In New York City, LGBTQ-friendly bars and clubs are not hard to find. What can be difficult, though, is choosing which to hit up. While all are welcoming, maybe you’re looking for a cozy neighborhood spot where everyone knows your name. Or you seek the thumpa-thumpa-thumpa of the dance floor. Or want to see “RuPaul’s Drag Race” with a room full of fans. Maybe, just maybe, you want some quiet conversation.
Here, our recommendations, from long-standing venues to roving dance parties and more. Pro tip: Call or check social media to confirm events are on.
348 W. 52nd St.
“Ru Paul’s Drag Race” winners Bianca del Rio and Bob the Drag Queen have performed here, so catch the regular Sunday and Tuesday drag shows hosted by Jan Sport and who knows what future stars you might see. Thursdays, head in for the “RPDR” viewing parites. Every night there’s a live DJ set and happy hour specials.
322 E. 14th St.
This East Village staple is a no-frills spot — sure, call it a dive bar — that’s a good place to grab a cheap drink during happy hour and dance, with music starting at 10 p.m. throughout the week. Patrons and bartenders are friendly, diverse and welcoming.
281 W. 12th St.
Cubbyhole has been a West Village staple since 1994 and a neighborhood favorite no matter your orientation, but it specifically caters to the lesbian community. It’s has a laid-back, kitschy atmosphere with a jukebox and cheap drinks.
40 Ave. C
While not advertised as an all-out gay bar, Bedlam attracts an LGBTQ-friendly crowd with its dance parties. The bar is decked out in taxidermy and features classic cocktails. Show up around 11 p.m. for a good time.
229 W. 28th St.
Hosted by nightlife legend Ladyfag, Battle Hymn is a Sunday party held at Flash Factory. It’s an epic dance party and you should definitely dress to impress. Check its website and social pages to keep up on party themes.
848 Washington St.
This scene-y penthouse discothèque and rooftop bar atop The Standard Hotel near the High Line is pretty exclusive: Admission is determined at the entrance, and hotel guests aren’t guaranteed access. If you do get in, you’ll be rewarded with great views of the Hudson River, DJs and, during the summer, a plunge pool on the dance floor and an outdoor creperie.
438 Hudson St.
Another classic, Henrietta’s has been a proud lesbian bar since 1991. In addition to winning spots on lots of “best of” lists, HH is lesbian-owned and run, too. It’s a great place to feel the love and show your pride. Stay for the tunes and happy hour specials.
554 W. 28th St.
The history of this leather bar is rich — originally a longshoreman’s pub called the Eagle Open Kitchen, then a leather bar in the 1970s, The Eagle’s Nest. After closing in 2000, it reopened on the Far West Side and is now two stories of fun with foot fetish nights, jockstrap happy hour and much more. The roof deck is particularly popular.
159 W. 10th St.
Julius’ has a history that predates the Stonewall riots. Considered the oldest gay bar in the city, it started as a speak-easy and began attracting gay customers in the 1950s. In 1966, activists staged a “sip in” to advocate against the state liquor authority’s rule against serving homosexuals. Daily specials, great happy hour prices, strong drinks and a good burger also make this a beloved hangout. One thing that is forbidden: plastic. Yep, it’s cash only.
156 Seventh Ave.
Serving the lesbian, bisexual and transgender community for more than 35 years, Q-Girls is a classy and cozy event for professional women to mingle. As a monthly event held at Elmo’s, keep updated at qgirlsnyc.com.
The Tool Box
1742 Second Ave.
For about two decades, The Tool Box has been a staple for the gay community on the Upper East Side. Its staff is welcoming and there is no dress code inside the 60-seat space. Weekly events are held here, including bingo nights, karaoke and “RuPaul’s Drag Race” viewing parties.
53 Christopher St.
Obviously, the Stonewall Inn makes the list, especially because the bar, the site of a three-day riot that’s credited as one of the major moments in the modern LGBTQ rights movement, was recently designated a landmark by the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission in a unanimous vote.
3820 Broadway, 37 W. 20th St., 742 Ninth Ave.
At its core, Boxers is a sports bar, but one where the bartenders wear boxer briefs as they serve up drinks. The lineup includes Sunday morning NFL games, “Thirst Tap Mondays,” Tuesday karaoke parties, “RuPaul’s Drag Race” viewing parties on Thursdays, and after-dark open mics, drag performances and more.
260 Meserole St.
As Brooklyn’s only queer-owned and operated nightclub, 3 Dollar Bill offers one-woman shows from “RuPaul’s Drag Race” contestants like Monet X Change and Bob the Drag Queen, drag bingo, karaoke nights and a large dance floor. The immersive musical “Oscar at the Crown” returns May 11 for an extended stay on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
Lot 45 in Bushwick and DROM at 85 Avenue A
This traveling dance party throws queer-geared shindigs with performers and DJs from New York and around the world on Fridays and Saturdays each month.
1211 Myrtle Ave.
Find “love of all flavors” at this Bushwick dive bar, which opened in 2014 by the folks behind Secret Project Robot. There’s a backyard, refurbished video games, cheap drinks and décor that will remind you of your grandmother’s basement. It’s a great place to hang and while it doesn’t sell itself as a gay bar, it hosts gay-friendly events.
363 Fifth Ave.
This classic Park Slope bar is so welcoming, it even sports comfy furniture in the living room-inspired backroom that holds its pool table. A true neighborhood spot, it’s well-known for hosting epic karaoke parties, bingo nights and singles dance parties.
63 Montrose Ave.
By the group behind Sugarland Club, The Rosemont is a cocktail lounge and nightclub with a chill vibe and welcoming staff that frequently hosts drag shows, live DJs and performances. Take advantage of its drink specials like its $5 draft beers, wine and well drinks during happy hour.
76-19 Roosevelt Ave.
With two decades under its belt, Club Evolution is a staple for the Latinx community when it comes to dance clubs. It has a 500-square-foot dance floor and drinks ranging between $8-$10. Stop in on Fridays for karaoke and drag on Mondays.
31-84 33rd St.
With weekly drag shows and themed nights like “Latin Lunes,” “Trade Tuesdays,” “Whip it Wednesdays” with Petti Cake, “Karaoke Thursdays” with “The Voice’s” Gabe Violett, “Fabulous Fridays” drag shows and “Slide Saturdays” dances, there’s always something happening here. The atmosphere is inclusive, dark and fun.
36-10 24th Ave.
This neighborhood spot has karaoke on Mondays and Fridays, bingo on Tuesdays and drag on Saturdays. When there isn’t a major event going on, the pool table is open for those who want to play. Bartenders are beloved and the atmosphere is welcoming.