They say everything is bigger in Texas…. And while we can neither confirm or deny rumours about the boys here, we can say that in regards to the Gay Houston scene here, the adage is most certainly true.
A melting pot of cultures offering down-home fun, sophisticated dining, luxurious shopping, and one genuinely vivacious gaybourhood – this surprisingly cosmopolitan metropolis is sure to delight and surprise.
With more than two dozen gay bars and clubs to chose from, you’ll never be bored in Houston – no matter what day of the week you are visiting. Central Houston – and especially the Montrose neighbourhood – is a tolerant, open-minded haven in otherwise deep-red Texas, which developed a very active and visible LGBT community.
Here cowboys, gays, hipsters, artists, and energy sector business types all live, work, and play in harmony – creating the multicultural ambience that makes Houston just so irresistible.
However, politics can still be a touchy subject. While we found people in Gay Houston were welcoming and by-and-large accepting, but ‘the Christian question’ does pop up. Gay acceptance and the culture around it in Houston and Texas is complicated, and we wouldn’t don’t want to over-simplify anything.
But in many ways Houston has dual identities – that of a diverse, innovative, big-business urban energy powerhouse and that of a conservative town, deeply rooted in Christian faith. This perceived threat from the “Christian right” forces queer people in Houston to “take politics more seriously” than those of other gay-friendly cities like Madrid, San Fran, Tel Aviv, or Melbourne.
In many ways, however, this activism and vigilance make the LGBT community of Houston just that much more connected and lively. It is also worth noting that in 2010 lesbian Annise Parker was voted Mayor of Houston. This made Houston the first large city in America to vote for an openly homosexual person as a mayor. So you can begin to understand what a paradox Houston often represents.
The Montrose District, where Montrose and Westheimer Boulevards intersect, is the local gaybourhood where you will find the highest concentration of LGBT establishments.
Just a five-minute drive from the downtown, gentrified Montrose might slowly be becoming a victim of its own success; however, rising rents are pushing out many in our community. Nevertheless, Montrose is still one of the most diverse, sophisticated, and dynamic spots in the city – and welcoming to everyone regardless of gender, colour, or sexual orientation.
Gorgeous historic craftsman houses now house a cultured blend of elite boutiques, beatnik cafes, art galleries, and specialty shops. Not to mention, some of Houston’s best dining is hidden within here.
For those wanting to lets their rainbow shine, there are plenty of loud dive bars, tranquil Happy Hour patios, and cocktail spots to explore. Later on, most of Houstons best gay dance clubs are also found here where drag queens, cowboys, leather daddies, butch lesbians, and dance freaks all come together to live and be free.
Take into consideration as well all the world-class attractions, innovative food scene, and fascinating history, and you too will decide Houston makes a fabulous albeit slightly unconventional gay holiday destination. So grab your best glitter cowboy boots and get ready to party with the biggest queer community in the Lone Star State…
Are you relocating? This guide will help travelers discover the queerer side of the city. However, if you are lucky enough to be considering a move here, we recommend reading our article about moving to LGBT Houston or getting in touch with a local gay realtor. They can happily give you no-obligation advice and all the information you’ll ever need to know about your new city. And if you then want their help to find your dream home, you are guaranteed fair, equal, and honest representation. No surprises or awkward conversations necessary!
Are you relocating? This guide will help travelers discover the queerer side of the city. However, if you are lucky enough to be considering a move here, we recommend getting in touch with a local gay realtor. They can happily give you no-obligation advice and all the information you'll ever need to know about your new city. And if you then want their help to find your dream home, you are guaranteed fair, equal, and honest representation. No surprises or awkward conversations necessary!
Gay Houston Guide: The Essential Guide To LGBT Travel In Houston Texas
In this article we will cover...
Attractions in Houston
Being gay does not define which attraction most of us will want to see in each city, and generally, gay tourists will simply want to check out the top things to see in Houston during the day! While central Houston is relatively safe and liberal, we would still advise gay travelers to take precautions concerning public displays of affection – especially later at night. San Fran, Key West or Seattle, this is not.
If you are exploring more rural areas of Texas – well, be aware that most of the state is far more conservative. Don’t be too concerned; however, as hospitality in the South is just as important as church services, and we found most people in Houston and Texas to be warm, sweet and welcoming to visitors.
There is so, so much to explore in this fun city, but here are just a few of our favorite things to do in Houston!
Top Highlights Of Houston
- Food Tour of Downtown Houston – Foodies wanted! Come enjoy diverse plates in the heart of Downtown Houston at some of Houston’s most famous restaurants. This tour will begin at the Historic Market Square Park, where you will learn about Houston’s rich history, beautiful architecture & growing diversity. The tour generally consists of 3-4 restaurants where you will try flavorful food from around the world, including samplings of tapas-style Latin American dishes, Mexican, Italian-American, and Japanese cuisine because the best way to discover a new city is obviously through your stomach!
- Buffalo Bayou – A 52-mile slow-moving waterway that was the site of Houston’s founding in 1836, and in recent years has evolved into a destination for outdoor recreation in parts thanks to its natural state. It remains an incredibly diverse urban ecosystem that supports dozens of native species of flora and fauna. The best way to experience is at the Buffalo Bayou Park – a 160-acre green space filled with beautiful gardens and native landscaping; hike and bike trails; paddle craft and bike rental and two visitor centers.
- Houston Brewery Tour – Drink like a local in Houston on a tour that showcases the city’s best breweries. Houston is home to a thriving craft beer and brewery scene, but it can be hard to decide where to drink. Remove the guesswork and let a local guide take you on a personalized bar crawl to four of downtown Houston’s best watering holes, from small-batch distilleries to cozy pubs and cutting-edge craft breweries. Save yourself a long walk by riding in an eco-friendly electric cart, and admire some colorful street murals along the way.
- The Museum of Fine Arts – One of the largest museums in the United States. Their permanent collection alone spans more than 6,000 years of history, with approximately 64,000 works from six continents. And that is without even considering the ever-changing temporary collections. Art-lovers will not want to miss this.
- Houston Museum of Natural Science – Visit this nationally acclaimed institution at the heart of Houston Museum Quarter. See the most extensive dinosaur hall in North America, check out the vast collection of rare gems, and stop into your choice of permanent exhibits, including ancient Egypt, dinosaurs, Texas wildlife, and more.
- NASA Space Center and Houston Sightseeing Tour – Don’t miss this incredible opportunity to visit the spot, which has served as a hub of human spaceflight activity for more than half a century. It is home to the nation’s astronaut corps, the International Space Station mission operations, the Orion Program, and a host of future space developments. Secure your ticket in advance to the NASA Space Center and it all – including the astronaut training facility. After hotel pickup in a climate-controlled vehicle, see famous landmarks around Houston, stopping briefly for photos during a small-group guided sightseeing tour. With a map and instructions, enjoy the flexibility to explore the space center on your own time, without the stress of rushing.
- Kemah Boardwalk – Located just 20 miles from downtown Houston, the Kemah Boardwalk is home to fabulous waterfront restaurants, amusements, charming retail stores, festivals and seaside shows every day. The Boardwalk is built entirely along the shores of Galveston Bay and Clear Lake and is considered among the premier boardwalks in the United States – alongside the Coney Island Boardwalk and Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk.
- Houston CityPASS – Maximize your time in the spectacular city of Houston with an indispensable Houston CityPASS. Your city pass includes free admission to five of the city’s premier attractions, including the Downtown Aquarium, the Space Center Houston, and the Houston Museum of Natural Science. Enjoy free entry to two additional attractions of your choice and choose from a variety including the Museum of Fine Arts, home to more than 60,000 artworks, or the Houston Zoo; Kemah Boardwalk All-Day Ride Pass or the Children’s Museum of Houston.
Gay Things to Do In Houston
- Hollywood Super Center – Located in the heart of Montrose, this gay owned and operated adult boutique is your one-stop source for clothing, books, music, magazines, movies, toys, jewelry, gifts, and more.
- Baby Barnaby’s Café – A gay-friendly spot famous for its eccentric diner fare and hearty salads. The sassy wait-staff and cute boys who gather here to spill the tea over Sunday brunch are reason enough to visit, but if you want to question their queer credentials take a look at the logo. Yes, it is a sheepdog mascot surrounded by rainbows.
- The Galleria – The largest mall in Texas and seventh-largest in the United States. Given its location just minutes from Montrose, this is a very gay-popular shopping destination, with over 300 stores, restaurants, and entertainment.
- Hamburger Marys – Nestled in the city’s Montrose neighborhood, this queer American bar & grill chain offers diner classics, strong cocktails, and quirky entertainment, including plenty of drag. The first Hamburger Mary’s in the Lone Star state, their drag brunches and dinners are always a fun option!
- L.U.E.Y.Weekend (February) – A four-day weekend social party that combines various organizations, bars, businesses, and individual volunteers. It is primarily geared for the leather/ BDSM communities. However, it has managed to transcend all boundaries uniquely and welcomes everyone, including bears, cowboys, transgendered, and drag aficionados. Whether you’re a lifelong leather diehard or just like to play dress up in gear, you’ll be welcomed here.
- Pride Houston (June) – For more than 37 years, Pride Houston has been a central part of the local LGBT community and become one of the biggest LGBT events in the USA. Pride Houston celebrates the individuality and diversity of every person as we all strive for acceptance from parents, friends, and society-at-large. From annual charity events to aiding LGBTQIA support and counseling networks, its activities continue to promote social awareness and enrich the diversity that helps the Houston community thrive. The biggest event annually the Pride Festival and Parade, which is attended by over 500,000 people with admission to both being free. The Parade is also one of the few nighttime Prides in the USA – along with Providence – beginning at 8 pm and ending around 11 pm. Expect plenty of block parties and other queer celebrations in the weeks before and after. Easily the best time to visit and experience Gay Houston!
Gay-friendly and Gay Hotels in Houston Texas
In this relatively liberal city, you will not find any significant hotel that isn’t gay-friendly.
Being gay-friendly is about creating an environment of inclusiveness, where all people are treated equally, and diversity is welcomed and respected. Elegant design, helpful staff, and excellent value for money never hurt anyone, though! You won’t have to hide your same-sex relationship or sexuality when you check-in at any of these fabulous hotels — but obviously you don’t have to declare it either.
While there are no exclusively gay hotels in Houston, any hotel in Downtown Houston is sure to have more than a few gay guests staying. This area is also the best location for proximity to the Montrose gaybourhood which, sadly, does not offer any hotels. Otherwise, we recommend finding a hotel that is as central as possible to minimize travel time during the day or to the best nightlife spots after dark.
There are hundreds of other good hotel options in Houston if you don’t find what you are looking for, but we are confident you’ll find something here for you. Whether you want a fun and social hostel, a cheap place to crash after a night of partying, or a chic designer option to sip cocktails and surround yourself with fabulous people – Gay Houston as something for everyone!
- Montrose Guesthouse Suites by Dunyha ☆☆☆☆ – There are no hotels in the gayborhood, but this fabulous boutique guesthouse is just a short walk from the ‘gay strip’ on the border of River Oaks and Montrose. As comfortable as a cozy house, but providing the luxury of an elegant hotel. Every room also has its own television, desk, ceiling fan, hairdryer, and full length mirror – and there is also the fastest internet available in Houston. Superior rooms include a spa bath or a hot tub. There is also an epic rooftop deck, but we most loved the chance to live like a local and stay somewhere utterly unique yet ridiculously convenient.
- Hotel Zaza ☆☆☆☆☆ – Situated in the heart of the vibrant Museum District, a ten-minute drive to the central business district or Montrose gaybourhood, Hotel ZaZa Houston is an unexpected feast for the senses. Introducing business and leisure travelers to a larger than life experience, this unique Houston boutique hotel boasts a collection of exquisite guestrooms and suites, including pool villas and concept suites. There are even themed suites, including a French-inspired apartment and a Soho-style loft. Want more? How about award-winning dining, an outdoor pool with bar, pantry with free coffee and tea is on each floor. and a relaxing day spa. Escape to a haven influenced by faraway lands and reinventing the luxury hotel experience. Sounds all a bit much? You’ll understand why everyone is fawning over Zaza soon enough …
- The Westin Houston Downtown ☆☆☆☆☆ – Live the city pace when you stay at this luxurious property filled with essential amenities and energetic spaces. There are modern, sophisticated rooms and suites, including plenty of space, revitalizing bathrooms, and comfy pillow-top mattresses. They are even pet-friendly, with dog guests receiving beds, treats, and toys. Keep yourself well-nourished with delicious on-site dining options and 24-hour room service. Or stay on top of your fitness with an onsite gym, where you can even borrow New Balance athletic gear for your workouts. All in the heart of the city center and near a metro station.
- The Whitehall Houston Hotel ☆☆☆☆☆ – A hub of gracious hospitality in the heart of downtown Houston, The Whitehall has, for nearly a half-century, reigned as the city’s premier hotel – a perfect address for business travelers and sophisticated fun-seekers alike. A recent total transformation of their guest rooms, public areas, and restaurants ensure that this iconic hotel remains an unmatched Houston original, a place where Southern style and Texas traditions shine in every experience. Contemporary style with a touch of luxury fills the 259 generously oversized guest rooms, which feature an inviting blend of modern comforts and distinctly local touches you won’t find anywhere else. Still, want more? There is a shuttle service to downtown Houston destinations, a cool outdoor restaurant, and bar, a convenient coffee shop, a rooftop pool with cabanas, and a 24/7 gym.
- Hotel ICON ☆☆☆☆ – Authentic Texas charm meets contemporary luxury in the heart of downtown Houston. At the award-winning Hotel Icon, the storied past and glamorous present brilliantly blend into one uniquely unforgettable guest experience. Housed in what once was the Union National Bank of Houston, Hotel Icon still prominently features the bank’s original vault in our main lobby, and a history of commerce and class runs throughout the entire building. Individualists, business travelers, and locals alike will appreciate the thoughtful balance of irreplaceable period detail, grand neoclassical architecture with dynamic and contemporary hotel rooms. There is also the majestic restaurant, spa, a 24-hour gym, and complimentary car service to any downtown destination.
- Stay Alfred on Caroline Street ☆☆☆ – Affordable apartment rentals in a coveted downtown Houston location just steps from sporting events, museums, and galleries. Worship the sun and swim some laps in the building’s celestial rooftop pool. Take in gorgeous big-city views through floor-to-ceiling windows, and enjoy super chic concrete floors with ultra-modern interior styling. As if that classy room and rooftop pool weren’t enough, Stay Alfred on San Jacinto boasts an array of amenities that far surpass most Houston vacation rentals – and make it one of our favorite options for a budget gay-friendly stay.
- Homewood Suites By Hilton Dowtown ☆☆☆ – A well-appointed extended stay hotel perfect for your next business or leisure trip n the heart of downtown. They offer a complimentary evening social Monday – Thursday and a free hot breakfast every day. All suites also have a fully-equipt kitchen should you want to cook at home for yourself. Another affordable option that is popular with gay travelers in Houston.
- HI, Houston the Morty Rich Hostel ☆☆ – One the coolest hostels you’ll ever find, located in a posh, historic mansion in the vibrant Montrose gayborhood. It also has an inground pool. That’s right, a POOL. Start your days with free breakfast, then at the end of a long day, meet other travelers around the pool (we mentioned the pool, right?), or relax in their cozy hammock. With well-appointed private rooms and dorms, this is a popular option for gay travelers on a budget looking to make new friends to explore the city with – all the while saving money for happy hour!
Gay Bars and Gay Clubs in Houston Texas
As the biggest city in Texas, you would expect to find a whole host of gay bars and nightclubs here to choose between – and luckily, Houston does not disappoint. There are countless options to dance the night away with Britney & Ariana, watch fabulous drag, enjoy refined cocktails, try a boot-scootin’ honky-tonk or gawk at delicious go-go boys. Even better, most of the clubs in Houston lean heavily toward “get drunk and have a good time” rather than the whole “not dressed well enough for our establishment” scene.
This is not a place to peacock – but instead, Gay Houston is where you can grab a casual beer, strike up a conversation, and make new friends- or more!
Southern Hospitality is alive and well here!
Gay Houston doesn’t just draw in the out-of-state tourists but plenty of people from more conservative/rural areas of Texas experimenting with gay life for the first time.
There is also a growing professional class that flocks to Houston as well, leading to a scene that has undergone several changes in recent years. As a result, Houston’s gay scene has grown up and now offers an intriguing mix of upscale post-gay venues, dive bars, rainbow nights, and fabulous queer raves. Those who have visited in the past will be happy to hear that long-running institutions such as JR’s, the Houston Eagle, Ripcord, and Neon Boots Dance Hall continue to thrive and still manage to draw in the crowds.
The gay scene in Houston is primarily centered around the Montrose gaybourhood – at night anyway – though there are other gay bars spread out across the city if you’re renting a car or catching a ride-share. Clubs don’t get going until around 11 pm on weekends, but during the week, most bars have fun events to tempt you in, and they seem to be working!
A good game plan is to mix-and-mingle at one of the more relaxed gay bars early and check out the rapidly improving Southern Comfort dining scene before heading out for a night in the clubs. Whether you are an indie kid, party girl, urban cowboy, or dance freak, we are certain Gay Houston will not leave you disappointed…
Gay Bars In Houston
- JR’s Bar & Grill – Much like its sister bars in Dallas and Denver—this is a quintessential gay hangout in Houston. JR’s is known for its fabulous Southwestern-inspired décor, an expansive patio, popular happy hours drink specials, and fun live entertainment each night, including dancers, drag shows, and karaoke. A mainstay of the Montrose gay scene, and Gay Houston in general, JR’s is one of the most popular gay bars around – and the oldest gay bar in Houston. Go early for cheap drinks and conversation, or later at night for a uniquely Texan combination of pounding techno and cowboy go-go dancers in an energetic saloon atmosphere.
- Tony’s Corner Pocket – A friendly bar with a busy line up of events that make it worth venturing out of Montrose for. We were particularly inamoured with their weekly amateur strip contests, their Gayme night and Bear Beer Bust. Tony’s also serves up some great bar nibbles and pub food, which combine perfectly with happy hour specials and a relaxed patio to help you decompress from the workday. Later at night, DJs start spinning, and the dance floor gets going.
- Guava Lamp – A modern Houston gay bar and queer space offering karaoke, pool, live music, and drag shows on Saturdays. At the weekends, there is a busy dance floor though the daily happy hour cocktails until 8 pm also draw early birds. The French Martini with vanilla vodka shaken with pineapple juice and a splash of raspberry liquor had us reminiscing of hot nights in Paris. Or sip on their divine Hawaiian Martini featuring clementine vodka infused with pineapple and garnished with a lemon twist – you’ll be almost as relaxed as you would on the beaches of Oahu. Wednesdays also feature an insanely popular karaoke night. Recently moved to a chic, updated space near Allen Parkway in Montrose.
- Crocker – A no-frills gay bar that is known for cheap, stiff drinks and having no cover charge ever. Sunday Funday stops here are especially popular thanks to their $1.50 well vodka and half-price drinks specials until close and a live DJ on deck all day and night.
- Micheals Outpost – A gay piano bar that has something for everyone. Come in for a refreshing cocktail, a good laugh – and a sarcastic remark or two – or a broadway infused live sing-along/drag show. One of the most welcoming bars we have ever been to, where you immediately feel welcomed as part of the community and are sure to have a good time!
- Ranch Hill Saloon – The only LGBT+ bar in Montgomery County, North Houston!! A great place to mix and mingle if you are in the area with DJ’s Thursdays through Saturdays. There is a huge dance floor, great drink specials every day, a few games of pool or darts, and a relaxed patio. They still allow smoking inside – which kind of ruined it for us.
- Ripcord – The second oldest gay bar in Houston, this iconic watering hole is known for attracting bears, cubs, daddies, leather men, and all those who admire them. An unpretentious space that is full of furry feels, character, and history where you can relax on the patio or make friends over pool or darts.
- George – A gay country sports bar located in the Fairview strip in Montrose. Whether you come to watch a sporting event on one of their HD TV’s, to play in the weekly pool or dart tournaments, or want to relax after a long day at work, the friendly bartenders and loyal following of locals will ensure you feel welcome.
- Eagle Houston – For those who are not familiar with the Eagle Bar concept, this is just one of many unaffiliated gay bars in dozens of different cities using the “Eagle” name to cater to the leather-&-levis crowd. Abruptly closed in 2016 due to a fire, the Eagle Houston has reopened with a new aptly named Phoenix Room upstairs, dedicated to the preservation of Houston’s LGBT history. There is also a small retail outlet known as Eagle Trading Co. for all your kink and leather needs. The perfect place for pool light cruising and craft beer on the outdoor patio – though it is a bit more dancey on the weekend and definitely not a hardcore leather bar. Home to the Houston Bears and hosts fun vintage video game nights on Mondays and a memorable Big Ass Beer night on Thursdays.
- The Room – North Houston’s favorite LGBT video lounge featuring monthly drag shows, karaoke every Thursday night, and live DJ’s Wednesday through Saturday. Plus, daily drink specials! If you are out this way, why not stop by…
- Buddy’s – A new-age gay bar with events as diverse as Houston featuring cocktails, beer, karaoke, pool, DJ’s and more. Newly opened in Montrose, the staff are amicable, there is a large dance floor, and the bathrooms are spotless–a rarity in gay bars. There is also a covered patio perfect for conversations. Modern and inviting, it is early days for Buddy’s, but we have high expectations.
- Pearl Bar – Located off Washington Ave, This is Houston’s only Lesbian Bar with regular theme nights and exceptional cocktails drawing in the crowds. On the weekends, they hire local DJs or fly in well-known talent to fill the dance floor, and throughout the year, Pearl Bar team’s up with lesbian groups from all over the U.S. to throw rad Girl Parties! Who needs those lesbian dating apps anyway. There are also fun drag shows on Wednesdays and ‘Mutts & Mimosas’ Sunday Funday.
Gay Nightclubs In Houston
- Blur Bar – A gay dance club in Montrose popular with younger 18+ crowds seeking high-energy Top 40 and Latin hits. Spread over two levels, there is a small but crowded dance floor, an amazing second-floor balcony with views where you can enjoy drinks and chat with people. There is also an outdoor patio to cool off on, which if you will undoubtedly need. Just around the corner from JR’s, making it a perfect high-energy spot to end your night.
- Neon Boots Dancehall & Saloon – An fabulously queer country and western nightclub with over 11,000 sq. ft. of entertainment space with a spacious dance floor, sixteen bar stations, and ample outdoor patio space. Open from Wednesday to Sunday; Neon Boots is the perfect place to try out those new cowboy boots and dance the night away! Every Thursday evening there is also Line Dance lessons – No partner needed! There was a good mix of young & old, different races, and everyone was welcome here. You can’t visit Gay Texas without stopping by here…
- Crystal Nightclub – Houston’s original LGBT Latino club with a nearly 20-year history known for their sickening drag queens and an uber-friendly and diverse crowds. This well-kept little treasure is a hike from the Montrose gay scene but the commute is worth the effort for the salsa dancing – or the Wednesday night strip shows.
- ReBar – Houston’s newest LGBT nightclub located in Montrose, the reincarnation of the iconic Rich’s. ReBar offers several different environments in one venue. Their dance floor has state of the art sound, lighting, lasers, and LED installations paired with resident DJ’s – and a popular year-round patio featuring their own DJ’s on weekends. There is also talented and exciting drag entertainment several evenings per week.
- Barcode Houston – A newly remodeled gay club with expansive patio in the heart of Montrose. Highlights include Bottoms up draft beer, shots, and nightly drink specials. There is always a reason to visit, but we particularly enjoyed Barcodes’ Tuesday Night Male Strip Contest and Wednesday night Drag Bingo. A great place with friendly crowds, if you are traveling solo, their shows are the perfect excuse to head out on your own and make new friends. There is a happy hour till 8 pm daily.
- Viviana’s Nightclub – A busy weekends-only gay nightclub club with DJs spinning Latin beats with sultry Sunday strippers and occasional drag shows. A fun after-hours spot to dance the night away with cheap drinks and Latin vibes ala Mexico City or Guadalajara – but its location a 30-minute drive from the Montrose gay scene does make it a tad less appealing.
Gay-Popular Nightlife Spots In Houston
- 13 Celsius – Located in the heart of Midtown, this circa-1927 Mediterranean-style building creates an atmosphere reminiscent of the wine bars of Barcelona or Lisbon. They have an open-air courtyard, luxurious seating, a grand white marble, and a bold and unique wine list. Named among the best wine bars in the U.S. by Food & Wine Magazine, the teams’ passion for architectural preservation and fine wine is evident here. And yes, it is very gay-popular.
- OKRA Charity Saloon – A bar that donates all its proceeds to charity. the concept is simple. For each drink purchased, guests receive one vote that they may cast that night for one of four charities selected by OKRA’s members. The charities are all locally based. The charity with the most votes at the end of the month receives the next month’s proceeds. A fun co-op with cocktails, beers and a vintage loft worthy visiting even if it wasn’t for a good cause.
- HandleBar – A neighborhood bar on Washington Ave with an old school vibe chock-full of craft beverages, retro tunes, and a noticeable absence of bottle service and sparklers. A funky adult wonderland open to everyone and in favor with many in the Houston LGBT community. Worth a visit for the design and cocktails alone!
- Etro Nightclub – Houston only 80’s night club born from a retro music dance culture and fused with today’s electro-disco/ EDM scene. Recently reopened on Main Street after outgrowing their previous space in Montrose, we loved the industrial vibes, exposed brick walls, funky pop art, classic 80s arcade games, and crowded weekend dance floors. Less gay after their move, Etro is still mixed/welcoming to all and a popular choice for queers who are more concerned with music than the sexual orientation of the crowd.
- Axelrad Beer Garden – Conceived as a gathering place for the community offering beer, wine, drinks, Luigi’s pizza, live music, and a grove of hammocks, Axelrad aims to be a place for all. Housed within a 100-year-old renovated building, we are obsessed with their design, craft beer, and social patio.
- Nouveau Antique Art Bar – A fabulous spot for an evening nibble combining the style of Art Nouveau with a neighborhood venue atmosphere. Displaying one of the largest private collections of reproduction Tiffany lamps, patrons can enjoy the unique stained glass art of that era as well as Art Nouveau antique furniture.
- Barbarella – Not quite a gay club, but a fabulous palace dedicated to indie music operated by two DJs with decades of experience. After becoming one of the hottest venues in Austin, this is their second location in Midtown Houston and ins a popular option to dance all night and mingle with friends and strangers. Welcoming to absolutely everyone, this weird and wonderful spot is just as likely to have you jiving with businessman and hipsters as drag queens and lesbians.
- El Bad Bar – The world’s largest infused Tequila bar with over 70+ infusions, fresh juice margaritas, cocktails, and delicious food. Located on a 3rd-floor wrap-around terrace balcony, the views of the Historic District make this rooftop spot worth coming to alone. Whether you’re having happy hour drinks and light bites, dinner before a show, or on a hunt for margaritas better than those in Cancun or Puerto Vallarta, El Big Bad is a welcome oasis from the routine.
- Base Houston – Somewhere downtown lies a high-end nightlife experience with a sleek, mysterious vibe. Enjoy signature cocktails, world-class DJs, high-end VIP bottle service, and more — all near Downtown’s historic Market Square. See why everyone is talking about the only underground basement club in Houston. Not particularly gay, but very chic, trendy, and where all the cool kids are.
- Boheme – A Montrose hideaway with a subtle old-world vibe, Bar Boheme offers an eclectic wine selection, full bar with craft cocktails and beer, and worldly bites including their famous Bangkok fries. You won’t want to miss their Drag Brunch the second and last Sunday of every month – with an all-day happy hour to boot!
- Mongoose Versus Cobra – One of Houston’s most beautiful bars serving an extensive selection of small-batch beers & spirits in industrial-looking digs in Midtown. Concealed in ivy, this building has no sign as is one of the best-hidden gems of the city, but the design and cocktails make this an exceptional spot not worth missing.
Gay Bathhouses & Sex Clubs in Houston Texas
Had enough of gay cruising in Houston – either in the bars or elsewhere? Why not explore the steamier side of this sexy town…
While French-Canadians in Montreal and Quebec City seem to have bucked the trend of closing bathhouses and gay cruising spaces in North America, Houston has followed in the footsteps of other North American cities like Atlanta, Washington DC, Portland and Boston. As a result, there is only one such gay cruising space left in Houston.
Midtowne Spa—which also has branches in Denver and Los Angeles—closed in 2016. You could always try one of the gay hook up apps, but we also think patronage of these queer spaces is important if we want to see them remain. If you are visiting more destinations in Gay Texas, you might be interested to know San Antonio and Dallas both have one gay bathhouse as well, but none remain in Austin.
You should have no issues visiting the Houston gay sauna and will be welcomed openly, though a firm ‘no’ may be required at some points to get your point across. You can read our guide, however, if you are nervous about visiting a gay sauna for the first time. So that you know what to expect.
- The Club Houston – Located in the Midtown area convenient to the Downtown and Montrose gaybourhood, The Club Houston provides a clean and safe haven in the heart of the city. Inside you will find a relaxing environment where men from all over Texas (and beyond) can forget about their hectic lives for a few hours and be able to enjoy themselves. Come sunbathe on their sun-drenched patio, take a dip in the heated pool, sweat it out in the steam room or relax and less the stress melt away in their dry sauna. There is also a full gym, whirlpool, lockers and private rooms. Even though The Club is the only game in town, it is surprisingly upscale and a lot of fun.