Try walking through Saint-Jean-Baptiste without spotting at least a handful of rainbow flags. They wave proudly over just about every business and boy do they fit in well with the oh-so colorful district. Needless to say, Quebec City is a pretty good place to be gay.
Although it only has a couple designated gay bars, the LGBTQ+ community is welcome any place (if those pride flags are any indication), from the hipster breweries to the wine bars, the dance clubs, and pubs.
The tourist hotspots of Old Quebec (Upper Town) and Saint-Roch are great and all, but for the most gay influence, you'll want to stick to the bohemian neighborhood of Saint-Jean-Baptiste, which is pretty much right in the middle of the city. Consider booking a room at the adorable Auberge JA Moisan (which is perched above North America's oldest grocery store) or the castle-esque Château des Tourelles.
Just outside the walls of the Old City lies a hip and liberal community housed in a bunch of charmingly vintage buildings. This is Rue Saint-Jean, Quebec City's most LGBTQ+-friendly neighborhood. There certainly is no shortage of bars in which to spend a Friday night.
- Bar St-Matthew's: Just a block away from the city's much larger and more famous Le Drague gay club, the cozy and laid-back Bar St-Matthew tends to attract a cruise-y and predominantly male crowd. Although all kinds are welcome, you'll encounter more bears, otters, and leather dudes here than at Le Drague. Don't miss the drag shows on Friday nights.
- Bar Le Sacrilege: Although not a gay establishment per se, Bar Le Sacrilege is one of the most LGBTQ+-favored nightspots in Quebec City, with a convenient location along the hip and inviting Rue Saint-Jean. There's a wide selection of beers (including many craft varieties), a lovely garden terrace, and live music on some evenings, too.
- Fou-Bar: Always lively, festive, and drawing a real mix of regulars and tourists from throughout the surrounding Saint-Jean neighborhood, Fou-Bar is the quintessential neighborhood pub. It's not specifically gay, but it's a loyal supporter of Quebec City Pride each year. Inside is dark and homey with quirky decor (everything from disco balls to offbeat artwork), brick and stone walls, and clusters of cafe tables from which patrons enjoy live jazz, folk, reggae, or whatever else may be playing.
- La Ninkasi: This mixed brewpub is recommended by Quebec City Pride. The two-story beer palace is located on Rue Saint-Jean, of course, and features pool, big-screen TVs for sporting events, karaoke, and plenty of patio space.
- Le Noctem: This Rue du Parvis joint—another Quebec City Pride recommendation—is a microbrewery that also serves comfort food (nachos, sausages, burgers, and the like) and, unlike many breweries, stays open until 3 a.m. Monday through Saturday.
Serious revelers will be pleased to discover that Rue Saint-Jean has a selection of clubs (some of the gay variety), too. After throwing back a few craft beers at the corner pub, kick the party up a notch on one of Quebec City's rollicking dance floors.
- Le Drague Cabaret Club: This is the mother of all Quebec City gay bars. La Drague Cabaret Club has been the premier gay dance club in Quebec City for years, outlasting quite a few neighborhood gay bars that have come and gone over time. Its attractive outdoor terrace, impressive dance bar, well-designed cabaret (with a large stage), and hip cocktail bar have been known to attract an eclectic bunch, from college students to lipstick lesbians to friendly straights to folks over 40. Basically, this place is the epitome of inclusivity.
- ForHom: This gay men-only social club is just down the street from Sauna Bloc 225 (one of three gay saunas in town). It's open to members only (or friends of members) and hosts regular fetish events, Men in Boxers-themed Friday nights, film screenings, and more.
- Le Dagobert: It isn't specifically gay, but Le Dagobert is worth mentioning because, well, it's probably the most happening place in town. It has a whopping three floors: one for live entertainment and the other two dedicated to dance floors and video games. Expect to brush shoulders with students, tourists, young professionals, and people from almost every age group.
Events & Festivals
Quebec City's gay event calendar isn't necessarily what you would call teeming. Besides regular drag shows at Le Drague, there's only one real LGBTQ+-focused event, but thankfully, it's a pretty big one.
Quebec City Pride, also known as Fête Arc-en-ciel (the Rainbow Festival in English), is a three-day extravaganza that attracts more than 35,000 people to Place d'Youville every Labour Day weekend. In addition to celebrating its LGBTQ+ residents and their rights, the festival also celebrates local art and culture on a broader scale. You can expect outdoor concerts, drag shows, panel discussions, movie screenings, karaoke, cabaret, and more.
Tips for Going Out in Quebec City
- The majority of this province is French speaking, but don't panic: Most people who work in the cities (Montreal and Quebec City, specifically) speak English as well.
- Don't forget to tip your bartenders (15 to 20 percent is standard for Canada).
- Whereas the legal drinking age in the rest of Canada is 19 years old, Quebec's is actually 18.
- Drinking in public places (i.e. open container) is strictly prohibited in Quebec City.
- Bars in Quebec are required to stop selling alcohol at 3 a.m. Some stay open an extra hour after last call, but many don't.
- Although much of the LGBTQ+ nightlife is concentrated in Saint-Jean-Baptiste, there is a designated gay hotel—for men only!—in Old Quebec. It's called Hotel Hippocampe and yes, there is an on-site sauna.
- Most things in Quebec City are walkable, but if you absolutely need wheels to get somewhere, you may use Uber, Lyft, or RTC (the public transportation system).
- For more information about Quebec's gay community, pick up a copy of Fugues, a local magazine dedicated entirely to this topic, specifically. Every year, it publishes a comprehensive list of gay happenings called the Rainbow Guide.