We’ve spent months slumped on bar tops, slugging down well Martinis, pumping quarters into the jukebox and getting probed by unfamiliar hands all around New York City to bring you this: Clubplanet's Best Gay Bars in New York. Since New York's gay scene is about as compartmentalized as that cubicle where you hold your hung-over face during the day, here, we attempted to cover all our bases.
9. Pieces (8 Christopher Street, Manhattan)
Pieces feels a bit like gay prom. Courting rituals are awkward. The music is terrible. The decor looks as though it were ordered from a party supply catalogue. And there is an abundance of men from New Jersey here who are potentially concealing wedding rings in their pockets. But for some reason Pieces holds a special place in our heart, perhaps because it is one of the only gay nightlife spots in New York where you can escape from all things high-maintenance, and really feel like you’re somewhere else (like, say, Indianapolis).
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8. Marie’s Crisis (59 Grove Street, Manhattan)
Time to see how the other half lets loose. Marie’s Crisis is an original speakeasy from the days of prohibition where today musical-loving show tunes queens take a break from Broadway to gather ‘round the piano and belt their favorites. Charming, yes. Freaky? Absolutely. And if you’ve never heard of Marie’s Crisis that’s probably because you don’t belong there. But stopping in for one drink earlier in the evening usually makes for great fun. Two drinks would be pushing it.
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7. Nowhere (322 E. 14th Street, Manhattan)
Nowhere gets started at happy hour and the crowd progresses from there. Early in the evening it is a quiet, charming and friendly place, much like Cheers for gays. But as the drink special hour rounds the clock a rowdier, cruiseier lot descends.
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6. Barracuda (275 W. 22nd Street, Manhattan)
This Chelsea staple is packed most nights of the week with a pleasantly surprising mix of guys. The space is long, narrow and dark except for the back lounge area that offers couches and stage entertainment on most nights. The staff can be a bit bitchy, but if you’re spending a lot of time in Chelsea that often goes without saying.
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5. The Ritz (369 W. 46th Street, Manhattan)
New on the scene, The Ritz got a slow start in Hell’s Kitchen but quickly became a new favorite. Some of Ritz’s most alluring offerings are the large dance area, guest DJs, an outside patio and two upper levels. The staff is friendly and the crowd leans toward white collar professionals and that rare breed of working actor.
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4. The Eagle (554 W. 28th Street, Manhattan)
It’s a beautiful thing the Eagle still exists, though we’ve been watching the crowd soften up with each new young professional who takes up residence on the far West Side. Come to the Eagle for all your woodland needs (bears, cubs, wolves, otters) and leave your inhibitions, and your Barney’s Coop boots, at the door.
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3. Rapture Cafe & Books (200 Avenue A, Manhattan)
Though not your traditional nightlife destination, when the sun goes does this coffee shop/bookshop/bar/performance space/gallery hosts a wide-ranging series of events nearly every night of the week from sex-themed parties to film festivals to Monday night bingo to their monthly series Reading for Filth. Since opening a year ago Rapture, named after the Blondie single (duh, what else?), has revitalized an element of East Village gay life we once thought gone.
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2. Phoenix (447 E. 13th Street, Manhattan)
No frills, no theme nights, no performances, just a kick-ass jukebox, drink specials, and an attractive crowd drawing from all walks of gay life that, for the most part, lacks pretense. Phoenix owns Wednesday nights (which, as any homo-in-the-know knows, is the new Tuesday night which was once the new Saturday night).
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1. Metropolitan (559 Lorimer Street, Brooklyn)
We love Metropolitan. And apparently so do you. Where at one time it seemed a degree from Oberlin was needed just to get through the door, today you’re just as likely to meet someone here who traveled from Manhattan as you are to meet a neighborhood local. Warm weather nights in gay New York are best enjoyed in Metropolitan’s expansive backyard. Don’t go early: the crowd here, young and hip and consistently hung-over as they are, gets this favorite started late.
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