New Orleans is a popular place for a gay getaway with a vibrant Pride Week, LGBTQ Mardi Gras traditions, as well as all the history, music, cuisine and art that New Orleans is famous for. While New Orleans used to have a popular gay bathhouse, Club New Orleans, they have closed (and a couple of years earlier, the city's other bathhouse, Flex, also closed).
Club New Orleans Bathhouse
Club New Orleans (515 Toulouse St.) had been serving the Big Easy as the premier gay bathhouse in the city. This five-story club was in a surprisingly touristy and central location, right in the middle of the French Quarter, near a number of notable New Orleans hotels and a short walk from top New Orleans gay bars. The establishment was part of the popular national gay-bathhouse Clubs chain, which has other locations in Columbus, Dallas, Fort Lauderdale, Houston, Indianapolis, Orlando, and St. Louis.
Late Night Gay Night Clubs
So, New Orleans has no gay bathhouses. However, New Orleans does have a number of gay bars, many of them extremely cruisy, and most of them open 24/7.
The Phoenix/Eagle in Faubourg Marigny is a night club that cultivates the vibe of a sex club at times and in places. Namely, the club's upstairs Eagle Bar, which opens at 9 p.m. and keeps the lights on until the wee hours, is kept super-dark (customers are not permitted to use cell phones up there). It's definitely a fun place to feel your way around, in the absence of lighting, and perhaps make a few new friends in the process.
Bourbon Pub and Parade, on famous Bourbon Street, has been a gay favorite since 1974. It's open 24/7, and it has two sections: Bourbon Pub, downstairs, with its central bar; and Parade, the upstairs dance floor with doors opening onto a balcony overlooking the street action. The largest gay club in the city, it's always packed with gay guys and quite a few lesbians.
The Double Play, a French Quarter gay bar open 24-hours, is said to be one of the more colorful gay bars in the city for people-watching and for the fun drag shows. With cheap drinks and pool tables, the Double Play can be busy well into the wee hours and even after sunrise.
Rawhide 2010, a small, dark, and intimate corner bar in the French Quarter is a leather bar that can get cruisy especially late at night and into the early morning hours. Open all night on weekends, Rawhide is known to be friendly and attracts an unpretentious crowd. Saturday Night Leather (SNL) is when you get happy hour prices for wearing a combination of vest, harness, and chaps. They are also known for their second-Thursday-of-the-month "Blackout parties."
Cafe Lafitte in Exile, named for the famous pirate, claims to be the oldest continuously operating gay bar in the country and quite a few famous gay New Orleans luminaries like Tennessee Williams and Truman Capote were seen there. The two-story space is in a historic building, with a traditional wraparound balcony. Cafe Lafitte draws a diverse crowd for the happy hour drink specials, small dance floor, karaoke and movie nights. Upstairs, you can shoot pool, or do a bit of people watching from the second-floor balcony.