Las Vegas is something of an odd bird when it comes to gay nightlife. While most visitors focus their activities on the famous Las Vegas Strip, gay-specific nightlife can be found in areas across this desert town and not so much on The Strip. While the Las Vegas Strip is fun for everyone with its shows and glitz, it's areas such as the "Fruit Loop," and the Commercial Center where you'll find most of the gay nightlife.
Hotels and Resorts
While you may spend your evenings out clubbing, staying at a gay-friendly Las Vegas hotel or resort will get your getaway off to a good start.
The stunning Wynn and adjacent Encore have set a standard for gay-friendliness, as the hotels have a Pride Concierge program designed to help gay and lesbian guests make the most of their stay. The service, call 702-770-LGBT, is one of the only LGBT-oriented services like this offered outside gay and lesbian resorts. A gay-savvy concierge can assist the guest with dining reservations, show tickets, nightclub advice, golf tee-times, limo transportation and more.
The Hard Rock Las Vegas Hotel & Casino, a hip, upscale property on Paradise Road near the Strip and within walking distance of the so-called "Fruit Loop," a small circuit of popular gay bars would be a less pricey option.
With queer-fave entertainers like Elton John, Barry Manilow, Bette Milder, Margaret Cho, Cher, Kathy Griffin, and others performing here regularly (some of them with semi-permanent gigs), and many of the city's top casinos presenting marquee shows and musicals, Las Vegas is an ideal place to pick up some show tickets and enjoy the theatrics.
There are some great shows at the trendy mainstream clubs and lounges in the Strip's top casinos—they may draw a mostly straight crowd, but plenty of gays and lesbians frequent these spots, too.
Bars and Nightclubs
All told, Las Vegas has over 15 gay bars, many of them clustered together in a small quadrant along Paradise Road just north of the airport and south of the gay-popular Hard Rock Hotel—an area often dubbed the "Gay Quarter" or "Fruit Loop."
These clubs and bars are worth a visit:
- Piranha: The aforementioned Fruit Loop is home to a bevy of lively gay bars, the most popular being the Piranha Nightclub complex on Paradise Road, a festive, "sceney," something-for-everyone establishment.
- QuadZ: QuadZ Video Bar, also on Paradise Road located in the heart of the "Fruit Loop," is known for friendly staff and a neighborhood bar atmosphere. They tout "the best and strongest drinks at some of the lowest prices Gay Vegas has to offer." There is dancing to DJs with music videos on huge HD TV's, slot machines, pool, darts, video poker, and more.
- Freezone: Completing the Fruit Loop quadrant, a popular place called Freezone on Naples Street known for pulling in plenty of barflies—there's more of a lesbian following, here, too.
A less alluring little posse of neighborhood-feel gay bars is situated in a large and rather bland shopping complex called the Commercial Center - it straddles the 900 block of E. Sahara and E. Karen avenues, a short drive east of the northern (icky) section of the Strip, and a bit southeast of downtown, which has traditionally been somewhat run-down but has experienced a resurgence, with much new and interesting development.
The Commercial Center should be noted, however, for one wonderful asset—it's home to one of the most legendary Thai restaurants in the West, Lotus of Siam, which happens to be extremely gay-friendly. Places to party in this area include:
Las Vegas has a handful of other notable gay bars around town which make leaving the Strip for an evening both an adventure and a fun alternative with a different vibe.
- Fun Hog Ranch: Getting plenty of attention for owning its sense of inner kitsch, leather-fetish vibe, and cruisy sensibility, the humorously named Fun Hog Ranch on E. Twain Avenue, draws a good-natured, friendly bunch of guys of all ages and looks.
- Charlie's: For country-western dancing, by far the most popular draw is Charlie's Las Vegas on Arville Street, a close relation of the various Charlie's country bars in Denver, Phoenix, and Chicago. This is a festive spot with exceedingly friendly bartenders and hosts drag reviews, live bingo, and dancing (lessons if you want them).
- The Garage: In the same part of town is The Garage, on E. Flamingo Road, a casual and quite nicely decorated (complete with a vintage-car and sexy-mechanic theme) spot with pool, darts, shuffleboard, an outdoor patio, and great drink specials (especially during the early-evening happy hour).
- Phoenix: The Phoenix Bar and Lounge, on W Sahara Avenue, is a 24 hour, laid-back, gay bar offering karaoke, pool, and a dance floor.
That leaves a handful of additional neighborhood joints—places you probably wouldn't take your mother (even if she's a member of PFLAG). This is Vegas, after all, and many of the locals' bars around town possess a certain sleepy (sometimes seedy) countenance.
- Flex: Flex Cocktail Lounge on W. Charleston Boulevard with its touch-friendly stable of randy strippers and drag shows, is a longtime bar and club offering live entertainment, billiards, and happy-hour specials with a gay-friendly vibe.
- Eagle: The Las Vegas Eagle on E. Tropicana Avenue, is an old-school leather bar in a strip-mall locale with themed events, drink specials, and karaoke nights.
In Las Vegas, there are two Gay Bathhouses with saunas, gyms, and private rooms that cater to gay men: Entourage Vegas and Hawks Gym. Both membership-only clubs are located in the Historic Commercial Center District on East Sahara Avenue in central Las Vegas.
- Hawks Gym and Spa (953 E Sahara Ave #35 B-102) offers a day pass membership with a locker or room charge and is open 24/7. Hawks is known as a place to work on fitness while meeting other men.
- Entourage Vegas Bathhouse (953 E Sahara Ave A19) touts being "Las Vegas' only gay bathhouse since 1994," and features a large, expansive complex styled after ancient Roman bathhouses. It has an indoor heated swimming pool, jacuzzi, sauna, gym, video room, smoking lounge, private rooms, and spacious showers with free towel service. They, too, are open 24/7.
Tips for Going Out in Las Vegas
- Las Vegas values gay tourism. There are annual gay events in Las Vegas including the gay rodeo, fetish parties and circuit events, the epic night Pride Parade, and the Sin City Classic, the largest annual LGBT sporting event in the world, featuring over 20 sports and 6500 athletes. While these are a great draw, they also mean that favorite gay haunts will be more crowded.
- After a night on the town, don't sleep your weekend away. There's much to do including the Drag Brunch at Senor Frogs. This is the place to be on a Sunday with food, unlimited drinks, and a chance to see favorite contestants from RuPaul’s Drag Race.
- While there are no specific gay clubs on The Strip, there's so much to do including late night shopping, dining, and shows, that you'll meet like-minded people as you bar-hop and stroll through this glitzy playland. The Strip attracts people from all over the world, including conservative areas of the United States, and there will be times that the area may not feel gay-friendly.