The best gay bars in NYC aren’t just drinking establishments — they’re historic landmarks. These places are steeped in history, and many were beacons of hope during the LGBT community’s struggle for equality during the 20th century.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re gay or straight, these friendly and welcoming gay bars in NYC have a lot to offer.
The Most Historic of Gay Bars in NYC: The Stonewall Inn
Located on Christopher Street in Manhattan, The Stonewall Inn was a place where gay and transgender people could meet for support and advice during the 1960s. At a time when the LGBT community was facing horrendous persecution and inequality, people would meet at The Stonewall Inn to organize protests, rallies and various political campaigns.
Today, The Stonewall Inn is every bit as welcoming as it was then. Regular drag bingo nights are a blast, and the “Lesbo-a-Gogo” dance parties attract visitors from all over the world. Make sure you check out this incredible venue during “Big Gay Happy Hour,” which takes place on weekdays between 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. Beers are just four bucks, while most other drinks are only $5.
A Laid-Back NYC Gay Bar with No Pretension: Metropolitan
The epicenter of the gay community in Brooklyn is arguably Williamsburg’s Metropolitan on Lorimer Street. There are special events throughout the week at this lively nightspot. One of the most popular events is Hot Fruit, which features drinks from $2, live music, a DJ, drag performers and performance poetry.
If you’re looking for some friendly conversation during the day, this is the place to be. The drinks are cheap, there are comfortable sofas everywhere and an outdoor patio is the perfect place to catch some rays as you sip a range of house special cocktails. There’s also a pool table, real fireplaces and lots of friendly faces to make your visit a truly memorable experience.
NYC’s Best DJs Every Night: Phoenix
Phoenix on East 13th Street is a landmark in the East Village. This hugely popular bar has been closed or nearly destroyed more than once since it first opened in 1999, but it simply refuses to let New York’s LGBT community down. This is one of the few trendy gay night spots in NYC that is popular with people of all ages. Indeed, it’s not unusual to see four generations of the gay community on the dance floor.
There are live DJs and drag performers on stage every night of the week. However, try to visit on Friday evening — which is party night. Arrive between 4:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. to load up on discount beers, wines and spirits. A pint of Budweiser, for example, is just $2.
Great Food from a NYC Institution: Julius’
Julius’ is one of the West Village’s most prestigious and historic landmarks. Widely regarded as the oldest gay bar in New York City, this stylish venue first opened its doors to the public during the 1840s — and became a fully-fledged gay bar a century later. Members of the LGBT community travel from around the world for the privilege of saying they once drank in Julius’.
Happy hour at Julius’ is 4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. every day, and the specials include the $6 Long Island iced tea and a range of beers from just $2. The grill is open for food all day, every day — and until 3:00 a.m. on Saturday evenings. If you’re looking for a gay bar “where everybody knows your name,” this is the place to be.
There are dozens of amazing gay bars in NYC and you can experience several if you plan ahead with the help of Gosur.