‘Norm!’ – 9 gay bars where everybody knows your name

“Cheers” references aside, we all know how heartwarming it can feel to return to our “home away from home.” For many, especially those within the LGBTQ community, that welcoming spirit of chosen family can be found at these legendary gay bars.

1. Moby Dick – San Francisco, CA

Moby Dick exterior

The Castro district is lively and eclectic, sporting dozens of fantastic restaurants and exciting experiences, but Moby Dick is something quite special. For over 30 years, this friendly watering hole has offered a relaxed atmosphere to enjoy a refreshing cocktail and scintillating conversation with the welcoming folks who frequent.

Although the vibe is mellow, this space is uniquely adorned with an enormous tropical fish tank above the bar, pool tables, and several sparkly pinball machines. This coy, intimate, and charming bar exudes an air of unpretentious delight and open-hearted indulgence.

NEXT PAGE: These bars make us feel like we’re being wrapped in a big gay hug…

2. Numbers Cabaret – Vancouver, BC

A group of people eating at Numbers Cabaret in Vancouver.

If you’re on the hunt for a fun and wild time in Vancouver, you absolutely must experience the glory that is Numbers Cabaret. As the longest-running gay bar in the city, it emulates a dynamic, colorful, and welcoming vibe! For nearly 40 years Numbers Cabaret has created a space that allows folx to relax and fully express themselves. With rainbows adorning everything from the entryway stairs to the drinks themselves, you will be inspired by the bright and welcoming atmosphere.

Surrounded by palm fronds, bright flowers, and sparkling lights, the patio encourages lively conversation and glittering laughter. Start your evening strong by grabbing some drinks and savory treats in this vivacious outdoor courtyard. Don’t forget to spend some time inside enjoying the waves of music, dancing, and delectable cocktails though!

3. Palace Bar – Miami, FL

A group of people eating at Palace Bar in Miami.

When looking to experience the vibrant spirit of Miami, the atmosphere that surrounds the Palace Bar should not be missed. For over 30 years, bedazzling and colorful queers have been tearing up the dance floor, establishing a renowned drag scene, and enjoying the culinary masterpieces served at this wild hotspot!

The most exhilarating feature at The Palace is the stunning rooftop bar and pool. Tan-inducing lounge chairs and cocktail tables dapple this sun-drenched oasis where you can enjoy spectacular views and meet some sultry locals. Once you’ve had your fill of eye candy at the pool, move downstairs for an incredibly fresh and sophisticated meal created by celebrated chef Daniel Zapata.

After enjoying the tastes of Miami, get ready to have the night of your life on the hottest dance floor in the city; where rippling muscles and tight, sweaty clothes are everywhere ya look!

4. The Tavern on Camac – Philadelphia, PA

The Tavern on Camac exterior

If you are new to Philly or are simply visiting and want to meet some incredible people, then we highly recommend that you check out The Tavern on Camac. Not only is it the most popular piano bar in the city; it’s actually three fantastic experiences in one!

Begin your night by sitting down at the Tavern Restaurant; enjoy the sleek, modern atmosphere and upscale American fare. Deliciously fresh and enticing, the menu offers a sumptuous fusion of classic favorites and captivating new creations.

Once you’ve eaten your fill, head over to the piano bar for dangerously delicious happy hour deals and nightly serenades. The mood is always inviting and the lights are kept delicately low, creating the vibe of an upscale lounge. Round out your night by ‘Ascending’ to the top of the Tavern. This top-floor nightclub is always vibrant and packed with tourists and regulars alike, dancing the night away!

5. Jeffery Pub – Chicago, IL

Two guys inside Jeffery Pub in Chicago.

Sultry, sweet, and tough to beat! For more than 70 years Jeffery Pub has offered a safe space for the fabulous community in South Side Chicago to let loose their inner sparkle. The air itself is alight with passion, frivolity, and sensuous inhibition.

What began as a haven for BIPOC queer kids of Chicago has grown to be a space where every flavor of the LGTBQ+ rainbow can come to express themselves and have a wild night!

Get ready to sweat, sizzle, and flourish within the vibrancy that blooms at this welcoming venue. Known for the fantastic music and vivacious themed nights, there is never a dull moment inside the walls of Jeffery Pub!

6. Hula’s Bar & Lei Stand – Honolulu, HI

A crowd at Hula's in Honolulu.

Situated like a jewel in the crown of Waikiki Beach, sits Hula’s– a gay bar that thrives upon the local flavors and traditions of Hawaii. For nearly 50 years this open-air venue has established itself as an LGBTQ+ haven of island energy and wild fun.

…not only a Legend among LGBTQ+, but is also known among everyone as the epitome of “Aloha” for ALL! 

Hula’s Team

Sporting incredible views of Diamond Head and the surrounding flora and fauna, this has become the go-to spot for refreshing cocktails, live music, and a boisterous community. Be ready to rub elbows and more; Hula’s is always packed to the brim with folx looking for fun and frivolity after a luxurious day lounging on the surrounding beaches.

7. Sue Ellen’s – Dallas, TX

A line of ladies at Sue Ellen's in Dallas.

There are few places in the world better known for hospitality, warmth, and strong community than Sue Ellen’s. As Texas’ oldest lesbian bar, it offers a sense of history while supplying locals and tourists alike with an unmatched experience of fun! This two-story wonder hosts frequent social mixers and theme nights to expand your circle of fabulous friends, karaoke, and a giant game room!

With two outdoor patio spaces and bars on each floor, every corner of this bar is sparkling with energy and excitement. No matter what kind of evening you’re in the mood for, Sue Ellen’s friendly and professional staff will ensure you have an unparalleled night of fun & flirtation.

8. Cafe’ Lafitte in Exile – New Orleans, LA

Cafe’ Lafitte in Exile exterior

When we say ‘legendary’ this is what we’re talking about. Cafe Lafitte is the oldest continuously operating gay bar in the entire United States! Since 1933 this Bourbon Street jewel has welcomed the famous, fabulous and feisty; Truman Capote and Tenessee Williams would frequent Cafe Lafitte and enjoy everything the French Quarter has to offer.

Even if you aren’t in town for Mardi Gra, you will always find a lively and vivacious crowd perched around wrought iron coffee tables, watching the frivolity of Bourbon Street. If you are in the mood for intimate conversation and a relaxed evening, head upstairs to ‘The Balcony’ for a few drinks and a game of pool! With a classic New Orleans aesthetic and doors that never close, your experiences at Cafe Lafitte will become some of your greatest memories of this or any city.

9. Babes of Carytown – Richmond, VA

A group of people gathered around a patio table at Babes of Carytown.

Babes of Carytown is more than just Richmond’s #1 Gay bar; we’re talking beach volleyball, pool tables, live shows, an addictive dance floor, and 3 full-service bars! For over three decades Babes has supplied the local community with a wonderful and wild haven where everyone is welcome to freely express themselves.

Be sure to bring your appetite because the kitchen is constantly slinging out enticing and mouth-watering dishes. Babes has a welcoming and inviting staff who will ensure that you feel safe and are having an incredible time, whether it be on the dance floor, slaying karaoke, or on a magical first date!

UP NEXT: Meet Mother – San Francisco’s newest queer bar opens in the Mission District

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