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Colorful rainbow flags along the second story balcony of buildings in the French Quarter on November 28 2016.
A view of Oz in the French Quarter.
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Where to Celebrate Pride in New Orleans in June and Beyond

A guide to New Orleans’s best gay bars, LGBTQ-friendly spaces, and Pride month celebrations

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A view of Oz in the French Quarter.
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June is officially Pride month, bringing the return of worldwide LGBTQ Pride celebrations in the form of parades, festivals, and events. In New Orleans, though, the celebration is not just limited to June. Early Spring is for the Gay Easter Parade in the Quarter, Southern Decadence closes out summer, Saturdays are for pool scenes, Sundays are for drag brunch and tea dances, and late nights are for dancing away at Oz. And, while nearly any bar in New Orleans could be considered queer-friendly — the city is very welcoming, after all — the best places are worth listing to help narrow it down.

Below are 14 of the best LGBTQ and queer-friendly bars and restaurants in New Orleans, for catching drag shows, dance parties, burlesque bingo, naked karaoke, and more in the month of June, during Southern Decadence, and all year round.

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The cozy Uptown gay bar is tiny, but mighty with daily drink specials, welcoming regulars, and entertaining bartenders.  Located in the Touro neighborhood, the bar is far from the French Quarter scene and a welcomed addition to the otherwise more conservative Uptown area. This is the place to go to keep it intimate or closer to home on a quiet night. 

Virgin Hotels New Orleans

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New Orleans’s newest hotel, the Virgin, has quickly become one of the city’s social clubs, luring in both locals and tourists to the restaurant, pool club, and lobby bar. It’s no surprise they’ll host some Pride events in New Orleans all throughout the month of June. Events include a pre-Pride Parade poolside party on June 11 with Skyy Vodka, DJ, and LGBTQ vendors; Golden Girls Drag Tea on June 12 which includes rooftop views, cocktails, drag queens, and glitter; and Pride drag brunch curated by Trixie Minx at the Commons Club on June 24.

The Pool Club at Virgin Hotels New Orleans.
Virgin Hotels New Orleans

Crossing

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Crossing Bar, which calls itself “the best gay straight food serving bar in New Orleans,” has been a previous host for Grrlspot dance parties as well as for regular RuPaul’s Drag Race viewing parties, Saints game watch parties, and pop-ups. It’s traditionally a big part of New Orleans Pride celebrations, and this year is no different — while the full program for Pride weekend, set for June 9 to June 12, is still to be announced, revelers can usually count on the annual Beach Party here.

Betty's Bar & Bistro

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If the address sounds familiar, it’s because it is. Located in the former home of the 700 Club, Betty’s is a laid back neighborhood dive bar with burgers, wings, and trivia. Except, it’s not a regular neighborhood bar, it’s a cool one where the bar food is tasty and the trivia emcee is a drag queen. There’s plenty of outdoor seating for enjoying a burger and company on a gorgeous day in the Quarter. Head there on Tuesdays for trivia, tacos, and tequila.

Good Friends Bar

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Good Friends is the Cheers of the New Orleans gay bar scene, where everybody literally knows your name — if not, they will by the end of the night. It’s a neighborhood watering hole with open windows and tables that spill out onto Dauphine Street in the French Quarter, a pool table for a friendly game, good music, and a wrap-around balcony upstairs. The 24-hour spot is reliable no matter the time, just be careful with those separators. 

Outside Good Friends Bar on Easter Sunday.
Good Friends Bar

American Townhouse

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American Townhouse is a new gay-owned bar and restaurant from the folks behind the legendary 700 Club — if you know, you know. Located across from Armstrong Park, the bar and restaurant is part of the Rampart street renaissance and brings together craft cocktails and elevated bar food in a renovated historic house and a classic French Quarter courtyard. Tip: go for the Friday $5 martini happy hour and stay for the chicken and waffles.

Inside American Townhouse.
American Townhouse

The Bourbon Pub & Parade

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The Bourbon Pub and Parade — also known as the Pub — has a large downstairs bar, best to catch up with friends, as well as catch a breath between dancing. Don’t expect the big game plying on all their TV screens, because those are there for endless streams of music videos. The Pub is best known for the second-floor club with go-go dancers, karaoke, drags shows, and DJs on any given night. It just depends on what night of the week it is, but Sunday is always the best with dancing and singalongs. 

Oz New Orleans

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All roads lead to Oz — except, in New Orleans, it’s less of a yellow brick road and more of a potholed one with puddles of spilled sugary drinks, so watch those ruby slippers. Oz is the place to end up on a Saturday for the best dancing in New Orleans. The shirts come off the later the night gets, so you have either been warned or even further enticed. For those who aren’t into late nights, Oz hosts Drag Bingeaux on Saturday and Sunday nights at 7 p.m. 

Above Oz.
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Cafe Lafitte in Exile

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A proud anchor of Bourbon Street’s “Fruit Loop,” Café Lafitte in Exile’s claim to fame is that it is the oldest continuously operating gay bar in the country, with the ghosts of past patrons occasionally visiting. It must be a sign of a good time if ghosts return from the afterlife to pay a visit but beware of Mr. Bubbly, who has been known to get grabby and pinch butts. The upstairs bar and balcony hosts weekly events, including karaoke and dance parties, while the downstairs has a welcoming bar with cheap drinks and views of Bourbon Street — ideal for people watching.

Outside Cafe Lafitte in Exile on Bourbon Street.
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Golden Lantern

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Located on the more residential end of the French Quarter, the Golden Lantern might seem like an easy-going, neighborhood dive bar at first — it is. However, come Mardi Gras day and Southern Decadence, and the spot becomes ground zero for all the action. The intimate bar is best known for its happy hour(s) from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., nutritiously-packed bloody Mary served in a “Lantern Trash” go-cup, and weekend drag shows. 

Grrlspot (Multiple Locations)

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For as many gay and LGBTQ-friendly venues that are in New Orleans, there are as few girl-only clubs. Grrlspot, a lesbian dance party pop-up, hosts monthly(ish) events at different venues around town. Their Facebook page has all the details on where they will pop up next and any upcoming events, including Grrlspot’s Pride party on June 11 at One Eyed Jacks’s new space on Decatur. They’ll have DJs, dancing, and VIP views of the Pride Parade. 

Phoenix Bar

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Catch Pridefest at the Phoenix, the beloved corner Marigny bar that gets just the right amount of rowdy — on Saturday, June 11 from noon to 6 p.m., with a live music and DJ lineup to give any local fest a run for its money. The bar also serves as the kickoff point for the annual Gay Pride Parade, held that Saturday, followed by all night long celebrations upstairs at the bar — which might just be the highlight of the whole day.

The AllWays Lounge & Cabaret

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The Allways Lounge on St. Claude is known for its inclusive crowd, but even more renowned is its diverse live entertainment, which on any given night might include a cat circus, drag show, burlesque bingo, or naked karaoke. The drinks are cheap, the crowd is fun, and you can expect the unexpected — anything from a relaxing poetry reading to a roaring comedy show — that, after all, is the best part of New Orleans’s most avant-garde theater. 

The Country Club

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The Country Club in the Bywater has long been an anchor of the gay scene, even if it no longer pegs itself as a gay bar since the restaurant’s renovation and new pool clothing regulation — meaning, it’s no longer optional. Weekend drag brunches might be overrun with bachelorette parties, but at the pool it’s otherwise the same LGBTQ-friendly scene with the always-prominent rainbow flags and men in cheeky bathing suits.

A pool party at The Country Club
The pool at the Country Club.
Josh Brasted/Eater NOLA

QiQi

The cozy Uptown gay bar is tiny, but mighty with daily drink specials, welcoming regulars, and entertaining bartenders.  Located in the Touro neighborhood, the bar is far from the French Quarter scene and a welcomed addition to the otherwise more conservative Uptown area. This is the place to go to keep it intimate or closer to home on a quiet night. 

Virgin Hotels New Orleans

New Orleans’s newest hotel, the Virgin, has quickly become one of the city’s social clubs, luring in both locals and tourists to the restaurant, pool club, and lobby bar. It’s no surprise they’ll host some Pride events in New Orleans all throughout the month of June. Events include a pre-Pride Parade poolside party on June 11 with Skyy Vodka, DJ, and LGBTQ vendors; Golden Girls Drag Tea on June 12 which includes rooftop views, cocktails, drag queens, and glitter; and Pride drag brunch curated by Trixie Minx at the Commons Club on June 24.

The Pool Club at Virgin Hotels New Orleans.
Virgin Hotels New Orleans

Crossing

Crossing Bar, which calls itself “the best gay straight food serving bar in New Orleans,” has been a previous host for Grrlspot dance parties as well as for regular RuPaul’s Drag Race viewing parties, Saints game watch parties, and pop-ups. It’s traditionally a big part of New Orleans Pride celebrations, and this year is no different — while the full program for Pride weekend, set for June 9 to June 12, is still to be announced, revelers can usually count on the annual Beach Party here.

Betty's Bar & Bistro

If the address sounds familiar, it’s because it is. Located in the former home of the 700 Club, Betty’s is a laid back neighborhood dive bar with burgers, wings, and trivia. Except, it’s not a regular neighborhood bar, it’s a cool one where the bar food is tasty and the trivia emcee is a drag queen. There’s plenty of outdoor seating for enjoying a burger and company on a gorgeous day in the Quarter. Head there on Tuesdays for trivia, tacos, and tequila.

Good Friends Bar

Good Friends is the Cheers of the New Orleans gay bar scene, where everybody literally knows your name — if not, they will by the end of the night. It’s a neighborhood watering hole with open windows and tables that spill out onto Dauphine Street in the French Quarter, a pool table for a friendly game, good music, and a wrap-around balcony upstairs. The 24-hour spot is reliable no matter the time, just be careful with those separators. 

Outside Good Friends Bar on Easter Sunday.
Good Friends Bar

American Townhouse

American Townhouse is a new gay-owned bar and restaurant from the folks behind the legendary 700 Club — if you know, you know. Located across from Armstrong Park, the bar and restaurant is part of the Rampart street renaissance and brings together craft cocktails and elevated bar food in a renovated historic house and a classic French Quarter courtyard. Tip: go for the Friday $5 martini happy hour and stay for the chicken and waffles.

Inside American Townhouse.
American Townhouse

The Bourbon Pub & Parade

The Bourbon Pub and Parade — also known as the Pub — has a large downstairs bar, best to catch up with friends, as well as catch a breath between dancing. Don’t expect the big game plying on all their TV screens, because those are there for endless streams of music videos. The Pub is best known for the second-floor club with go-go dancers, karaoke, drags shows, and DJs on any given night. It just depends on what night of the week it is, but Sunday is always the best with dancing and singalongs. 

Oz New Orleans

All roads lead to Oz — except, in New Orleans, it’s less of a yellow brick road and more of a potholed one with puddles of spilled sugary drinks, so watch those ruby slippers. Oz is the place to end up on a Saturday for the best dancing in New Orleans. The shirts come off the later the night gets, so you have either been warned or even further enticed. For those who aren’t into late nights, Oz hosts Drag Bingeaux on Saturday and Sunday nights at 7 p.m. 

Above Oz.
Shutterstock

Cafe Lafitte in Exile

A proud anchor of Bourbon Street’s “Fruit Loop,” Café Lafitte in Exile’s claim to fame is that it is the oldest continuously operating gay bar in the country, with the ghosts of past patrons occasionally visiting. It must be a sign of a good time if ghosts return from the afterlife to pay a visit but beware of Mr. Bubbly, who has been known to get grabby and pinch butts. The upstairs bar and balcony hosts weekly events, including karaoke and dance parties, while the downstairs has a welcoming bar with cheap drinks and views of Bourbon Street — ideal for people watching.

Outside Cafe Lafitte in Exile on Bourbon Street.
Shutterstock

Golden Lantern

Located on the more residential end of the French Quarter, the Golden Lantern might seem like an easy-going, neighborhood dive bar at first — it is. However, come Mardi Gras day and Southern Decadence, and the spot becomes ground zero for all the action. The intimate bar is best known for its happy hour(s) from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., nutritiously-packed bloody Mary served in a “Lantern Trash” go-cup, and weekend drag shows. 

Grrlspot (Multiple Locations)

For as many gay and LGBTQ-friendly venues that are in New Orleans, there are as few girl-only clubs. Grrlspot, a lesbian dance party pop-up, hosts monthly(ish) events at different venues around town. Their Facebook page has all the details on where they will pop up next and any upcoming events, including Grrlspot’s Pride party on June 11 at One Eyed Jacks’s new space on Decatur. They’ll have DJs, dancing, and VIP views of the Pride Parade. 

Phoenix Bar

Catch Pridefest at the Phoenix, the beloved corner Marigny bar that gets just the right amount of rowdy — on Saturday, June 11 from noon to 6 p.m., with a live music and DJ lineup to give any local fest a run for its money. The bar also serves as the kickoff point for the annual Gay Pride Parade, held that Saturday, followed by all night long celebrations upstairs at the bar — which might just be the highlight of the whole day.

The AllWays Lounge & Cabaret

The Allways Lounge on St. Claude is known for its inclusive crowd, but even more renowned is its diverse live entertainment, which on any given night might include a cat circus, drag show, burlesque bingo, or naked karaoke. The drinks are cheap, the crowd is fun, and you can expect the unexpected — anything from a relaxing poetry reading to a roaring comedy show — that, after all, is the best part of New Orleans’s most avant-garde theater. 

The Country Club

The Country Club in the Bywater has long been an anchor of the gay scene, even if it no longer pegs itself as a gay bar since the restaurant’s renovation and new pool clothing regulation — meaning, it’s no longer optional. Weekend drag brunches might be overrun with bachelorette parties, but at the pool it’s otherwise the same LGBTQ-friendly scene with the always-prominent rainbow flags and men in cheeky bathing suits.

A pool party at The Country Club
The pool at the Country Club.
Josh Brasted/Eater NOLA

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