All photos by Rolling Blackouts
FOR CHEAP DRAFT BEER
Sometimes nothing seems more satisfying than an ice-cold pint of draft beer, and luckily there are quite a few places to gulp one down here in L.A. They seem to be most popular (and the cheapest) at weekend beer bust parties, and none is more popular than the Classic Beer Bust at Faultline. There you’ll pay a dollar or two for a cup of cheap swig, listen to rock and pop tracks and fight your way through a balls-to-the-wall crowd (which is of course half the fun). For those over on L.A.’s Westside, The Roosterfish is a great spot for near-the-water drinking, and on Sundays you can get some burgers and dogs with your beer. Motherlode in WeHo features ridiculously cheap pitchers of beer depending on when you go, as does The Gold Coast anytime you stop in. And if you’re looking to make a night of beer-guzzling, you won’t find it cheaper than at Cub Scout at Eagle L.A., where draft beers are only $2 all night long.
CELEBRATE HAPPY HOUR
While gay L.A. isn’t game for celebrating happy hour quite like other cities (SF comes to mind), there are still quite a few happy hour celebrations worth stepping into after the long workday. Fiesta Cantina is probably WeHo’s most popular, offering 2-for-1 drinks not only from 4-8 p.m., seven days a week, but again from 10:30-12:30. Prepare to step over a few people (and maybe puddles, too), but with a special that nice, it’s worth it! The $5 Happy Hour at Eleven down the street is pretty tempting as well, offering up $5 well cocktails, beer and wine—and yummy eats—Monday through Friday, 5-8 p.m. For a swanky happy hour experience, mosey into St. Felix (either the WeHo or Hollywood locale) for half-off cocktails and cheap bites.
PRIME PATIO DRINKING LOCALES
The gay Angeleno loves securing a prime spot on a patio, particularly when there’s a cocktail in hand and the sun (or moon) shines overhead. With weather as perfect as we get here in L.A., there are naturally tons of places great for patio-hopping, like tried-and-true haunt The Abbey, WeHo’s quintessential every-bar, where more than half of the nightclub is itself a patio. Moving over to the East Side, half of Faultline features prime patio real estate—with go-gos, the DJ booth and a firepit, oh my!—and Rockwell in Los Feliz showcases one of the city’s most beautiful courtyards, great for a weekend brunch or sophisticated nighttime revelry.
FOR HAND-CRAFTED COCKTAILS
On the occasion you’re seeking out a drink requiring bartending skill and not just a heavy poor, gay L.A. has several fine dining spots where you can drink with your pinky in the air. The Abbey is known for its plethora of flavored martinis and mojitos, which are worth every penny you’re asked to shell out. St. Felix is another go-to bar, with sumptuous cocktails like the much-loved Pear Manhattan and Firecracker (grapefruit vodka, lime, cranberry and jalapeño—yes, please!). The return of Silver Lake’s Black Cat—in its Sunset Junction location, sharing the name of the spot’s historical gay bar where LGBT demonstrations preceded Stonewall—means there’s one more spot on the East Side to grab a delectable hand-crafted cocktail.
ROLL WITH A YOUNG CROWD
Tigerheat at Avalon is known first and foremost for the 18-and-up crowd it attracts, second for the sense of ‘Oh, I must be old now’ anyone over 27 feels upon entering, third for its DJs’ weekly binge of delicious, syrupy pop music. Another spot rife with young’uns is Rage, which allows the under-21 set indoors Thursday through Sunday. A Hollywood venue unlike any other is Boardner’s, which invites 18-and-up guys and girls to party it up on Mondays (Blue Mondays, ‘80s night), Wednesdays (Club Moscow, vinyl and bands) and Saturdays (Bar Sinister, goth/fetish night). Don’t forget, though, that young crowds also beckon chicken hawks—those ‘young-at-heart’ older men who prey upon the vulnerable!
ROLL WITH THE YOUNG- AT-HEART
If you’re like most people who are old enough to pay for a rental car, the last thing you’re looking for is a bevy of tweens ambushing your favorite watering hole. You need not worry at WeHo’s Gold Coast or Trunks, where things skew a bit higher in age but not in drink prices. Most bars on L.A.’s East Side also feature crowds of a more mature variety, as do many gay bars in the Valley.
TEAR UP A DANCE FLOOR
L.A. gays know how to cut a rug, even though they’d never refer to it as such. At Jewel’s Catch One, still around from the early ‘70s as a gay club catering to black gay and lesbian communities, you used to find Madonna tearing it up on the dance floor. Metropolitan (which you most likely know by its old moniker, The Factory) is WeHo’s big danceteria. If you’re looking to dance alongside hotties of the Latin persuasion, look no further than Hollywood’s Circus Disco and Arena. And for a different kind of dancing, check out Oil Can Harry’s in the Valley, where the guys line-dance and listen to Country & Western music ‘til the cows come home.
WATCH YOUR FAVE VIDEOS
The return of West Hollywood’s Revolver in 2011 had gays throughout the city ecstatic to once again watch gay-favorite music videos and comedy clips among their booze-fueled brethren. The place is a smorgasbord of visual stimulation. Fubar is known for the frenetic, clever video montages it displays at certain parties, most notably Big Fat Dick and its annual Halloween and Christmas parties. And for a different type of ‘video’ (the penis-in-butt variety, to be blunt) head East and stand in front of the many screens at Faultline or Eagle L.A. Disclaimer: Some are not for the squeamish.
DRAG YOURSELF HERE
L.A. is a great city for drag, evidenced by the fact that most parties in town feature a late-night performance or two, are hosted by drag queens or simply have dolled-up patrons guzzling at the bar. Rage in WeHo is home to Dreamgirls every Tuesday night, a drag show that presents the best of the best in female illusionists to a hungry crowd. Echoplex plays home to Trannyshack when it barrels into town from San Francisco, and Hamburger Mary’s (in both WeHo and Long Beach) offers up drag numbers on a regular basis. Plaza, a popular bar among the Latino set, has a drag show where performers belt out numbers in both English and Spanish.
SLEAZE IT UP
Certain parties around town are just known for being raunchy and sleazy (and fun), and many—like Big Fat Dick, Stripper Circus and Hooker Casino—make it very clear what you’re getting. Absolut Underwurld, a Thursday underwear party at Faultline, has patrons strip down to their skivvies while enjoying discounted drinks. Hot Rod, a last-Wednesday-of-the-month party at Micky’s, features go-go gods, rockin’ music, fetish shows and a crowd that loves to grope.
PRIME PEOPLE- WATCHING PARTIES
If you’re on the hunt for crowds who really go all-out to look the part of hedonistic, crazed booze hounds (a look that requires creativity, skill and sometimes your grandmother’s fur coat), look no further than Evita, a party at BLOK in Hollywood that has taken the reins from its predecessor, Mr. Black L.A. At Silver Lake’s Los Globos, hipsters, self-described ‘art fags’ and club kid-types converge at A Club Called Rhonda for nonstop dancing. And the city’s most stylish ne’er-do-wells dress up and keep the weekend alive for one more night at Mustache Mondays at DTLA’s La Cita.
OGLE GO-GOS HERE
Certain parties are known for their go-go dancer man candy, either because there seem to be more dancers than patrons or because the guys are just so damn smokin’ hot. You’ll find sexy guys packing heat at Stripper Circus and Hooker Casino, both of which take place at Here Lounge in WeHo, and also at Guys Gone Wild, taking place every Thursday at The Abbey. If you prefer your man candy with a chiseled jaw and hairy chest, check out the über-fun (and packed) Meat Rack on second and fourth Saturdays at Eagle L.A. or the Tuesday night party Rimjob at MJ’s, both in Silver Lake.
ON THE HUNT FOR CELEBS
Everyone loves a gay bar, including non-gay celebs, a fact proven by many a pop princess and reality TV star around town. The Abbey has quite a reputation for playing host to everyone from Christina Aguilera to the Sex and the City gals. Over at popular Saturday party Rasputin, among the consistently at-capacity crowd you’re sure to find a VIP mixing her own drinks inside a booth. New party Evita has recently bestowed hosting duties upon New York gay royalty Amanda Lepore and Cazwell. Even East Side party Brutus at Faultline has seen its share of celeb spottings, with past patrons including Rufus Wainwright and Rosario Dawson.
MINGLE WITH A HAIRY CROWD
Sure, the East Side is well-known for its celebration of body and facial hair. At Silver Lake establishments like Akbar, Faultline and Eagle L.A., you’re bound to find a bar full of bearded, furry-chested men swigging beer and booze, and yeah, occasionally you’ll overhear a ‘woof’ or other animal mating call. But thanks to Otter Pop, a party at Micky’s taking place the first Wednesday of every month, WeHo has a party celebrating the hirsute among us as well. If you’re more turned on by a scruffy face than a full-on beard, stop into GYM Bar, where you’ll likely find a pack of gays who happen to like football and happen to despise plucking their brows or manscaping.
INDULGE IN SUNDAY FUNDAY
It’s not exactly a secret that L.A. gays love to drink and get wild on Sundays, preferably starting in the early afternoon and oftentimes ending long after the sun has gone to sleep. You’ll see this both in WeHo and on the East Side. In WeHo, it’s all about Robertson Boulevard, with The Abbey and Here Lounge drawing cute boys in their Sunday best, which usually includes flip-flops and tanks when the weather’s nice. Popular Tom Whitman party Size has been drawing the city’s clean-cut all-American types for nearly a decade. Relatively new party Vignette offers a more swanky option, courtesy of champagne and plush, circular booths. On the East Side, Sunday drinking options are all about Faultline’s beer bust, where the men are packed like sardines under the hot sun, and Eagle L.A.’s BBQ grill.
EAT WHILE YOU DRINK
Plenty of L.A.-area gay bars offer up delicious eats with their cocktail menus, meaning you can kill two birds without leaving the same stone. The Abbey and St. Felix over in WeHo offer a plethora of great eats, and Hamburger Mary’s is perfect if you’re craving dinner, drinks and a show. Head east to enjoy the tavern-style ambience of Black Cat, which serves up market-fresh cuisine. Of course, if you’re just in the mood for cheap bar eats to accompany your margarita or oversized Corona, grab some nachos or queso from Fiesta Cantina.
Head to Eagle L.A. for BLUF (Breeches & Leather Uniform Fanclub) the second Friday of every month and GEAR every third Friday to get your leather daddy fix. Sure, not everyone’s rocking the black and shiny at these parties, but dressing up is strongly encouraged. The Bullet Bar in North Hollywood welcomes a leather crowd in its neck of the woods, and down south in Long Beach, Pistons is a refuge for those who love to rock leather and fetish gear.
Find our list of L.A. area parties by day of the week here.
Find our listings of the L.A. area's 50+ gay bars here.