52 Essential Gay Bars And Nights Around Los Angeles
We’ve compiled a list of some of the best gay bars and their accompanying nights in Los Angeles County. We’ve got your requisite WeHo and Silver Lake spots as well as surrounding areas like Long Beach and the Valley. This is by no means a complete list, but if you’re new to the city or just looking for a great night out at a queer-friendly spot, we’ve got your number. Share your own favorites in the comments.
Logo has called The Abbey “The Best Gay Bar in the World.” If you grew up in Los Angeles, it might be the first one you ever went to, and for a lot of us, we still find ourselves there all the time. There’s usually no cover charge, and let’s be honest, they could be charging one with how popular it is. It’s huge, offering plenty of space for the same group of friends to dance to top 40, lounge on the patio or pretty-people watch. The food is meh, but it’s nice that it’s there—he or she who hasn’t drunkenly scarfed down Abbey garlic fries hasn’t had the full experience. Drinks aren’t cheap, but they’re strong. And The Abbey’s probably the most straight-friendly gay bar around (hello, straight bartenders and bachelorette parties). Though some of us more jaded gay Angelenos will scoff at the Abbey’s faux-fancy décor and normie vibes, you can’t deny it’s got a lot going for it. For instance: How many other gay bars do you know that serve brunch? That’s what we thought.
The Abbey is located at 692 North Robertson Boulevard.
Even though this happens at the Abbey, it’s worth mentioning on its own, given the disappointing lack of girl nights (and utter lack of girl bars) in the city. Every Wednesday night, girls and their pals get down to a rotating cast of DJs playing house, pop, mashups and more. Though we’ll forever miss the heyday of Here’s Truck Stop nights, Girl Bar’s scantily clad go-go girls soften the blow. With no cover charge, cocktail specials and $3 tacos, Girl Bar is more than just a great lesbian-friendly night in L.A.—it’s a great night out, period.
Girl Bar happens every Wednesday night at the Abbey.
With nights like “Invade the Hole” every Tuesday, it should go without saying that Mother Lode is one of the most delightfully sleazy bars in WeHo (perhaps only bested by Fubar). When it comes down to it, Mother Lode is great because it’s cheap and easy, a great place to get a cheap stiff one when you’re feeling thirsty (all puns intended). Who wants to wait in line for another bar when Mother Lode has all the go-go boys and inexpensive drinks you need?
Mother Lode is located at 8944 Santa Monica Boulevard.
The Bayou may not have the notoriety of an Abbey or a Micky’s, but WeHo locals know it’s the best happy hour in town, with $2 buds, $3 beers and $4 well drinks anywhere else. Throw in their New Orleans-inspired décor and gnoshables, like fried mashed potato balls and bacon-wrapped scallops, and you’ve got the best place to start your night.
The Bayou is located at 8939 Santa Monica Boulevard.
It’s all the rage—if you’re 18. Older folks usually move down the line to the Abbey, but Friday nights at Rage host the popular GAMeBoi night, where you can dance to “Bad Romance” with cute Asian twinks to your heart’s content.
Rage is located at 8911 Santa Monica Boulevard.
Micky’s, Fiesta Cantina & Revolver
Located right next to each other, these bars serve the same purpose, which is to get everyone inside really drunk and possibly laid. Fiesta Cantina looks like a gay Wahoo’s Fish Tacos and serves food, while Revolver and Micky’s are more of dance clubs. Taken together, these places represent the heart of the West Hollywood nightlife scene, which is to say they’re the best place to get sloppy on a Saturday night. You’ve been warned.
This ain’t your grandpa’s gay cowboy bar. With a mix of country and pop on the jukebox and cowboy bartenders dancing on the tables, it’s like Coyote Ugly for people who like staring at hot dudes.
Flaming Saddles is located at 8811 Santa Monica Boulevard.
Gold Coast & Trunks
These bars skew a little older and divier but are no less fun than their younger, fitter counterparts. Since they’re also more girl-friendly than some of the other places, you’re gonna get a wide variety of ages, genders and body types here. Plus, pool tables! And, of course, the requisite cheap drinks that help make WeHo the bastion of drunken revelry that it is.
For gays who prefer football to Gaga, Gym is a welcome alternative. The outgrowth of New York’s Gym screens games of all kinds on its TVs but isn’t so butch it can’t host karaoke on Mondays. Plus, it’s your best way to meet a hot, gay rugby player. Gym also supports gay sports leagues, helping to erase our memories of high school douchebags and replace them with a way to bond and meet like-minded gays that goes beyond the bar.
Gym Sportsbar is located at 8737 Santa Monica Boulevard.
Fubar skirts on the Eastern edge of the city, and perhaps appropriately, it’s a little sleazier than the rest. Fubar is big and dark, with lots of space to get wild in the crowd or in the corner. The night “Big Fat Dick” features hot, hairy go-go boys every Thursday night, while Adonis on Wednesdays presents itself as a straight-up male strip club night for men. Another night is called “Saturday Night Slut.” You get the idea.
Fubar is located at 7994 Santa Monica Boulevard.
What the Abbey is for WeHo, Akbar is for the Silver Lake area. It’s the trendiest and most eclectic gay bar in the area, hosting a wide variety of nights, from craft night to bingo to comedy nights. They play everything from reggae and soul to new wave and house. Dance nights happen every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night, when the place gets packed for nights like Full Frontal Disco. In the summer, the bar has one of the best daytime beer busts in the city with Bears in Space on Sundays. Bustling as it may be on weekends, it’s a great neighborhood bar during the week, when its solid jukebox spins B-52’s, The Smiths and other alt-queer favorites, and on Sundays, when Rudy Bleu’s Mixtape daytime DJ event and the Rocksteady Lounge at night offer something other than the typical gay bar experience. Its bartenders are some of the friendliest around, even when the place is bursting at the seams with queer folks and a handful of straights. Akbar remains as popular as it is for a reason—many reasons, actually.
Akbar is located at 4356 Sunset Boulevard in East Hollywood.
On Saturday nights, it’s boys night at Arena Nightclub, a two-story club with a patio and three bars, DJs spinning house and EDM, drink specials and a go-go boy show at 11:30 p.m. Depending on the week, Arena has held Latin and lesbian nights, so check out their website to see what’s going on that week. Hint: Get there early, before 11 p.m., for free admission.
Arena Nightclub is located at 6655 Santa Monica Boulevard in Hollywood.
Every Thursday night, the Avalon turns into a mass of gyrating 18-to-21-year-olds and their admirers. Top 40 hits, twinky go-go dancers and floors sticky with spilt vodka and Red Bull are the name of the game here. The $12 cover charge might bum you out, but that’s nothing a twink-loving daddy can’t fix with a free drink before you blow him off and disappear into the crowd. It’s a blast when you’re young—but it’s a quick way to feel old if you’re past a certain age.
Tigerheat happens every Thursday night at the Avalon, located at 1735 Vine Street in Hollywood. It’s 18-and-over and cover is $12 starting at 10 p.m.
L.A.’s iteration of The Eagle is probably the best gay bar in L.A. for those of us in our late 20s, 30s and beyond. It’s one of the only gay bars to cater to the leather and gay fetish crowds, but its sizable patio also make it a great place to gather and—gasp—actually talk and be heard. But let’s be honest, this is also a place to drink beer, cruise and see a wet underwear contest. As you might imagine, bears and daddies reign supreme at the Eagle, while for cubs and otters, Cub Scout the first Friday of every month is not to be missed. If you’re heading to the Eagle, you should probably ask your girlfriends to sit this one out. We get the feeling the Eagle used to be even sleazier than it is now, but fear not—the place still smells like sweaty nether regions, which, depending on your disposition, can be either a deterrent or attractant.
The Eagle is located at 4219 Santa Monica Boulevard in East Hollywood.
I’ve talked a lot about bars being “sleazy” (note that this is always meant as a positive), but Faultline really takes the cake, and by cake, I mean sweaty jockstrap. Faultline is a mellow place to just hang out or cruise on weeknights for a crowd of largely bears, cubs, otters and daddies. The place gets nuts every second Saturday of the month for Brutus, the nautically-themed night from the guys who bring you Cub Scout and Bears in Space. Every Thursday is underwear night, which is a pretty liberating way to kink it up a bit even if you’re shy, since it’s perfectly acceptable to Porky Pig it with a shirt on. Faultline has cleaned up its act a bit (hint: keep it relatively clean or you’ll get tossed out) and the inside has undergone some nice renovations—it really is quite lovely inside now! But, thankfully, Faultline’s dirty heart remains intact, with porn playing on constant loops on the TVs, hirsute go-go boys shakin’ it onstage and a neon-lit penis continually becoming erect like some Sisyphean boner.
Faultline is located at 4216 Melrose Avenue in East Hollywood.
Chico is a small gay bar in Montebello that serves mostly Latino residents, playing a mix of dance music and Latin pop and rock. Its continued existence is especially important given the closure of Latino gay bars like Le Barcito in Silver Lake. Recently, DJs Rudy Bleu (Maricon Collective) and Lulu have begun a night called Cha Cha, which is not to be confused with the Cha Cha Lounge (which used to be a queer Latino/trans bar, btw), spinning 80s-00s jams and getting more folks to check out the East L.A. joint.
Chico is located at 2915 West Beverly Boulevard in Montebello.
On the third Tuesday of every month, hipster dive Short Stop hosts Cafeteria, a queer night that features a variety of DJs and performances. The best part about Cafeteria though is its laid-back vibe, where Akbar and Eagle regulars get the chance to mingle in new environs. Since Bearracuda moved from the Echoplex to Faultline, it’s also Echo Park’s only queer night, and it’s the only queer dance night to happen on a Tuesday in the area, not to mention the music’s a great mix of alternative, new-wave and dance-pop you don’t typically find at such nights. Grab a tray and line up.
Cafeteria happens every third Tuesday of the month at Short Stop, located at 1455 Sunset Boulevard in Echo Park.
A Club Called Rhonda
This wild pansexual party has become such an L.A. institution over the past seven-plus years that it's hard to think of a time it wasn't on everyone's radar. Flamboyant costumes, malleable sexual orientations and gender fluidity are still the name of the game, but Rhonda has also become so big it's Rhonda gone international. Even for wallflowers, people-watching is as much fun as dancing here—don't be surprised if you see celebrities among the rest of the revelers dancing to disco, techno and house into the wee hours.
A Club Called Rhonda takes place monthly on Fridays at Club Los Globos, which is located at 3040 West Sunset Boulevard in Silver Lake. Tickets are $20.
Tired of the same ol’ jokes and Madonna lip syncing? Trannyshack, which recently expanded from its S.F. roots to L.A., brings nationally known talent of the “RuPaul’s Drag Race” level as well as up-and-comers to L.A. stages at spots like Oasis, Los Globos and the Echoplex. Expect filthy jokes, sexy onlookers and some of the best alternative drag performance around.
Keep an eye out for the next Trannyshack at their website.
Casita del Campo
The last remnant of Hyperion Avenue’s gay establishments (R.I.P. MJ’s and The Other Side) is Casita del Campo, whose thick burritos, cute waiters and lethal margaritas have made it a mainstay. Walk through Casita del Campo and downstairs and you’ll find the Cavern Club Theater, which hosts a variety of queer/drag shows. Taken together, it’s a nod to area’s more idiosyncratic past prior to the Santa Monica-ization of Silver Lake.
Casita del Campo is located at 1920 Hyperion Avenue in Silver Lake.
The newest gay bar to open in L.A. gives DTLA folks a much-needed option. Precinct has presented itself as a “rock n roll gay bar,” meaning it’s more of a levis ‘n’ chucks kind of place akin to the Eagle or Faultline. So far, nights have included Mr. Goodbar on Wednesdays with DJ James Cerne, Dickslap on fourth Fridays, which promises beard rubs, go-go boys and jello shots for guys and girls alike, and even a KTCHN DLTA pop-up brunch this past weekend. We’re so down for all of this.
Precinct is located at 357 South Broadway.
While we can’t comment with certainty about Redline since it’s not fully open yet and has just held special events and a soft opening so far, Redline seems to promise a more upscale DTLA gay bar experience (perhaps simplified, Redline will be the Abbey to Precinct’s Eagle). Redline is set to open this summer, so keep your eyes peeled.
Redline is located at 131 East 6th Street.
The New Jalisco Bar
While the opening of Precinct and imminent opening of Redline certainly are cause for celebration, the New Jalisco Bar has been one of downtown’s most reliable dives for some time now. While it caters to a mostly Latino crowd (who have arguably been pushed out of Silver Lake by gentrification, but that’s a subject for another post), Jalisco is welcoming to all who enjoy a nice Tecate and cheap tequila. Music is a little bit of everything, from salsa and cumbia to Shakira and Rihanna. The best time to go is for their drag shows (which start at 10:30 p.m.), when you can see Selena and Adele impersonators do their thing while you sip on a michelada and laugh at your friends who are paying twice as much for a drink across town.
The New Jalisco Bar is located at 245 South Main Street.
Mustache Mondays/La Cita & BOY/The Lash
Monday nights at La Cita have long hosted one of the most popular queer nights on the eastside. Fashions run wild while DJs Josh Peace and Total Freedom keep the jams coming, spinning progressive house, alternative dance and hip-hop tracks. Appearances by the likes of Azealia Banks, Mykki Blanco and Sam Sparro have helped the night make a name for itself, but the night’s general feeling of openness to folks of all genders and orientations are what really keeps it going. For a fun alternative, check out a new cover-free night called BOY, where DJ Pogo_Pope spins Janet Jackson and Ministry and everything in between on Fridays in the front room of The Lash, which, if you haven’t been, looks awesomely like an upscale gothy coke-den.
Mustache Mondays runs every Monday from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. at La Cita, which is located at 336 South Hill Street. Cover charge is $5 before 11 p.m. and $8 after. Boy happens on Fridays at The Lash starting at 9 p.m., which is located at 117 Winston Street.
The Grind/The Standard
The girl-friendly ’90s dance party has jumped locations a few times and is currently in its best incarnation yet—as a rooftop pool party at the Standard the last Sunday of the month. Resident DJs Automaton and Bathhouse and special guests spin ’90s hip-hop and R&B jams for ladies and their pals to get down poolside, and appropriate attire is encouraged, such as bathing suits, fanny packs, crop tops, slap bands, scrunchies, jazz shoes, lycras et al.
The Grind takes place the last Sunday of the month from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. on the rooftop at The Standard, located at 550 South Flower Street.
If your weren’t already aware, Long Beach is super G-A-Y. The Broadway Corridor, which stretches along Broadway between Belmont Shore and the East Village area of Downtown Long Beach, has a smattering of gay bars conveniently lined up as a built-in pub crawl, from the youthful Falcon (1435 E Broadway) to the bearier Brit (1744 E Broadway) and Mine Shaft (1720 E Broadway) and girl-friendly Sweetwater Saloon (1201 E Broadway). Elsewhere in the city, a new Hamburger Mary’s lends some lavender to the otherwise painfully straight Pine Avenue (330 Pine Ave.). The two-story Ripples (5101 E Ocean Blvd.), which faces the ocean, and The Suite (3428 Pacific Coast Hwy.), which caters to underserved gay ladies and Latinos, offer Long Beachers the chance to shake it all night long. Off the beaten bath, bars like the Silver Fox (411 Redondo Ave.), Pistons (2020 E Artesia Blvd.), The Crest (5935 Cherry Ave.) and Flux (17817 Lakewood Blvd.) ensure that Long Beachers of all ages, body types and proclivities have somewhere welcoming to attend. What Long Beach may lack in WeHo’s pizzazz and Silver Lake’s trendiness, it more than makes up for in diversity and laid-back vibes.
Venice Beach’s Roosterfish scores points for being the only Westside gay bar not in West Hollywood. It’s a dive that serves the Venice and Santa Monica crowds who’d rather stay local, but it’s plenty friendly to outsiders as well, with cheap mix drinks and a spacious patio. What better way is there to finish off a big gay day at the beach than with a stiff drink at Roosterfish?
Roosterfish is located at 1302 Abbot Kinney Boulevard in Venice.
This longstanding spot (formerly known as The Dolphin) is little known outside of sleepy Redondo Beach, but it’s an oasis in the otherwise gay desert that is the South Bay and its surrounding areas. Artesia caters to mostly locals, but the cozy dive is plenty friendly to newcomers. Just try your hand at one of their thrice-weekly karaoke nights or chat with the cute bartenders at happy hour ‘till 9 p.m. and you’ll find yourself right at home.
Artesia Bar is located at 1995 Artesia Boulevard in Redondo Beach.
The Valley and Beyond
You won’t find a single gay bar in Northeast L.A. that we know of, a few of us (myself included) have tried to change that with a rainbow splatter of free nights. I co-host a DJ night the last Monday of the month at Highland Park’s La Cuevita (5922 N Figueroa St.) called Subtle Cues, spinning darkwave, freestyle and everything in between, and La Cuevita has now begun hosting Sunday Service, a girl-friendly day party on roughly the third Sunday of the month featuring indie dance jams. H.P.’s new bar Offbeat (6316 York Blvd.) has scored plenty of queer points right off the bat with Exposure, a drag and dance night on Mondays that hosted season seven viewing parties of “Drag Race.” And, Glassell Park’s Verdugo Bar (3408 Verdugo Rd.) has hosted daytime events like the S.F.-based Hard French and the new Pink Sabbath queer disco party. Gay bar or no, we find a way.
North Hollywood’s Bullett Bar (10522 Burbank Blvd.) is a great, leathery dive with cheap drinks, karaoke and TVs playing gay porn, a movie or HGTV, depending on the night. Oil Can Harry’s in Studio City (11502 Ventura Blvd.) has karaoke, line dancing on Friday nights and disco on Saturday nights for a welcome change of pace. NoHo's Club Cobra (10937 Burbank Blvd.) spins Latin and dance music on its dancefloor, has three bars and is one of the only L.A. spots to have a trans night with Transfix on Thursday nights. Valley Glen’s lesbian bar the Oxwood Inn (13713 Oxnard St.) leans older but is welcoming and has a great dancefloor. And yes, Pasadena isn’t the Valley, but it’s worth noting that this rich, manicured suburb has its very own divey gay bar right off the Gold Line called the Boulevard (3199 E Foothill Blvd.).
Jewel’s Catch One in Arlington Heights (4067 W Pico Blvd.) will be remembered as a historically significant queer bar in Los Angeles’ history after it closes its doors in July, having offered a place for the vastly underserved queer black community to gather and dance since the 1970s. Jewel’s is holding its “Last Dance” party on July 18, benefitting a documentary being made about Jewel’s Catch One as well as Village Health Foundation, a non-profit which has provided holistic supplemental treatment to largely minority patients living with HIV/AIDS as well as other conditions. Other than Jewel’s, a perhaps lesser-known night is Coco Bongo, a Friday dance club that plays Latin music and some hip-hop for a mostly female crowd at La Victoria in Historic South Central (3311 S Main St.).
Rainbow Skate at Moonlight Rollerway
We’ll finish this list out with something everyone can agree is awesome—ROLLER SKATING. One of the few roller rinks left in L.A. sits near the train tracks in sleepy Glendale, which on Wednesday nights hosts queer-friendly night Rainbow Skate. While you won’t find alcohol at Moonlight Rollerway, you will find a healthy mix of everyone from USC and Oxy kids discovering a vintage mode of transportation to skilled old timers skating circles around you backwards while you try to keep up. $13 gets you both admission and skate rentals. Pretend you’re in Mariah Carey’s “Fantasy” or Beyonce’s “Blow” video and have a blast.
Rainbow Skate takes place every Wednesday night at 5110 San Fernando Road in Glendale.