The Best Gay Bars and Clubs in Austin for Every Mood

Find the perfect spot for your night out in in Bat City.

Rain on 4th Austin Texas
Photo: Courtesy of Chase Martin/therepubliq

The quirky capital of Texas is famous for its welcoming spirit, and its nightlife scene is no different. Austin has an out-and-proud LGBT community, a fab drag scene, and one of the country's most fun Pride Month celebrations. If you're visiting Austin, you can find plenty of gay-friendly establishments; whether you want to nurse local beers on a laid-back patio or join a serious karaoke party, these are six of the best gay bars and clubs in Austin, Texas.

For the Alt Vibes: Elysium

Inside a 19th-century warehouse, Elysium has been a “haven from the everyday” since it opened in the city’s downtown Red River District in 2001. Affordable drinks and an eclectic rotation of music from metal to '80s will keep you dancing here.

For Hipster Scene: Cheer Up Charlies

Two blocks north of Elysium, Cheer Up Charlies is a queer hipster heaven. Enjoy local beers, kombucha on tap, and organic juice cocktails in the expansive back patio. Chances are, there will be some sort of event — storytelling, movie showing, live concert, or record release — during your visit, making it even easier to mingle.

For the Dance Club: Rain on 4th

Rain on 4th is Austin’s take on the quintessential gay club — but better. DJs blast pop remixes while the city’s in-crowd moves to the beat on a light-up dance floor with disco balls shimmering overhead. Outside, patrons can chill and chat on the back patio, where two additional bars serve decently-priced cocktails and beer.

For the Friendliest Staff: Oilcan Harry’s

Two doors down from Rain on 4th is Oilcan Harry’s, another popular dance spot but without the “scene” factor. Extremely friendly service here would border on creepy in other cities, but the staff at Oilcan Harry’s is actually just that nice. Depending on the night, you might walk in on a drag show, a strip show, or something more tame, like bingo.

For the Cocktails: Highland Lounge

The Highland Lounge in the Warehouse District is beloved for its drag shows. Bottle service is on offer, the music is high-energy, and delicious cocktails are served by friendly bartenders. On Fridays and Saturdays, the party keeps going until 3:30 a.m.

For the Karaoke: The Iron Bear

Beefy men (and the men who admire them) are the main clientele at The Iron Bear, a drama-free downtown bar known for its hilarious, judgment free karaoke parties. Watch as newbies and regulars belt out their favorite songs at the mic, or give it a try yourself.

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