Top Gay Bars in Philadelphia
1003 East Main Street, Norristown
Norristown’s unassuming, beagle-loving gay bar (it was named after the owner’s pooch Timmy) has great drink specials for happy hour and, on Wednesday nights, drag queens Thunder Showers and Summer Clearance stop by to give out blush-worthy prizes at their Kinky Quizzo event. The cozy atmosphere and cheap beer are always a welcome bonus. Best for: Kinky Quizzo, karaoke on Friday nights, and a decent lesbian scene outside Philly.
Bob and Barbara’s
1509 South Street
One of the more fun, worn-in bars that houses our rowdy little community. Plenty of our favorite performers—drag and burlesque alike—have done shows here, and it houses regular performances by queer-centric performance art troupe the Dumpsta Players. Best for: Cheap drinks (go for the Citywide Special), live jazz, and raunchy shows.
1330 Walnut Street
The Gayborhood’s newest addition to the gay-bar scene, this New York City chain stands apart by having its bartenders slinging drinks in nothing but red mesh shorts (Inside tip: it’s rumored that most of them don’t wear undies.) There are pool tables upstairs, and a twice-weekly poker night for those looking for a little game-play in the hood. Best for: Great happy hour prices, unpretentious feel, bartenders in mesh shorts (duh).
254 South 12th Street
(267) 324-3500, www.clubicandy.com
This multi-level nightclub is without a doubt the gayest of the gay bars around here. From the rainbow lights to the scantly-clad shotboys, iCandy screams ‘gay night out.’ Best for: The roof deck.
225 South 12th Street
One of the classier bars in the neighborhood. The inside feels like an episode of Mad Men, the cocktails are sophisticated, the ambience stylized, and the patrons a little wise (if you get my meaning). Best for: Brunch and dinner menu, extensive liquor list and after-dinner cocktails.
1705 Chancellor Street
Stir is our Rittenhouse gay embassy located in one of the area’s less-scary alleys. It’s one of the sexier bars we frequent with its sleek layout and inventive bartenders. Best for: Dollar drinks on Thursdays, hot lesbian bartenders.
Tabu Lounge and Sports Bar
200 South 12th Street
The local sports bar where everybody knows your name. Well, maybe not everybody, but most people. With the sports-bar moniker aside, Tabu maintains a hefty itinerary of performance art shows in its upstairs lounge—everything from karaoke to drag shows to burlesque. Best for: Bar food and drink specials, 12 taps of rotating seasonal beer, events.
The Bike Stop
206 South Quince Street
Every gay neighborhood’s got its leather bar, and ours is The Bike Stop. Men of all sizes and hair levels (usually those of the larger size and fuller hair) frequent this spot with four levels fit for dancing, playing pool, or other unspoken activities. Best for: Mingling and flirting with leather daddies, playing pool, or just watching the game, Monday’s jockstrap night.
Tavern on Camac
243 South Camac Street
Not to be confused with Tavern on Broad. This spot just got redesigned and it looks better than ever. Tavern offers pub grub, a sick piano bar, and a totally awesome dance floor. Best for: cocktails, singing at the piano, catching great performances around said piano, the upstairs dancefloor.
1220 Locust Street
Formerly known as “Uncles,” Ubar is a smaller, simpler center bar with a nice selection of craft and imported beers on tap. Because of its small interior, it can get very crowded very quickly, which makes you feel all the more important when you snag yourself a seat. Best for: Simple drink with simple folk, pre-partying shenanigans, a jukebox.
225 South Camac Street
One of the oldest gay bars in the city maintains its old-fashioned vibe with snazzy cocktails, fabulously gay shows, and karaoke. Best for: Festive, unpretentious vibe, basic bar food, karaoke, and drag performances.
1221 Saint James Street
The Gayborhood’s only after-hours club bumps with late-night dancing and insane light shows after 2 a.m. You’re never at your best when you’re at Voyeur, but that’s not why you come, is it? Best for: Late-night drinks, parties hosted by Stimulus, drag shows by Mimi Imfurst, turning your nose up at the hot dogs.
202 South 13th Street
Woody’s is a staple in the Gayborhood. It’s been around for, like, ever. If you haven’t been to Woody’s, you haven’t been to the Gayborhood. Downstairs is your more classic bar with good pub grub. Upstairs is Woody’s epic dance floor that’s often filled to capacity. Best for: Dancing, hot men who are single and ready to mingle.
More Philadelphia LGBT Guides:
- Top LGBT Civil Rights Organizations
- Top Gay Bars in the Philadelphia Region
- Top LGBT Health and Wellness Resources in Philadelphia
- Top LGBT Youth Resources in Philadelphia