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7 Fun Gay Bars In LBGT+ Friendly Cities Around The Globe
While homophobia is still very much present in certain corners of the world, there are gay bars where LGBT+ travelers can be themselves without repercussions. We’ll focus on cities that are gay friendly, particularly San Francisco, New York, Madrid, and Amsterdam.
As they are major cities, the struggle won’t be finding one gay bar, but deciding which ones to go to. There are options to suit every personality, from low key vintage venues, to bars with dancefloors so you can get down when the liquor hits.
Here are 7 fun gay bars to add to your itinerary.
1. The Stonewall Inn
The Stonewall Inn was designated a New York City landmark in 2015, and became a state landmark in 2016. It’s the site of the modern gay rights movement, at least in The United States.
What’s endearing about Stonewall is that it stays humble. It doesn’t try to keep up with the new bars, because it has nothing to prove. That said, it does throw some fun events, like drag shows, dance parties, and karaoke.
Some of the interiors still retain that late 60s into 70s touch. It’s hard to describe, but you feel yourself moving back in time as soon as you enter, even with the contemporary music playing.
If you want to knock back a few drinks after work, or play some pool, this is the spot to do it.
During Pride month in June, the parade always passes by Stonewall, as a gesture of respect.
2. Henrietta Hudson
Henrietta Hudson is the lesbian answer to Stonewall, though it wasn’t founded until much later, in 1991.
It’s the oldest lesbian bar in New York, and one of the few spaces geared towards gay women. It calls itself “a queer human space built by lesbians.”
Play some L Word Trivia, and enjoy cocktails, charcuterie boards, and snacks. On Saturday nights, the energy picks up, and there are some fun dance parties with a variety of women.
This bar and club is located in the Castro district of San Francisco, and tends to attract mostly gay and bisexual men.
During the day, Beaux has a cocktail lounge vibe, but at nights, especially Friday and Saturday, sexy, scantily clad revelers pack the dance floor.
If you’ve ever seen the US version of Queer As Folk, Beaux is a lot like Club Babylon, minus the saucy backroom.
Some of the themed parties include: Vamp Mondays, Pan Dulce Wednesdays, Manial Monday and Big Top Sundays.
The Sunday party, according to the website, features some of the stars from RuPaul’s Drag Race.
It makes sense that San Francisco would again make this list. It is, after all, one of the most gay-friendly cities in The United States.
Oasis is a premiere cabaret space, featuring not only drag shows, but club nights and other events. In the past, they’ve hosted tributes to Madonna and Lady Gaga with a drag twist.
If you’re taking the BART, the closest station is Civic Center.
You won’t have a problem if you’re gay in Amsterdam, known to be progressive in many ways.
Over on Reguliersdwarsstraat (whew, that’s a mouthful), you’ll find Taboo, spread across two floors. The crowd is a mix of locals and out-of-towners, young and old, gay and straight.
Enjoy snacks and cocktails indoors or on the terrace when the weather is nice. There are also drag shows regularly.
Sidetrack is a fantastic, multi-level venue in Chicago, which had humble beginnings in 1982.
They are focused on “providing entertainment and hospitality in a respectful, safe and inclusive space for the LGBT+ community.”
Time Out ranked it as the best gay bar in Chicago, a well-deserved distinction. There aren’t any bad airs here, just good vibes only.
If you aren’t watching sports or music videos on the many televisions, you’ll probably be perched by one of the bars, checking folks out.
There are also outdoor spaces, with heaters for the brutal Chicago winters.
7. Studio 54 Madrid
In Manhattan, it’s Chelsea, in San Francisco it’s The Castro, and in Madrid, the gay district is Chueca. You’ll find most of the LGBT+ nightlife here, including Studio 54 Madrid.
This venue claims to have been inspired by the club of the same name in New York, but that’s an impossible act to follow.
If you like House music with a retro touch, this is the place to hear it while you sip your drink of choice.
The Chueca metro stop is conveniently close by.