From the historic Stonewall Inn to one of the few remaining lesbian bars, these New York establishments are a must-visit.
New York City has a wide variety of LGBTQ+ bars, restaurants, brunch spots, community centers, bookstores, and more. You can easily spend your entire week-long holiday just exploring the city’s queer spots and still not cover them all. Many come with their own unique history, while others are newer and offer exciting events every week. Here is a selection of a few you should not miss out on!
Top Picks for You
Cubbyhole is New York City’s best-known and one of the few remaining lesbian bars. Known for its great happy hour deals and festive decor, this bar sees people from all walks of life. Cubbyhole plans exciting events each night, including drag events, dance parties, and fundraisers. This bar has been a place for the queer community since 1994 and is a slice of history that is a must-visit.
Bluestocking is NYC’s only queer, trans, and sex worker cooperatively owned bookstore and café. The shop is guided by the principles of abolitionist feminism, solidarity, and transformative justice practices. Here, you can find the best selection of LGBTQ+-focused feminist books, Indigenous zines, and comics in the city, with over 6,000 titles available. Bluestocking also hosts community events and workshops and a members’ book club. It’s the perfect spot to spend a lazy afternoon browsing books.
Friend’s Tavern is the oldest gay bar in Queens and has been a pillar for the Latino queer community since 1989. Owned by Eddie Valentin and Casimiro Villa, this Jackson Heights joint has a special place in the hearts of queer Latino men who have found a sense of belonging within its walls. Friends’ Tavern hosts various events, including DJ nights, plays host to dancers, and offers fantastic drink deals. Based on Roosevelt Avenue—nicknamed “the Gay Village for Latinos—it has played a role in the social justice movement for LGBTQ+ rights in New York. In fact, Friend’s Tavern also played an active role in the inaugural pride parade in Queens.
Brooklyn’s oldest and only remaining lesbian bar opened its doors again in 2022 after a brief hiatus due to the pandemic. Ginger’s Bar is a queer-owned dive bar based in the Park Slope neighborhood and welcomes all queer people and allies. The space hosts open mic nights, disco parties, and “hoppy hour,” their version of happy hour. It’s also the perfect place to chat with queer folks of all backgrounds or even sit at the bar with your favorite book in hand.
Herstory Lesbian Archives
The Lesbian Herstory Archives is an archive, a community center, and a museum all in one. Dedicated to preserving lesbian history, this place hosts the largest collection of material for, by, and about lesbians. Its mission is to ensure that future generations have easy access to information relevant to their lives and that lesbian history isn’t forgotten.
This gay bar in Astoria is always packed with people. Open for indoors and outdoor dining post-COVID, this spot is truly special. They have seasonal cocktails, and their $9, 16-ounce “cock-tails” are to die for. The bar also hosts a variety of drag shows, drag bingo, karaoke, and theme nights. If you’re around, you can also check out their sister establishments: Icon and Kween.
The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center (commonly referred to just as The Center) is a free place to relax and enjoy a coffee, attend an art exhibit, browse the queer book store, or even get a health check. The Center hosts events ranging from fundraisers to garden parties to Pride celebrations and is a great spot to soak in some queer culture while you’re in the city.
Nestled in East Village, No Bar is run by queer chef Angela Dimayuga, and the menu features drinks such as “Rim Job” or “Call Me Daddy.” But what adds the extra kick is the drag-queen moderated viewings of RuPaul’s Drag Race, which attract people from all over. The delicious drinks made with beet shrub, mezcal, and more, and food such as the spicy Italian sausage sandwich will leave you wanting more and your wallet begging for mercy.
Lucky Cheng’s is New York City’s first and longest-running drag cabaret, located in the heart of Times Square. The place features delicious food and signature cocktails served by drag queen waitresses. From Sunday brunch to a birthday party, the menu features items like Ruby’s Pink Pussy and Svetlana’s Melons. TGIF nights are hosted by drag queens and include games and prizes, while the Shady Brunch features a twisted version of cartoons such as Family Guy and Kim Possible.
The Stonewall Inn
No list of queer places in NYC is complete without the iconic and historic Stonewall Inn. Once the site of the defining Stonewall Riots in June 1969, the inn stands today as a much-frequented queer bar. This is the very place where LGBTQ+ people were unfairly persecuted by the NYPD and decided to fight back. Today, the legacy of Stonewall lives on as a place where people of all identities can enjoy rainbow drinks, drag shows, and karaoke.