America's Best LGBTQ+ Bars And Restaurants

Every June in the U.S. is Pride Month, and that month was chosen to commemorate the Stonewall Inn protests, an iconic moment in history where LGBTQIA+ people stood up for their rights to privacy, respect, and the freedom to live free of police harassment and violence in June 1969, according to Britannica. The Stonewall Inn is a living piece of LGBTQIA+ history, and you can pay homage to the bravery of its patrons by having a cold beer there during June (or any time of the year).

Although the Stonewall Inn is one example of an LGBTQIA+ establishment that lived through and created history and change, there are plenty more. From coast to coast, LGBTQIA+ bars, restaurants, and clubs provide a haven for the community, a spot to socialize and flirt, and a no-judgment safe space to sip a cold one amongst friends and allies. From dive bars to whimsical multi-roomed clubs and even brunch joints, there's an LGBTQIA+ establishment on our list with your name on it.

801 Bourbon Bar

Key West's 801 Bourbon Bar has a whole host of things going for it, but there's none greater or more spectacular than Sushi, the bar's most celebrated and adored drag entertainer and the reigning queen of the World Famous 801 Girls (via Key Voices). Sushi's dazzling annual performance comes in the form of the Red Shoe Drop, where she descends into the crowds of New Years' Eve revelers on Duval Street in a fantastic giant red heel (via Key Voices).

Although Sushi is arguably one of the bar's biggest draws, there's more to love about 801 Bourbon Bar than the stunning Ms. S. According to its website, 801 Bourbon Bar features a swanky cabaret bar, drag shows twice a night, karaoke, and a leather bar. Plus, you can choose your preferred libation from its vast menu of cocktails or ask the bartender to whip you up something special.

Stonewall Inn

The Stonewall Inn holds an iconic and essential place in LGBTQIA+ history thanks to a fateful night in 1969 when the community fought back against police aggression and intimidation, jump-starting a call for change that would eventually lead to historic gains in civil rights for LGBTQIA+ people (via National Geographic). The Stonewall Rebellion had a lot of heroes, including trans-rights activist Marsha P. Johnson (via BBC), and is probably the most famous LGBTQIA+ bar in the country and possibly the world.

Today, New York City-based Stonewall Inn still stands and operates, a living testament to the courage and activism of Johnson and many others. According to its website, there's still plenty going on at the Stonewall. The bar features The Stonewall Inn IPA, a collaborative effort between Brooklyn Brewery and the bar itself, and part of the proceeds go to The Stonewall Inn Gives Back, a program designed to help at-risk LGBTQIA+ kids.


Chicago's Sidetrack opened in 1982 and has been roaring ever since with a sprawling bar and tons of different levels and spaces for dancing and socializing. The massive club can hold roughly 1,000 people and opens daily in the afternoon until the wee hours of the night. Sidetrack is a hugely popular bar, raking in tons of accolades and awards with the express purpose of "providing entertainment and hospitality in a respectful, safe, and inclusive space for LGBTQIA+ communities" (via Sidetrack).

Not only is Sidetrack a fantastic place to have a drink, dance, and a flirt or three, but it also attracts some pretty famous people. This Boystown institution is reasonably well known in the LGBTQIA+ community. According to Go Pride, primetime CNN heavyweight Anderson Cooper and Bravo icon Andy Cohen have made the occasional appearance at Sidetrack. Even if you don't run into the likes of Cohen or Cooper, you're still bound to have a blast.

Triangle Bar

The Triangle Bar is the beating heart of Denver, Colorado, with a historic location, inspired cocktail menu, delicious local food, and plenty of entertainment every day or night of the week. Sophisticated and modern, The Triangle Bar offers what it calls an "elevated experience." But, according to OFM, The Triangle Bar wasn't always so classy. In the 1970s, it was famous for its hedonism and dancing more than its fresh food and artisan cocktails, although it was still the place for the LGBTQIA+ community and respectful allies.

The original Triangle Bar was super popular, but it did shut down in the first part of the early aughts. Several years later, the Triangle was reborn as its chic current manifestation in 2014. Today's Triangle Bar has luxe couches, strategic lighting, a posh patio, and a stunning rooftop bar, where you can toast Pride Month in style (via OFM).

Twin Peaks Tavern

San Francisco's Twin Peaks Tavern unabashedly refers to itself as "a legend in its own time" and a "gay Cheers" with the best cocktails in town, according to the Twin Peaks Tavern website. Looking through the bar's history, it's hard to disagree. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Twin Peaks Tavern is a crucial icon that bore witness to marches and protests against the homophobic Briggs Initiative by Harvey Milk and his supporters (via Milk Foundation) and provided a safe space for LGBTQIA+ people during a tumultuous and scary time.

The San Francisco Chronicle also notes that Twin Peaks Tavern's design made it unique. Through the bar's giant windows, the patrons of Twin Peaks Tavern could look out on 17th and Castro streets, and others could look in. Although unconfirmed, it's entirely possible that Twin Peaks Tavern was the first bar to adopt this kind of transparency. Although whether or not Twin Peaks Tavern has the best drinks in town might be up for debate, its self-classification as "a legend in its own time" seems pretty bulletproof.

El Rio

El Rio's website homepage contains the sentence "All. Black. Lives. Matter". Right above, it denounces violence of any kind in an eloquent statement confirming the bar's commitment to being an inclusive space for all LGBTQIA+ people, but especially Latine and BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) persons, with zero tolerance for hate. This ethos of caring and inclusivity makes El Rio one of the bedrock bars for the LGBTQIA+ community.

According to the San Francisco Gate, the nearly half-a-century-old El Rio strives to, and largely succeeds at, giving the LGBTQIA+ community everything that they want and need. In addition to a fantastic entertainment lineup, cocktails, and plenty of opportunities to socialize, El Rio has a gorgeous plant-filled patio organized in tiers to give everyone an unobstructed view of the entertainment. The deck seems like yet another way that El Rio prioritizes the comfort of its guests and ensures that everyone is having a good time.


San Francisco's Jolene's offers a new spin on brunch that combines your typical LGBTQIA+ bar elements with delicious food and craft cocktails, all under a glowing sign that reads "you are safe here." According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Jolene's brunch service is a major draw with staple entrees like healthy chia seed breakfast bowls and hearty chicken and waffles. The mimosas and Bloody Mary's flow against a backdrop of entertainment involving club music and varsity-level hula hooping.

Brunch combined with burlesque acts and drag king performances by top names like Sarge Die Wis is par for the course at Jolene's, making it the perfect place to sip on a spicy double Bloody Mary while taking in a show. This inventive fusion of bottomless mimosas and top-notch entertainment sets Jolene's apart from other clubs, bars, and restaurants in the LGBTQIA+ world and makes it one of the hottest spots in all of San Francisco.

Piranha Nightclub

Las Vegas, Nevada, has no shortage of over-the-top entertainment and experiences, and a shining pinnacle of Sin City's commitment to decadence and fun has to be Piranha Nightclub. This oasis for dance and mingling sits squarely on the city's famous Fruit Loop (via Destination 360) and stays true to its name with a vast aquarium teeming with actual piranhas. The aquarium is only one aspect of Piranha Nightclub's opulence, as the dance floor is bathed in a ruby glow, topped with a huge chandelier, and offers stunning views of the city from virtually everywhere in the club.

There's the general section, VIP areas, and luxe skyboxes, plus free-flowing drinks and talented DJs. If you love clubs, Piranha Nightclub is the best of the best, featuring nightly entertainment and all-out ragers on the weekends. According to its website, locals often don't have to pay, while visitors are charged a minimal fee during the week.

This is it!

Milwaukee's This Is It! opens its doors daily at 3 p.m., and patrons can expect a dazzling slew of delightful shows, karaoke, movies, bingo, trivia, dancing, board games, and more (via This Is It!). Essentially, no matter what you're into, This Is It! has got it, be it a frenzied night of partying with one of Milwaukee's favorite DJs or nerding-out to trivia. Plus, it's all in an inclusive, LGBTQIA+ friendly environment.

According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, legendary drag queen, Trixie Mattel assumed ownership of the iconic bar after seeing several LGBTQIA+ bars fall victim to COVID-19. As the oldest LGBTQIA+ bar in the state, This Is It! has a ton of history and hosts the Wisconsin LGBTQ History Project so that people can learn about the history of LGBTQIA+ rights in the state. Between the socializing, fun-packed nights, and top-notch drag shows, This Is It! is truly where it's at.


Leave it to Seattle to have one of the most unique LGBTQIA+ bars in the country. Pony is part dive, part vintage '70s throwback, and all safe haven for LGBTQIA+ people and their allies. According to its website, Pony hosts regular parties featuring all different types of music in a massive indoor/outdoor space. Them deems Pony an "ultra queer paradise" and lauds the bar for its inclusion and fun atmosphere.

According to Them, Pony took up residence in a gas station turned flower shop and jubilantly displays plenty of graffiti inside and out. Patrons interviewed in Them describe Pony's party vibe and how it survived demolition in Capitol Hill's changing neighborhoods. While many LGBTQIA+ strongholds vanished through gentrification, Pony remained a kind of icon and sanctuary. With a sign proclaiming itself to be a "very gay bar" (via Pink Spots) and clearly telling haters and non-respectful allies to "get lost," Pony makes no bones or apologies, which is why it's one of the top LGBTQIA+ bars in the country.

Club Marcella

Buffalo New York's Club Marcella bills itself as a "club for everyone" and is as woven into the fabric of the Queen City as Buffalo chicken wings. Although Marcella's, as it's affectionally known, closed its doors for a bit, the iconic club moved into Buffalo's trendy Cobblestone District, setting up shop on Michigan Avenue in a bigger, bolder venue (via Buffalo Rising).

Buffalo is in for a treat if the new, improved Club Marcella is even a shadow of its former self. During its heyday in the Theatre District, Club Marcella hosted premier drag queen and king shows, threw epic dance parties, and acted as the epicenter for Buffalo's LGBTQIA+ scene. It consistently showed up on top club lists (via Buffalo Gay Bars) and was home to some of the most revered and beloved performers in the region. There's only one place to go for a dance, show, and fun night out in Buffalo, New York; Club Marcella.

The Max

Omaha, Nebraska's The Max is a fun, flirty, raucous, raging venue jam-packed with performers, dancers, and people who just want to party and have a great time. According to Omaha Magazine, The Max is the place to see Nebraska's finest drag queens and kings and is one of the finest LGBTQIA+ bars in the country on any given weekend.

According to The Max's owner, Stosh Moran, the club is constantly undergoing renovation and upgrades, keeping it competitive with newer establishments (via Omaha Magazine). Although it's been around for years, The Max always seems new, prompting fresh guests to question if it just opened. In addition to the up-to-date decor and atmosphere, The Max is vast, with tons of different areas to dance, drink and socialize. Visiting is an experience, a diversion from crowded dive bars and local haunts into a funky and fun artistic world of pure joy.

Big Chicks

Chicago's Big Chicks wasn't always one of the city's hottest LGBTQIA+ bars. In fact, according to Bon Appetit, it had very different roots as a spot where golden-agers would spend their days bellied up to the bar. However, Michelle Fire changed everything when she acquired the bar, catering to the original patrons while reinventing Big Chicks into its current, glorious manifestation. Bon Appetit details how Fire cared for the day drinkers by making them complimentary comfort food and allowing them to bring their pets into the bar.

Big Chicks clicked as an LGBTQIA+ bar after Fire began making changes to the décor, including a massive mural and plenty of original photos and paintings. Then, as the old guard slowly trickled out, a new crew came in, and Big Chicks came into its own as a safe, welcoming spot for the LGBTQIA+ community. Although Big Chicks doesn't have the deep historical roots of some of our other picks, it's a phenomenal place to socialize, have a pint, and maybe even rub elbows with Michelle Fire.

The Abbey Food & Bar

Los Angeles' The Abbey Food & Bar is one of the city's premier LGBTQIA+ hot spots. According to Discover Los Angeles, The Abbey Food & Bar first opened in 1991 in West Hollywood. It was one of the first places featuring a big, beautiful patio and eventually transformed into a gathering place for the LGBTQIA+ community in addition to a bar and restaurant. Although Discover Los Angeles notes, you can still get a mean apple martini at The Abbey Food & Bar.

As a type of community center, The Abbey Food & Bar is the epicenter for the LGBTQIA+ community whenever something significant, positive or negative, happens that affects the community. In this way, it acts as LGBTQIA+ establishments of the past, as a safe meeting spot for folks while still serving up a lot of entertainment, delicious food, and premium cocktails. The Abbey Food & Bar is a must-visit for anyone traveling through or to Los Angeles.