The ingredients for the perfect gay bar are not as obvious as the ingredients for a perfect cocktail. The best bars mix ambience, a frisson of energy, and the right vibes. But there’s no one way to do it: What what works in Peoria doesn’t necessarily work in Pasadena.
But measuring how popular a bar is, that’s all in the numbers.
Data collected by Gravy Analytics, a location-based marketing platform, tracks mobile data to verify attendance at places and events throughout the United States. This list tracks gay bar attendance from November 1, 2017, through October 31, 2018. And which bars were the most popular in that year’s time? The answers will surprise you.
There are 17 new entries on the list, including Parliament House which (spoiler alert) grabbed the top spot. You may be wondering how a bar jumped more than 50 spaces to take the top of the list. Gravy Analytics had Parliament House previously categorized as a hotel and not a bar, so it wasn’t counted last year. Besides Parliament House, the highest debut on the list goes to Micky’s West Hollywood which took the number seven spot. After the name of each bar on the list, we’ve indicated how many places it moved since last year.
As far as cities with the most thriving gay bar scenes: Los Angeles/West Hollywood dominates our list with seven entries, the most popular being perennial favorite, The Abbey in third place; New York has five entries on the list; whereas Washington, D.C., and Wilton Manors, Florida, each have four.
How did your favorite bar fare? Discuss below!
50. Boxers PHL (NEW)
Philly’s premier gay sports bar known for boxer-clad bartenders, pool table, and plenty of flat-screens to watch the game. 1330 Walnut St., Philadelphia.
49. QBar (NEW)
Located in the heart of the Castro, QBar features weekly parties like Tuesday night’s “13 Licks Lezzie Queer Dance Party” and Wednesday’s “Booty Call.” 456 Castro St., San Francisco.
48. Rain on 4th (-20)
An upscale gay nightclub with a hip decor, trendy clientele, reasonably priced drinks, and hopping dance floor. 217 W. 4th St., Austin.
47. Swinging Richards (NEW)
Swinging Richards—America’s most popular gay strip club—has provided Atlanta’s bar hoppers the full monty for more than 15 years. 1400 Northside Dr. NW, Atlanta.
46. The Hidden Door (-11)
Apparently not so hidden to make the list, this Lone Star State bar offers daily drink and beer fest specials. 5025 Bowser Ave., Dallas.
45. Precinct DTLA (NEW)
Downtown LA’s rock-n-roll gay bar which has been open since 2015 and features nights like “Bearracuda” and “Cheap & Easy.” 357 S. Broadway, Los Angeles.
44. Diesel Seattle (-18)
Where bears, bikers, and other bad asses go to grab a cold beer in the Emerald City. 1413 14th Ave., Seattle.
43. Marquette Social Club (NEW)
Run by the same family for more than four decades, this nightclub is known as much for its talent contests as it is for the DJs spinning everything from hip hop and pop to reggae and crunk. 868 Joseph E. Boone Blvd., Atlanta.
42. Club Cafe (NEW)
A restaurant, cabaret, and dance club serving Boston’s queer community for more than 30 years and hosting weekly happenings like Drag Bingo, RuPaul Drag Race viewing parties, Trivia Tuesdays, “Hot Body #YAASSS!” on Thursdays and a “Retro-Tea Dance” each Sunday. 209 Columbus Ave., Boston.
41. Mix (-17)
A Castro neighborhood bar known for its friendly bartenders and laid-back vibe and perfect for throwing back a pitcher with pals. 4086 18th Street, San Francisco.
40. Therapy (NEW)
What better way to stave off a nervous breakdown than a cocktail and drag performance at this Hell’s Kitchen staple. Bianca Del Rio, Bob the Drag Queen, and Monet X Change have all done residencies here. 348 West 52nd St., New York.
39. Rich’s Houston (NEW)
Encompassing 15,000 square feet of space, Rich’s is the city’s largest dance club and the place to go when you seek a high energy vibe. 2401 San Jacinto St., Houston.
38. Hunter’s Fort Lauderdale (NEW)
This Wilton Manors nightclub is safe bet when you want to leave it all on the dance floor. There’s also a video bar with eight screens and an upstairs lounge. 2232 Wilton Dr., Wilton Manors, Fla.
37. Tribe (-10)
This modern LGBTQ nightclub (and Tennessee’s sole entry on the list) throws themed evenings and special events like “Red Cup” weekends and the “Lumberjack and Long Johns Party.” 1517 Church St., Nashville.
36. ’Bout Time II (-20)
This watering hole on the northern side of Austin has become a local favorite because of its regular drag shows, pool tournaments, and karaoke nights. 6607 North Interstate 35 Frontage Road, Austin.
35. The Duplex Cabaret Theater (NEW)
This West Village cabaret, piano bar, and cafe has been around since the 1950s and still offers nightly performances. 61 Christopher Street, New York.
34. Gold Coast (+20)
A watering hole frequented by Weho locals for its friendly bartenders, inexpensive drinks, and a pool table. 8228 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood.
33. Mixx Atlanta (-12)
This crowd-pleasing club’s dance floor plays hip hop and R&B on Fridays, and old school house music on Sundays. 1492 Piedmont Ave. NE, Atlanta.
32. The Round-Up Saloon (NEW)
A country western dance bar with a premium tequila shack. Don’t know how to dance? Don’t worry, they have lessons too. 3912 Cedar Springs Road, Dallas.
31. Sidetrack (+1)
This video bar which shows everything from musicals to comedy and retro ’80s videos, but the people watching is good too. 3349 Halstead St., Chicago.
30. R Place (+3)
R Place offers three levels of fun in a friendly, relaxed atmosphere: A first floor bar, second floor with pool and darts, and third floor dance area where patrons can get down to a Top 40 playlist. 619 E. Pine St., Seattle.
29. Pecs (-15)
A true neighborhood dive bar that welcomes everyone to enjoy the relaxed vibe and the diverse scene of the North Park area. 2046 University Ave., San Diego.
28. Blur Bar (+8)
Houstonians come out for the nightly dance parties, Wednesdays through Sundays. 710 Pacific Street, Houston.
27. Larry’s Lounge (+12)
Larry’s Lounge is a Dupont Circle neighborhood staple known for its relaxed atmosphere and dog-friendly patio. 1840 18th St NW, Washington, D.C.
26. Eagle LA (-6)
This Silver Lake leather bar hosts regular nights like Cub Scout, Grunt, and Meat Rack, but check the calendar for fetish nights. 4219 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles.
25. SF Eagle (-15)
Jock straps, harnesses, beer busts, and underwear nights! 398 12th St., San Francisco.
24. Cubbyhole (NEW)
If Where’s Waldo? were a ceiling, it would be the one here at this low-key watering hole favored by lesbians. 281 W. 12th St., New York.
23. Ripcord (-8)
A popular Houston leather bar, located in the LGBTQ-friendly Montrose neighborhood. 715 Fairview St., Houston.
22. Atlas Social Club (+25)
A retro-athletic club meets speakeasy in Hell’s Kitchen with happy hour specials and dancing. 753 9th Ave., New York.
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21. Oz (+2)
This popular French Quarter dance club is open round-the-clock, which means the party is ready whenever you are. 800 Bourbon St., New Orleans.
20. Xbar (+30)
A daily happy hour, EDM dance parties, weekly Latin nights, and “Go Go Carnival” Sundays have made this Colfax establishment a must-visit in the Mile High City. 629 East Colfax Ave., Denver
19. Nellie’s Sports Bar (-18)
Located in the historic U Street Corridor, Nellie’s offers a drag brunch on weekends, trivia nights, dance parties, and—no surprise here—lots of sports. 900 U St. NW, Washington, D.C.
18. Fun Hog Ranch (-1)
This relaxed bar’s unique Central Las Vegas location makes it accessible to locals and visitors alike. Fetish wear/leather is strongly encouraged. 495 E. Twain Ave., Las Vegas.
17. Gym Sportsbar (+2)
Even the jocks have a friendly place to grab a drink and watch the game in Weho. 8737 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood.
16. The Mother Lode (+13)
Weho’s oldest gay bar packs the boys in every weekend thanks to heavy pours, an attitude-free atmosphere, and friendly bar staff. 8499 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood.
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15. Roscoe’s Tavern (+19)
One of the oldest and most popular gay bars in Chicago, Roscoe’s is often packed with young, professional gays at the front bar with an equally crowded dance floor in the back. 3356 N. Halsted St., Chicago.
14. The PUB (-1)
The recently revamped Ft. Lauderdale PUB has two-for-one happy hour every day but Sunday, nightly drink specials, and a new pub grub menu. 2283 Wilton Dr., Wilton Manors, Fla.
13. The Manor (NEW)
This sizable two-level nightclub decked out with crystal chandeliers has a large performance stage and a great dance floor.2345 Wilton Dr., Wilton Manors, Fla.
12. Bourbon Pub and Parade (-8)
Operating since 1974, this French Quarter LGBTQ mainstay is the best place to be for some of the city’s convivial events: Mardi Gras, the Red Dress Run, and Southern Decadence. 801 Bourbon St., New Orleans.
11. The Mining Company (NEW)
Now in a new space, this Dallas institution since 1978 offers a dance floor, two outdoor patios, and pool tables. 3903 Cedar Springs Road, Dallas.
10. Pegasus Nightclub (-2)
Open every day since 1994, Pegasus is one of the friendliest venues in the city with drag performances, karaoke, and dancing. 1402 N. Main Ave., San Antonio, Texas.
9. Georgie’s Alibi Monkey Bar (-2)
Georgie’s Alibi Monkey Bar is the most popular LGBT hang out in the Fort Lauderdale area, and is the original anchor for the Wilton Manors queer scene. 2266 Wilton Drive, Wilton Manors, Fla.
8. Twist (+3)
There’s never a cover at this beloved South Beach venue that features seven bars, three dance floors and tons of eye candy. 1057 Washington Ave. Miami Beach.
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7. Micky’s West Hollywood (NEW)
Lots and lots of go-gos at this very popular Weho bar with an often-packed front patio. 8857 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood, Calif.
6. Town Danceboutique (no change)
Town Danceboutique (above), the largest gay dance club in D.C., offers a two floors of cabaret performance space, a plush lounge, and a hopping dance club. At least, it did up until last July, when it closed its doors for good. Another pillar of gay D.C. nightlife bites the dust. 8th St. NW, Washington, D.C.; now closed.
5. Posh Bar & Lounge (+7)
The first gay bar in Hell’s Kitchen, Posh holds special theme nights like Bingo Mondays, Tranimal Tuesdays, Frisky Fridays, and Retro Sundays. 405 W 51st St., New York.
4. Bulldogs Bar (+1)
Everything is quite peachy at this Atlanta entry which has been open since the late 1970s. Expect an crowd of friendly locals and tourists alike enjoying strong drinks and an energized dance floor. 893 Peachtree St. NE, Atlanta.
3. The Abbey (-1)
It is not uncommon to see celebrities like Lady Gaga, Britney Spears, or Diana Ross (above) hanging out, dancing, and getting down with the hot go-go boys at this legendary Weho staple. 692 N. Robertson Blvd., West Hollywood.
2. TRADE (+1)
Expect to encounter an excessive amount of glitter, harnesses, great music, tall wigs, lewks, hair, jockstraps, tater tots, and extra large happy hour drinks. 1410 14th St. NW Ground Floor, Washington, D.C.
1. Parliament House (NEW)
This year’s most popular spot has multiple venues including a hotel and several bars. Known for its drag performances and themed parties, like its “Club Kid Invasion” and “Anything But Clothes” party where you can wear—you guessed it—anything but clothes. 410 North Orange Blossom Trail, Orlando, Fla.