The City that Never Sleeps has plenty of time for nightlife, and its gay scene is one of the most prominent in the United States. After all, the Stonewall Inn — a Greenwich Village tavern that was the epicenter of the 1969 Stonewall riots — recently became the country's first LGBT national monument.
Whether your idea of an amazing night out includes Broadway-worthy singalongs or crowded ragers, there are a number of excellent gay bars and clubs in New York City to check out. Get to know the local LGBT community at one of these eight spots — and don't forget your dancing cowboy shoes.
For the Dancing: Industry
Grab a drink at the bar and make your way through the crowds to Industry’s dance floor in the back. The DJs at this Hell’s Kitchen club blast up-tempo, Top 40 hits and throwbacks to keep people dancing through the night.
For the Broadway Fans: Marie’s Crisis
Come to Marie’s Crisis and sing along with an amicable troupe of musical lovers regardless of sexual orientation. The skilled pianists at this low-ceilinged West Village basement bar play classics by Sondheim, Lloyd Webber, and Gershwin, while patrons harmonize. Don’t be surprised if you spot a celebrity belting out The Little Mermaid in the crowd: A-listers are no stranger here.
For the Ladies: Cubbyhole
One of few NYC bars catering to the L in LGBT, Cubbyhole is a dive bar with a whimsical attitude. The Chinese paper lanterns, gleaming cardboard stars, and polka-dot fish hanging from the ceilings have grown in number since the bar opened in 1994, but the mix of patrons requesting songs on the jukebox and enjoying the nightly drink specials has stayed remarkably laid-back.
For the Trivia: The Toolbox
Plenty of gay bars in the Big Apple have trivia nights. But The Toolbox is worth the trek to the Upper East Side for its Tuesday night game. Answer pop culture questions along with a crew of neighborhood regulars, who return week after week for the two-for-one happy hour specials and reliable music (heavy on the divas).
For the History: The Stonewall Inn
No list of gay bars in NYC can leave out The Stonewall Inn, which is well known for its role in launching the gay rights movement in 1969. Almost five decades later, the bar (with its flashy new landmark status) remains a popular choice for New Yorkers and visitors looking for a good time.
For the Country Lover: Flaming Saddles
The beer is flowing, Shania Twain is blaring, and three strapping bartenders in slim-fit jeans are line dancing atop the bar. Welcome to Flaming Saddles: Hell’s Kitchen’s country-western-themed bar moderately inspired by the film Coyote Ugly.
For the Sports Fans: Boxers
Where else could you watch the big game while bopping to Rihanna and sipping a frozen margarita? Boxers, with locations in Chelsea and Hell’s Kitchen, is where NYC’s gay sports fans congregate. (Although at the Hell’s Kitchen outpost, many bar-goers make a beeline up to the TV-free rooftop terrace, mostly to enjoy those margaritas).
For Everyone on the Spectrum: X&X
Inclusiveness is the theme at X&X, a monthly rager held in Brooklyn’s Bushwick neighborhood. Resisting labels, X&X’s regular (and growing) list of attendees identify anywhere and everywhere along the queer spectrum. The parties are a jugement-free safe-space where locals let loose.