Some of the best gay bars and events happen right here in The Big Apple. Although the bar scene may be “seen” as waning a bit as the years have gone by, several are still thriving in our big metropolis as a great way to go out for the evening with your friends and have a great time at. So are some of the biggest and most fantastic gay events out there, question is, which should you go to and why? [Read more…] about ‘Pour it Up’: What are the Best Gay Bars and Parties in Manhattan?
Gay Bars in Manhattan, especially the Chelsea and Hell’s Kitchen area, should go together like Peanut Butter & Jelly. Sadly, a lot of legendary gay bars here are going the way of the Dodo bird due to jacked up rent and jack asses who would prefer to put another Bank of America/Chase/TD Bank or a trendy run of the mill Italian joint there in place of an institution that has been there for 40 plus years. It really is a shame. The most recent casualty of all of this is Boots & Saddles, which will be closing its doors on Christopher Street soon. According to Towleroad, this is what they had to say-
The gay bar — known for its drag shows, packed parties and welcoming vibe — cannot afford to pay a rent increase on its space at 76 Christopher St. and will shut down soon after 40 years in the Village, managing owner Rob Ziegler said. “I’m sad,” said Ziegler, who started as a bartender at Boots & Saddle in 1999 and later became an owner. “I’ve been here 15 years. Fifteen years is a long time.” Ziegler said a new landlord is taking over the building in the coming months and plans to raise rent for the 700-square-foot bar by thousands of dollars per month, to the “high twenties.”
It’s really pathetic how in the past couple of years places like this and other ones, like the popular No Parking and Rawhide, are closing to due unforeseen circumstances that the owners themselves can’t seem to shake themselves off of due to the greedy world that is Manhattan. HOWEVER, there are some fantastic and amazing gay bars that seem to be doing well in this economy and are also a great place to visit whether you are visiting Manhattan or have lived here for a good period of time. The only gay bar that is thriving that I don’t see the big deal with is Boxers, which is both located in Chelsea & Hell’s Kitchen. The HK one is decent, but the Chelsea one I just personally find to be appalling with the amount of straight douchebag bartenders they have, the overcrowded aspect and the fact that it is looking more and more like a straight bar lately with the amount of women in it (No T No Shade ladies, but if its a gay bar we should be the ones running a muck). That being said, here are my list of what I think are still the best gay bars in Manhattan.
Gym Sportsbar- 167 8th Avenue (Between 18th and 19th Street) In terms of what I think is the pinnacle for gay bars in the new millennium, Gym Sportsbar exemplifies that and then some. Being open now for over a decade, this bar promises a great and upbeat vibe with friendly bartenders and fantastically priced drinks. Something I find that Gym Sportsbar does in a very clever way is the different types of bartenders they have. When you go to other gay bars, it seems to be all muscular and not much substance. The great thing about this bar is that if you have a type of guy, you will see that in one of the bartenders there. So if you like the cute bearish ones, sexy muscular dudes, or athletic jock types, you will find them there. I may be more biased towards Gym Sportsbar due to the location (right by Penn Station) but it also is surrounded by a lot of great eateries to fill you up after you kick back a couple (The Dish, Spice are good examples). The best reason in my opinion is the drink specials are off the chain. HAPPY HOUR 2 FOR 1, Monday-Friday for one. Beer Blast on Sunday. You can’t get better beer and drink prices in the city, and your wallet will be very you compared to going to some of the other bars nearby. Of all the gay bars to go into in Manhattan, this would be a great starting off point for a night on the town and the best & happiest environment in my opinion.
Rockbar (185 Christopher Street, right off the West Side Highway) Rockbar is considered to be an institution on Christopher Street and in the bear community, and some in said community think this is the best “bear” bar in the country. Located right off the west side highway, it is your run of the mill gay bar with great drink prices and fun themed events like the once a month “Underbear” that my good buddy Chris Reed produces. If bear is your thing, this is the place to go.
Adonis Lounge at Evolve (221 East 58th Street, Between 2nd and 3rd Avenue) When you think “gay bar” in Manhattan the first thing that doesn’t really come to mind is the Upper East Side, which is known mainly for its high end boutique stores and upscale restaurants and bars. However, nestled right off of the 63rd & Lexington stop is Evolve Bar, which hosts the infamous (and quite fun I might add) Adonis Lounge. Adonis hosts some of the hottest men in and out of Manhattan for your own pleasure, albeit for a great conversation or a great lap dance. Pair that off with some of the best music I’ve ever heard at a gay bar (yes they play the ORIGINAL versions of hip-hop songs, not the super uptempo remixes) then this is the place you want to be. Adonis takes place on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday nights so be sure to check out their official page for who will be there each night. Surely not to disappoint.
New York City Eagle (554 West 28th Street, Between 10th and 11th Avenue) Infamous, debauchery, scandal and exuberance are just a couple of words to describe the New York City Eagle. A landmark in gay culture, The Eagle has standed the test of time in this revolving door of gay bars opening and closing simply because they are the L’Oreal of the gay world. Meaning that they have a brand that they live up to and its always a good place to end the night at. I call this bar the “Goldilocks” of gay Manhattan, because each floor has something for each comfort level. The most relaxed one seems to be the first floor, where events like “Piggy Bear” amongst others start off. The second floor is where bad things can happen, in the best way possible :). I don’t need to get into details, y’all know what i mean. The third floor, especially during the summer, is a great place to be to meet new people and catch up with old friends, in particular the beer blast on Sundays which is uber popular. Definitely a great place to visit during the 12am-4am hour, as you may meet the love of your life or just the love of your front pants that night. Hehe.
Why Can’t We All Just Get Along (Muscle Included)?
Many of the articles that I write really come from a variety of experiences. Most of the times they are a combination of my own experiences mixed with others to culminate in what I take out of it all and put it in the best way possible so that it sparks a healthy debate between everyone else. Funny thing is with this one, it never really crossed my mind until a recent Facebook post. A good (and very smart) friend of mine put this post up regarding how the bear community views the muscle portion of it and ultimately how it really ultimately reflects on how you yourself are as a person-
“What’s so tragic is watching guys who should have loads of self-respect lost in this self-defeating exercise of defining these “muscle bears” as physically superior and themselves as losers in the same scene, and then blaming these guys they really don’t even know for their mental and spiritual discomfort. There’s a betrayal of something that has always been an awesome option for self-defining as bear, which is to know you’re as hot as you feel you are and not to give a fuck what anyone else might think. It’s the people standing in groups, bitterly dishing the guys they are attracted to who they assume aren’t into them who ruin the atmosphere at bear events, not the guys they point and sneer at.”
This wound up sparking a very long threaded debate on how men, not only in the bear community but in the gay community as a whole, view muscle guys. It really boils down to this- haters are really just haters. Let’s break this situation down, because I have done this somewhat and I know I am not the only one who has been in this corner of somewhat “hate-dom”. This is a random scenario here-
I am at a popular gay bar with a couple of my friends. All of a sudden, a group of muscle bears (or guys, whatever) walk in in an upbeat and happy mode, order drinks and stand around with the impression that they are having a great time. This will then trigger something in my head to think that even if they are having a great time and are laughing and dancing and whatnot, they are still a bunch of royal douchebags. Why? Because in a lot of guys minds, they are insanely insecure when they are around men like that. This is for so many different reasons.
1. They compare body types and feel as if they need to look like them in order to get that attention.
2. Snarl all they want, these guys want the muscle dudes to be attracted to them and if they go in with a defeated or cunty attitude about it, it just worsens the whole process.
3. This will then lead to them having minor chit chat with their other friends about said douchebags, who most of the time are just trying to enjoy themselves and not get into a weird process of guys glaring at them for no reason.
4. Bottom line, its freaking insecurity.
This can also cause a chain reaction of sorts in which I have written about so many freaking times before- separation. Division. Something that the gay community seems to fight against and want so badly to have some sort of unification yet these types of issues are working against that thought. Why do we do this to ourselves? Many times I have been at these bars and have found a swarm of guys who come from all backgrounds of life, be it size, race, finance and so forth all standing around and talking to each other and having a good time. Then again, I have also seen situations where its the Asians in one corner, the black guys playing pool, the white bears all huddled up like they are playing a game of football and the muscle guys who stick with each other for whatever reason need be. In these types of situations, everyone stands shoulder to shoulder but no one engages and keeps to themselves.
But there has to be a reason for this happening, and in my opinion it really can stem from growing up and choosing who you want to hang with on the playground, only this time around there is a lot more body hair and drinks that don’t come in a sippy cup. We might think the other group is weird or we aren’t attracted to them or the new expression of “Aint nobody got time for that”. Time for what? Unless someone provokes you or gives you a reason to not like them, why the hatred? What the hating? Why glare at someone who seems to be having a great night just because you are the one that’s angry? Then again, why be angry? Because in this situation you bring the misery on yourself as a form of self-deprication. I am guilty of it, and many others are. It stops us from really opening our eyes and enjoying what is really great about this community, especially ones who want to go to the big “bear” events and enjoy themselves wholeheartedly and not get mad if a particular group seems to be having a great time and not focusing on you. Really at the end of the day you gotta love yourself before you love anyone else. Am I quoting RuPaul here? Sure. But that line makes fucking perfect sense.
So let’s have this be a lesson to everyone- go out, enjoy YOURSELF, enjoy YOUR TIME, and not focus on the muscle guy in the corner and what they are doing. Better yet? Go up and introduce yourself. You never know what can happen and the positive effect it can have on your life. Cheers, y’all.
As it has been nine years now since I started going to gay bars back in the day in Providence, I have seen my fair share of quite frankly everything one can see for themselves. When you live in a city like Manhattan, the gay bars are plentiful and designed for a certain type of atmosphere or look. Each and every guy you see in there has a purpose of being there. There are the ones who just got off of work and are there for happy hour and a drink. There are ones who go to the special leather nights and want to find a guy who either has a strap on their right or left arm (if you get that analogy, congratulations). There are ones who go with a group and are social just for the fact of being social. Then there are the elusive ones who are brave enough to go out there on their own and try to find someone. Be it a conversation, a boyfriend or a one night stand, we have all been there in terms of what we want to get out of it. So if you are that striking, handsome chap who happens to find themselves at the local gay bar in Chelsea, here are a couple of things you can do in order to make sure that at the end of the night you leave with a smile on your face (and pants hopefully).
Approaching someone who is alone-
This is really the best case-scenario as their is no blockage in the way (groups, annoying girls who show up with them, etc). There are really good ways to gauge how you can approach something like this. If you happen to be standing next to them, or across the bar, make sure that you know they are attracted. How? Usually, if a guy looks up at you a handful of times and stares/smiles, it’s a go. If they do that and are not moving from the position they are in, generally they want you to come over and say hello. After a handful of smiles, go over and say hello. Figure out a topic of conversation outside of the “You are cute, so are you” and go with it. That way, you have found someone of interest and hopefully will have a good night. These situations require bravery in that you don’t want to keep looking at each other and not do anything about it. Someone else might approach or a friend shows up late and they get there, and you lose your chance. Carpe Diem- seize the moment.
Infiltrating the group scenario-
This is one of the more trickier ones, especially if you are there by yourself. Let’s start by making this easier- you are with a friend or two. There are so many scenarios here. In a city like New York, so many people know each other. One good way is if you or your friend happen to know one of the guys in the other group, that way making social interaction is easy and you can go from there. What if that doesn’t happen? There are ways around it without making it awkward, but if you are in a sports bar generally you can strike up a conversation about who they are rooting for and what they think about the game. If the other group aren’t dickish, they will respond and generate a good conversation. If you happen to be alone and see a guy in a group that you want to talk to, I would advise not. They are there with a group to have a good time and usually will not look for anything more than that. BUT, if they happen to be in a twosome or threesome, wait for their friend to leave to get a drink and then jump in. It may not lead to the best case scenario in that other guy might be their date or not interested, but it always helps to go in for the kill. You never know.
Getting the guys number-
So in those two scenarios, you have made it to the conversation. Whatever you are talking about, you are getting the feeling the guy is interested. Here are some good motives to getting that number and securing date number one. One- try to be witty and cute. Say something like, “So I’m cute, you are cute, let’s go on a date and be cute together”. That way, he laughs and knows that you are interested in going on a date without over doing it. If the witty approach doesn’t work for you, it always works to just be blunt and say “Can I get your number’. Some like that, some don’t. There have been situations where a guy will give you a fake number, which is the worst because then you can really tell what you are doing is a waste of time. Ask him “Here is my number, call me with yours so I can save it in my phone”. Then you know the guy is for real.
These are just some fun, helpful tips to have a successful night at whatever bar you deemed appropriate to go to. Good luck, and happy man hunting!