Top 5 gay bars in the Twin Cities
The Twin Cities gay scene is alive and kicking, with a taste for every want, whether it's classic, new and hot, something with a bit of kink, or a straight-up (ahem) neighborhood watering hole.
At the Gay 90's, the party rages on
5. Eagle/ Bolt
Two for the price of one
In the online era, there's no substitute for visceral, in-person chemistry. This is a place to help you break down those cold, crazy walls. A drink might help loosen your social strings, but a relaxed environment is the kicker. The Eagle and Bolt (two sides of the same coin) have a meetability quotient that tops the local competition. Every gay bar touts itself as the place to be yourself. The difference here is that you'll never feel alone.(515 Washington Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.338.4214)
4. The Saloon
Hey there, Cowboy
The Saloon is a kick-ass bar that never shies away from being, first and foremost, a kick-ass gay bar. The dance floor is fairly large, the music is good, and it has a good-looking back porch (pun intended). The three separate bars in the Saloon all serve reasonably (but not irresponsibly) strong drinks. Visually clean but psychically dirty (what is up with the go-go dancer in the water-splashed booth with the glory hole?), the Saloon also happens to host more tight-panted, armless-shirted, muscle-ripped party boys than any other spot in town--which is not a bad thing for a gay bar. Not bad at all. (830 Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis; 612. 332.0835)
3. 19 Bar
This dark, unassuming Loring Park watering hole has been around since 1953, purportedly making it the oldest gay bar in the Twin Cities. The 19, however, defies all gay stereotypes. The bleary environs boast excellent pool tables, dartboards, pull tabs, and a jukebox with a diva quotient only slightly higher than most around town. It also has prices that wouldn't get you a glass of water at most downtown clubs. In other words, it's just a damn fine neighborhood bar whose clientele happens to be men who prefer other men. In recent times it's emerged as the hipster dive bar for gay boys. The 19 Bar also has one of the finest smoking patios in the Twin Cities. (19 West 15th Street, Minneapolis; 612.871.5553)
2. Jet Set
Hard to find but worth the effort
The coolest bars are often the hardest to find. That rule definitely applies to Jetset. From the street there's not much to see: a small white light, signage that can only be spotted up close. Just watch for the beautiful, lithe hipster boys smoking on the sidewalk outside. Inside you'll find a chill hot spot with a bit of grungy New York glamour. The decor is sleek, white, and minimal, with most of the seating consisting of a long cement slab along the right-hand wall. The cocktails are incredibly tasty; many of the ingredients are fresh and/or house made. The space is long, which allows patrons to have intimate conversations in the back or to head up front for dancing as the DJ spins hits old, new, and obscure. Though the bar generally opens each day around 5 p.m., the action doesn't start too early. (115 N. First Ave., Minneapolis; 612.339.3933)
1. Gay 90's
Something for everyone
The crown jewel in our feathery headpiece. With multiple bars to fit any mood, you can dance, sing, watch, drink, and swoon in any room. The Le Femme ladies showcase the beautiful talent on the drag queen circuit, from top national names like Lady Bunny to our own Bebe Zahara Benet. Like your men a little more manly? Check out the chiseled go-go dancers downstairs. Looking for your own chance at love? Take it to the dance floor, honey. (408 Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis; 612.333.7755)
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