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Best Gay Clubs in New Orleans

10Best LGBTQ bars in Nola for Decadence and beyond


Calling New Orleans gay-friendly is like saying red beans and rice is a good idea for Monday supper. The city has long been a landing spot for people of all stripes and polka dots – the artistic, expressive and the type that dances to their own drummer.  Although Decadence, aka gay Mardi Gras, is ground zero for off-the-charts partying, there are gay and inclusive bars and clubs that cater to the queer set year-round. Cis-genders welcome too.

Picking the bar/club largely depends on your mood. There are low key Cheers-ish bars where doggies are welcome and sometimes even command their own stool, dance clubs that attract the young and good looking, bar/cafes for drag shows and brunches, and party spots along the "pink" stretch of lower Bourbon closer to the Marigny than the CBD. If it's leather lords you seek, The Phoenix on Elysian Fields is the premier destination for the gay, bear, pup and leather communities.


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Unpretentious with unbeatable prices, Lafitte's is a low-key favorite among New Orleans locals. One of the oldest gay bars in the country and once frequented by Tennessee Williams and Truman Capote, this unassuming spot remains a welcoming neighborhood hangout home to friendly bartenders, a wonderfully mixed clientele, some of the best drink prices in the city and great dance music. Lafitte's sits along the "pink" stretch of Bourbon Street, just a block beyond Oz and Bourbon Pub towards Esplanade. There's been a scene here since 1933 - if only these walls could talk. Open from 1 pm to 1 am Thursday through Sunday.

Recommended for Gay Clubs because: There's always something going on at Lafitte's, from karaoke to a balcony for people-watching upstairs.

Beth's expert tip: Check the website for events, like the popular underwear party in July.

Read more about Café Lafitte in Exile →


8
French Quarter

One of the most popular gay clubs New Orleans has to offer, Oz is a French Quarter frenzy of bar-top go-go boys, high-energy music and a laser show that adds to the electrifying atmosphere. Repeatedly named NOLA's best dance club by "Gambit" and one of the top 50 clubs in the country by "Details," Oz features a balcony overlooking Bourbon Street and is open from 6 pm til whenever Thursday through Saturday, allowing club-goers to dance until dawn. The place can get rowdy in the wee hours, but bartenders are tougher than they look and generally keep the peace no problem. Drink prices are rock bottom.

Recommended for Gay Clubs because: Oz is a favorite spot for drag shows, dancing and cheap potent cocktails.

Beth's expert tip: Expect a younger crowd on the dance floor, especially on the weekends.

Read more about Oz →


Bourbon Pub and Parade is located in the cluster of gay bars on Bourbon. The venue is known for its male go-go dancers prancing around the bars, regular karaoke and spacious balcony for people-watching. There is usually a mixed bag of queer patrons, from gay men to lesbians and straight friends and couples too. There usually is a cover, but the bar makes up for it by having a friendly staff that does their best to make each and every patron feel welcome. The upstairs Parade club with its wrap-around balcony is 18-and-over (21 to drink), and it's open Wednesday through Sunday.

Recommended for Gay Clubs because: Bourbon Pub and Parade is the place to be for amazing costumes on Mardi Gras day.

Beth's expert tip: Bourbon Pub is the definitive New Orleans gay nightclub, period.

Read more about Bourbon Pub and Parade →


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Phoenix Bar
Photo courtesy of The Phoenix

Phoenix Bar is an interesting anything-goes establishment catering to the leather and bear community. Known for being grungy, edgy and pretty much out there, (there's an infamous sex swing in the back), this is a popular neighborhood hang-out. Phoenix sets the mood with dim lighting and bars on two levels. This isn't the type of place where girls can go and dance and mingle with the gay crowd. This is where the gay crowd goes to hang out with the gay crowd. Unlike other alternative spots in New Orleans, this place never charges a cover, and has plenty of street parking available if you plan to come from outside the area. The Phoenix hosts many popular events during Southern Decadence each year, including massive, free block parties.

Recommended for Gay Clubs because: If it's the lords of leather scene you are seeking, seek no more.

Beth's expert tip: Lesbians and women in general aren't part of the scene at the Phoenix.

Read more about Phoenix Bar →


5
Marigny

MAGS 940 is such a friendly spot, the kind of place where you can charge your phone in a pinch and the cocktails are always potent. If you're lucky Princess Stephanie will be mixing up her special fruity concoctions. She's also a hilarious performer and often graces the bar's compact stage. The bar's specialty cocktail is The Flaming Queen, always earning raves. Princess Stephanie mixes her own peppers, infuses her vodkas, and runs the place like a boss. If you like bloody Marys, boilermakers, or fruit loop White Russians, she is your girl. There are five guest suites upstairs and the location is in the heart of the action.

Recommended for Gay Clubs because: This pub and guest house rolls the welcome mat out for all.

Beth's expert tip: The AC is especially frigid here, making this bar an ideal haven on steamy summer days.

Read more about Mag's 940 →


The Golden Lantern has been a New Orleans staple for years, set on the quiet end of the vibrant French Quarter. The bar is the starting point for the famous Southern Decadence Parade (the LGBTQ event held over Labor Day weekend) and a gathering spot at Halloween, Easter and throughout Mardi Gras. Events are slowly coming back, like DJs spinning disco tunes and trivia, but check the web site. There are happy hours daily, and Bloody Marys are a specialty, often ordered to go. Drag shows are also a hit here, with glamour gals taking the stage in all manner of festive getups.

Recommended for Gay Clubs because: Golden Lantern is ground zero for Decadence, but popular year-round.

Beth's expert tip: If you're traveling with Fido, this is the bar to come to; all dogs are welcome.

Read more about Tubby's Golden Lantern →


3
French Quarter
The Corner Pocket
Photo courtesy of Hangry Starfish Studios

Boys have been dancing on the bar at the Corner Pocket for more than 40 years. Thankfully, there is an endless supply of scantily clad twink types ready to dance for dollars. These dancers tend to keep things more to the "R" side as opposed to "PG," so if you're looking for a show, this is where to head. No VIP or private rooms here so be prepared for the shenanigans to happen out in the open. Have your dollars ready and be prepared to have an unworldly experience at The Corner Pocket, located in the French Quarter, just a few short blocks from Bourbon.

Recommended for Gay Clubs because: The Corner Pocket is a lively spot with eye-candy dancers and lots of R-rated fun.

Beth's expert tip: Check the schedule in advance if you want to catch - or avoid - wet underwear contests.

Read more about The Corner Pocket →


2
French Quarter
Good Friends Bar

Although it's just a stone's throw from the raucous club scene on Bourbon, Good Friends is a calmer, cozier respite from the fray. Relax at the lovely mahogany bar or head upstairs to the Victorian-vibed pub space, complete with piano music on Saturdays, a pool table and a lovely wrap-around balcony offering views of the French Quarter. There's something going on every night, from karaoke to wheel of fortune and trivia, and the crowd is always friendly. Expect a slightly older crowd, but really everyone is welcome at this cozy neighborhood bar and lounge.

Recommended for Gay Clubs because: Good Friends and Queens Head Pub draw an older mellow crowd and offer a nice break from Bourbon.

Beth's expert tip: When the weather is steamy, there are frozen cocktails to be had at the Good Friends Bar.

Read more about Good Friends Bar →


1
Historic Bywater
The Country Club
Photo courtesy of Beth D'Addono

The Country Club, around for more than 40 years, is located in a stunning circa 1884 Italianate manse in Bywater. The restaurant bar has it roots as a gay staycation spot, and still attracts a strong LGBTQ crowd to the gorgeous salt water pool out back. But it's a mixed crowd that frequents the excellent restaurant up front as well as the freewheeling pool scene. Eat up front in the lovely art-filled dining rooms, with chef Chris Barbato in the kitchen (last of Commander's Palace), or have nibbles poolside. Guests can pay a day rate to swim and lounge or pay an annual membership for unlimited privileges. This place feels like being on vacation. What's not to love about that?

Recommended for Gay Clubs because: The Country Club is a fun place to gather with all flavor of friends for pool time or drinks at the bar.

Beth's expert tip: Drag brunch on Saturdays and Sundays is a hoot, with the crowd usually dominated by gaggles of lively bachelorette parties.

Read more about The Country Club →


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Meet Beth D'Addono

Beth D'Addono is a food and travel writer obsessed with flavor, exploring cultures, street music and the city of New Orleans.

Beth writes about New Orleans and other destinations for outlets...  More About Beth

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