Things to Do

Our List of the Top Gay Bars in New York City

New York City nightlife is among the best LGBTQ scenes in the world, and it extends well beyond classic gay neighborhoods such as Chelsea and the West Village to areas including the East Village/LES, Hell’s Kitchen, the Upper West Side and over those bridges and tunnels into the outer boroughs. Though the age of the gay dance club seems to be over, there are still plenty of fun bars. These are our picks for the best gay bars all over NYC, broken down by neighborhood, including tips on where you can find great drink specials, which venues feature fabulous drag queens and amazing live music, and what spaces have DJ spinning and plenty of room reasons to dance? Raise your glass: it’s time for a night on the town in the greatest city in the world!


This Chelsea lounge features cool music, cute crowds, wild drag shows and talent competitions hosted on the tiny stage in the rear. Rumor has it Rupaul paid visit to possibly “scout” Bob the Drag Queen at this classic watering hole. 275 W. 22nd St. at Eighth Ave., NYC
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Boxers Chelsea
A big gay sports bar outfitted with flat-screens broadcasting all manner of games, multiple counters, pool tables and a smoking patio out back. A long bar faces a pizza oven dispensing mouth-watering pies to munch on while watching “the game”. Hottest bartenders in town? See for yourself! 37 W. 20th St. between Fifth and Sixth Aves., NYC
The Eagle
This dark and cruisy leather-and-Levi’s clubs boasts a great rooftop deck. Some of its popular events include Foot Fetish Mondays, Wednesday Jockstrap Night, and Frisky Saturdays. 554 W. 28th St. between Tenth and Eleventh Aves., NYC
At this popular after work sports bar, a team of plasma-screen TVs broadcasting the hottest games, a pool table and a basement dugout. Who are those cuties behind the bar? Pop in to get meet and get to know them (you already follow them on IG, right?). 167 Eighth Ave. between 18th and 19th Sts., NYC
Sexy Chelsea hangout where G Lounge (may she rest in peace) used to be. This neighborhood bar has a masculine industrial décor, a hot staff, and draws all kinds of men (especially local muscle bears) and boasts not distractions – sports, porn, dancers or otherwise. Their concept is simple: people meeting people. 225 W. 19th St. between Seventh and Eighth Aves., NYC

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East Village/Lower East Side

The Boiler Room
A welcoming throwback to the days when the East Village was a haven for the punky and funky, this dark and comfy no-frills lounge is popular with the college set, attitude-free, and rocks with an eclectic mix of music and scruffy pool players. 86 E. 4th St. at Second Ave., NYC
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Oscar Wilde
Acclaimed mixologist Johnny Swet sets the scene at this clever cocktail lounge. Ironically situated at the former headquarters of NYC’s Bureau of Prohibition, this glorious tribute to Ireland’s great writer is the gastropub to end all gastropubs. Marvel at relics such as their Belgian piano from the late 1890s, antique clocks, and intriguing bronze statues celebrating the late great Portrait of a Dorian Gray scribe. 45 W. 27th St. at Sixth Avenue., NYC
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East Village

Club Cumming
Willkommen, Bienvenue, New York! Alan Cumming opened the swank new East Village performance-based club and everyone’s invited. Cumming teamed up with Benjamin Maisani, Darren Dryden and Daniel Nardicio for this sassy new adventure. Think backstage of an actual Berlin Cabaret where anything goes. Drag Race viewing parties, Drink & Draw, Knitting, and Cabaret (of course!) 505 E. 6th St. between Aves. A and B, NYC
The Cock
Longtime late-night haven for naughty go-go boys and those in search of debauched shenanigans. The infamous and popular “Playpen Mondays” draw naughty boys and nightlife glitterati. 29 Second Ave. between First and Second Sts., NYC

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Ultra-mellow East Villager with distressed rustic décor, a pool table and what may be the smallest back room ever. Daily drink specials and events include Work It! Wednesday, Tommy G’s Legendary Monday Night Party, and Tuesday night bear parties. 322 E. 14th St. between First and Second Aves., NYC
The typically-crowded Phoenix holds video games, a pool table, a jukebox and a diverse crowd in an exposed-brick space as uncomplicated as its vibe. Daily Happy Hour runs from 4-8 and Saturday nights RAMPAGE party brings all kinds of cute boys to the East Village. 447 E. 13th St. at Ave. A., NYC

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Hell’s Kitchen/Midtown West

Atlas Social Club
Josh Wood, Benjamin Maisani, Pablo Raimondi, and Asi Mazar hit a home run with the starry opening of the Hells Kitchen hotspot. When celebs like Andy Cohen, Anderson Cooper, and Cher start making cameos the neighborhood is more than willing to welcome a new bar to the area. 753 9th Ave. between 50th and 51st Sts., NYC
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This Hell’s Kitchen lounge entices with au courant accouterments and outrageous drinks. A nightly happy hour from 11 p.m. to midnight is the perfect time for a discount. 401 W. 47th St. at Ninth Ave., NYC
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Boxers HK
The Hell’s Kitchen–clone of the Chelsea gay sports bar stalwart features a large ground floor, a basement game room dubbed The Dog Pound, and a spacious rooftop patio. Days and nights are equally as busy with crowds flocking to the increasingly popular Boozy Brunch. 742 Ninth Ave. at 50th St., NYC
Fairytail Lounge
Glittery centaurs and other enchanted-forest motifs distinguish this cozy lounge in way-west H.K. Theme parties, specialty cocktails and guest DJs add interest. 500 W. 48th St. between Tenth and Eleventh Aves., NYC
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Flaming Saddles
When they’re not mixing up vodka sodas in glass steins, bartenders jump up on the bar to do choreographed boot-scootin’ to Achy Breaky-type tunes at this one-of-a-kind Hell’s Kitchen tavern. Red saloon décor and a small selection of down-home nibbles add to the authentic Western feel – call it Coyote Pretty. 793 Ninth Ave. at 53rd St., NYC
Cheap drinks are poured at the front bar and fun tunes are spun for the rear dance floor at this easy-breezy neighborhood haunt. In the summer, a garage door swings up, letting the scene spill onto the street. When DJs aren’t doing their thing, live performers like Monet X Change, Miz Cracker & Showbiz Spitfire Paige Turner hit the stage. Opens at noon daily. 697 Tenth Ave between 47th and 48th Sts., NYC
The owners of Barracuda and Elmo opened this capacious venue features couch-filled nooks, a game room with a pool table and an industrial design that’s a nod to its parking-garage past. Sherry Vine, Tina Burner, and Kizha Carr shake things up on a weekly basis at this popular hotspot. 355 W. 52nd St. between Eighth and Ninth Aves., NYC
9th Avenue Saloon
This decades-old neighborhood fixture attracts tourists, locals and Broadway professionals from both sides of the footlights with strong drinks, cheap prices and friendly staff. 656 Ninth Ave. at 46th St., NYC
A mixed bag of Hell’s Kitchenites and even an occasional celebrity spill out onto the sidewalk at this lounge known for spinning pop and dance tunes. Daily Happy Hour specials are definitely something to write home about. 405 W. 51st St. at Ninth Ave., NYC
Rise Bar
John Blair, Beto Sutter, and Ted Arenas, three of the kings of nightlife royalty joined forces for a tres fabuleux yet unpretentious Hell’s Kitchen watering hole right in the middle of everything. 859 9th Avenue., NYC
The Ritz
This upscale boy boîte boasts plenty of places to perch on multiple levels inside and outside — although the kickin’ sound system makes it hard to settle down. 369 W. 46th St. at Ninth Ave., NYC
The beautifully designed, modern duplex draws a fierce crowd. Weekly shows include performances by legendary performers like Peppermint, Sherry Vine, and Showbiz Spitfire Paige Turner’s infamous Sunday night Slurp show. 348 W. 52nd St. between Eighth and Ninth Aves., NYC
Vodka Soda/Bottoms Up
The fun neighborhoody two bar, two story Hell’s Kitchen hangout is luring all of the cutest boys out from every nook and cranny of NYC. Pop in to see what all the fuss is about. 315 W 46th St., NYC

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East Side

The Tool Box
This two-level dive bar hosts dance parties with a DJ and cute go-go boys on Friday and Saturday nights on the main floor, while the downstairs is a cozier lounge. 1742 Second Ave, between 90th and 91st Sts., NYC
The Townhouse
Two levels of mature gents and their younger fans humming along to dance tracks and swaying to songs from Chicago and everything in the Jerry Herman oeuvre. 236 E. 58th St. between Second and Third Aves., NYC
Uncle Charlie’s
This effervescent lounge, tucked on top of an unassuming store on a quiet block, boasts a patio and piano room, which hosts live entertainment. 139 E. 45th St. between Third and Lexington Aves., NYC

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Upper West Side

This adorable lounge attracts Columbia gays with their leopard-print lamps, cozy leather banquettes and the occasional drag star entertaining on the small stage. 992 Amsterdam Ave. between 109th and 110th Sts., NYC
West End Lounge
Columbia boys, drag queens, and neighborhood cubs, converge at this Morningside watering hole, known for Topless Tuesdays, Karaoke nights, and local drag queens bringing down the house. Stop in for 2 for 1 Happy Hour specials and stay until the cows come home. 955 West End Avenue between 107th and Duke Ellington Blvd., NYC
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Boxers Washington Heights
New uptown bar featuring NYC’s Best Happy Hour seven days a week. Pop in to check out incredible eye candy that’ll make you feel like you’re in the DR whenever you like. Head up to the heights to see what the fuss is all about. 3820 Broadway at 159th St., NYC.

West Village

Called home by the local lesbian crowd (though a few boys are usually thrown in for good measure), this small, unpretentious West Village bar features a capricious décor that’s heavy on the fish. 281 W. 12th St. at Fourth St., NYC
The Duplex
The Duplex is the city’s oldest continuing cabaret/piano bar. Downstairs, the staff performs in between bouts of serving. Upstairs is a more traditional boy bar and an intimate room that books cabaret acts. 61 Christopher St. at Seventh Ave. South, NYC
The Hangar
Neighborhood guy’s guy bar that attracts a diverse crowd grooving to classic gay tunes. 115 Christopher St. between Bleecker and Hudson Sts., NYC
Henrietta Hudson
Jam-packed lesbian club/lounge with a multicultural crowd that’s still gay-boy friendly. 438 Hudson St. at Morton St., NYC
Once the Village’s oldest continuously operating bar went gay in the 1950s, it would go on to become the city’s oldest gay bar. On a normal night, it’s a comfy place for cheap drinks, burgers and fries, but once a month, the party Mattachine turns it into a crowded, rowdy dance affair with excellent vinyl music. 159 W. 10th St. at Waverly Pl., NYC
Marie’s Crisis
Old-school sing-alongs are on tap at this long-running piano bar. There’s no fuss and no frills at this late-night theater queen hot spot. Stop in and “sing out, Louise!” 59 Grove St. at Seventh Ave. South, NYC
A Sheridan Square stalwart where mature men and their admirers sing along to their favorite show tunes upstairs while a diverse crowd jams to the latest dance tracks on the floor downstairs. 80 Grove St. at Seventh Ave. South, NYC

212-924-3558 Open Mon-Fri, 4pm-4am; Sat & Sun, 2pm-4am

You’ll either be singing to retro dance tracks or laughing at the antics of drag queens at this longtime West Villager. Ms. Vodka Stinger’s B-Movie Mondays are always worth a stop. Show starts at 8:30 sharp. 8 Christopher St. at Sixth Ave., NYC
For boys who prefer fur over sheen, there’s this butched-up bar with a fist-pumping soundtrack and cheap drinks. Things get steadily burlier and beefier as the night goes on…attend one ROCKSTRAP and you’ll be more than hooked. 185 Christopher St. at Weehawken St., NYC
Daddies, faux thugs, and girls who like girls rule the roost at this two-story birthplace of gay pride. Every night of the week offers a different theme, from drag-hosted game shows to karaoke to beer blasts. 53 Christopher St. at Seventh Ave. South, NYC
This Ye Olde Boy Bar serves a loyal and friendly Christopher Street clientele — young, old and everything in between. NYPD and Firemen especially welcome. 114 Christopher St. between Bleecker and Hudson Sts., NYC

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Outer Boroughs & Beyond

Homey Astoria bar with a pool table and jukebox. 36-19 24th Ave. at 38th St., Astoria, Queens
Park Slope hotspot popular for its great jukebox, garden and outrageously named drinks. 563 Fifth Ave. at 16th St., Park Slope, Brooklyn
Friend’s Tavern
This bar seduces the large Latino gay community with theme nights and daily drink specials. 78-11 Roosevelt Ave. at 78th St., Jackson Heights, Queens
Icon Astoria
Fasten your seatbelts because you’re in for an unexpected ride at this hot NYC bar nestled into the backyard of Astoria. Beefcake dancers and NYC nightlife legends flock to this unassuming watering hole for great beats, impressive drag performances, and all-around friendly faces. 31-84 33rd Street., Astoria, NY
Especially popular with lesbians, this long and dark bar has a popular jukebox and an outdoor garden. 363 Fifth Ave., Park Slope, Brooklyn
Macri Park
Enjoy the cozy interior or snag a spot at a picnic table out back at Metropolitan’s sister bar. 462 Union Ave,. Williamsburg, Brooklyn
718- 599-4999
This B-burg bar is comfy and cozy with a fireplace, jukebox and a sprawling warm-weather patio. 559 Lorimer St. at Metropolitan Ave., Williamsburg, Brooklyn
Music Box
Fun neighborhood bar great if you’re in Jackson Heights and looking for a pint or a little fun. 40-08 74th St. at Roosevelt Ave.
Sexy mixed Williamsburg cocktail bar with a great happy hour and fun weekly entertainment. Looking for Mr. Right, Mr. Right for tonight or just a fun gurls night out? They’ve got you covered. 63 Montrose Ave, off Lorimer and Leonard Sts., Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Also see our picks for best piano bars in NYC.

Looking for more things to do in New York, check out our picks for the best LGBT events in NYC this week

Looking for somewhere to eat in Hell’s Kitchen, check out Our Hell’s Kitchen restaurant list.

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Published by
Jeffrey James Keyes

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