By Melissa Limberg
New York, New York. A city so nice, they named it twice. Ahh, the distinct pleasure of living in a cultural mecca cannot be overstated. Rich in culture and diversity, New York City has some of the best nightlife for any demographic. The GLBTA (Gay, Lesbian, Bi-Sexual, Transgender, Alli) community in New York is certainly not an exception.
As I fit the “A” in the the GLBTA, I make it my job to be the best alli possible for my ‘mos. This isn’t just knowing all the lyrics to Femme Fatale, it’s also being willing to get really gay for a night on the town. I know you’ve read my posts before, so I don’t need to tell you that mama likes to get loose in her Loubs on a dance floor. How does one even begin to tell of the many places that showcase scantily clad male bartenders pouring drinks called “The Cock Ring”? Well, here I go…
Hanging out in Hell’s Kitchen?
Go to Barrage – 401 W 47th St.
Named so because it used to be a garage, now its a gayrage! This was one of the first gay bars I went to in New York City, and I’ve got to say it’s one of the best. Dimly lit but lively. If you’re looking to lounge and chat over good drinks, this is the place to do it. Casual dress, no one will serve you in underwear. This could be the mature older brother of gay bars ; the cool, fun older brother who you want to hang out with… not the one that sucks.
OR looking for a little more lively?
Try Flaming Saddles – 793 9th Ave.
La-la-love this country themed bar in the big ole city. Best popular country music from the last 20 years on the Jukebox complete with hot gay boys in cowboy boots, Stetsons, and spurs. Forget Coyote Ugly, these cowboys line dance on the bar like pros – and pour free shots into your mouths at the same time. I’m not even a country loving gal typically, but I. HAD. SO. MUCH. FUN. The only downside to this spot? Cash only. So, bring ya Benjamins.
You’re kooky and kicking it in the East Village?
Perfect. Go to Eastern Bloc – 505 East 6th St
Aren’t you sick of not being able to find a good commie bar in NYC? Taxidermy meets political propaganda at this basement-esque bar. Live DJ lights it up underneath a painted on wall stencil that reads, “Free Mustache Rides.” The doors to the bathroom are painted with, “The V I PEE Room” and “One Gay At A Time, Sweet Jesus!” – this is definitely a bar that does not lack in personality. It’s small but full of character. Oh, and the drinks? Two vodka sodas for $6. You can seat yourself on one of the stools marked “Bitchy Queen” or “Butch Bottom.” Your choice!
Football fan in Flatiron?
You’ve found a gem at Boxers – 37 West 20th St.
You want to catch football highlights, eat a basket of nachos and grind to B. Spears all at the same place? Eureka! This gay sports bar is definitely on my short list of best bars for straight friends to join their gays in New York City. The bartenders are always wearing athletic shorts sans shirts, which is really a beautiful experience. The place is lined with tvs playing ESPN and any sports games that are taking place… ALL SET TO A SOUNDTRACK OF POP PRINCESSES! Come on, am I in straight friend heaven or what? Other than the obvious, this is a great place to meet people. It’s a large bar with lots of space to sit, eat, dance, chat, play pool – whatever. Great space, great drink specials, great location. It does, however, get very packed sometimes – but I’ve never had to wait too long for bar service.
Going downtown? I mean the South Village…
Stop in to Greenhouse – 150 Varick St.
So you’re saying you want techno music and trannies? This is your spot. Decorated like (as you may have guessed…) a greenhouse, this South Village spot is a serious night club. You will wait in line, there will be a doorman (or shall I say door-tran… haaaaa, get it?) you will be ID’d, you will get patted down … its no-nonsense at Greenhouse. I went on a Sunday night randomly with friends and I was chastised at the door about my open toed shoes, but they let it slide. Once inside, it was all about dancing. If you’re not looking for that, you’re not looking for this place. Upstairs was pop remixes, downstairs was more dub-step and techno. Up on the main level there is a stage with performers for your viewing pleasure. The bar was cash only and it was expensive pricing. This is a great gay club, but you may want to leave your straights at home for this excursion.
Getting cheeky in Chelsea?
Relax and gyrate at the G Lounge – 223 West 19th St
This is a “best of both worlds” bar. There are hot half naked bartenders, a hopping bar area, dancing, and plenty of relaxing loungey areas for those less aggressive bar hoppers. This is a large bar with a lot of lounge seating and tables. One of the top bars on this list. Drinks aren’t too expensive and there are usually happy hour specials – even on the weekends.
Digging the drag queens?
Walk over to Splash – 50 West 17th St.
Man thongs abound at this gay haven. A popular event venue as well, this place is huge. There are karaoke nights, drag queen bingo, and Melissa Gorga performed there! (Thanks you, Jesus!!) Splash is very much a “scene” place. This is another cash only, but don’t worry… they have an ATM with a $5.99 fee at the door. I include this place because its kind of a staple in the gay realm, but there are better bars you can go to. As usual, there is a decent happy hour but I wouldn’t stay too far passed that. This is a good spot to bring out of towners looking for an experience – with drag shows and dancing it’s definitely not dull.
I end with my favorite summer time delight in the West Village:
Who doesn’t love a good patio? You need to visit The Duplex – 61 Christopher St.
Those breezy end of summer nights are everything while you sip sangria in the large outdoor seating area at The Duplex. It’s calm, it’s cool, it’s collected. On the inside, it’s a piano bar. I love this place for a straight bar, let alone a gay bar. It gives off more of a “come as you are and who cares who that might be” vibe – and I dig it. There will be drag queens singing at the piano on the weekends, but other than their glimmery gowns the dress is totes cazh. (That means totally casual, guys.) It’s not the cheapest place to buy your drinks, but to be on a quiet patio sipping on drinks with your friends while you can easily carry on an audible conversation is a must in my book! Four stars. (Side note, it’s also only steps away from the notorious Stonewall Inn – so you can hit that up for a drink, too.)
Thus concludes my brief Tour de Gay. Though this is but a sampling of what New York City has to offer, I think it’s a good road map to spearhead my tour. Look out for more posts in the future highlighting some of the Big Apple’s best gay spots.