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.

The Eagle NYC

Very popular leather bar
554 W 28th St New York

Phoenix

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

Open Now

Phoenix

Hang with friends, make new ones
447 E 13th St New York

Nowhere

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

Open Now

Nowhere

Edgy basement bar with boys, bears, and beyond
322 E 14th St New York

Pieces

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.

Open Now

Pieces

Longstanding West Village hotspot
8 Christopher St New York

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.

Open Now

The Cubbyhole

A casual neighborhood bar for the ladies
281 W 12th St New York

Stonewall

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.

Open Now

Stonewall

Where it all began.
53 Christopher St New York

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.

Open Now

The Hangar

An Urban Crowd flies into The Hangar
115 Christopher St New York

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

Fun, neighborhood-y Upper East Side Bar
1742 2nd Ave. New York

Metropolitan

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.

Open Now

Metropolitan

Cutest, friendliest, and most all-around bad-ass bartenders in Williamsburg?
559 Lorimer St Williamsburg, Brooklyn

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

New York

Click here for a full list of NYC gay dive bars.

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By Daniel Renzi