The end of the year is a time to look back and forward. Maybe you'd like to gain some new perspectives in 2019 or look for a place where you can fit in. If you're lesbian, gay, bisexual, or still trying to figure things out, this can be especially hard. We're here to help.
These are our favorite LGBTQ spots in town, from hoppin' bars to swingin' clubs, and maybe even a drag show to boot.
Best Gay Dance Club: Charlie’s Phoenix
727 West Camelback Road
Charlie's is a clear staple of the local queer community because it's always been one of the best places to dance, grab a drink, or watch a drag show. RuPaul's Drag Race cast members and alumni often tear the house down, and Charlie's doesn't charge a cover for these Thursday night shows. But the best part of Charlie's is what separates it from everyone else. The delicious Taqueria Los Yaquis provides the perfect drunk munchies Thursday through Sunday, offering tacos, quesadillas, and other snacks for a few dollars via a taco truck window. On the weekends, the huge indoor dance floor opens up and the resident DJs play the best in pop music, never forgetting the gay favorites (read: Madonna, Lady Gaga, etc.).
Best Gay Bar: Stacy’s @ Melrose
4343 North Seventh Avenue
Located in the heart of Phoenix's very own "gayborhood," Stacy's @ Melrose is reliable for a good time and fantastic drink specials. Despite the discreet exterior, the bar/nightclub is full of ambiance, from high ceilings to dim lights and gothic-inspired decor. The staff ensures that there's always something to do at Stacy's, which makes for fun programming like weekly bingo, karaoke, and DJ nights. On Tuesdays, Stacy's hosts The Queer Agenda, an alternative and inclusive drag show that's enlisted some of Phoenix's hippest queens. Stacy's also features the coolest all-gender restrooms in the Valley, which continue the gothic aesthetic found throughout the building. Established in 2013, it's a newer venue, but there's nothing else like it in metro Phoenix.
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Best Lesbian Bar: The Cash Nightclub and Lounge
2140 East McDowell Road
Who doesn't love an all-day happy hour? (Answer: no one.) The Cash Nightclub and Lounge offers one daily from 4 to 8 p.m. that features $3 domestic beers and well drinks, among other discounts. On Wednesdays and Thursdays, it hosts karaoke and bingo, respectively, but it's the Tuesday night two-step and line-dance lessons that make this country-themed, lesbian-slanted bar the Phoenix staple it is. But The Cash — as it lovingly has been known since it originally was named Cash Inn Country — is inclusive in more ways than one. Although the crowd is often cut from the lesbian cloth, there's always a variety of patrons who fit under the other letters of the LGBTQ+ abbreviation, and everyone is welcome. And fortunately for those who can only handle so much Americana twang, The Cash plays music that crosses genre lines, including Top 40, pop, and hip-hop.
Best Drag Show: 4Some Revue
3108 East McDowell Road
Club VOLT's 4Some Revue recently has undergone changes, altering the original cast that has been performing at the relatively new venue for over a year. Toothpick and Joey Jay have been added to the show, joining original cast members Luna Love St. James and Gia DeMilo to bring the roof down every Friday starting at 10:30 p.m. The weekly cast is talented, bringing their own brands of fashion, comedy, and lip-syncs time and time again. But it's the rotating special guest spots (filled with some of the Valley's most interesting performers, veterans and newbies alike) that make the show truly pop. Be sure to try one of the special 4Some cocktails, which have to be the booziest $4 drinks offered in metro Phoenix.