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The Best LGBT Bars In Los Angeles
By Jamie Wetherbe
Gay bars aren't just for gays anymore. Clubs across Los Angeles are drawing queer, as well as queer-loving crowds. While the June shutter of the Palms wiped lesbian bars off the L.A. map, clubs offer nights dedicated to the ladies. Here are nine of the best spots in the city where you can just be yourself.
The Abbey Food & Bar (Photo courtesy of The Abbey)
THE ABBEY FOOD & BAR
Once a quaint coffee shop, The Abbey has morphed into a 16,000-square-foot Los Angeles landmark serving meals and martinis while go-go boys and girls dangle from the rafters. The "straight-friendly," co-ed club features four bars, several dance floors, a gothic-style patio and a Girl Bar-hosted ladies night on Wednesdays. And there's more to come: Abbey owner David Cooley announced a 10,000 square-foot complimentary concept coming to the block in 2014.
The Abbey Food & Bar is located at 692 North Robertson Boulevard in West Hollywood, (310) 289-8410
This almost 20-year-old Silver Lake outpost offers a reprieve from the West Hollywood horse and pony show. The rooms are dark, the drinks are stiff and DJs spin a mix of funk, hip-hop and club beats to a packed dance floor lined with Eastside hipsters, gay and straight.
Akbar is located at 4356 West Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles, (323) 665-6810
Truck Stop at Here Lounge (Photo by Jeffery Bowman)
The Abbey's next-door neighbor is far from discrete. The indoor-outdoor club spins pop hits heard down the street and hosts shirt-optional themed nights like Hooker Casino and Stripper Circus. On Fridays, lesbians from around SoCal descend on Here for Truck Stop, when bartenders with names like "Lolita" and "Brooklyn" split their time between pouring drinks and performing Coyote Ugly-inspired dances on the bar.
Here Lounge is located at 696 North Robertson Boulevard in West Hollywood, (310) 360-8455
A popular gay hangout in the 80s and 90s, Revolver recently returned to the same corner spot on Santa Monica Boulevard under new ownership. The video bar specializes in cheap drinks and music and movie mashups, which show on several flat-screen TVs across the bar. And on Monday nights, drag queen and Australian Idol finalist Courtney Act hosts competitive rounds of karaoke.
Revolver is located at 8851 Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood, (310) 694-0430
"For The Record: Zemeckis" at Rockwell (Photo by Joanne DeCaro)
Rockwell in Los Feliz offers nightlife in three parts: the two-level, open-air patio features a menu of small bites and cocktails. Inside, the restaurant serves entrees like braised-beef short ribs and bacon-wrapped scallops and doubles as a modern-day super club. For The Record stages hit songs and one-liners from the catalogs of famed directors, including Robert Zemeckis, John Hughes and Quentin Tarantino.
Rockwell is located at 1714 North Vermont Avenue in Los Angeles, (323) 669-1550
OIL CAN HARRY'S
A Studio City staple since 1968, Oil Can is where gay meets cowboy. Saddles and cowhides adorn the countrywestern club's walls, and a giant steel cowboy hat hoovers above the bar. Patrons in blue jeans and boots two-step and line dance to a mix of country, pop and the theme to Brokeback Mountain. Lessons are offered almost nightly, so newcomers can learn the roster of more than 25 line dances, with names like "Down and Dirty" and "Bad Romance."
Oil Can Harry's is located at 11502 Ventura Boulevard in Studio City, (818) 760-9749
Hamburger Mary's legendary bingo group (Photo by Ryan Forbes)
Hamburger Mary's serves burgers, beers and fish-bowl sized cocktails with a side of kitsch. "Dancing Queen" plays in the bathrooms, and receipts come in red pumps. The bar/restaurant also hosts weekly drag queen bingo with celebrity "ball callers" like Paris Hilton, Courtney Cox and Linda Hamilton shouting out O-69, which prompts an unprintable call-back from the crowd.
Hamburger Mary's is located at 8288 Santa Monica Boulvard in West Hollywood, (323) 654-3800
Opened in 2009, Gym Sportsbar is perhaps the only gay sports bar on the West Coast. A spinoff from the New York City bar of the same name, the L.A. outpost has nine HD TVs, a state-of-the-art sound system and a street-facing patio fit for sports fans to watch the game with a $3 pint in hand.
Gym Sportsbar is located at 8737 Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood, (310) 659-2004
This West Hollywood neighborhood bar serves gastropub-style sliders, skewers and a list of cocktails spliced with fresh ingredients from the nearby farmers' market. The paisley-patterned indoor space and outdoor patio have become a place for concert-goers en route to the Troubadour to stop for a bite and for club-goers to down some liquid courage before starting down Santa Monica Boulevard.
Saint Felix is located at 8945 Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood, (310) 275-4428