Your Guide To The Best Of The Best US Gay Bars

If you've been searching for the ultimate guide to US gay bars and clubs, then you've hit the jackpot—everything you need to know is here on! We have the #1 Online US Gay Bars Guide anywhere on the web and we work hard to keep that title every day. Throughout this Gay Bars US Guide, we will cover the history of US gay bars and US gay clubs, browse a selection of the best US gay bars in the country, and explore our many US Gay Bar Guides city by city.

Although they have gotten the nickname "gay bars", these venues really are safe havens for all members of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transexual) community, not just gay men. US gay bars and US gay clubs are important to the LGBT community across the country—they serve as safe spaces in a country that is not always as accepting. No matter how you identify or who you support, has the answers you have been looking for when it comes to US gay bars and US gay clubs!

Gay Bars US: A History

The history of the gay bars US scene is a rich one—full of good times, bad times, and revolutionary moments. So, let us start with the obvious: Where did the US gay bar scene start? Well, this has been heavily debated by experts all over America, as several gay bars across the nation claim to be the first US gay bar. For example:

  • Atlantic House in Provincetown, Massachusetts was built in 1798 as a tavern and stagecoach stop and has been openly gay-friendly for over half a century. It claims to be the oldest US gay bar.
  • Black Cat Bar in San Francisco, California was founded in 1906 and revived in 1933 when prohibition ended. It was the focus of one of the early gay pride victories—in 1951, the California Supreme Court affirmed that homosexuals had the right to assemble in a case that was started by the heterosexual owner of the bar. It claims to be the oldest US gay bar.
  • Black Cat Tavern in Los Angeles, California opened in 1966 and is considered a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument for its involvement in the New Year’s Day gay bar raids of 1967. It claims to be the oldest US gay bar.
  • Maud’s in San Francisco, California was established in 1966 and closed in 1989 during the AIDS crisis. It claims to be the first US gay bar.
  • Julius Bar in New York City was built in approximately 1867, but had bar managers that actively harassed gay patrons until 1966. In 1966, a "sip-in" event was held to contest the rule prohibiting serving alcohol to gay men. The court ruled in their favor and lead to the opening of many new gay bars across the city.
  • Cafe Lafitte In Exile in New Orleans, Louisiana dates back to 1933 (the end of prohibition) and claims to be the oldest continuously operating US gay bar.
  • The White Horse Inn in Oakland, California also dates back to 1933, but claims to have been operating during the time of Prohibition and therefore has the title of the oldest continuously operating US gay bar.

Many believe that The White Horse Inn is the true owner of the title of Oldest US Gay Bar. Officially established as a US gay bar in 1933, The White Horse Inn has been operating legally for over 80 years. Although Cafe Lafitte In Exile can boast the same numbers, The White Horse Inn claims they were operating as a speakeasy during Prohibition and offering the gay community safety from the crackdowns on both booze and homosexuals. Those extra years would place them as the official oldest US gay bar.

There are also some US gay bars that hold different titles, such as the Double Header in Seattle, Washington has been operating since 1933 and claims not to be the oldest US gay bar, but more specifically the oldest gay bar on the North American West Coast. Or, Esta Noche in San Francisco’s Mission District opened in 1979 and holds the title for the first Latino US gay bar.

All of the US gay bar history since the first gay bar has really—to put it simply—just been a series of US gay bars and US gay clubs opening, operating, and sometimes closing, all over the country. But, you can’t look at the history of US gay bars and US gay clubs without looking at the history of the LGBT community as a whole. In our Gay Pride US article, we discussed the Stonewall Riots. This historical event was one that acted as a turning point for gay rights and gay pride, but also—because of its location, mostly—it was an important event in the history of US gay bars, too.

The Stonewall Riots occurred in the early summer of 1969. A police raid began on the Stonewall Inn—a New York City gay bar—and it very quickly got out of their control. Although US gay bar raids were not uncommon, the Stonewall Inn was owned by the Mafia and had patrons who were easily provoked to violence. The ensuing riots lasted for several days and allowed a lot of needed attention to be brought to the fight for LGBT rights in America.

Early on June 28th of 1969, following a police raid on the Stonewall Inn (a gay bar in New York City), the Stonewall riots began. Although police raids on gay bars were common, Stonewall was owned by the Mafia and had a clientele that was prone to violence and rioting. The situation got out of the authorities’ control very quickly, and continued for several nights. This is largely considered the single most important event in the fight for LGBT rights in North America and was the watershed moment that allowed organizers to bring Gay Pride to a larger public scale. It is important to the history of US gay bars because not only was this event born in a gay bar, but the following strides in US gay pride allowed and encouraged many more US gay bars and US gay clubs to open up throughout New York City and all over the country.

Gay Bars US: The Best Of The Best

In the United States today, there are an abundance of US gay bars and Us gay clubs. Below you will find a quick list of the seven that we feel are the best of the best!

MARY’S: Located in Atlanta, Georgia, this US gay bar was voted #1 in NewNowNext’s list of The 50 Best Gay Bars In America. Mary’s is a true US gay bar, where everyone can come together and you never know who you will be sitting beside—gay, straight, transgender, drag queen, black, white, asian, hispanic, and everything in between. Mary’s is best known for its all-night karaoke (you’ll hear everything from current pop hits to ‘80s and ‘90s jams to country and more!) and its extreme variety of theme nights: Hanky Code, XXXMess, Get Stuffed, Gurlfrandz, Underwear Twister, XanaDude, Goth Nite, Bitch Please, Boys Room, and more! Here, you will find a US gay bar that has midgets, makeshift jails, Twister games, a singing stuffed deer head, drag shows, costumes, a ceiling covered in Christmas lights, karaoke, ‘60s and ‘70s paintings all over the walls, and strong drinks.

AKBAR: Located in Los Angeles, California, Akbar is the go-to spot for Hollywood’s LGBT community. This US gay club has been attracting gays, lesbians, and queers of all kinds for over 20 years. With two bars, a dance floor, a well-stoked jukebox, and strong drinks, you can’t go wrong!

METROPOLITAN: Located in Brooklyn, New York City, Metropolitan was named Best Gay Bar in NYC by New York Magazine in 2008. Their Sunday afternoon BBQs are legendary and their come-as-you-are attitude can’t be beat. At this US gay bar you will find a photo booth, Skee-Ball machines, and cozy fireplaces… on top of an amazing drink selection, of course!

THE ABBEY: Located in West Hollywood, California, The Abbey has been consistently rated the best bar (gay, straight, or otherwise) in the L.A. area. This US gay bar has over 16,000 square feet of party space and is decorated as elegantly and sophisticated as they come. If you are looking for a dirty, rough night out, The Abbey is not what you are looking for. However, if you have fine taste, love celebrity sightings, and don’t mind shelling out $13 for a cocktail, then this will be your new go-to.

REMINGTON’S: Located in Washington, D.C., Remington’s is a line-dancing gay bar that is always packed full of the cutests, friendliest gay men. It is located right around the corner from the Capitol Hill Marine barracks, so sightings of "don’t ask, don’t tell" troops are not uncommon. The food and drinks are pretty decent too!

THE COCK: Located in New York City, The Cock has long served as the classic late night trashy US gay bar—sex, drugs, rock n roll… and men. It is a place for scandalous nights on the town and late night efforts to get laid. Regulars do not come here for food, drinks, or tunes… they come here for the crowd.

FEATHERS: Located in River Edge, New Jersey, Feathers is a US gay bar that is not quite sure what it is… and somehow that works! From the outside, it looks like a Mafia bar. From the inside, it looks like a log cabin with a light-up disco floor. It hosts Wednesday night drag shows. It hosts Tuesday night ‘80s parties. It has scenes from VH1’s "I Love New York" shot there! It is confusing and amazing, all wrapped up in one.

Gay Bars US: City By City

Get a closer look at all the best US gay bars and US gay clubs in cities all over this great nation. Below, you will find our extensive and in-depth US Gay Bars Guides for several cities of the United States of America. Inside each guide you will find the history of gay bars and clubs in that city, the best gay bars and gay clubs in that city, and your "best bets" for any kind of gay bar you are looking for. Check them out and start exploring!


Atlanta has a lot of gay bars that have been around for quite some time, in fact, many of these bars have been around well before it was acceptable to be openly gay in the US. For years, it was common for Atlanta gay bars to run as regular straight… Read more.


Austin has a reputation as one of the gay-friendliest cities in all of Texas. It's very evident that both gays and lesbians are welcome in Austin far more than any other city in a very conservative Texas. It is quite shocking, though, that with a city that is so gay-friendly… Read more.


Boston is a sports town for sure, with all the success of the Boston Bruins and the Red Sox. IUt’s hard not to be. It’s no joke; people die in Boston sports riots. So, if you want sports, check out a different website. If you want to experience the Boston… Read more.


Chicago is one of the most up and coming cities for Gay Bars in the United States. While most men prefer to spend their days enjoying a hot dog at Wrigley Stadium watching a White Sox game, we would like to spend our time in Chicago a little differently. The… Read more.


The gay culture in Dallas has changed a lot over the years. Gay bars have survived things like AIDS and more recently the smoking ban. Dallas Gay bar and club owners have had to fight to be treated as equally as their straight counterparts. In 1990, there was a rash… Read more.


Denver, Colorado is known for many things: The Broncos, Clyfford Still Museum, The Rocky Mountains. None of these can compare to the gay nightlife that happens in this gorgeous and warm city. Historic downtown Denver plays hosts to many different types of gay bars and nightclubs, we here at Manplay… Read more.


The Gay Bar Houston scene is huge! There are tons and tons of bars that are waiting for you tonight. When it comes to gay bars, there are many different types. There are adult entertainment clubs, there are drag shows, dance clubs, gay bars where you can just hang out… Read more.


Gay Bars Las Vegas history started in 1954 with Club Black Magic and the city has been thriving ever since. Club Black Magic eventually became Le Cafe by Tropicana Hotel and it was the most popular place to hear some smooth and sweet jazz music from 1950 to 1960.
In… Read more.


When it comes to gay clubs in Los Angeles, these are the hottest, most iconic gay bars and clubs in the whole entire world. Whether you are re-locating, visiting from out of town, or live here and simply have never been to these clubs. recommends you to visit the… Read more.

US Gay Bars: MIAMI

Miami has had gay bars and a nightlife scene for gays since the 1930s, and it's only improved and grown since then. Although during that time, it was a roller coaster of progress; gay bars were shut down constantly by police and raided on grounds of illegal gay activity, but… Read more.


The gay bars New Orleans scene has a southern twist that can only be found here. The community is very open to going out to gay bars (unlike other areas in the south) and are treated exactly like other bars. Everyone goes to these bars whether they are just looking… Read more.


If there is one place that is known to be the Gay capital of the USA, (move over San Francisco) it’s New York City. Frank Sinatra called this place home; Broadway powerhouses like Patti LuPone and Barbra Streisand made this hometown their hot spot. Hit television shows like Will and… Read more.


You will be pleasantly surprised how far the Gay Bars Orlando Scene has come over the years. The LGBT community is strong and proud in Orlando and has had some of the best gay bars since before many men and women openly celebrated their sexual orientation in Orlando. The longest… Read more.


Phoenix, Arizona is beautiful, not just with landscapes, but with the pride within the gay community. We know it can get hot hot hot there, but that is also why we love it. Their Gay Bars Phoenix community is even hot hot hotter. Move over Tucson and Scottsdale; Phoenix is… Read more.


The Stark Street area is known for housing the largest amount of gay bars Portland over the years. Although many bars have closed or moved to a new location, this Stark Street area seems to be the hub for gay bars. In the 1990’s, there were a large number of… Read more.


Not only is the gay bars San Diego scene home to one of the warmest areas in the US, but it is also the home to the hottest gay bars and clubs in the world. From bars on the beach to rooftop patios, the gay scene in San Diego is… Read more.


There have been more than 700 gay bars that have opened and closed their doors over the years in San Francisco. Up to and including the 1950's there were only a small handful of gay bars that had opened, but in the early 1960's they seemed to be opening up… Read more.


Like lots of other cities in the United States, Seattle has fought long and hard for their rights to have gay bars and clubs running today. Seattle has a long history about what has happened since the 30’s concerning gay bars. Since it’s been such a long time coming, the… Read more.

The United States has more gay bars and gay clubs than you could shake a stick at, but hopefully with our US gay bar city guides above you will be able to more easily navigate the world of US gay bars from coast to coast, wherever you are! We have spent hours and hours of our time and effort finding out everything we could about US gay bars and US gay clubs and can’t wait to see our guides get put to good use!

Gay Bars US: Resources

Looking for even more US gay bar and US gay club information? Check out the resources we have linked to below:

Advocate’s "Gayest Cities In America"

BuzzFeed’s "17 Most Popular Lesbian Bars In The U.S."

Vice’s "Etiquette Guide For Straight People In Gay Bars" has gay bar guides about countries and cities all over the world! Why not expand your knowledge of gay bars and gay clubs with our UK Gay Bars Guide or our Canada Gay Bars Guide? There’s so many gay bars out there to learn about and enjoy!

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