Time to let your rainbow flag fly. Whether you're gay, straight, lesbian, or transgender, the Valley has a growing number of places for drag queens to shake it, karaoke lovers to sing it, and soaking wet go-go dancers to, well, show it. Here are our 10 favorite gay bars in metro Phoenix.
See also: 10 Best Drag Shows in Metro Phoenix
If you're making your way down McDowell Road, try not to miss Ice Pics Video Bar. This cozy little gay bar is jam-packed with weekly events including free poker on Mondays, Wednesday night karaoke, Thursday underwear parties, Friday night go-go dancers, and alternating Saturday performances by queens Olivia Gardens and Maraya Jordan (with 50-cent beer refills). The bar staff is incredibly friendly and the faces on stages aren't too shy either. For more information, visit www.icepicsvideobar.com or call 602-267-8707.
9. BS West
Since 1988, BS West has been the gay bar to talk about in Old Town Scottsdale. This two-story bar and nightclub caters to gay guys and lesbians (though the soft-core porn on the video screens suggests it's mostly gay). Like Ice Pics, BS West brings plenty of events to the table, including Grindr Sunday Funday, College Night Wednesday with two-for-one drinks, an all-male revue featuring the men of BW West on Thursday, Elements drag show on Friday, and more drink specials throughout the weekend. For a look at special events ahead, visit www.bswest.com or call 480-945-9028.
8. The Rock
The Melrose Curve is Mecca for central Phoenix bar crawls with tons of nearby venues including The Rock on Seventh Avenue. This "alternative entertainment" destination is small but mighty in the way of nightlife, offering everything from karaoke, darts, and drinking to drag shows and dance parties in its newly renovated showroom. For a look at what The Rock is cooking, visit www.therockdmphoenix.com or call 602-248-8559.
We think Apollo's really sums things up perfectly when it calls itself "the everything bar for everybody." This unassuming Seventh Street spot is easily transformed from casual dive bar to high-volume dance party on any given night. Apollo's is the uptown Phoenix home to recurring Tongue Tied dance parties like Comicon 2014, Mardi Gras Mayhem, and Daft Punk Tribute; plus karaoke, comedy performances, and some very generously poured drinks. For updates on what's happening at Apollo's, visit the bar on Facebook or call 602-277-9373.
For first-time gay bar crawlers, Karamba can be intimidating. But the loud colors, loud music, and even louder personalities (plus drawn-on eyebrows as far as the eye can see), are what make Karamba really stand out from the rest of the crowd. If you love karaoke, salsa dancing, taco trucks, and videos of Shakira on constant replay, consider Karamba your new home away from home. For a peek at what this nightclub has planned, visit www.karambanightclub.com or call 602-254-0231.
One of the newest gay bar additions to the Melrose Curve is Stacy's at Melrose. Despite having the interior appearance of a gay church with strobe lights, Stacy's at Melrose is as much of a nightlife hotspot as its more establish neighbors. This dark upscale bar features a Spanish cathedral-style interior with multicolored spotlights, dance floor, outdoor patio, daily drink specials, and exceptionally attentive staff. Visit www.stacysatmelrose.com for more information.
Look, there aren't many Lesbian Line Dancing Bars in the Valley. Which is probably why Cash Inn Country, the giant venue just north of Interstate 10, stays packed. While weekend nights are naturally some of its busiest, Cash Inn Country keeps the traffic flowing on week nights, too, with events like Two-Steppin' Tuesdays, poker nights on Wednesdays and Sundays, and line dancing lessons on Thursdays. For more information on Cash Inn Country, visit www.cashinncountry.net or call 602-244-9943.
The Bar on Central seeks to break away from the assumption that the only good nightclubs are in Old Town Scottsdale. And while this downtown Phoenix nightlife destination may not receive the same hordes of party-goers as its sisters to the East, it's certainly showing promise. This large-scale venue offers a large bar with a sprawling dance floor to match, karaoke, darts, games, and even a little pizza bar. For those looking to take a break from their usual First Friday hangouts, The Bar on Central is a good place to start. Visit thebaroncentral.com or call 602-258-6122.
2. Bliss reBAR
Bliss reBAR quite possibly has one of the best outdoor patios in metro Phoenix, which generally remains covered by bogenvia and bar patrons on weekend nights and especially First Friday art walks. The downtown Phoenix drinking hole carries a strong community feel with its indoor/outdoor bar, weekly karaoke, weekend brunch, and great drink specials like half priced alcohol on Sundays. Mimosas, anyone? For details on Bliss reBAR happenings, visit blissonfourth.com or call 602-795-1792.
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Oh, Charlie. Where do we begin? This central Phoenix gay bar gets some serious action, not just from gay men but from fun-seeking sexuals of all orientations. Ladies, don't be surprised if the guys get in for free and you have to pay a cover. Trust us, the soaking wet, booty-shaking, tighty-whitey-wearing go-go dancers are well worth the $5 admission fee. Add to that the indoor and outdoor bars, the pool playing, the volleyball court, the dance floor, and tacos from one of the best taco trucks in the city. For more on Charlie's, visit www.charliesphoenix.com.