Successfully finding a gay club in an unfamiliar city can be trying. That's why 10Best has sought out the top candidates in New Orleans, detailing their clientele, music, and atmosphere. We let you know which ones cater to gay men or lesbians, what kinds of shows and entertainments they host, and what tracks the DJs spin. To tap into one of the most popular clubs in the area according to 10Best readers, head to Bourbon Pub and Parade. It's a telling example of what you can expect when you go out in New Orleans.
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, 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. Plus, a 24-hour weekday happy hour makes having fun in the Big Easy incredibly easy on your wallet.
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. 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 24-hours-a-day on weekends, allowing club-goers to dance until dawn.
Napoleon's Itch is a dance club and gay bar located on the far end of Bourbon Street if coming from Canal. The theme of the club is based off the premise that when visitors come into the city, they are often looking to satisfy their "itch", or concealed yearning. Whether that's the case or not, a good time can be had by all here, as the crowd is often just as diverse as any on the Bourbon strip. The venue is cash only, so make sure your prepared if you plan to sample some of the best mojitos and martinis in the French Quarter. On the topic of preparedness, be ready to dance.
Bourbon Pub and Parade is located in the cluster of gay bars on Bourbon. The venue is know for its male go-go dancers prancing around the bars, regular karaoke and spacious balcony for people watching. Unlike some of the other niche bars, this one pretty much caters entirely to gay men. 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. Bourbon Pub and Parade has racked up the accolades recently, having been named the Times-Picayune's "#1 Gay Bar" for 2012. They also tout themselves as being the city's only 24/7 gay nightclub.
Phoenix Bar is an interesting "anything goes" establishment catering to the gay levi/leather community. Known for being grungy, edgy and pretty much "out there", Phoenix is know around the gay community as being a revered Marigny 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.
Michael's on the Park is a newer gay bar, off the beaten path on the Treme side of the French Quarter. Michael's boasts some of the city's best drag shows in a town full of them. They offer a great outdoor patio/courtyard area from which to enjoy a drink from the vast selection. Shoot pool, try your luck on the slot machines or listen to music from their juke box (the kind you can access from your smart phone and download songs to). The aura here is more relaxed and intimate than the gay clubs on Bourbon, which can tend to get loud and packed.
Tubby's has been a New Orleans staple for years, set in the heart of the vibrant French Quarter. The bar is the starting point for the famous Southern Decadence Parade (the gay and lesbian event held over Labor Day weekend) and Mardi Gras' Krewe du Vieux walking parade . As for the bar itself, they host endless events such as trivia, line dancing lessons and weekly bingo with host Sister Mary Isawhore. They have happy hours daily, and are dog friendly. Drag shows are also a hit here, with the Big Easy's most convincing "women" appearing frequently to invoke curiosity amongst locals and tourists alike.
The Corner Pocket has been called an institution by some. Its main draw is the single pool table; actually that's wrong. The main draw is the endless supply of scantily clad twink types up on the bar/stage dancing 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.
John Paul's is located in the Marigny neighborhood of New Orleans, an area known for its eclectic crowds. Though labeled a gay bar, the mix here is basically a 50/50 split of gay to straight, and is welcoming to all orientations. This is a multi-level bar known for its drag shows and heavily garnished Bloody Mary's. Carrying the weight of the title "Best Show Bar", John Paul's weekly calendar is jammed packed and needs to be checked out pre-visit. The atmosphere here is more laid back and comforting; the type of place you can hold a conversation while you watch a not-so-believable cross dresser work the stage.
Piano music and billiards attract a mature male crowd to this French Quarter hangout.