Unlike so many others around the globe, New York City queers aren’t limited to two gauche options when planning a Gay Night Out. Here in the birthplace of Pride, we can hop from dive to nightclub to karaoke bar without ever stepping foot in a str**ght establishment. But with so many LGBTQ+ bars around town, each offering a wildly different experience, a simple night of drinking becomes an overwhelming, choose-your-own-adventure ordeal.
In the spirit of gay rights, I bravely squeezed into my tightest pants, chapsticked my lips, and dragged my whiskey sour-drinking ass to as many self-identifying queer bars as one lightweight gay boy can. I wanted to make going out easier for you, dear queer, by ruling out the spots with watery well drinks, exorbitant cover charges, and predatory creeps. My research involved hunting for happy hours and testing each bathroom’s mirror selfie potential. I even learned how to write my phone number on a napkin without breaking eye contact, which isn’t relevant to my findings, but impressive nonetheless. Also impressive? Each one of the 18 best LGBTQ+ bars in NYC.