Best Gay Bars in NYC: The Ultimate Guide
What are the best gay bars in NYC? With detailed info you can’t find anywhere else, discover the best gay bars in New York City in wolfyy’s ultimate guide.
Best Gay Bars in NYC: 2020 Top Picks
Planning your night out in New York will be super. easy with these top gay bars. After the all star NYC gay bars, I’ll mention some cozier gay bars as well as which ones you should skip. If your time in New York is limited, you’ve got to prioritize gay bars to only the best of the best!
REBAR Chelsea: #1 NYC Gay Bar Pick
REBAR is my personal favorite and so I’ve ranked them number 1 of the best NYC gay bars! The crowd tends to be between 25 and 45 years old, with the majority in their 30’s. Bearded guys seem to love REBAR. Most men here are on the muscled & hairier side.
In my opinion, if there isn’t a big gay circuit party happening in New York, the macho dudes are here. REBAR certainly has a sexually charged atmosphere, especially on weekends. They frequently host a Latin music party called Pégate, as well as other parties called CALIBR and Treta.
REBAR Chelsea charges a cover fee of either $5 or $10 on weekend evenings. It seems to change every now and then. Bring $10 per person to be safe. Check out Rebar’s Facebook Page for a ton of photos.
Rise Bar: Best Modern NYC Gay Bar
No matter if you’re a jock, bear, daddy or lesbian, Rise Bar in Hell’s Kitchen will accept you exactly as you are! Rise Bar is popular for having a diverse crowd and being a clean, modern space for the LGBT crowd to relax.
You can head to Rise Bar NYC on any night of the week and plan on a good time. They have a ton of events during the workweek including hilarious drag performances and Ru Paul’s Drag Race viewing nights. If you’re not in town on the weekend, Rise is a top Hell’s Kitchen gay bar to visit. The Rise Bar Facebook Page will be up to date with scheduled events.
If you drop by, say hello to my good friend Jonathan, who works the lights! He loves to talk about gay nightlife in New York, as well as his favorite city of Berlin!
Pieces: The West Village Gay Favorite
The West Village would never be the same without our dear gay bar Pieces. I have very fond memories of past underwear parties here!
On Saturdays and Sundays, they host their “Liquid Brunch,” a great event to attend with some friends. For planning far in advance, browse the fabulous weekly events on their website’s event page.
If you’re looking for parties within the next week or so, I recommend checking upcoming events on the Pieces Facebook Page.
Hardware Bar: Best NYC Gay Bar for Dancing
Another local NYC gay favorite is Hardware. Every guy in the neighborhood stops by Hardware at some point. I love this Hell’s Kitchen gay bar for the classic gay bops, fun lighting and a constantly pumping fog machine. Hardware is definitely among the top five best NYC gay bars, so don’t miss it!
The bar gets its name in a literal sense. The Hardware gay bar space used to be a hardware store! The space has a long, narrow bar area in the front half, with a medium-sized dance floor in the rear. There is always a live DJ mixing up the most popular classics and new hits.
Just about every night is a busy night at Hardware. Tuesday and Wednesday can be slow, but every other day there is usually something going on. The Hardware Bar Facebook Page will have updates on upcoming events and parties.
EAGLE NYC: New York's Best Fetish & Gay Cruising Bar
New York’s popular most popular leather and gay cruising bar is Eagle NYC. Anyone who is into gay fetish/kink will easily make friends in this infamous grungy spot. The lighting is dim, the rooms are narrow and there are mature men, as well as their admirers, all around.
Other events include Monday foot fetish night and beer-blast Sundays. Browse their website’s event calendar, or check the Eagle NYC Facebook Page for the latest events and a ton of photos.
Industry: The Hell’s Kitchen Gay Staple
One of the best drag performances I’ve ever seen was at Industry. The talent here is unmatched. If you have the time, I recommend seeing a drag show at Industry while starting your night. They have a drag performance just about every single evening.
Although Industry has a large dance floor area, I do not prefer this bar for dancing. The bar is quite large, so I this Hell’s Kitchen gay bar is good for larger groups. See more on the Industry Bar Facebook Page.
Therapy NYC: Top Drag Shows & Asian Favorite
Therapy is famous for consistently having the best drag shows in New York City. This gay hotspot definitely competes with its neighbor, Industry. But, they are right across the street from one another. You can easily try both.
Keep in mind that the bar layout isn’t very conducive to a large standing audience (the room is long and stairs are in the middle). If you want a closer view, then get there early. The immediate area in front of the stage is tables available by RSVP only.
Check openings on their website and book a spot soon. Head over to the Therapy Facebook Page for a glimpse of the awesome drag performances.
Recently, we learned Therapy NYC is not planning to re-open after the city has controlled COVID-19. Chelsea News covers the story on Therapy.
Barracuda Lounge: Local NYC Gay Bar in Chelsea
Chelsea gays love starting a night out at Barracuda Lounge. Both Fridays and Saturdays are busiest, but you can find a decent crowd at this popular NYC gay bar any day of the week.
The front room of Barracuda has the main bar, which is cash-only. The back room is a mix of seating areas, a small dance floor and a pool table. On weekends there will definitely be some dancing!
Keep in mind that in the summer, Barracuda can get very hot, so keep the clothing light. You’ll just have to keep cool with a few cold drinks! If you end up leaving, I recommend heading to the Eagle NYC to enjoy the breezy rooftop or to REBAR Chelsea for a cooler indoor space.
Phoenix Bar: Best NYC Gay Bar of the East Village
Branding themselves as the premiere gay bar of Manhattan’s East Village, Phoenix has always been a fun spot for Friday and Saturday nights. Even guys from Hell’s Kitchen would trek all the way to the East Village for some fun.
On Saturday nights, check out the drag shows. The Phoenix Bar NYC Instagram page is super useful to see which night will best suit you. Their story highlights show the different nightly events and parties.
Nowhere Bar: Best NYC Gay Bar on Monday Night
Looking for the best NYC gay bar for a Monday night? That would be at Nowhere Bar down in the East Village! There is always a fun party in the works at Nowhere. Macho Mondays are currently the big popular event.
Check out the Nowhere Bar Facebook Page or their website’s event page to see if the bar has something fun while you’re in town.
Cozy NYC Gay Bars
For those of you who prefer a calmer vibe, perhaps with less dancing, check out these smaller NYC gay bars.
Pocket Bar: The Smallest NYC Gay Bar
Pocket Bar focuses mainly on craft beer and wine. It’s technically a wine bar, after all! Check out Pocket Bar’s Menu. You can also book Pocket Bar NYC for private events.
Cubbyhole: Famous NYC Lesbian Bar
If you’re a member of the queer or lesbian communities, you can’t miss Cubbyhole. See for yourself how fun and inclusive Cubbyhole is on their photo gallery page. If you visit, send wolfyy an email sharing your experience!
Macri Park: Brooklyn’s Gay Hangout
Macri Park is right around the corner from the Metropolitan gay bar. They’re always keeping Brooklyn fun with tons of weekly shows and Ru Paul Drag Race viewings.
The Stonewall Inn: A NYC Gay Bar Landmark
A famous landmark of the 1969 Stonewall Riots, the famous Stonewall Inn gay bar is popular mainly with tourists or locals that live nearby. If you have never been to NYC’s Stonewall gay bar, it’s definitely worth a visit.
More NYC Gay Bar Options
If these NYC gay bars are closest to you or your best friend’s favorite spot, then by all means, please check them out!
Dive Bar Lounge (DBL) & Micky Spillane’s: Hell's Kitchen Local Hangouts
aI’ve spent many nights at both of these NYC gay bar gems. I mention them together because they have similar lounge-type vibes and are owned by the same guy. Both are cheap, friendly and great for medium-sized groups. Dive Bar Lounge (known as DBL) and Micky Spillane’s are among the cheapest gay bars in Manhattan, too.
Metropolitan: Top Brooklyn Gay Bar in Williamsburg
If you’re staying in Williamsburg, then you’ve definitely got to check out Metropolitan Bar. This place is quite grungy, but still very popular.I have spent many nights here until I was the last one to walk out the door.
Metropolitan attracts both locals and non-locals. I’ve run into Scott Hoying from Pentatonix here as well as some New Zealand gay travelers. The music at Metropolitan is upbeat and people are friendly. See more on the Metropolitan Bar Facebook Page.
Vodka Soda / Bottoms Up: Inexpensive and Unique
Boxers HK: A Popular NYC Gay Bar Rooftop
If you’re visiting New York in the summer, I recommend happy hour at Boxers HK! I like the Boxers Sports Bar Hell’s Kitchen location for their awesome roof terrace. There is plenty of seating and space overall, so it never feels too crowded. Their terrace is on the second level, offering a great view of the NYC gay neighborhood streets below.
Note that only the Hell’s Kitchen Boxers location has a roof terrace. There is another location downtown at Boxers Chelsea.
The Cock: NYC Gay Bar & Basement Sex Club
The Ritz Bar & Lounge: Gay NYC Latino Favorite
I used to frequent The Ritz Bar & Lounge every weekend with old friends. The Ritz attracts primarily Latino gay men as well as some of the local gays who love to dance! There usually aren’t and older/mature gay men here; the crowd is on the younger side.
The Monster: West Village History
One of the historically oldest in New York City gay bars is The Monster. They’ve been open down in the West Village since 1970 with quite a rich history. Downstairs you’ll find an upbeat nightclub that gets rowdiest on weekends. Aside from the weekend parties, The Monster West Village gay bar attractions mostly an older crowd.
Stop by on a late Sunday afternoon between 5 and 9 PM for some stellar piano action. The Monster is well known for talented piano players as well as surprise appearances by local celebrities. Check out The Monster Facebook Page for more info on events.
Barrage: Relaxed Hell’s Kitchen Gay Bar
Although I personally do not frequent Barrage Bar, I have several friends who like this bar because it’s a calm place to hang out.
I would describe it as a local gay bar that usually is not too crowded where you can have a conversation without having to yell. Since Barrage is tucked away off the main Avenue, it tends to be quieter. Check out the Barrage Bar Instagram for more photos and stories.
Skip These NYC Gay Bars
POSH Bar & Lounge
Posh Bar is definitely on the list of dive gay bars in New York City. Some locals prefer to hang out at Posh, but it’s not my personal favorite. The crowd here can tend to be a little on the predatory side, but then again I have never had too big of an issue at this bar.
Be cautious hanging around outside of Posh Bar late into the night. I’ve witnessed a bit of commostion and a fight now and then while passing by the bar. I can’t neglect to tell you to skip this NYC gay bar. Check out more on the Posh Facebook Page.
Boiler Room may be dirt cheap, but I recommend that you skip this one. If you have a differing opinion, or Boiler room is your go-to spot, let wolfyy know!
Flaming Saddles: Hell’s Kitchen Tourist Bar
Flaming Saddles is probably the top tourist gay bar in New York. Yes, it is fun to watch the dancers in their skin-tight jeans, but you’re not going to find any local gay guys here. All the locals will be at the other bars mentioned above.