NYC Nightlife for the Gay TravelerPublished: February 3rd, 2016
The very social General Manager of the Library Hotel, Robert Rawlins, recently shared some of his favorite go-to spots to enjoy in New York City:
New York is truly a diverse city and even within the LGBT community there is a “rainbow” of options for all your nightlife desires.Many consider the West Village the epicenter of gay New York, and historically they would be right, but no more. In the 90’s and early 00’s it moved up to Chelsea and today the thriving scene is in Hells Kitchen, just North West of Times Square. 9th Avenue from 42nd north to 57th is the main thoroughfare and the numerous LGBT bars, clubs, and restaurants extend out from this main branch. This same stretch is popular with the pre-theatre dinner crowd so it’s packed with options. Weeknights you can catch a show or drag performance at Therapy (52nd between 8-9 Aves), Hardware Bar (10th Ave between 46-47 Sts), and Industry (52nd between 8-9 Aves). If you just want a stiff drink and a laid back atmosphere, Atlas Social Club (9th Ave between 50-51 Sts), Barrage (47th Street between 9-10 Aves), or Flaming Saddles (9th Avenue between 52-53 Sts) where you can catch some barely-clad cowboys dancing on the bar. Saturday nights are not necessarily the biggest night to go out in New York but if you’re looking for a big club experience the go-to is John Blair Saturday’s at Stage 48 (48th Street & 11th Ave).
If you like theatre or just a good sing-along Duplex Piano Bar (Christopher St & 7th Ave) is fun any night of the week and features stand-up acts and performances in their upstairs lounge. Marie’s Crisis (Grove St between Bleecker & 7th Ave) boasts a vibrant history and is guaranteed to have a lively crowd belting out show tunes.
If you’re the sporty type check out Boxers (21st Street & 6th Ave) for cheap draft beer, their own pizza oven with cliché names for a slice, and the days sports game broadcast on a few big screens . Pool tables, darts, and beer pong tournaments pack the bar on weekends. Their more popular location is in Chelsea but a second location in Hells Kitchen (9th Ave & 50th St) boasts the same boxer wearing bartenders.
Heading further downtown to the more eclectic East Village, you can find the best and, ahem, more scandalous bars, such as Eastern Bloc. Cheap drinks and low inhibitions are the name of the game here. You can also get $4 drink specials at Boiler Room (4th St & 2nd Ave). A hotspot on Friday for the 20-30 something crowd is Phoenix (13th St between 1st & A Aves) and late night ElevenEleven (Houston St between A & B Aves). If you dare, take in a show at The Box (Chrystie St between Stanton & Rivington Sts), a cabaret and burlesque club that never disappoints.
For the ladies your options aren’t as numerous and are centered more in the West Village. The most popular spot is Cubby Hole (West 12th Street & West 4th Street) and Henrietta Hudson (Hudson St & Morton St).
With all of this said, your best bet, is to grab a New Yorker and ask them what’s hot. New weekly parties and one-off events that change venues happen every week (Brut, Horsemeat Disco, The Zoo, and Holy Mountain to name a few). New Yorkers might get a bad rap sometimes, but we’re always happy to help out. If all else fails pick up a Next Magazine available at most LGBT bars and shops. The magazine will list weekly happenings and has a map at the back with every NYC gay bar, lounge and club of the moment.