18 reasons why Capitol Hill is the epicenter of Seattle gay life

Rachael A. Jones / GayCities

Cozy coffeehouses, hipster beer bars, boujee ice cream shops, and secluded bathhouses all snuggle together on Seattle’s culture-drenched Capitol Hill neighborhood — the gay epicenter of Emerald City. Rainbow-painted sidewalks and Pride flags dot the district making it the gayest of gayborhoods in all of Seattle. But let’s be honest, Seattle is welcoming to everyone. 

With two annual Pride festivals, a handful of hot gay bars — including one of the very last lesbian bars in the US — thirst-inducing drag shows, cute queer bodegas, and for-a-cause thrift stores, there’s a favorite flavor for every person on the block.

Here’s GayCities’ round-up of the 18 best spots to eat, drink, relax and shop in Capitol Hill, Seattle.

Julia’s On Broadway – best drag brunch in town

Rachael A. Jones / GayCities

Sometimes you just need a good drag brunch. And by good, I mean great — solid food, amazing performances, and a down-right fun time. Julia’s on Broadway is Seattle’s longest-running, continuous drag show and it’s best enjoyed during weekend brunch. Snag tickets online and expect to see throwback performances by Madonna, Cher and, of course, Britney, bitch.

Wildrose – Seattle’s oldest lesbian bar

Rachael A. Jones / GayCities

It’s a mad world out there and sometimes lesbians just need a place of refuge to throw down a few beers. That place is Wildrose — Seattle’s longest-running lesbian bar and one of the only remaining lesbian-specific bars in the US. But don’t worry, cool dudes can drink here, too. Founded in 1985, The Wildrose Bar offers a cheap drink, ahem, Taco Tuesdays, and popular block parties particularly hyped around Pride.

Diesel – bears, beers and bikes

Rachael A. Jones / GayCities

If ever the regular crowd of twinks and jocks aren’t your thing, just head to Diesel for beers and bears, literally. Owners Mike Reis and Mark Hurst’s Diesel Bar is there for all the “Bears, Bikers, Buddies, Bubbas, Blue Collars & Bad Asses” according to their website. Seattle’s premier Bear Bar is inclusive and welcoming to all — which I can attest to because I fully expected a needle scratch when I walked in for a photo, but the crowd was just like one big bear hug.

Seattle Steamworks – bathhouse on ‘The Hill’

Chris Peterson / Steamworks

Of the two gay bathhouses found in this vibrant pocket of Seattle, Steamworks is the highest-rated and liveliest looking from the exterior and interior. In short, you can’t miss their bright yellow and concrete gray facade, as if to indicate there’s a lot of excitement or relaxing happening inside.

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