Looking for something to do? We’ve got you!
July 14, 2022
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.
1518 11th Ave
Might as well start with the bar named Queer Bar.
Organized around a long catwalk, the newish-to-the-neighborhood Queer Bar has quickly 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, a former Queer Bar cast member who recently graduated to being a Ru girl. 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):
We love you, @S10Bird 💚💛
— Seattle Storm (@seattlestorm) August 7, 2022
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.
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: Gay porn is plastered on the walls, papier-mâchéd dicks hang from the ceilings, vintage smut plays off VHS tapes, and there’s a glory 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.
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.
1950 1st Ave S
For years, Capitol HIll’s most famous gay bar was R Place, a three-story gay club that catered to everyone from sports fans to RuPaul’s Drag Race queens. After some issues with its landlord, the bar shut down over the pandemic (again, RIP), but the crew moved over to SoDo into a giant complex called The Comeback. This spiritual successor has a lot of the same things as R Place: it hosts big dance parties on the weekends, there are lots of go-go boys, and it’s still home to Lashes, a weekly drag night with a packed local cast and plenty of touring queens. Don’t miss: The taco truck that’s usually outside.
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.
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.
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.
9630 16th Ave SW
The Lumber Yard Bar’s arrival in White Center announced a new era for the neighborhood, which is just south of West Seattle and not technically a part of 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 fourth year). About to open in a new location: The bar was extremely popular, expanding multiple times until an arson 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.)
They plan on reopening soon. Follow along for updates.
👉🏽 Here are some other clubs and recurring parties we recommend.
📍 Sapphic Seattle @ SUPERNOVA
📍 MADISON PUB: 1315 E Madison St
📍 THE KREMWERK COMPLEX: 1809 Minor Ave
📍 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