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.
Rhode Island is poised to become the tenth state in our union to legalize gay marriage. The state senate approved a bill extending marriage rights by a vote of 26-12, not a landslide but a great enough margin where you can tell there was a common theme here. This has even gone so far to have independent Lincoln Chafee, who was Governor when I lived there, and the Senate Republican Caucus has all expressed unanimous support for the bill.
There are of course, the naysayers in all of this. According to CNN.com, The Rhode Island Catholic Conference said Tuesday in a statement posted on its website that it appreciated that exemptions for religious organizations had been included in the bill. “Unfortunately, the exemptions fail to protect individuals and small businesses who believe that marriage is a union of one man and one woman,” it said.
Scott Spear, an advisory board member of the Rhode Island chapter of the National Organization for Marriage, said he would have preferred the fate of the bill be decided in a public referendum rather than by the Senate. “We believe the record of marriage as has existed throughout the history of civilization stands for an empirical truth, and that truth is a marriage is a union between one man and one woman,” he said in a telephone interview.
As much as I want to say Scott Spear has a point here, he really doesn’t. Yes he can say marriage is between one man and one woman, but love is love folks. For people to deny gay men and women the right to legally marry someone when the divorce rate in this country is at an all time high and people like Britney Spears can get married for 55 hours in Vegas chapel and have it be legal all for a publicity stunt I have to call bullshit on that.
What further surprises me is why of all the New England states Rhode Island was the last one to jump on this bandwagon. When i lived there, there seemed to be more gay bars in downtown Providence than their were straight ones, and Gay Pride is a really huge event as well. To a certain degree though, Rhode Island is a very unique state in that there is a lot of cow country there and then it gets really industrial once you hit the Providence area, so it might just be the old fashioned thinking people who had a large say in this. It is also run by several Democrats so the thought of this taking so long truly has baffled me. Nevertheless, it seems to be going in the right direction.
Iowa, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Washington and the District of Columbia allow same-sex marriage. Their combined populations, based on U.S. Census estimates for 2012, represent 15.8% of the U.S. population. Let’s keep the number of states rising everyone, if these ten states can figure it out the other forty should be able to as well. That’s all.