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Home to some of the wildest gay pride festivals, and some of the most gay-friendly cities, it’s no surprise that some of the best gay bars in the USA are also some of the best gay bars in the world.
Gay bars are an important part of society as they allow the LGBTQ+ community to fully express themselves. They allow a safe haven for gays to be themselves. But let’s be honest, a good gay bar is also just really good fun.
Some have dancing, some have DJs, and some have drag queens – there’s no one ingredient that makes a gay bar amazing – it’s all about the overall ambience they create. We’ve done the legwork and narrowed down the very best of the best gay bars in the USA. Read on to find out if your favourites made the list.
Best gay bars in USA – California
California is home to some of America’s most gay-friendly cities, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Palm Springs, so it’s no wonder it’s also home to some of the best gay bars in the USA. Here are our top three gay bars in California.
- Velvet Lounge, Santa Ana – the best place in Santa Ana to enjoy cocktails, DJs, dancing, and drag queens in an LGBT-friendly environment.
- Akbar, Los Angeles – located on Sunset Boulevard, Akbar is one of LA’s most popular gay hangouts with themed nights, comedy nights, and more.
- The Stud, San Francisco – this LGBT institution has been attracting Queer celebrities for years, who want to enjoy the delicious cocktails, drag and burlesque shows, and impressive ambience.
Best gay bars in USA – New York
With New York City being home to more gay residents than any other city in the USA, and the location of the infamous Stonewall Riots, it comes as no surprise that it also houses some of the USA’s best gay bars.
- Club Marcella, Buffalo – the best spot in Buffalo for the LGBT community to get their dance on into the wee hours, or catch a drag show, hip-hop night, or guest DJ.
- Flaming Saddles Saloon, New York – named the best gay bar in NYC by New York magazine, Flaming Saddles is a Wild-West themed gay bar complete with cowboy decor, dancing bartenders, and country and western tunes.
- Cubbyhole, New York – located in Manhattan’s West Village, Cubbyhole is a fun place for gays (and everyone else!) to enjoy happy hour beverages and festive decor any night of the week.
Best gay bars in USA – Arizona
Arizona’s gay scene is largely centred around Phoenix, with gay bars, gay clubs, drag shows, and more.
- Bar 1, Phoenix – a fabulous place for gays to relax by the fireplace, watch old-school music videos, play some pinball, and sip on cocktails.
- Stacy’s @ Melrose, Phoenix – a gay and lesbian bar that welcomes everyone who wants to enjoy karaoke, DJs, dancing, and drinks.
Best gay bars in USA – Florida
Not only does Florida host one of the USA’s best gay pride celebrations in Key West, but it also offers some of the USA’s best gay bars. Here are our two favourites.
- Bar Gaythering, Miami Beach – a place for the LGBT community to relax and be themselves amongst eclectic decor, games, and cocktails.
- The Palace, Miami Beach – a long-time gay hangout in Miami Beach, best known for hosting the cities best drag shows on the weekends.
Best gay bars in USA – Hawaii
Honolulu, Hawaii is a particularly popular travel destination amongst gays who want to escape it all and relax in style. By day they can relax on dreamy beaches, and by night there are some incredible gay bars for them to frequent.
- Hula’s Bar and Lei Stand, Honolulu – for over 44 years, this establishment has been everything that you want a Hawaii bar to be and has quickly become a favourite amongst the LGBT community.
- Bacchus Waikiki, Honolulu – a friendly, cosy spot for gays to enjoy some food, daily drink specials, and live music.
Best gay bars in USA – Illinois
The gay scene of Illinois is thriving in Chicago, with gay bars, gay stores, and plenty more.
- Big Chicks, Chicago – a revolutionary gay bar that welcomes everyone to enjoy its unique diva artwork, burgers, signature drinks, and infamous drag shows.
- Sidetrack, Chicago – a welcoming spot for a diverse crowd who enjoy slushy drinks and show tunes themed nights.
Best gay bars in USA – Louisiana
If you’re hunting for a thriving gay scene in Louisiana, New Orleans is the place to be.
- Cafe Lafitte in Exile, New Orleans – the oldest continuously operating gay bar in the states has been welcoming gays since 1953.
- Good Friends Bar, New Orleans – a laid-back spot for gays to enjoy drinks and catch up with friends.
Best gay bars in USA – Nevada
Of course, we couldn’t miss out Nevada, or more specifically Las Vegas!
- Bastille, Las Vegas – the oldest gay bar in Vegas, Bastille is a dive bar that welcomes everybody to enjoy.
- The Phoenix Bar and Lounge, Las Vegas – an LGBT dive bar with pool tables, videogames, and a dancefloor.
Best gay bars in USA – Pennsylvania
You’ll find a healthy gay scene across Pennsylvania, but here are our favourite gay bars in the state.
- Blue Moon, Pittsburgh – particularly popular among the gay male crowd, Blue Moon is a friendly tavern that’s known for its drag shows.
- Boxers, Philadelphia – a gay sports bar that provides the perfect hangout for gay sports fans to relax.
Best gay bars in USA – Tennessee
You may not expect a huge gay scene in Tennessee, but head to Nashville and you won’t be disappointed by the fun and friendly gay bars.
- The Lipstick Lounge, Nashville – initially designed for gay women to enjoy karaoke, burlesque shows, tex-mex food, and cocktails, this bar welcomes everyone.
- Play, Nashville – the best place for gays to dance the night away in Nashville.
Best gay bars in USA – Texas
Texas is home to a huge gay population and some particularly gay-friendly cities. Here are our favourite gay bars to check out.
- Hidden Door, Dallas – a long-standing gay bar offering cocktails, beers, pool, and darts in a relaxed atmosphere.
- Rain on 4th, Austin – an upscale club and lounge with a pumping dancefloor, karaoke, and themed nights for the LGBT community.