Best Gay Bars in LA: Where to Drink, Dance and Get Debaucherous for Pride

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Ready for Pride, Angelenos? If you don’t know where to go to celebrate this weekend, BlackBook has you covered — we’ve curated a list of the best gay bars in Los Angeles, whether you want to dance till dawn, drink for cheap, or smoke your lungs out.

Best Bar for Cheap Drinks

The Bayou – This NOLA-themed bar boasts not one, but two happy hours (4 PM – 8 PM; 10:30 PM – 12:30 AM), that’ll get you $2 Buds and $4 well dranks. Highlights from their southern comfort goodness menu include mash puppies and mango catfish, which may not be good for the waistline but will help with your hangover tomorrow. (8939 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood; 310-273-3303)

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Best Bar for Smoking 

The Abbey – With the honor of two of Logo’s “Best Gay Bar in the World” awards and the fact that it was Elizabeth Taylor’s favorite pub, The Abbey is a very typical WeHo experience. Aside from 10 oz. martinis, free phone charging stations and a menu crafted by Cleo chef Danny Elmaleh, half the bar is a smoke-friendly patio, so feel free to light up between mimosas. All day Pride celebrations take place from Thursday 6/11 to Tuesday 6/16, ending at 2 AM. (692 North Robertson Blvd., West Hollywood; 310-289-8410) 

Best Bar for Celeb-Spotting

PUMP – Real Housewives star Lisa Vanderpump’s vanity project amounts to a surprisingly good restaurant and bar. One hundred-year-old olive trees throw some shade onto the Tuscan-themed restaurant, where the fare is standard Italian-New American. Great for a classy Sunday brunch after a night of partying, and, given the owner, it’s likely you’ll spot a celeb or two. (8948 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood; 310-657-PUMP)

Best Bar with a View

Perch – Not the gayest bar on the list, but this rooftop lounge has a spectacular view of the LA skyline plus a fabulous French menu to boot. Good if you want to get a little classy and nibble on truffle fries. (448 S Hill St, Downtown; 213-802-1770)

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Best Bar for a Casual Drink

GYM Bar – Pitchers, catchers, tight-ends…oh, there’s also sports here. Even if you don’t want to watch the Dodgers, GYM is a low-key spot that’s usually never very crowded. Chill atmosphere, strong drinks, and a Five Guys next door make it the perfect place to unwind after celebrating or to pregame the night ahead. (8738 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood; 310-659-2004)

Best Bar for a Casual Fuck

Fubar – Their tagline “Not Your Father’s Gay Bar” sums it up. Dimly lit and the perfect amount of seedy, the bar has more of a New York feel than PUMP or Penthouse. It positively oozes sex, so if you’re looking, you’ll probably find someone. (7994 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood; 323-654-0396)

Best Bar for Underground Queer Fun

Faultline – This dark, queer bar is more underground than other sites on this list; neon, leather, levis and porn conflate into an East Hollywood hole-in-the-wall. This Saturday June 13 will be their Pride Edition, hosted by makeup artist and RuPaul confidante Mathu Andersen. (4216 Melrose Ave, East Hollywood; 323-660-0889)

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Best Bar for Dancing

Micky’s – Their Saturday Night Dance Party (no cover before midnight) is electric, and you can score $5 cocktails from 10 – 11 PM. (8857 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood; 310-657-1176)

Best Bar for Kitsch + Camp

Oil Can Harry’s – Fierce and retro and covered in cow hides, Oil Can Harry’s is pure freewheeling fun in the Valley. Line dancing go-go boys and a retro disco dance party on Saturday June 13 round out a kitschy, country bar (11502 Ventura Blvd., Studio City; 818-760-9749)

Pride and Junior and BPM, Oh My!

Pride is upon us and we all should be proud. One of the events I am looking forward to is the legendary DJ Junior Vasquez this Sunday at BPM (516 West 42nd Street). Junior has been away and now he is back. We will talk to him next week and let you know all the details. For now he will let his skills do all the talking.

Years ago when I would enter the Sound Factory or Twilo where he was the deity I would ask the doorman “what kind of mood is he in?” Junior was a moody fellow and depending on his mood swings we would be subjected, enlightened, scolded, or slapped. It was his house and he told us what to do in it. We all obeyed. We knew that he was one of the greatest DJs of all time and that we would look back at this time as we looked back at Paradise with Larry Levan before Junior and we would know…

So this Sunday we will once again see what kind of mood Junior is in and see, well hear, what this great artist has to show us. I have goose bumps. Lydia Rhodes and Jason Walker will perform.

BPM is the latest, and, may I offer, greatest incarnation of the Out Hotels nightclub. Susan Buckley is the vice president of food and beverage operations and managing partner of BPM. I asked her to tell us all about it.

With Pride right here tell me about what the Out Hotel complex plans?

We have a series of FUN events at BPM Nightclub- this Friday CLICK (our weekly party) has three top talents, Tony Moran, Ivan Gomez and Wayne G. spinning. Saturday at THE OUT Hotel we have GRILL OUT, BBQ, burgers, boys and beer on the hotel’s great lawn. At our restaurant KTCHN on Saturday we have a Special Gay Pride Edition of HAUS OF MIMOSA brunch. Then of course we end with a very special set at BPM with Junior Vasquez.

At one point Out was labeled a “gay” hotel, then it was to be considered mixed. What is the deal? Can something be one thing? Are there corporate event considerations?

The hotel is gay owned, but the clientele is a fusion of both straight and gay. In today’s world, I don’t think anything needs to be one way– that would take all the fun out of it! With 14,000 square feet of event space, we host many corporate functions.

OMG OMG OMG. Junior is spinning this Sunday after he took some time off. What can we expect? In booking him are you booking an old school legend or an old school legend who is current, even forward?

NYC can expect one hell of a party that night. Junior is NYC. By far one of the most talented DJs ever. Uniquely New York… He has partnered with BPM to produce a night of music, love and energy. His decades of work and his music genius will be showcased here for Pride once more. He is a legend from back in the day and a legend for the future as well. Junior is so much fun to work with and I am very excited about this collaboration.

 “NYC Pride” is trademarked. Isn’t this a bit strange?

Yes, I have read that it is trademarked. I do not know all the details, BPM did partner with the NYC Pride organization for our Friday CLICK event.

Tell me about the Out, your role and what you have done to keep the property viable and wonderful.

My role is to keep it fresh, make it fun. I have the help of some of the most talented and creative people in the industry. We continue to bring new things to the venue… Cabaret with Billy Porter, Lady Gaga at Club BPM, Grill Out, Summer Share and fabulous art and floral exhibitions in our lobby… much more to come!

A “Straight-Friendly” Eatery Just in Time for Gay Pride

Sorry, but I am not buying the whole “gay urban resort” that THE OUT NYC has capitalized on. In fact, I am not even sure what it means.  I do know, however, that the Hell’s Kitchen hotel itself is a swank, well-run machine and place I would want to stay in despite the theme. Good thing, too, because now not only is it “straight-friendly” (what?) but tonight they are debuting their new eatery, KTCHN Restaurant.

Resulting from a partnership between the hotel and the owners of Eatery and Whym, KTCHN Restaurant is helmed by chef Dale Schnell, formally of the Setai Fifth Avenue Hotel, Burj al Arab Hotel in Dubai, and Terrance Brennan’s Artisanal. Like the other two Hell’s Kitchen restaurant, KTCHN’s concept is New American, and Schnell plans to serve upscale comfort food with nibbles like smoked bacon with artichokes on polenta, various oysters, and marinated fluke with grapefruit. Aside from Schnell’s menu, THE OUT NYC has also brought Duane Fernandez Jr. onboard. Fernandez, who refers to himself as the “the only gay master mixologoist in New York,” is handling the cocktail menu, which includes low-calorie drinks, infused vodkas, and plenty of wine cocktails.

As for the hotel experience itself, I loved what Joel Stein wrote for Time magazine in May. He said, “It was also the only hotel room I’ve ever been in without a closet, which seemed a pretty big sacrifice just to make a metaphoric point.” Later, after noticing the hotel wasn’t all gay like he had hoped it would be, he wrote, “The problem is that being gay has become so acceptable that tourists think the gay theme is just fun New York Culture.”

Oh how things have changed, and Stein is spot on. So maybe “straight-friendly” doesn’t really need to be advertised since it appears the hotel is just welcoming in general. And now, with pride week and the parade this weekend, I am sure anyone is welcome to try out KTCHN—gay, straight, or whatever.