Sun-kissed, seaside and seamlessly sex, Gay New York City has long since shrugged off its reputation as a conservative military town and is today one of the USA’s top LGBT destinations.
As chilled and welcoming as the stereotypical surfer dudes for which New York City is famed, in this sunny city you will an LGBT community infused with energy, passion and genuine excitement about the future – all this despite the best efforts of this current Trump era politics of hate and discrimination.
While the queer community is welcome across the entire city, the epicenter of gay life here is undoubtedly the Hillcrest gaybourhood fills with farm-to-table eateries, trendy boutique store, fabulous gay bars, what is quite possibly the world’s only gay brewery and a seemingly endless array of gay-orientated events.
Much like the Manchester’s Canal Street, Le Marais in Paris and Toronto’s Church and Wellesley neighborhood, at times it can seem the LGBT community far outnumbers their hetero-counterparts leading to the unusual position of many venues declaring themselves straight-friendly. It’s fair to say we are absolutely living for it and can testify that the queer vibes and come-as-your-fabulous-self spirit here infuses your soul with warmth and tempts you to never leave.
But leave you should! At least to explore the rest of wonderful New York City, with its wealth of outdoor attractions, miles of gorgeous coastline, bubbling collection of unique villages, revitalized downtown, and marvelous dining experiences. Everything is so laid-back here it is hard to believe that this is America’s 8th largest city, but with the most perfect weather, a welcoming community and a thriving cultural scene, what is there to stress about?
Gay New York City Guide: The Essential Guide To Gay Travel In New York City USA 2019
With more than 300 days of sunshine each year, you can bet there are going to be plenty of outdoor things to do in New York City and fabulous gay events which take advance of the amazing weather.
Beach days, hiking and cycling is popular, but equally so is laying by the pool, exploring the wonderful arts scene of New York City or just heading to one of the (seemingly) all-day happy hours. If you plan to get a lot done car hire in New York City is a very affordable option and popular to see more far-flung attractions. This is America after all and the car is king. But if you just want to explore the gaybourhood, downtown and a few other places – public transport and rideshare apps should be sufficient.
Naturally being gay does not define which attractions most of us will want to see in each destination and most queer travelers will simply want to check out the top things to see in New York City during the day! We found our favorite memories were watching the sunset from a relaxing cocktail bar, dancing till dawn with our queer family, or laying out by the pool in our luxe New York City hotel.
However, if you’re someone who can’t sit still, we have put together a few of our other things to do in this gay paradise that are sure to keep you busy!
In this glorious and extremely liberal metropolis, you will not find any major hotel accommodation that isn’t gay-friendly.
After all being gay-friendly is about providing a non-judgmental and respectful environment in which all people are treated equally. In saying that, elegant design, helpful staff, and excellent value for money never hurt anyone. Some hotels in New York City have also gone above and beyond in recognizing and marketing to the LGBT community and given their popularity with gay travelers we would say it has paid off!
Everybody likes to be surrounded by people with common interests and as such a there a few hotels in New York City favored by gay travelers – although to be clear there are no exclusively gay hotels in New York City sadly. There was one ‘official’ gay hotel – The Out Hotel – which was a great place to stay but is now no longer marketed as a gay hotel and has been renamed Cachet Boutique Hotel NYC. Luckily New York has always welcomed everyone, so it’s no surprise that you’ve got a huge choice of designer gay-friendly hotels to stay.
The Hells Kitchen / Chelsea / Greenwich Village gaybourhoods are at the forefront of LGBTQ+ inclusiveness in New York City – and our favorite places to stay since they have easy access to all of New Yorks amazing attractions by day – and are brimming with queer nightlife and gay-owned businesses. This is a huge city, however, and there simply isn’t one perfect place to stay!
The following gay-friendly hotels in New York City are only the most recommended, but there are hundreds of other hotels in New York City if you don’t find quite find what you are looking for. Whether you want a fun and social hostel, a cheap but private place to crash after a night of partying or a chic luxury option to sip cocktails surrounded by fashionable people, Gay New York City as something for everyone!
Gay-Popular Hotels in New York City
The Bernic ☆☆☆☆ – Have a completely luxurious Midtown stay in New York at this gay-friendly and modern hotel. If you’re on a romantic break, the minimalist and well-equipped hotel room is the perfect place to lock yourselves away for the night. There’s a restaurant serving Italian-American food on the top floor and a sky lounge with incredible views.
Nomo Soho Hotel ☆☆☆☆☆ – This is another contemporary and hip designer hotel where you’ll sometimes feel like you’re walking through an exhibit. The design is based on 1946 French Film ‘La Belle et la Bête’ (Beauty and the Beast) and features a huge ivy-clad gate and lantern at the entrance. Nomo has managed to maintain this nod to SoHo’s past while ensuring that the hotel guests have all modern conveniences. There are plate windows offering stunning views to the streets and you feel like you have your finger on the pulse in the open workspace downstairs.
The Standard High Line ☆☆☆☆☆ – This sleek high-rise hotel towers over the High Line and offers incredible views through floor-to-ceiling windows. There are on-site bars and restaurants, but there’s plenty to be found in the surrounding Meatpacking District as well. Fun, minimalist décor and sexy peek-a-boo showers make this one of the best gay hotels in New York. It also happens to be one of our favorite hotels in the world!
W Times Square ☆☆☆☆ – Perfect if you like eclectic style and to be right in the heart of the action, the W in Times Square has space and luxury galore. True to W standards, the service is exceptional and attention is paid to every detail. Broadway is just a step away and the hotel’s location in Times Square really makes you feel like you are on the pulse of one of the greatest cities in the world.
The Roxy ☆☆☆☆ – You might guess from the name, but the Roxy is all about old-school glamor and a touch of jazz. There is actually an underground jazz club in the hotel, as well as a cinema and a cocktail bar. No wonder it’s one of the most popular gay hotels in New York! Once you retreat to your room, you’ll find comfortable beds and great amenities.
Paper Factory ☆☆☆☆ – Sure, Queens is a little further away from the city, but you gain hugely in space when you don’t stay in Manhattan. You are also out near the spicy Latin gay nightlife and everyone knows Queens has the best food. This is a gorgeous boutique hotel in a renovated paper factory – expect exposed brickwork and hip design. We love that there’s a food truck in the backyard and a games room where you can relax with a bit of shuffleboard.
Hotel On Rivington ☆☆☆☆ – This modern hotel on the Lower East Side offers a range of rooms from standard rooms to deluxe suites. All needs are catered to with facilities including a 24-hour business center, a gym, a local restaurant, and two bars. Staying here, you know you are in safe hands – the service is good, the rooms are clean and elegant and there’s easy access to all the best bits of New York!
Dream Hotel Downtown ☆☆☆☆ – From the minute you see the elaborate front of the Dream Downtown, you know that you are staying somewhere pretty special. It’s appropriate that so many art galleries are nearby, as some of the décor here is close to being a work of art. The 315 rooms are inspired by New York lofts and every comfort is taken care of, from feather beds to wide-screen televisions. The 50 foot heated swimming pool actually has portholes in the bottom where you can look through to the lobby below (it’s a great way to check out the incoming guests!). There’s also a glamorous restaurant offering three meals a day, or 24-hour room service.
Kimpton Eventi ☆☆☆☆ – This recently renovated (almost) gay hotel in Chelsea has some seriously understated glamor. It’s huge, taking up a whole block, and has a range of restaurants and bars on the ground floor; it’s always a good sign when a hotel restaurant is populated not just by guests, and that’s the case here. The rooms are spacious and have full-length windows looking over the city.
Yotel New York ☆☆☆ – Yotel is the epitome of affordable designer hotels in New York – don’t be put off by the slightly odd exterior, inside the cabin-style rooms are attractive and have all the latest technology (there’s even a robotic luggage storer!). There’s a roof terrace where you can chill out after a day’s sightseeing and a Mediterranean restaurant serving tasty dishes to reenergize you for a night experiencing the legendary gay clubs of Manhattan.
Nu Hotel ☆☆☆☆ – Stay in the heart of hip Brooklyn with this hotel with décor inspired by the surrounding lofts. With such chic design, central location and a bar called Misdemeanor, no wonder it’s one of the more frequented gay hotels in New York. Rooms have all amenities including minibars, safes, blackout curtains and some seriously comfortable beds.
Citizen M Hotel ☆☆☆☆ – An arty and compact hotel right in the heart of Manhattan, everything is 24-hour at the citizenM in Times Square. It’s all designed to suit a busy, bustling visitor to this busy bustling city; the rooms are modern and use state-of-the-art technology for your convenience. Escape from the hustle with a drink at the rooftop bar, where the sounds of the city fade away a bit! They also have a second location in the Bowery if that appeals more…
Cachet Boutique Hotel NYC [Previously The Out Hotel] ☆☆☆ – The straight-friendly Out Hotel was opened in 2012 with the intent of providing a gay hotel in New York that was more than just a place to sleep, but a place where gay travelers could hang out, people watch and have fun. So while the rooms are great, they’re the least of the attractions! Recently rebranded, the Cachet Boutique Hotel NYC is still very gay-friendly but no longer the gay paradise it once was. The rooms in the postmodern building are well equipped with 40-inch TVs and organic skincare products. Relax in the comfort of your own space or head to one of the three outdoor courtyards for a drink and a peruse of the other guests. The ‘Great Lawn’ is a place to chill out, while business travelers can work in the Bamboo Garden. The sun deck is inspired by Fire Island, with hot tubs and a waterfall. If you choose to leave all the fun, Times Square is just a stroll away.
Americano Hotel ☆☆☆ – This hotel offers the height of pared-down minimalist chic. We love the simple beds on blonde wood platforms, with the view of the city through the windows behind; the bathrooms are modern and some even have soaking tubs. You’re right in the middle of Chelsea and can rent bicycles to go shooting around the city like a real New Yorker. To recover from that, head to the roof, where there’s a swimming pool and loungers to relax on.
MADE Hotel ☆☆☆☆ – All natural light and various types of wood, the rooms at this central hotel are perfect retreats from the occasional chaos of New York. The hotel describes themselves as a community that rejects boundaries – perhaps one reason why it is so popular with gay travelers? The beds are pleasingly spacious and the public spaces are attractive and welcoming. Have a drink on the roof and listen to the city below.
Pod 39 ☆☆☆ – As the name suggests, this is another hotel that understands that you just need a comfortable place to stay in the heart of the city, and streamlines that experience as much as possible. Your room might be small, but it has everything you need – and there’s more space at the bar on the roof.
The Local NYC ☆☆☆ – This luxe hostel tops our list of gay hostels in New York City. This is an ultrahip hostel that you could find in a converted industrial building. When you check in on this just-in-Queens hostel, you will get to sleep in chic and clean bunk bedrooms instead of just staying on its couch. The rooms, in particular, are minimalist in nature. So, millennials who appreciate less would love this place more. You could choose between mixed or single-sex dorms for bunk beds with lockers and reading lights. Towels and linens are also available. If you are traveling solo and you want a room all by yourself, you could also avail of a private room. Free Wi-Fi and en suite bathrooms are also included. Its fridge is always stocked, so you will never run out of things to eat. As its name implies, you become a local of New York City when you stay at The Local NYC. Being the top favorite among the gay hostels in New York City, there is a lot of expectations for the Local NYC. Fortunately, it exceeds most expectations for a hostel. It features a stunning skyline view of Manhattan. It also offers various amenities such as an industrial bar and cafe, a rooftop terrace, and a communal kitchen. In the city that never sleeps, you will find yourself liking to relax and rest on this hostel – and just a four-minute walk four-minute walk from the nearest subway station to get into Manhattan.
Gay Nightlife in New York City
New York City has one of the hottest gay nightlife scenes we have encountered anywhere in the world – and trust us, there is a gay bar for everyone here.
Depending on your mood you can find anything here from a relaxed cocktail in an upscale bar to an all-night dance party surrounded by your queer family. There is also plenty of cruise/dive bars, sexy go-go boys, fabulous drag, fun events and – well, something to cater for every taste!
We have yet to find a gay city with anywhere near as many bars and nightclubs as we found here, and it can totally get a little overwhelming but we have tried to break the spots down by area so you can try each micro-scene out to get a flavor. For example, you could try Greenwich Village for historic gay bars, Hell’s Kitchen for stylish-industrial hangouts, Brooklyn for the House of Yes and other alternative nightlife options or Queens for some spicy Latin heat!
Most gay bars and clubs are packed from 10 pm until into the early morning, with a mix of tourists and locals depending on where you go. The core of the gay scene is in the lower Manhatten and Mid-town area, so if this is a priority, you should try to stay here, but there are gay hotspots everywhere you go. Use our Gay New York City map at the end to help orientate yourself.
With a vibrant – and diverse – local LGBT community and a wonderfully gay-friendly liberal populace, you can imagine distinguishing ‘gay bars’ can something difficult, which is fabulous since you know you will be welcomed as you are basically everywhere here. For the following gay venues, however, we were looking for rainbow events, exceptional recommendations, and spots specifically marketed towards gays.
We are sure you will not be disappointed.
East Village Gay Bars
Nowhere – A low-ceilinged gay dungeon bar with an extensive beer menu, pool table, and jukebox. Not much of atmosphere when it’s quiet, but at the busier time, we really loved it. One of the newest gay bars in NYC – and slowly finding its feet.
The Boiler Room – With a great drink deal on Happy Hour, friendly service and pool its no wonder this gay dive bar has staying power after all this time. A no-frills kind of place that knows what it is doing and does it well. Cash only and busiest on weekends when locals pour in and things get quite steamy!
The Cock – Another gay bar with staying power, this hole-in-the-wall spots hosts fun theme nights with POP DJs & go-go boys. Cash only, the Cock is a dark, hot and more than a little cruisey.
Club Cumming – A energetic gay bar owned by Alan Cumming with modern drag, cabaret and a roster of bizarre and diverse events nights that draw in the crowds. Quirky, queer and oh-so-much fun with proper dance music later at night. A must-visit – even if it is just to show your support for local up-and-coming talent in the LGBT performance community.
Bedlam – An mixed artsy/queer crowd gathers at this East Village 1600-square foot nightclub and performance space, with a Victorian vibe. The venue consists of two spaces – a large main hall and a more intimate back lounge – both of which serve incredible cocktails and music from the best emerging talent and genre-bending artists.
The Pheonix – Originally established as The Bar in 1999, the Phoenix rose from the ashes after a fire devastated the mainstay dive watering hole. The Phoenix has a strong tradition of catering to a diverse and trendy crowd and has become a gay institution in the East Village. Receiving accolades including having the best jukebox in the city, to being a fashion insiders party, and even contemporary performance venue, The Phoenix has transformed from “go-to dive” to “be seen at destination”.
West Village Gay Bars
The Stonewall Inn – The site of the Stonewall riots of 1969, which is widely considered to be the single most important event leading to the gay liberation movement and the modern fight for gay and lesbian rights in the United States. Closed after the riots, and moved to different locations in the intervening years, it moved back to its original location in 1990 a and renovated and returned to its original name, “The Stonewall Inn”, in 2007. In 2015, the Stonewall Inn was the first landmark in New York City to be recognized by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission on the basis of its status in LGBT history and in 2016, the Stonewall National Monument was named the first U.S. National Monument dedicated to the LGBTQ-rights movement. A absolute must-visit, the modern bar has a ridiculous amounts of events on daily, draws a diverse crowd and is never, ever boring. Upstaris is a lounge and busy dance floor with a stage for shows while downstairs is a bar, pool tables and small tables for conversation.
Pieces – A small but happening gay bar with stripper Saturdays, drag queen performances, Tuesday night karaoke and plenty of locals.
Marie’s Crisis Café – A gay dive bar that epitomizes a deep love for show tune music, community, and fun, bringing the shows and musicals on Broadway to the West Village. If you love showtunes and want to sing and drink – go here!
Julius – Known as NYC’s oldest gay bar, this classic hangout serves burgers and beers to its mostly older regulars. Worth a visit however, especially if you are interested in history as it was here in 1966 that four homophile activists staged a “sip in” to challenge the NYS Liquor Authority’s regulation that prohibited bars and restaurants from serving homosexuals. Three years before the Stonewall Riots, this ‘sip in’ is considered one of the very first planned actions of civil disobedience for LGBT rights.
Ty’s Bar NYC – One of New York’s first gay bars to open after the Stone Wall Riot of 1969, Ty’s has been gay owned and operated since opening in 1972, and it’s always been a “man’s” bar. Throughout the years, they have catered to the Levi’s/T-shirt, leather, and bear communities and are well known for their no-attitude policy, friendly helpful staff, and great drinks at great prices
Hangar Bar – A dark and dirty urban gay bar with old school and R&B classics. Cash only, an eclectic crowd and gogo boys on the weekend.
The Monster – This Manhattan LGBT venue has been a pioneer on the scene with loads of adventures through its rich and rather fabulous history. With roots in Fire Island and Key West, the Monster has been host to “homos” since the 1970s! Offering finger food, monstersized drinks, great music and good dialogue with an nostalgic atmosphere, two floors of fun and plenty of celebrity sightings. There are events on every single night here – including Spunk Thursdays with 30+ shirtless, ripped, delicious men and a new drag competition on Sundays for the title of Miss Monster.
Gay Bars in Hells Kitchen
Rise Bar – A new, unpretentious gay bar in Hells Kitchen with high-energy, a younger crowd and fun music. Rise hosts fun events every night of the week including Piano Bar Sundays, Cut Throat Karaoke Tuesdays and Legend Wednesdays with iconic drag queens. Then they cart out the hottest go-go boys and music at their weekend dance parties to keep the place bouncing til close.
Industry Bar – A expansive gay bar with a trendy industrial-with-a-splash-of-color fit out. Positively humming with the after-work crowd thanks to a nightly happy hour, then packed out again later at night with drag shows and dancing. The security, however, is quite strict, with many reports of manhandling customers and not being open to some part of the community. While we didn’t experience this ourselves, the amount of times we heard this means we feel compelled to mention it here.
Fairytail Lounge – One of NYC’s most popular gogo bars located in Hell’s Kitchen. Small and wonderfully kitschy, with fairytale-esque décor, DJ dance parties, and the occasional lap dance. Oh, and boys straight out of your naughtiest fantasies … Well, at least after a few drinks and in a darkened room.
Barrage – A Late-night gay lounge bar with comfortable seating, chic-sexy crowds, great cocktails, and a no-attitude vibe. Our favourite place to go for a sleek yet relaxed gay hangout with friends for chats – and to see who we happen to bump into.
Vodka Soda And Bottom’s Up – Two floors, two bars with some of NYC’s best bartenders serving up strong drinks to keep the energy high all night long. There is drag queen shows, great camp music and a fabulous atmosphere that suggests anything and everything could happen.
Therapy – Since 2003, Therapy has been one of the ‘go to’ Gay Bar in Hell’s Kitchen. Open nightly, featuring awesome drag shows, good food & clever cocktails, we loved the b-level set up, stylish vibes and inclusive atmosphere. The popular RuPaul Drag queen Miz CRACKER frequently performed here, so if you are a fan you won’t want to miss here.
Posh – A tried-and-tested gay bar with a relaxed vibe, regular local crowd and reasonably priced drinks. Posh Bar & Lounge was the first gay bar to open in Hell’s Kitchen, and even today is still popular thanks to their happy hour from 3 to 9 p.m. daily, live shows, DJs who spin all the best hits from dance to pop to retro classics and never, ever a cover charge.
Flaming Saddles – A Wild-West themed gay bar which also have a location in LA providing the all-male version of Coyote Ugly. Amazingly friendly bartenders and dancers, a busy dance floors and an all-welcoming environment. What’s not to love? Serving us country-western queer liberation the likes of which we became obsessed with in Austin and Nashville, with events most nights of the week drawing in the crowds.
Hardware – A buzzy bar and lounge with an award-winning bespoke design inspired by the old hardware store that it now occupies. Gay-owned and operated Hardware showcases talent from the most spectacularly entertaining drag queens — both local and guests from all over the country — and some of the best DJ’s in NYC.
Atlas Social Club – A great low-key happy hour spot with retro-athletics décor and friendly locals. If you’re looking for a fun time, you’ll find it here. Just watch yourself with those stiff drinks…
Ritz Bar and Lounge – An extravaganza of noteworthy music, drag performances and beautiful queer spirits. This gay dance club boasts DJs on 2 floors, a relaxed lounge rooms to mix-and-mingle in, plus an outdoor patio to cool off on. Docked on Restaurant Row, the nautical-inspired Ritz sets the standard for LGBT nightlife here with exceptional lighting and sound systems, fabulous events and strong pours. All genders, religions, ethnicities and sexual orientations and Ritz goes out of its way to make sure all human beings here are safe – and all only one block from Times Square!
Boxers Sportsbar – The Hells Kitchen branch of this popular gay sports bar in NYC with 3 other locations spread around. We aren’t going to lie and say we get the appeal of the large TV screens with the latest game, but we did love terrace, pool tables, vdeo-wall-equipped basement and wonderfully chiseled bartenders who clearly had a better handle on sports than we do. Touchdown!
9th Ave Saloon – A basic but sassy gay bar with cheap drinks and great conversation. Now celebrating over 30 years of unpretentious fun!
Gay Bars in Chelsea
The Eagle NYC – A NYC institution that spawned over 50 Eagle Bars around the world. While Eagle closed in 2000, it opened again in 2001 at a new location thanks to popular demand. The current Eagle is housed in a two-story building that was originally a horse stable dating back to the late 19th century. The mood is still dark and sleazy, the music is still heart pounding and the studs are still coming. The pool table is back as is that old beat up motorcycle. A dark playground of raw masculinity and guys straight out of Tom of Finland works, this is a place for hedonistic, hard-core cruising and celebrating the leather/ Levi ideal.
REBAR Chelsea – A animated gay bar offering hip DJs, modern drag shows and a stripped down industrial-chic atmosphere. Rebar isn’t flashy but its real, it’s raw and it’s ridiculously fun. Re-establishing Chelsea as a playground for the gay community, look out for their theme parties and events.
Boxers Sportsbar – The Chelsea branch of this popular gay sports bar in NYC with 3 other locations spread around. We aren’t going to lie and say we get the appeal of the large TV screens with the latest game, but we did love the summer rooftop terrace, pool tables and wonderfully chiseled bartenders who clearly had a better handle on sports than we do. Touchdown!
GYM Sportsbar – What is this, another gay sports bar – what is going on here. The same as before, hot guys, cheap drinks and large drink pours with TV screens tuned to the latest games. Located on the basement level, the Locker Room is an alluring addition to GYM’s main floor. The atmosphere created by the Locker Room’s warm lighting, fun music, video displays, and copper-topped bar encourages the crowd to get up close and personal. It’s clearly a home-run concept that has knocked it out of the park as GYM also has locations in Los Angeles and Fort Lauderdale.
Barracuda Bar – A respected gay dive bar with a small stage for drag shows, plenty of seating, happy hour prices and music which allows you to hold a conversation. Cash only, hot guys and attentive bartenders.
Other Gays Bars In Manhatten
The Toolbox – The only gay bar in the Upper East Side with Bingo on Monday’s, Karaoke Wednesday and a Jacked Up Thursday performance featuring plenty of shirtless men. Dance-happy crowds descend on the weekend for the eclectic music and the generous Happy Hours until 10 pm nightly.
Suite – A small but very welcoming gay lounge on the Upper West side attracting a mix of older locals residents of the area and young students from nearby Colombia University. Weekly events like drag-queen karaoke are always popular, and dance parties on the weekend are appealing if you don’t want to head downtown. One of the only gay nightlife hotspots uptown.
Brandys Piano Bar – Not really a gay bar, but there is cheap drinks, sing-alongs, and a piano so you just know we are all going to be pilled in here. Hidden away, on a side street in the most unlikely of places, Brandy’s is one of the Upper East Side’s best-kept secrets. This intimate spot showcases live talent every night and has been for over 35 years with booze-infused sing-alongs, staff who know how to get the crowd going and loyal regulars who ensure all seats are filled early on the weekend. Seriously, its normally standing room only past 9-10 pm (if you can even get in the door that is) so do yourself a favor, arrive early or book ahead for a table and settle in darling…because you are not going to want to leave!
Big Apple Ranch – Levis meets Leather at this, New York Cities biggest LGBT country western dance. Forget all your gender stereotypes and come down for a rip-roaring time with country Two-Stepping and line dancing in Midtown. Lesson and parties are held every 2nd and 4th Saturday night in at Dardo Galletto Studios
Townhouse of New York – A magnificent gay cocktail lounge with three separate bars including an upscale piano room with nightly performances and a dress-to-impress policy. Serving eleganza extravaganza darling on the border of Midtown and the Upper East Side of Manhattan with something for everyone including gogo boys every Friday and Saturday, happy hour, daily specials, events, and more. This is refined gay nightlife, but if you feel like getting more dancey there is always Evolve across the street…
Evolve – A sophisticated yet friendly gay lounge with hot weekend cruising and weekday happy hour networking. Evolve boasts a happening dance floor, separate billiard room, a state-of-the-art sound system, unique outdoor garden patio and the hunkiest & friendliest bar staff around. Explore this chic ‘neighborhood bar’ among the hustle and bustle that is NYC.
Gays Bars in Brooklyn
Excelsior – A contemporary gay bar in Park Slopes that has been a fixture of the local nightlife scene since the 90s. Forced to relocate in August of 2014, Excelsior is now more than double its original size, with two floors, well-stocked bars and a happening vibe making it great for chatting and meeting new people. If you are feeling a bit kinky stop by for Cruisin’, the popular leather night, every 3rd Saturday of the month.
The Rosemont – A relatively new gay bar in Williamsburg know for being part cocktail lounge, part nightclub – depending on when you go! Hosting drag shows, DJ parties and live performances – all the best that the Brooklyn Gay Nightlife has to offer – alongside craft beers, small places, and a cute garden patio. Once a jazz club, but now very much in the fabulously queer camp – you wouldn’t need to go much to get us back here again!
Xstasy Bar and Lounge – A gay Latin nightclub in Greenwood Heights with great drinks, sexy Latino bartenders, late night dancing, funky event and much more to offer. The ambiance was on-point, the weekend gogo boys had us gagging and the DJ music set the tone for the all-night fiestas we loved in Medellin, Mexico City, and Guadalajara. Everyone is welcome there with super friendly bartenders so why not give it a try!
Branded Saloon – A A large Western-themed honky-tonk saloon serving us with delicious Southern-style bites live music, fierce décor and a ludicrous amount of fun. Ok, it is not officially gay but very welcoming to everyone and honestly, it is not-quite-gay-but-almost-gay so we were obsessed. Filling a gay in Brooklyn queer nightlife, Branded Saloon is always a good idea to start the night at with delicious food, strong drinks, reasonable prices, and a very friendly crowd.
Metropolitan – One of the original gay bars in Williamsburg and still a core part of the local scene, being a popular first or last stop on any night out. With a pool table, a lush outdoor patio, two fireplaces and daily happy hours – there is a lot to love here.
Happyfun Hideaway – A queer/arty dive bar in Bushwick with lots of tropical cheap cocktails, margaritas, draft beer, snack shack nachos, pinball, and a patio with picnic tables. So alternative it hurts, but with a random line up of events and a daily happy hour, Happyfun Hideaway is always a good time!
Langston Night Club – Where Real Men Come to Play! A pumping black gay club in Prospect Heights with neon lights, booming bass, old-school DJs and plenty of dancing. Authentically old-school Brooklyn with an electric atmosphere.
Bizarre – An class haunt of locals in Bushwick with a clubby late-night vibe. Go earlier for designer cocktails, creative lite bites and edgy music. Not specifically for the LGBT community, but a known hotspot.
3 Dollar Bill – A upscale queer bar & performance venue in Bushwick- and the largest queer nightlife spot in Brooklyn allowing everyone to express themselves as their fullest, most genuine, selves. From fabulous nights at the bar to incredible events with amazing sound and lights, 3 Dollar Bill has arrived, and they are ready to have a good time.
House of Yes – Weird. Wild. Wonderful. A performance fueled night club and creative venue programmed with eclectic events and fabulous dance parties. Open to everyone but very LGBT / Queer popular we honestly have experienced few events are incredible, liberating and fierce anywhere in the world. A safe space fusing dance culture, theatre, music, food, technology, and community where artists can create and present work while audiences can celebrate, socialize and be inspired. Fire-eaters, bearded drag queens, acrobatics, glitter stations, open dancing platforms, grand costumes – on any given night you can see it all. Get ready to be wowed and say YES, YES, YES! Look on their website for upcoming events to find the perfect one to match your creative energy.
Other Gays Bars In Queens
Club Evolution – A large Latin gay nightclub in Jackson Heights with multiple dance floors, sexy bartenders, fun events, DJs and more. Each night hosts a different DJ or video DJ, playing the latest pop & house remixes, with hip hop, salsa, merengue, bachata & reggaeton! This makes the club ever so popular with Latin men & those who love them! The main room boasts a 500 square foot dance floor, & 15,000 watts of the clearest sound along with projector TV screens.. The bar area & VIP party room have a separate sound level so you can meet someone and still be able to hear their sweet words! Although the clientele is mostly male, they are an all-inclusive club and encourage you to bring your lesbian bestie, or that straight girlfriend who loves to party and see hot men at their best! Come and feel the euphoria and Latin heat!
Icon Bar – A festive, fabulous and fierce gay bar in Astoria know for their sexy gogo boys and drag pageants. Many of the queens from RuPaul’s Drag Race have graced the stage here, so even if you don’t spot someone famous you are likely to see them soon on the show!
Hombres Lounge – A down-to-earth gay club in Jackson Heights with toned, barely clothed men read to party. Modern and sexy with a hint of glamour, we loved the Latin vibes and gorgeous bodies…
Friend’s Tavern – An old school Latin gay bar – the oldest in Queens – offering an alternative to the glamour, class, and sophistication of Manhatten. Great music, sexy dancers, cool crowds with no attitude and an ‘anyone is welcome here’ atmosphere.
Albatross – A cheerful LGBT bar in Astoria with fun daily events such as Karaoke, Drag Bingo and Live Drag Shows to bring the boys in. The 2-4-1 Happy Hour and lots of drink specials also help.
Lesbian Bars in New York City
Not many cities have devoted lesbian bars, but in Gay New York City you girls get lucky with one of the most vibrant lesbian scenes in the world. They really are the case of use it or lose it though ladies, and we can’t tell you the number of similar spots we have seen come and go over the years. Luckily they are all pretty great so you’re probably going to love them!
Henrietta Hudson – Manhattan’s number-one lesbian bar for 25 years, Henrietta Hudson is the ultimate destination for lesbians and the gay-friendly community, 365 days a year. Lesbian-owned and operated—now and always—Henrietta Hudson is renowned across NYC and the world for its friendliness, free spirit, and ever-inviting atmosphere. Their two full bars are stocked with a selection of liquors, wine, and beer and expertly tended by attractive and charismatic bartenders. Happy Hour (4—7 p.m., seven days a week) offers discounted drinks, while an ever-changing selection of mixologist-created cocktails is available. First-time visitors frequently become lifetime regulars at Henrietta Hudson, thanks to the welcoming vibe, constant influx of diverse and beautiful patrons, intelligent and sexy bartenders, exciting roster of events, and inclusive spirit. The bar is age- and gender-diverse, gay-boy friendly, and tourist-accommodating. There’s something vibrant and new every day of the week at Henrietta Hudson—world-class DJs spinning for sexy and enthusiastic crowds, stimulating evenings of cocktails and conversation with old and new friends, electric evenings of world-class flirtations, and countless chances to meet someone special. So why not stop in and say hi?
Ginger’s Bar – A relaxed lesbian bar with a very neighborly vibe in Park Slope Brooklyn. Boasting a daily happy hour, casual outdoor patio, pool table thanks to happy hours, a pool table, jukebox, and a huge outdoor patio. Cheap, cheerful and full of character.
Bum Bum Bar – A old-school lesbian bar in Woodside Queens catering for a butch-femme, predominately Latina lesbian clientele. Friendly with plenty of sultry salsa dancing, great vibes, and beautiful queer people – the long subway journey might keep the less dedicated away from other boroughs, but we think it is worth the trip out! Oh, and its pronounced ‘Boom Boom’…
Cubbyhole – A long-time NYC gay village haunt most popular with lesbians but open to all. With eclectic décor, a mellow but very friendly crowd and a roaring good time to be had, why would you not check it out! Cubbyhole isn’t preoccupied with being a lesbian bar however so feel free to take your friends!
Q-Girls – A classy alternative to the NYC lesbian bar scene, Q-Girls has been providing a venue for women 35+ to meet and socialize for 15 years. They find spots around NYC that offer the lesbian community a safe space to connect, dance, enjoy a cocktail, with access to a full food menu. Q-Girls mission is to offer enjoyable events where women can socialize with other like-minded women.
Gay Sex Clubs & Bath Houses in New York City
Even though New York City is a fabulous gay vacation destination there are only a few gay sex venues here – and all of them are pretty terrible. We really don’t recommend visiting any, except perhaps Paddles if you are feeling bit kinky.
If your visiting from outside of the USA you should know that the gay sauna culture is not very prevalent in the USA and in no way as popular or as high-quality as you might find in international destinations such as Bangkok, Barcelona, Vienna, and Paris. New York, however, much like San Fran, closed all of these gay sex locations in the wake of the AIDS crisis and it has never sprung back – because local regulations discourage them, hook up apps remain popular and real estate costs are simply too costly.
With such a high LGBT+ population, you just know there has to be pretty of action going down here – and you can join in by either downloading a gay hook up app, going to the last New York City bathhouse or checking out some of the more cruise orientated gay bars.
Gay sauna or not, in any sexual encounter, please take adequate precautions. No matter what your intentions are in while traveling, you should bring your own condoms and lube to play it safe. Take home a hot guy or a hot memory, not an STD.
Besides, you never know what other fun surprises your trip might have in store for you...
West Side Club – A social relaxation club for gay and bisexual men conveniently located in Chelsea since 1995. It can be filled with hot guys, but there is no sauna here and its basically just small rooms, a lounge, and bathrooms. Honestly, one of the worst cruising places we have tried in the world and in this case you really are better using hook up apps if you can host. Otherwise, West Side Club is open 24/7, 365 days of the year.
East Side Club – From the same owners as West Side Club, but only marginally better since it is near the UN and you sometimes can meet interesting international guys here. Expensive, with a steam room that is basically never operating, dirty, sad and just not worth it. Sorry boys, we are a big fan of hot and steamy fun, having trying cruising clubs everywhere from Cape Town and Melbourne to Seoul and Copenhagen, but these are just some of the absolute world. Just avoid it.
Northern Men’s Sauna – Much cheaper than in Manhattan, the crowd at this Queen’s gay sauna can be hit or miss but normally busier after work. All nationalities, sizes, and ages can be found here – and a few rent boys. At the end of the day however it is still very dirty and dated, with the steam room and sauna never seeming to be in operation.
Queen Sauna – A mixed venue which definitely has some cruising but plenty of straight guys can be found here too. Korean-run, it is the cleanest sauna in New York City with an area for sleeping and all facilities actually working. If you want a good steam, to nap and relax then its quite the experience… and if something more happens then view it as a bonus!
Paddles NYC – A sex club to get your freak on, for everyone into spanking and whipping, though other BDMS practices like bondage, domination, and submission are encouraged as are foot fetishes, cross-dressing and all other fetishes. A 5000 Square foot multi-level state of the art location with over 30 pieces of equipment, everyone is welcome at different events but most men come after the gay clubs close on the weekends for Encore Men’s After Hours Party (2:30am-7am). There is also a Bear Party on Sunday afternoons, underwear parties for men of color, spanking parties and more on their site. Not specifically for gay men, but very gay-popular.
Handsome NYC – Two erotic fantasy underwear events for gay men held at Paddles or RPG Playspace in Astoria Queens once a week. Also organizes the once-a-month Incubus parties, a sexy night with a kinky twist for criminally seductive dudes.
Just add an adventurous attitude and plenty of smiles - they go a long way - and that about covers it all! Now go out, find your global rainbow family and don't forget to share your best gay stories with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram...We'd love to hear from you!