A First-Timer’s Guide to Queer Nightlife in Seattle

Where to hang out with your fellow Ls, Gs, Bs, Ts, and Qs 🏳️‍🌈

Arrietty, a cast performer at Queer Bar's Mx drag show, lowering her black glasses and looking at the camera.

Updated on August 3rd, 2023

The size of Seattle’s LGBTQ+ scene is matched only by San Francisco’s, so there’s no shortage of queer bars and venues. There’s a drag show every night of the week in Seattle. Really. Even on Mondays, you can find local performers spinning for tips.

Here’s a quick primer on where to go and what to expect.

Queer Bar

1518 11th Ave

Might as well start with the bar named Queer Bar.

Organized around a long catwalk, Queer Bar has become the defacto drag bar in Capitol Hill. They host drag nearly every night of the week, alongside karaoke, burlesque, and bingo events. Expect chiller evenings with lots of locals on the weekdays. But on the weekends, it becomes a full-scale party. Note: Their big mural devoted to Bosco and Irene DuBois, Queer Bar cast members who graduated to being RuPaul’s Drag Race girls. Also: Burgers. Grab dinner here. It’s good.

Mx. is Queer Bar’s signature event. Every Friday and Saturday, catch a large cast of local queens often performing with touring RuPaul’s Drag Race queens. Remember: Bring tips, and don’t just tip the Ru girls.


1021 E Pike St

As one of the last standing lesbian bars in the country, Wildrose is a Seattle institution. Don’t take my word for it, just listen to Sue Bird (around 01:23):

The 36-year-old bar has weathered a lot of changes on the Hill, and it’s miraculously survived the pandemic to come out even stronger. Fancy: The bar recently got a redesign, sporting new lights and updated programming. Catch dance parties on the weekends along with the occasional drag brunch or event.

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1221 E Madison St

Pony is gay famous. The seedy little dive bar, located inside the bones of a 1930s gas station, is probably the smallest queer bar in Seattle, with one of the largest reputations.

This isn’t a subtle place: Images of nude gay people are plastered on the walls, papier-mâchéd male parts hang from the ceilings, vintage smut plays off VHS tapes, and there’s a suggestive hole in the bathroom. Service can be gruff, but the overall vibes are friendly. Meet your neighbors by the fire pit on the patio.

The DJ nights are the main focus at Pony. A roster of DJs play a wide range of genres, from italo disco to darkwave to hyperpop. Don’t miss: Karaoke on Tuesday nights. Sing whatever you want. The more obscure, the better.

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1950 1st Ave S

While it’s one of the newer additions to the Pike-Pine queer bar community, Union’s owners have a long history in Seattle. They’re the same owners of Thumper’s (RIP), a former “piano bar for gay daddies in tweed coats,” and that vibe has spiritually carried over to Union.

This chill and flirty bar features a full kitchen with burgers, tacos, and even baked brie, which is not something I usually expect to see at a gay bar. There’s also a fire-side lounge and year-round outdoor patio. Pro tip: Union’s block parties don’t usually require a cover, making them an easy spot to meet up with people during big weekends like Pride.

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CC Attle’s

1701 E Olive Way

In a world filled with $15 cocktails, CC Attle’s, or CC’s, is well-loved for its affordable prices and welcoming community. There’s a wide range of ages here, and it leans predominately gay. CC’s hosts plenty of kink nights, notably the 1st Friday Leather Social hosted by Seattle Men in Leather. The bottom line: The drinks are strong. The flirting is stronger.

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1413 14th Ave

Right near Pony and Madison Pub, Diesel caters to bears and those who love them. Like CC’s, they’re known for their strong pours. They’ve also got a full menu featuring everything from mozzarella sticks to a “daddy bear taco burger.” I assume that’s a taco burger made for or by daddy bears. The tag line: “ice cold beer, warm hearts,” which sums it up.

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The Cuff Complex

1533 13th Ave

The Cuff Complex is one of Seattle’s oldest LGBTQ+ venues. Around since 1993, the club has gone through a few spiritual changes. In its current form, it’s owned by the same team behind Queer Bar and has four bars, a patio area, a kitchen, a full dancefloor, and a dart area. What’s the crowd? Under its previous ownership, The Cuff catered to a mostly gay male crowd, but recent changes have seen all types of LGBTQ+ people hanging out at the venue. In addition to their rotating dance nights, check out their Hump Day Karaoke, which happens every Hump Day, and Rain City Line Dancing, every Friday.

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The Lumber Yard Bar

9630 16th Ave SW

The Lumber Yard Bar’s arrival in White Center announced a new era for the unincorporated neighborhood, which is just south of West Seattle and not technically Seattle. The gay bar was followed by other gay-focused bars, like Swallow (which has since closed) and Unicorn 2 (which has yet to open), and White Center’s Pride celebration (which just celebrated its fifth year). It just opened in a new location: The bar was extremely popular, expanding multiple times until an arson attack set them back. It leans toward gay men and specifically bears, but you can really find everyone here. Expect a rowdy, friendly, and mixed crowd. All are really welcome. (Except for homophobes and arsonists.)

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More Clubbing

👉🏽 Here are some other clubs and recurring parties we recommend.
📍 MADISON PUB: 1315 E Madison St
📍 THE EAGLE: 314 E Pike St
📍UNICORN: 1118 E Pike St
📍 NEIGHBOURS: 1509 Broadway
📍 CHANGES: 2103 N 45th St
📍 JULIA’S ON BROADWAY: 300 Broadway E
📍 STEAMWORKS: 1520 Summit Ave
📍 CLUB Z: 1117 Pike St


Chase Burns

Chase Burns is The Ticket’s editor. As a reporter, he’s covered everything from gay luchadores to chemical weapons to Isabella Rossellini’s favorite pets. Right now he’s really into the fruit sandwiches at Baiten in Capitol Hill.

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