolerate these types of people to a limit. But if you’re not like me and don’t listen you would get quickly irritated by this type of person.
- The prude. This person has a bitching resting face. They barely interact with anyone in the club and appear to carry a chip on their shoulder. Don’t stress about people like this. If you try to talk to them and they don’t elicit the response you want then keep it moving.
- The swag champ. He is that guy! And he knows it.
Major cities with gay bars
Atlanta has a big black gay population. You can literally walk outside your home and find a black gay man just on every other block. So it’s not surprising to find some lit gay parties and gay events at the gay bars down there.
Bull Dogs is one of the most popular gay bars in Atlanta. It attracts a mostly black gay crowd but you can find a mix of other groups. I went to Bull Dogs a few years ago during Atlanta Greek Picnic and boy it was lit!!
I never knew until recently that Chicago has a huge LGBT population. One of the oldest bars in the city is Jeffrey Pub. It’s black-owned and has been a safe haven for the black LGBT community since it opened. This makes me feel good since there is a very small number of black gay bars across the country.
Houston is a gay-friendly city in Texas. It has more gay men than any other city in Texas. There are tons of gay bars and venues where gay guys hang out in Houston including Papi’s Houston, Buddy’s, and Hamburger Mary’s. One of the most popular bars in Hamburger’s.
Liverpool is one of the most LGBT-friendly cities in the world. There are plenty of gay clubs and gay bars in Liverpool. One of the best gay bars in Liverpool is The Lisbon. It’s cute and trendy and doesn’t have the typical look of a bar. There are glass chandeliers, carpeted flooring, and comfortable chairs. The Lisbon serves both food and drinks which is a plus.
London is one of the gayest cities in the world and is considered the gay capital of Europe. One of the gay districts in London is Soho. Think of Soho as Chelsea in New York. Soho is a gay area with gay shopping stores, gay bars, and restaurants. One of the most popular gay bars in Soho is G-A-Y bar.
Yes, G-A-Y bar. What a name gay name but it does define the venue. One thing this place is known for is having a young hip crowd. So if you’re a young buck looking to dance you would definitely vibe out at G-A-Y bar.
West Hollywood, Ca
West Hollywood has a big LGBTQ community. Sunset Boulevard is a strip full of bars and restaurants that are welcoming to the community. One of the gay bars in the area is the Abbey. The place almost looks like a church
Abbey is huge! The thing I like about this gay bar is that they serve both food and drinks. There is a huge indoor area for dancing and eating and a big outdoor seating area.
Abbey is considered one of the best gay bars in the World. After going there I understood why. It’s an overwhelming experience but not in a bad way. If you’re in Los Angeles and looking for a gay spot to chill and hang out you definitely need to go to Abbey.
New York City is such a special place having one of the biggest LGBTQIA (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, intersex, and asexual) populations in the country. Even though San Francisco is said to be the world’s gay capital New York City still is a very special place for the LGBT community. It has one of the biggest pride celebrations in the country (the biggest gay pride in the world is in Brazil), is extremely diverse, and is gay-friendly.
I’ve been to plenty of places around the country. And I have to say hands down New York City has some of the best gay bars. Whether you’re looking for black men, white men, or Spanish men you can definitely find what you want or who you want.