Top 10 gay dive bars in NYC

There are a few characteristics that make a great “dive bar”: the drinks are cheap, the pours are heavy, and the staff treats regular customers like old friends.

These are not the bars to go for a craft cocktail with elderberry syrup (which is delicious!) or experience the delicate bouquet of the season’s Beaujolais Nouveau (drink it young!). At a dive bar, wine comes in two types, white or red, Happy Hour is at least four hours long, and regulars have favorite days based on the drink specials.

In the 2019 Best of GayCities awards, The Eagle in NYC ran away with the title for Best Gay Dive Bar, which raises the question: is it a dive bar, or a leather bar? The Eagle is definitely both, a place where leather daddies can cruise, and also a relaxed bar to get a drink after a long day. 

The Eagle may have won the Best of GayCities title, but in a city like New York, dive bars are as common as coffee shops, and ranking one above the other is a complicated and debatable task. Everybody has their favorites: favorite bartenders, favorite jukeboxes, favorite places to pick a home away from home.

Here are our Top 10 essential gay dive bars in NYC:

The Eagle NYC

Close to the trendy High Line and Hudson Yards, The Eagle is dark and sexy and has a great rooftop deck. Sunday beer blasts are popular.

Eagle NYC

Very popular leather bar 554 W 28th St · New York, NY 10001
(646) 473-1866


Good jukebox, with open mic nights, trivia, and beer pong parties. 

Phoenix Bar

Sultry vibes and wild nights 447 E 13th St · New York, NY 10009
(212) 477-9979


Dark subterranean bar in East Village, with pool table and board games. Monthly events feature gogo dancers and DJs.


Edgy basement bar with boys, bears, and beyond 322 E 14th St · New York, NY 10003
(212) 477-4744


This bar has a great location Greenwich Village location, with drag shows and cheap happy hour during the week. Pieces can get crowded at peak times, including Drag Bingo on Sundays.


You want a piece? 8 Christopher St · New York, NY 10014
(212) 929-9291

The Cubbyhole

Lesbian dive bars are the best! Although the crowd at this West Village bar is very diverse, all genders. Small dance floor. Cash only.


Lesbian hang out in the Village 281 W 12th St · New York, NY 10014
(212) 243-9041


When President Obama designated the Stonewall Inn as part of the Stonewall National Monument, this little dive bar turned into a popular tourist attraction. But the Stonewall is still a dive bar, with a little stage that hosts drag shows (and, on one occasion, Madonna). Prices are a little bit higher than the other dives in Manhattan and they label their own beer now, so they are edging out of the “dive bar” category. Tip generously for superior service, because the bartenders serve lots of foreign tourists who neglect to tip at all.

The Stonewall Inn

Where it all began 53 Christopher St · New York, NY 10014
(212) 488-2705

The Hangar

At this Greenwich Village bar, located on Christopher Street, drinks are cheap and strong. Two-for-one drink specials make it a popular choice for Happy Hour. Big, muscly gogo dancers that make occasional appearances.

Hangar Bar

Casually modern hole-in-the-wall 115 Christopher St #1 · New York, NY 10014
(212) 627-2044

The Toolbox

A rare gay bar on the Upper East Side, The Toolbox is small, with a stage that is the size of a dining room table. Cute bartenders serve the fun, frisky crowd.

The Toolbox Bar

Fun Upper East Side Bar 1742 2nd Ave. · New York, NY 10128
(212) 348-1288


Longtime Brooklyn bar that is part gay, part hipster, and all Williamsburg. Two fireplaces warm up the bar inside, and nice outdoor patio is open year-round.


Cutest, friendliest bartenders in Williamsburg 559 Lorimer St · Brooklyn, NY 11211
(718) 599-4444

Macri Park

Some of New York’s best drag queens appear at this little bar in Brooklyn. Very dark and divey, and fun.

Macri Park

Gay video bar 462 Union Ave · New York, NY 11211
(718) 599-4999
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