“While Pride still might look a little different this year, bars and clubs across the United States are finding ways to safely welcome patrons back for stiff cocktails, cold beers, and some of the best local drag shows…,” wrote Ryan Cox, a senior regional manager for Yelp in the review site’s recent blog post ranking the top LGBTQ+ bars across America.
Gathering places for members of LGBTQ+ communities — often referred to generically if not necessarily accurately as “gay bars” — have been around in one form or another since the 17th century. Historians, though, generally credit the Zanzibar in Cannes, on the French Riviera, as being the first such establishment in the present-day sense. It opened in 1885, closing only in 2010.
The first modern American gay bar is considered to have been Julius Bar, opened in Manhattan in 1966. A second such establishment nearby, opened the following year, was the Stonewall Inn — site of the 1969 “Stonewall riots,” credited with kickstarting the struggle for LGBTQ rights in America. Today, bars catering to various segments of the LGBTQ community are common around America — though more so in some places than others. These are the best and worst states for LGBTQ people.
Yelp’s list of the top 100 LGBTQ+ bars across the U.S. was curated by the review site by identifying bars in that category, then ranking them using several factors, including total volume of reviews and rating scores from users between January 1, 2016 and April 28, 2021.
24/7 Tempo’s list of the top country’s top LGBTQ+ bars is based on reader reviews and ratings from Yelp. The entries cover the country from New York to California (with the latter state winning most positions on the list) and range from upscale to divey. See also our list of the best dive bar in every state.