To get a thorough, up-to-date take on what’s happening in gay and lesbian nightlife, pick up copies of Next (www.nextmagazine.com), GO Magazine (www.gomag.com), or Gay City News (www.gaycitynews.com). They’re available for free in bars and clubs all around town or at the Lesbian and Gay Community Center, at 208 W. 13th St., between Seventh and Eighth avenues (tel. 212/620-7310; www.gaycenter.org). Time Out New York also has a solid gay and lesbian section. Also try Metrosource NY (www.metrosource.com), a bimonthly magazine with an extensive entertainment section.
Of course, in New York many bars, clubs, cabarets, and lounges are mixed with both gay and straight clientele (especially in ’hoods like the Village, Chelsea, and Hell’s Kitchen). So in addition to the choices in the listings, you’ll find that several of the dance clubs cater to a gay crowd at least a few nights of the month.
New York is also home to dozens of gay bars (though only a small handful of dedicated lesbian bars), so always be friendly, because asking people in one bar can lead you to discover another new hotspot or otherwise dandy one we didn’t have room for here. Some LGBT parties (especially girl parties, like Tues night’s long-running Snapshot; www.snapshotnyc.com) tour different clubs around town—the latest local sources will list them. That goes for country line dancing, too, where you can rely on the Big Apple Ranch (www.bigappleranch.com) to tip you off to where the gay cowboys and cowgirls are hitching up for the night. There are also random gay events to be discovered around town all year round, like Homo Comicus stand-up at Gotham Comedy Club.
Time to Hit the Slope -- Park Slope, Brooklyn, is commonly recognized as an ever-gentrifying family neighborhood—but don’t be fooled, this is one of the gayest ‘hoods in NYC. It just doesn’t look that way since the population is generally so hip everyone blends together. Many gay and lesbian bars in the Slope have come and gone, but there are plenty of queer parties that land at the Bell House, Southpaw, Bar 4, and other joints. And more importantly, there are two local anchors that draw both the guys and the gals, and they’re essentially kitty-corner from one another.
Ginger’s Bar, 363 Fifth Ave. (tel. 718/788-0924), is the local lesbian pub where women gather for $5 pints, cheap pool, rowdy karaoke nights, and a nice back garden that’s open year-round. It’s happy hour ‘til 8pm daily, and the place is consistently full of women from all five boroughs (and elsewhere) on weekends. For the fellas, stop by Excelsior, 390 Fifth Ave. (tel. 718/832-1599). There you’ll find cute, down-to-earth Brooklyn guys, along with the expected bears and diva boys. The bartenders are the sweetest guys who ever served you a beer, and there’s a back balcony and downstairs patio with seating under the stars.
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