Photos of gay bars, nightclubs, lounges, cabarets, and other nightlife options in the Southeast, including Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia.
Amsterdam, Atlanta, Georgia
Amsterdam (502-A Amsterdam Ave., 404-882-2227), refreshingly, is the kind of bar where just about anyone might feel welcome. It's mostly a guys' spot, but women often hang out here, and you'll see a nice mix of ages, styles, races, and so on. Part of the draw is the variety of diversions, including a nice section with pool tables - Amsterdam feels a bit like a laid-back sports bar during the week (especially after work), but it draws more of a crowd on weekends. There's also casual restaurant.
It can be slightly challenging to find: turn west onto Amsterdam and drive down the hill (you'll see the popular lesbian bar, Bellissima, on your right), and follow the road to the end, into the parking lot. Turn right and following the parking lot all the way back, and you'll see Amsterdam's entrance.
Blake's on the Park, Atlanta, Georgia
Burkhart's, Atlanta, Georgia
One of several gay-oriented businesses in Midtown's Ansley Square shopping center, Burkhart's (404-872-4403) is your classic gay video bar, a favorite of all ages and styles, that's been going strong since...well...for many years. The crowd is decidely male and somewhat on the make (I met my second-ever boyfriend here in 1994, for whatever that's worth). A fun feature is that on the second floor you can lean over a railing and ogle the boys down below. There are a few rooms, including one with a pool table. Karaoke is wildly popular here, offered twice weekly, and Burkhart's hosts drag shows quite often. There's also grill serving cheap if ordinary American chow. Overall, it's a friendly, low-attitude spot that offers good cheer whether you're with friends or alone.
Felix's on the Square, Atlanta, Georgia
A friendly, if quite tiny, gay neighborhood bar in the tres gay Ansley Square strip mall across from Piedmont Park in Atlanta's Midtown area, Felix's on the Square is a simple little gay hangout that's fun for early-evening drinks, hanging out with friends, chatting with the friendly staff, and fueling up on relatively affordable cocktails before heading out later to one of Atlanta's more popular, late-night gay clubs. Felix's (1510 Piedmont Ave. NE, 404-249-7899) is a couple of doors down from the wonderfully stocked gay bookstore and pride shop Brushstrokes, and it's just across the parking lot from the long-running gay cruise and video bar, Burkhart's.
Mary's Bar, Atlanta, Georgia
Blaine's, Savannah, Georgia (closed 2011)
NOTE: Blaine's closed in 2011.
Blaine's (13 E. Perry La.) might be Savannah's most popular overall hangout with the gay community - Club One is more famous but also pulls in a lot of tourists (gay and straight). Blaine's is well-located, right off Chippewa Square. There's never a cover, the staff is friendly and welcoming, and the space cozy and intimate. The crowd is approachable and eclectic, and all are quite welcome, although mostly it's gay men you'll find in here. Drinks are also very well-priced, there's a pool table, and Blaine's has some very fun karaoke nights - I ushered in New Year's Eve here in 2009 with a few friends, so I'll always have a soft spot for this place. It's just a nice all-around neighborhood gay bar, and there's pub food served here, too.
Chuck's, Savannah, Georgia
In some ways, Savannah is the perfect gay nightlife destination - there are only a handful of gay bars, but each has a very different personality and scene, and together they make a great bar-hopping adventures. Of the bunch, Chuck's (305 W. River St., 912-232-1005) is what you might affectionately call Savannah's gay dive bar - it's a smoky, dark place with a great juke box, and it's set down along the waterfront, on a somewhat quiet stretch of otherwise touristy River Street. The crowd is mixed, more gay later in the evening. And the welcoming staff and even more welcoming rock-bottom drink prices are a big reason folks of all ages, styles, and attitudes keep coming back.
Club One, Savannah, Georgia
In openly gay author John Berendt's deliciously evocative book about Savannah, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, one character that truly stands out is local drag queen Lady Chablis, who has for many years performed her act at Club One (1 Jefferson St. 912-232-0200). Over the years, in part thanks to both Lady Chablis and John Berendt's book, Savannah has become ever more gay-popular, and Club One has grown into more than a mere gay club but one of the city's bona fide tourist attractions.
To this end, Club One draws a fairly mixed gay/straight crowd, especially on nights when Lady Chablis performs - usually about 12 to 15 times per year. Admission is $25 to $35 on Lady Chablis nights, and less steep at other times. It's always a fun place to hang out, mingle with locals and tourists, and get a sense of Savannah's eccentric side. There's a quite large dance floor, and drag shows are a big part of the fun here (even when Lady Chablis isn't performing, other first-rate female impersonators are). The club is right in the thick of the city's most interesting section, two blocks north of City Market, and just south of the riverfront.
Venus de Milo, Savannah, Georgia (closed)
Venus de Milo (38 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave.) in Savannah has closed
Club Hairspray, Asheville, North Carolina (closed)
Club Hairspray (38 N. French Broad Ave.) in Asheville has closed.
O'Henry's and the Underground, Asheville, North Carolina
Scandals, Asheville, North Carolina
Smokey's After Dark, Asheville, North Carolina
Icon, Cary, North Carolina (closed)
Icon nightclub (320 E. Durham Rd., Cary, 919-460-4343) has closed.
Sidelines Sports Bar and Billiards, Charlotte, North Carolina
In the same shopping center as the Eagle gay leather bar in Charlotte's South Side, friendly Sidelines Sports Bar and Billiards (4544 South Blvd., 704-525-2608) is a convivial place to socialize, drawing a mix of gay guys and lesbians to shoot pool, play darts, watch football and basketball on huge TV screens, play Nintendo Wii games, and basically have a good time. A welcoming staff, eclectic crowd, and excellent beer selection make this spot a winner, although the location is a 10- to 15-minute drive south of downtown Charlotte.
The Bar (formerly Club Steel Blue), Durham, North Carolina
The Bar (711 Rigsbee Ave., 919-956-2929) opened in downtown Durham's Warehouse District in late summer 2011. This is a space that's held an LGBT bar for more than two decades. The owners formerly operated Club Steel Blue in this space, after moving it here in 2010 from a space about 5 miles southeast of the city center. The Bar is women-owned and draws a mixed crowd, about 75/25 female/male. This private club (the usual North Carolina rules apply, meaning guests from outside the area must buy a basic membership for $10) is brings in a fun mix of all ages and styles. The owners have completely revamped the space, which has darts and karaoke some evenings and dancing to a DJ on weekends.
Note that the photo here is of the space when it was occupied by Visions lesbian bar.
Visions, Durham, North Carolina (closed, now home to The Bar)
Note: Visions bar in downtown Durham, at 711 Rigsbee Avenue, has closed; the space is now occupied by a different gay nightspot, The Bar.
Warehouse 29, Greensboro, North Carolina (closed)
Warehouse 29 (1011 Arnold St.) in Greensboro ha
Dudley's, Charleston, South Carolina
Dudley's (42 Ann St., 843-577-6779) is a swish little lounge with attractive bar tables and stools and a welcoming bar with video screens above it. And just off the main room is a separate area where you can shoot pool. At both Dudley's and Club Pantheon, the crowd tends to be a catch-all of gay Charleston life: women and men of all ages and races, and quite a few straight customers, too. Dudley's, because it's quieter and more of a conversation bar, tends to draw a slightly older bunch, especially on weekends when the young'uns are next door partying at Pantheon.