The best gay bars in Houston

The best gay bars in Houston

Over the past few years, Houston has quickly gained the attention of discerning tastemakers after the city’s world-class melange of restaurants, theatres, and museums. Add to the fact that Houston is the most ethnically and racially diverse city in the U.S., and you’ve got all the trappings for a cosmopolitan getaway—with a healthy dose of old-school Texas pride to boot. It should come as little surprise then that gay Houston is thriving, especially in Montrose; this is the epicentre of Houston’s gay nightlife where you’ll find a delightful array of gay bars, vintage shops, and cool cantinas. Whether you want to embrace your inner boot-scootin’ cowboy or dance the night away in glamorous, multi-level gay nightclubs, here are our top picks for the best gay bars in Houston right now.

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Photo: Carlos Delgado

Photo: Carlos Delgado

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For one of the chicest gay bars in Houston, make a beeline for the ultra-contemporary Guava Lamp

Guava Lamp

For one of the chicest gay bars in Houston, make a beeline for the ultra-contemporary Guava Lamp. The airy lounge-like atmosphere is dotted with handsome men sipping martinis with videos of Madonna and other beloved divas streaming in the background. A well-stocked horseshoe-shaped bar delivers top-shelf libations and daily drink specials. Cosy into one of the plush booths for a quiet conversation any night of the week, or check out the events calendar to discover when one of Guava Lamp’s riotously fun drag shows or karaoke nights are on. Guava Lamp is open daily from 4 pm-2 am; Sunday doors open at 2 pm.

Guava Lamp B

Guava Lamp Bar

Photo: Alex Voulgaris

Photo: Alex Voulgaris

South Beach Houston

Giving us major Miami vibes—and fresh off a recent remodel—the aptly named South Beach Houston is a 10,000 square foot gay nightclub in Montrose. Sexy male dancers, a state-of-the-art laser light system, and pulsating hip-hop and electronica music combine to make South Beach one of the hottest gay clubs in Houston. The weekend brings with it a large crowd of cute gay men ready to drink and dance the night away; arrive before 10 pm to avoid the snaking line out front (as well as the cover charge.) Those party-goers who prefer a more intimate night out can escape to the lounge-like video bar inside. South Beach Houston is open from 9 pm-2 am on Thursdays; 9 pm – 3 am on Fridays; 9 pm – 4 am on Saturdays.

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Neon Boots

You’re in Texas, so it only fits that a gay cowboy-themed dance hall should top your list of Houston things to do. Two-step your way on over to Neon Boots, the largest LGBT country-themed venue in Texas. Home to the renowned Esquire Ballroom (where the likes of Patsy Cline and Willie Nelson once performed), today you’ll find a massive 11,000 square foot space, an ideal venue for the live shows, dance lessons, and karaoke that regularly take place. The decor is undeniably Texan, immediately made evident by the full outline of the state of Texas that hangs at the entrance ceiling. When the weather is playing ball, head outdoors to enjoy the custom-built multi-level patio. Neon Boots is open Wednesdays and Thursdays from 4 pm-12 am; Fridays from 4 pm-3 am; Saturdays from 12 pm-2 am; Sundays from 12 pm-12 am.

Photo: Louis Hansel

Photo: Louis Hansel

JR's

When locals think of gay bars in Houston, JR’s is one of the first to come to mind. This gay Houston institution is a chilled-out space with Southwestern-inspired decor, an expansive patio, and friendly vibes. Daily drink specials and affable barkeep explain JR’s fiercely loyal following. On a warm Houston day, there’s nowhere we’d rather be than on JR’s sun-dappled patio, cold margarita in hand. That said, $2 Tuesdays are always a good idea. This Montrose hotspot is open daily from 12 pm-2 am.

Eagle Houston

What started as merely a Sunday party inside a downtown nightclub, today the hugely popular Eagle Houston boasts a recently renovated address in the heart of our favourite Houston gayborhood: Montrose. Particularly popular with the bear, jock, Levi, and leather crowd, Eagle Houston offers gay travelers of all styles a large dance floor, dual-level outdoor patio, and upstairs “Pheonix Room” available for private parties. Attractive bartenders serve up boozy cocktails, and each night of the week promises a different liquor special. Check the events calendar to see which featured DJs are headlining. Even better? Eagle Houston is dedicated to preserving Houston LGBTQ+ history, and the Phoenix Room and full-service bar are available for the community. Eagle Houston is open daily from 12 pm-2 am.

Photo: Elevate

Photo: Elevate

Photo: Enrique Macias

Photo: Enrique Macias

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With its signature combination of Tex-Mex cuisine, boozy drinks, and debaucherous Diva drag shows, Hamburger Mary always promises a riotous good time

Tony's Corner Pocket

While this gay Houston bar isn’t in Montrose, Tony’s Corner Pocket warrants the short drive over to the Fourth Ward. With everything from Bear Beer Bust to amateur strip nights, this lively nightclub attracts a diverse crowd of mostly locals looking for top-quality drinks and service (at lower, less touristy prices.) Talented gay male dancers and a bustling outdoor patio round out the many reasons why gay Texans can’t get enough of Tony’s Corner Pocket. Keep an eye out for Tony himself; the owner regularly frequents the venue and always offers a warm welcome. Tony’s Corner Pocket is open Mondays through Thursdays from 12 pm-2 am; Fridays through Sundays from 7 am-2 am.

Photo: Yutacar

Photo: Yutacar

Hamburger Mary's

Gay travellers familiar with major cities across the United States will know that Hamburger Mary’s has locations across the country. While the original outpost is found in San Francisco, don’t miss the opportunity to enjoy the Houston locale while exploring gay Montrose. With its signature combination of Tex-Mex cuisine, boozy drinks, and debaucherous Diva drag shows, Hamburger Mary always promises a riotous good time. There are events throughout the week, but perhaps none are as fierce and fabulous as the Sunday Broadway Brunch—a brilliant blend of high-energy performances and $10 champagne mimosa carafes. Hamburger Mary’s is open Wednesdays through Fridays from 4 pm-2 am; Saturdays and Sundays from 11 am-2 am.

Crocker Bar

For Houston’s ultimate gay neighbourhood bar, Crocker Bar is the obvious choice. A relative newcomer to the gay Houston nightlife scene, Crocker Bar gives off dive-bar vibes yet still feels warm and inviting. Come for the wrap-around outdoor patio and robust food menu, whether it be a low-key Sunday Funday you’re after or a late-night painting the town. Tuesdays and Thursdays are karaoke nights, and weekends typically bring top DJs and a convivial crowd. While Crocker Bar eschews the fanciful in favor of no-frills fun, you’ll still discover a fantastic selection of beer, wine, and cocktails. Doors are open daily from 11 am-2 am.

Phoyo: Vlad Busuioc

Phoyo: Vlad Busuioc

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