Step into the glittering world of inclusivity and celebration as we unveil the ultimate guide to the best gay bars in the heart of New York City. From iconic establishments in Chelsea to hidden gems in the East Village, this exploration promises a journey through the diverse and vibrant LGBTQ+ nightlife scene. Discover spaces that embrace individuality, from pulsating dance floors to cozy lounges fostering connection. Whether you’re a local looking for the hottest spot or a visitor seeking an authentic experience, join us on this adventure celebrating the best of NYC’s gay bar culture, where acceptance, diversity, and unforgettable moments converge.
The unique and memorable ceiling decorations are just one of the many things that make Cubbyhole shine. The famous jukebox cranking out hit after hit and the cold drinks and lively atmosphere make this West Village location one to hit. The energy in the bar is viral, and this spot demands repeat visits.
Flaming Saddles Saloon
Flaming Saddles Saloon offers the best Western-themed party atmosphere in the city. The bartenders frequently jump on top of the bar to perform various line dance performances to songs that make the crowd go wild. The crowd is encouraged to dance and sing along while the skilled bartenders sling strong drinks their way.
Arising from the ashes of a bar formerly in its location, The Phoenix shines bright amongst the competition. The East Village dive bar features beautiful wood floors, tables, and that beautiful, authentic brick wall that New York City does best. The drinks are strong, and the music never dies at The Phoenix.
Settled in Greenwich Village, Julius is New York’s oldest bar for gays and is a place for people of all ages to convene. Music from decades past plays on the lively jukebox, and the bar’s interior is quintessential New York City. Signature cocktails and craft beers are in high demand; everyone is family here.
Located in Brooklyn, this friendly bar boasts lively evenings for all who enter the door. Along with an incredible staff skilled in mixology, themed music and event nights are a regular occurrence here. The Rosemont features a large outdoor patio and plenty of space to sip, mingle, and celebrate love.
Queer history finds deep roots in The Stonewall Inn. This establishment is more than just a bar to the community; it’s where LGBTQ+ Pride began. Notable for establishing the origins of Pride Month, the bar also features delicious cocktails and multiple, spacious dance floors spread across two levels where patrons can dance, laugh, and party until dawn.
There’s something about a gay bar that doesn’t try to outdo the competition. Instead, Albatross Bar seeks only to provide a safe, fun, and upbeat establishment for those seeking a good time. They have pool tables, great drinks, and the occasional show take this simplistic bar and make it something you’ll remember (and hit with repeat visits).
Going off The Deep End has never been more fun! This exciting yet relaxed atmosphere is the perfect place to grab a signature cocktail, such as their famous “Bad Hombre” or “Putin’s Revenge,” while also exploring their delicious food menu. Weekend brunch is always in order, and their dedicated staff welcomes you home.
This black-owned, LGBTQ+ meeting space is more than a bar- it’s a sanctuary. If you’re looking for a party, this place is for you. If you’re seeking more of a relaxed evening, this place is also for you. Their unique spins on beloved cocktails and welcoming atmosphere make this a go-to spot for many New Yorkers.
Club Cumming has been a staple of NYC queer culture for decades, thanks to many vibrant stand-outs. The club features craft cocktails, burlesque evenings, drag shows, comedy hours, and more. Their eclectic lineup of events and drinks makes this a prime spot for all who need a safe space to relax and raise their glass to love.
Hell’s Kitchen is in no short supply of fantastic gay bars, thanks partly to Rise Bar! The beloved club offers the dim-lit, upbeat energy that those who live in and visit New York crave. Their drink menu rotates with the seasons, featuring beloved specials for all (including non-drinkers), and their food options satisfy that late-night craving every time.
Kinks and femininity are in full swing and are always displayed at Pink Metal! The leather community has a popular meeting spot here in Hell’s Kitchen. The bartenders are always down to party with the patrons, and their signature drinks, such as their self-named martini, always make for a memorable night with friends. Regardless of what gets you going, you will indeed find excitement here.
You had better be ready to sing to your heart’s content when you step into Marie’s! This show-tunes piano bar in Greenwich Village boasts delicious signature cocktails and crucial pieces of American History. The bar has a reputation for welcoming the LGBTQ+ community before any other establishment openly did so in the city. All are welcome, loved, and openly celebrated at Marie’s Crisis Cafe.
This popular Brooklyn bar is queer owned and operated and seeks to provide a space for all who have ever felt dejected in New York City. Queer culture is on full display and universally celebrated in the walls of C’Mon Everybody. Their spacious setting offers plenty of spots to drink, dance, and celebrate life outdoor and indoors. Their cocktails are legendary, and their atmosphere feels like home.
This spot earns its name from all we consider to be the people we love sharing memories with. Grab your friends and sit in their comfy seating area or get on their lively dance floor to shake the night away. All your favorite drinks are made to perfection by the staff, whose primary goal is to make you and your best Judges feel at home.
This Brooklyn club is the epitome of gay nightlife in New York City. Are you looking for a large outdoor patio? 3 Dollar Bill has you covered! In need of a massive dance floor with live performers on stage doing anything and everything under the sun? Wish granted! If you need all of this along with pulsing music and gorgeous, talented bartenders- you’re always in luck here!
This cozy bar in the West Village of NYC offers more than your average dive bar. Endless wall decorations greet your eyes as you step inside Ginger’s. The mood is lively, and the music is loud as the bartenders pour their favorite cocktail, beer, or glass of wine. The bar and patio are small, but there’s always room for more friends at Ginger’s.
Live events, private watch parties, mouth-watering foods, themed party nights, and more are in no short supply at Branded Saloon. As you enter the bar, you find plenty of seating to eat and drink. The drink and food specials spark instant joy, and many New Yorkers frequently visit to dine, drink and devour the fantastic, energetic atmosphere night after night.
REBAR is the place to be in Chelsea. The establishment features one of the liveliest event schedules of any of the bars on this list. Their signature “Rainbow Martini” has been an obsession of patrons for years. The dance floor is packed wall-to-wall nightly and is always a prime spot for a celebration.
For three decades, this lesbian-built bar has been a safe space to celebrate for all. A simple job hunt on a rainy night began the legend of Henrietta. Thirty years and endless cocktails later, the queer community continues to flock to Henrietta’s for a place of refuge, love, and celebration. The bar staff welcomes all with friendly smiles and cocktails poured to perfection.
The queer leather community always has a place to gather at Eagle. The establishment is a multi-leveled bar with a rooftop patio, perfect for those celebratory evenings with friends. Put on your harness, grab a cocktail at one of the many bars at Eagle, and dance with your friends til dawn. The bar staff welcomes all, and the patrons are always ready to make new friends.
Playhouse is aptly named, as you’ll always feel like you’re there to play and enjoy the night with friends. The bar is always packed, thanks to their cocktail favorites, such as the “Playhouse Punch.” The showroom offers top-notch nightly drag and live music performances. You’ll be in no short supply of things to do at Playhouse!
Though The Spot may be new to the lineup of gay bars in NYC, it has quickly made a name for itself as one of the best options. Located near Times Square, this queer-friendly bar attracts locals and visitors alike. The staff welcomes you in whatever you dress yourself in and makes cocktails to perfection for all their friends and newcomers.
For over forty years, 9th Avenue Saloon has been a prime spot for all LGBTQ+ people to gather and enjoy the night together. The dive bar has a relaxed yet vibrant feel with authentic brick walls and loud music. Events and shows are regular occurrences, and all who gather here meet each other with a smile, a hug, and a drink.
Live music and a beautiful outdoor seating area are just a few things to brag about for The Exley. Their extensive cocktail menu features favorites such as the “Penicillin” or the “Exley Spritz.” The vibe of the bar is upscale yet relaxed and welcoming to all. Grab a drink, take a seat, and enjoy your night out with your group.
Hell’s Kitchen’s lineup of gay bars reaches new heights with VERS, which seeks to offer something for everyone. You’d better be ready to dance at this lively New York City nightclub. Live DJs spin the hits that suit everybody’s needs, and bartenders pour drinks that keep patrons returning for more. Come to VERS ready to party, and you won’t be disappointed.
Ty’s was one of the first gay-friendly bars to open after the Stonewall riots of 1966. Since then, the bar has held firm, favoring those in the leather/kink community. The staff is very active in the NYC gay community, and behind the scenes, they ensure that all who enter their lovely little establishment feel like family.
Why should you trust us?
We use our own local experience and contacts in the city to know which places to include in our lists. We also researched the web and read 6 reputable blogs and websites, including timeout.com, tripadvisor.com, secretnyc.co, wolfyy.com, travelgay.com and thrillist.com. So that you can be sure you’re receiving the best of the best. We compiled all the results in one spot and ranked them according to how frequently they were referenced.