One of New York's many "gay streets" - ©UCityGuides.com
Sorry San Francisco, but New York is the gay capital of the world. It’s home to Stonewall and the reason why there are gay pride events all over the world in June. It’s the city where everyone escapes to for the freedom to be themselves, not just in one gayborhood, but in pretty much the entire island of Manhattan. Popular cruisy gay bars are found down 8th Avenue in Chelsea and in Greenwich Village (which is also home to fun-spirited gay shops around Christopher St.), while other mixed venues are in the Meatpacking District and Hell's Kitchen.
The Stonewall Inn
The world’s most famous gay bar was where the gay pride movement got started, after it was raided by police in June of 1969. It’s now a place where every gay New Yorker and tourist wants to go, celebrating LGBT rights through dance parties and drag performances.
A popular bar since 1995, it has attracted celebrities and the most fabulous drag queens over the years. It’s now mostly a place to watch fierce drag performances.
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The men at this gay sports bar enjoy watching the hot barmen more than the sports on the screens. It serves brick-oven pizza and beer on tap, and offers pool tables for the after-work or post-game hours.
Here’s something you don’t expect in New York -- a cowboy-themed bar. Designed like a wild west saloon, it offers drink specials throughout the week as men dance on the counter.
This large bar provides happy hours in the evening and theme nights throughout the week. Most of the weekday themes involve drag shows, while Fridays and Saturdays are for dancing to the resident DJs.
Open throughout the week, this is one of the city’s oldest and most popular gay bars. Drag shows and karaoke are the usual forms of entertainment.
Posh Bar NYC
It has a misleading name, as it’s not posh or pretentious. You'll find gay men and their straight friends in a friendly atmosphere, chatting on comfortable couches. There’s a different party for each day of the week.
It’s a bar where you can actually chat, but as the night progresses the volume is raised for a variety of events such as drag shows, latino parties and gogo boys.
Located in good-old Greenwich Village since 1981, this historic bar has welcomed celebrities and was a backdrop for several TV shows and movies. It serves finger food together with a variety of drinks, and, depending on the night, plays classic dance hits, latin music, or pop and show tunes for divas in drag to lip-synch to.
This stylish lounge is popular for an early evening/post-work drink during the week, and filled with party boys on weekends. Crowned with a massive skylight, the ground floor has a cozy sitting area, while upstairs are small tables and sofas facing a stage. In addition to the signature cocktails, there's also snacky food. The music is a mix of pop, house, and techno.
Now in its third decade, this is the classiest gay bar in town, mixing cocktails and piano shows. There’s also live music (often show tunes), attracting smartly-dressed men in their 30s. Gogo boys turn it into a more typical gay bar on Friday and Saturday nights.
This long-running cruising and fetish club is housed in a two-story building that was once a horse stable. It’s now a low-lit space where men get together for nights dedicated to different fetishes, ranging from feet to jockstraps. For some fresh air, head to the rooftop.
East Side Club
In business since 1975, this is where gay men from the Big Apple and beyond have come to “relax” over the decades. It provides private cabins and a small steam bath, and is open 24 hours.
West Side Club
Located in Chelsea since 1995, this sauna is meant for cruising and lounging. There’s also a small gym.
This gay-owned hotel stands in the heart of Manhattan, in a historic building. Its individually-designed rooms are the creations of local artists and designers, and there are two restaurants and a gym.
Cachet Boutique Hotel NYC
Gay travelers often stay this boutique hotel for its gym and sundeck. Rated 4 stars, it’s also a gallery, hosting art exhibits in the lobby.
Chelsea Pines Inn
Located close to several gay bars in Chelsea and Greenwich Village, this is the place for budget travelers. It’s an attractive bed-and-breakfast with a flower-filled inner garden, and rooms decorated with posters of classic films.
Colonial House Inn
This very gay-friendly bed-and-breakfast offers a seasonal rooftop sun terrace and some basic rooms. Some of them have a private bathroom, while at others the bathroom must be shared.
The GEM Hotel Chelsea
With a number of gay bars in the neighborhood, this 4-star hotel attracts gay travelers, who also enjoy the rooftop deck and fitness center.
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