Ten LGBTQ-Friendly Clubs and Bars That Should Be on Your Radar

Photo courtesy of The Hidden Door
Photo courtesy of Tmc
Photo courtesy of Woody's Sports & Video Bar
Photo courtesy of Don't Tell Supper Club
Photo courtesy of JR's Bar & Grill Facebook
Photo courtesy of Sue Ellen's
Photo courtesy of The Grapevine Bar
Photo courtesy of Round-Up Saloon
Photo courtesy of Station 4
Photo courtesy of M Riley Photos
By Ilene Jacobs, Dallas Local Expert

Dallas' annual Pride celebration takes over the city on the third weekend each September –and with it comes a host of events, ranging from a massive festival in Reverchon Park to a parade down the Cedar Springs strip. But the fun doesn't slow down when Pride is over. After all, Dallas is home to one of the largest gay populations in the country, and as such– it has a vibrant and diverse nightlife scene that caters to the LGBTQ crowd.

Most of the action is concentrated in Dallas’ official gayborhood along Cedar Springs Road in the Oak Lawn area. Here you’ll find dozens of bars and clubs (as well as shops and eateries), each with an unique vibe, and many within walking distance of one another.

Want to let it all hang out on the dance floor ?  Then hit  Station 4– a cavernous nightspot featuring amazing music and an epic motion-sensor light display. The drag shows upstairs in the Rose Room are also a must-see.

Looking for something a little more laid back? Then head a few blocks over to the Grapevine Bar, a funky straight-friendly, gay dive with cheap booze, yard games, pool tables, and an awesome rooftop deck.

Speaking of all-inclusive places: For those who want to take a night out on the town to a new level, there’s Don’t Tell Supper Club, an eclectic restaurant, nightclub and entertainment venue located downtown.  

Whether you’re in the mood to dance away the night, see a drag show or catch a game at a neighborhood dive, 10Best has the lowdown on where to find the best gay party scene.  

10. The Hidden Door
Photo courtesy of The Hidden Door

Sure, it's as divey as they come, but The Door (as regulars fondly refer to it) has been an Oak Lawn staple for over three decades, and it's easy to see why. It's one of the most welcoming gay bars you'll find, not to mention this place is especially popular with the bear community. While you won't find any craft cocktails being shaken here, they do make some killer bloody Mary's and offer $1 Jell-O shots in every color under the rainbow. There are also daily beer fests ($.75 drafts), nightly drink specials and all-day happy hours plus the bar keeps customers entertained with ongoing events like monthly cookouts, pool tournaments, stand-up comedy and drag shows. Just make sure to bring cash, they don't take plastic here.

9. The Mining Company
Photo courtesy of Tmc

A Dallas institution since 1978, this bi-level haunt (formerly known as the Throckmorton Mining Company) is a popular spot to start or end a night on Cedar Springs. Open Tuesdays through Sundays, TMC features nightly DJs, a dance floor, pool tables, and most importantly–smoking hot go-go boys galore. And the action isn't limited to inside the club, the party continues out on the front patio, which offers prime people watching opportunities along the strip. Couple that with sexy bartenders, reasonably priced drinks and no cover charge. No wonder this place stays packed throughout the week.

8. Woody's Sports & Video Bar
Photo courtesy of Woody's Sports & Video Bar

A favorite among locals, Woody's is the best spot on Cedar Springs for kicked-back vibes, fabulous people watching and some of the best drink specials in the neighborhood. Spanning two levels, the bar hosts an assortment of events, from sports watch parties to friendly mixers, drag shows and comedy video nights. Regular entertainment includes showtune sing-a-longs on Tuesdays; Wednesday and Sunday karaoke, and a hilarious variety show hosted by drag queen Jada Pinkett Fox on Thursdays. When it comes to broadcast sports, you can catch up to 15 different sporting events at one time via 25 HD displays scattered throughout the bar and patios. The bar also does its bit for the community, supporting local LGBTQ amateur athletes and various service organizations. The best feature? A wrap-around balcony terrace with commanding views of the strip.

7. Don't Tell Supper Club
Photo courtesy of Don't Tell Supper Club

Catering to gay, straight and everything in-between is Don't Tell Supper Club, a hip restaurant and nightclub venue featuring sharable gourmet eats, whimsical cocktails and over-the-top entertainment. The massive, moodily lit, two-story space hosts regular burlesque acts, aerialists, contortionists, illusionists and even fire breathers. Each evening is different, and the entertainment continues throughout the night with DJs and dancing. As for the food, expect to find everything from smoked hamachi sashimi and BBQ pork sliders to grilled fish and steak. Oh, and they do Sunday drag brunches here too. Even better? Unless it's a special event, there's not a cover charge to get in. Dinner and shows are on offer Thursday through Saturday evenings.

6. JR's Bar & Grill
Photo courtesy of JR's Bar & Grill Facebook

This sprawling multi-level oasis resting at the gay crossroads of the city-- is a terrific place to drink and an even better place to party. Going strong for over three decades, JR's draws in an eclectic crew of gay, lesbian, straight folk and the like for its friendly atmosphere and packed party calendar of events, covering everything from DJ nights and drag shows to costume contests, pool tournaments and album release parties. All this fun is lubricated by a slew of drink specials ($2 schnapps tooters, jello shots & cherry bombs to name a few) on offer every night of the week. And the upstairs terrace provides some of the best people watching entertainment on the street. No wonder this place always packs a crowd.

5. Sue Ellen's
Photo courtesy of Sue Ellen's

The sister club to neighboring JR's (as in the TV show Dallas), Sue Ellen's is arguably one of the country's premier lesbian haunts, although it prides itself on being accessible to folks of all persuasions. Spread across two floors, the bar offers multiple flat screen TV's, pool tables, private lounge areas, a spacious dance floor and a gated patio out front. As for entertainment, you'll find live bands throughout the week as well as a host of events, ranging from comedy nights and open jams to a Tuesday Tease "queer variety show" featuring drag kings and queens, circus acts, and burlesque. Keep an eye out for the pass-code (posted on Facebook) to score free entry on Fridays.

4. The Grapevine Bar
Photo courtesy of The Grapevine Bar

One of Dallas' secret gems, this ultra-laid back neighborhood haunt attracts a following as diverse as its hodgepodge of mismatched furnishings. Voted best straight bar by Dallas' leading gay publication and best gay bar by one of Dallas' straight magazines, The Grapevine Bar is everything you'd want a cozy watering hole/dive to be and more: The booze is ridiculously cheap (the specialty is frozen beverages made with Everclear); the crowd is refreshingly friendly, and the bar throws some of the best happy hours in town. There's also a spiffy rooftop deck where you can sip and scope out the skyline. And any place that boasts ping pong, billiards and a basketball court definitely rates an A+ in our books.

3. Round-Up Saloon
Photo courtesy of Round-Up Saloon

This legendary Cedar Springs hotspot has been hailed as the nation's best gay country western dance hall-- and with good reason. The saloon boasts multiple themed bars, a rooftop patio and a spacious hardwood dance floor with plenty of room to boot-scoot, as well as disco dance, the night away. It also cranks out a roster of weekly events, from RuPaul's Drag Race watch-parties to chili cook-offs, poker tournaments, pageants and even bachelor auctions. Not to mention, the place hosts some of the best karaoke nights in town. As if that weren't enough, there's drink specials every day, plus all day happy hours and even late night howdy hours. Not only is this place a favorite pit-stop for locals, it also draws in celebrities like Lady Gaga. The crowd is primarily cruising cowboys, but fun-loving cowgirls and just about anyone who wants to do-si-do across the threshold is made to feel just as welcome. And if you need to tone-up your two-step, be sure to check out the free dance lessons. Held on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights--they're supposed to be the best in town.

2. Station 4
Photo courtesy of Station 4

Easily one of the city's best and biggest gay dance clubs, Station 4 (or S4 as locals call it) boasts late-night house and hip hop madness Thursday through Sunday, plus awesome drag shows and pageants in the Rose Room upstairs. Spread across 24,000 square feet, this cavernous, multilevel nightspot offers numerous bars, a state-of-the-art sound system and lighting powered by dancers on a motion-sensing, stainless steel dance floor. When you're ready for a breather, you can chill out in a VIP Lounge to watch the party action from above or take in some fresh air from a lofty two-story balcony. Cutting-edge DJs and a host of regular events, from gay bingo to costume contests--make this a hot spot for a mostly gay (and young) crowd, but it's just as welcoming to anyone who's looking for a good time.

1. Rose Room
Photo courtesy of M Riley Photos

Station 4 may be Dallas' preeminent dance club, but its crowning jewel is located upstairs at the Rose Room, the Southwest's premiere show venue for gender illusion. Held Thursday through Sunday nights, the over-the-top performances feature the crème de la crème of local and national crossdressers, including legendary performers like Layla LaRue, Cassie Nova, and Asia O'Hara. Want to unleash your own inner diva? Every Thursday night the Rose Room hosts the "Rising Star" competition –where drag queens from across D-FW can compete for a cash prize. And it's not only celebrity impersonators that frequent this place, real celebrities do too. Pop star Katy Perry recently popped in for a visit while she was on her Witness Tour stop in Dallas.