colorful drinks and Philly

GBTQ Bars in Philadelphia: A Guide

Though not known as one of the more prominent cities in the U.S. for LGBTQ+ people, Philadelphia does still have a thriving scene full of drag brunches and LGBTQ+ owned businesses like coffee shops and bookstores. And another thing Philly is certainly not lacking in is gay bars. With quite a few LGBTQ+ specifically bars as well as LGBTQ+ friendly bars in the city, there are tons of options to check out not only during Pride Month, but in any month of the year.

Whether you’re interested in more of a sports bar to catch a Phillies game, some late-night dancing, grabbing relaxed drinks with friends, or the best first-date spot, I’ve compiled this list of the best LGBTQ+ bars in Philly to cater to whatever you’re looking for. I will note that not all of these bars are specifically gay bars or LGBTQ+ owned, as some of them are simply popular spots in the city for the LGBTQ+ community. But all of these spots are definitely worth checking out. Another thing I will note, too, is that if you’re looking for particular events going on in the city, Sip City Mixer is a good place to start, as is Philly Gay Girls+.

Stir Lounge

people in Stir Lounge

watchpartyphl / Instagram

Stir Lounge in Center City is a popular end of the night place to hit among the community, as it’s a lot smaller than some of the other bars on this list. But don’t mistake that for being quiet or dull. Stir, if you catch it at the right time, has a dancing floor in the back, along with two bars, several T.V.s, and plenty of reasons to go there. Some nights, you’ll find karaoke, and on others, you might go to catch a game.

Other things to appreciate about Stir is the fact there’s usually no cover and it’s located close to bigger bars like Woody’s and Franky Bradley’s, making it easy to hit up Stir when you’ve tired of the massive crowds. And don’t forget about the happy hour deals here, running from Tuesday through Sunday from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

stirphilly.com

(215) 732-2700

1705 Chancellor St, Philadelphia, PA 19103

Woody’s

outside of Woody's

Philly Gay Calendar

Easily the most infamous LGBTQ+ spot in Philly, Woody’s has a reputation that precedes itself. In recent years, there’s definitely been some complaints within the community that Woody’s is no longer a hidden gem for LGBTQ+ folks to enjoy. The crowds have been increasing here a lot, and it’s definitely more packed with people than it used to be. But, that doesn’t stop it from being a solid spot to go.

Before venturing out to Woody’s, it’s a good plan to have an idea of how the place is set up, as it’s not your typical bar. Woody’s has two rooms downstairs, one being your typical bar frequented by many newcomers to the scene and the other being Globar, with neon pink lights everywhere and your favorite pop hits blasting. Upstairs, there are two rooms, one being the Latin music room and the other being the main dance floor playing amazing pop hits. If you want a breather from it all, there’s also a little outdoor seating area downstairs with booths you can discover. The drinks here are very expensive, but they are super strong, so you definitely get what you pay for.

woodysbar.com

(215) 545-1893

1300 Walnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19107

Tattooed Mom

people sitting in Tattooed Mom

tmoms / Instagram

A more laid-back spot that’s still very popular, Tattooed Mom will take you away from Center City and into a world of its own, bespeckled in stickers and Sharpies on every inch of its surface. Also one of the most unique bars in Philly, Tattooed Mom offers a fresh, funky take on what a bar should be. There are two levels to this place, and in my opinion, all the best times happen on the second one. Upstairs, you’ll find a pool table, lots of seating, and some of the best pirogies around (on Thursdays from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m.).

Tattooed Mom is a popular spot for sapphic people specifically, and the two organizations I previously mentioned often do events here, too. T Moms, as it’s often called, also has some pretty fun and creative cocktails, so feel comfortable to stray from your typical beer or seltzer here.

tattooedmomphilly.com

(215) 238-9880

530 South St, Philadelphia, PA 19147

Tabu Philadelphia

outside of Tabu

Tabu

There’s nothing tabu about Tabu. Also located in the Gayborhood just down the street from Woody’s, Tabu brings something much needed to the Philly LGBTQ+ scene: a solid sports bar. I went to this bar in Philly to watch the Super Bowl multiple times, and let me tell you; it is a fun experience you won’t want to miss.

The bartenders are super friendly, and they can whip up any shot or drink you’ve dreamed of. Like many of the other bars in Philly, Tabu boasts multiple floors, and they all have different vibes. There are also plenty of bars in here, so if the one you’re standing in front of is packed, try going upstairs. In the summertime, you can also enjoy the outdoor terrace upstairs and watch the sunset. Tabu is always a great time, even if you’re not a sports fanatic.

tabuphilly.com

(215) 964-9675

254 South 12th St, Philadelphia, PA 19107

Tavern on Camac

a food spread overhead shot

tavernoncamac / Instagram

Portrayed as Philadelphia’s longest-running gay bar, Tavern on Camac offers a cacophony of experiences to people all looking for different things in their nightlife. There’s a piano bar for all those ready to belt their hearts out, a restaurant serving up actually good bites, and a nightclub upstairs bumping Charli XCX and your favorite club hits.

But no matter which part of Tavern you came for, there’s always no cover, which is a rare find in Center City. If you’re not sure if any of the other bars on this list fit your vibe, Tavern on Camac is a safe bet for a great time. After all, there’s a reason it’s been open for so long. I recommend popping in for a delicious dinner and drinks (pictured above), and if you’re having a good time and don’t want to leave, stay and enjoy the piano bar. And then, if you’re ready to kick things up a notch, just head on upstairs.

tavernoncamac.com

(215) 545-0900

243 South Camac St, Philadelphia, PA 19107-5609

Dolphin Tavern

inside Dolphin Tavern

Rhythm of The Night PHL / Facebook

South on Broad Street lies Dolphin Tavern, right by The Victor Cafe. This spot is a neighborhood favorite, though word of it has definitely spread into the rest of the city. Dolphin Tavern is a solid spot for a fun, classic night out, and it’s very LGBTQ+ friendly. And if you’re looking for a specific reason to try it out, you can always check out the bar’s Instagram to see what events are being held there. After all, it really is the DJ that makes or breaks a night out, so if you go to Dolphin Tavern and you’re not loving the music, you can always try giving it an hour and seeing if you like the next DJ better.

Dolphin Tavern literally describes itself as a mix between a tavern, a dive bar, and a lounge, and I’d say that’s fairly accurate. It’s for sure a chiller vibe than many of the dance clubs on this list, but it’s not the most toned down, either. It’s a decent in the middle spot.

dolphinphillyinfo.com

(215) 278-7950

1539 S Broad St, Philadelphia, PA 19147

Concourse Dance Bar

inside Concourse dance floor

concoursedancebar / Instagram

Speaking of raging dance clubs, welcome to Concourse. Where to even start with this place? The first thing you should know is that this is not your normal bar or club. Concourse has multiple different themed rooms less for dancing and more for photo ops. But there’s also a spacious dance floor, as well as a large bar area with plenty of high-top tables, and even a small upstairs area where you can watch people dancing below over the balcony.

This LGBTQ+ friendly club boasts several unique features, like a ball pit, an ice room, and a mirror room. It’s probably the most fun to check Concourse out on holidays, like Halloween, though any weekend is a blast, too. Do note there’s usually a small cover, and if you choose to come when it’s chilly outside, Concourse does offer a coat check, which is nice since many Philly bars (strangely) don’t.

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concoursedancebar.com

(267) 534-4128

1635 Market St, Philadelphia, PA, 19103

Charlie was a sinner.

two pink drinks

charlie_was / Instagram

An esteemed and classy spot in the Gayborhood is Charlie was a sinner. And, yes, it’s stylized with the period in the title, so you know it means business. Charlie was a sinner is the ultimate date night spot, no matter who you’re going on a date with. The cocktails here take the term artisan to a whole new level, and aside from being one of the best LGBTQ+ bars in the city, it’s also simply one of the best bars, period, in the whole city.

Reservations here are a must, though you can try your luck and try to get a walk-in spot on a weeknight. There is food served here, as well, with scrumptious appetizers to choose from, including many vegetarian and vegan options. Every cocktail here is going to be a winner, and they all go for around $17, which is not bad at all considering the quality and care that go into them.

charliewasasinner.com

(267) 758-5372

131 S 13th St, Philadelphia, PA 19107

Franky Bradley’s

tasty plate of wings

Franky Bradley’s / Facebook

I think I’ve tried pretty much almost every item on Franky Bradley’s menu, and if you’re looking for above average bar food at an LGBTQ+ bar in Philly, look no further. From the mac and cheese to the cheesesteak egg rolls to the pizza, every item on the menu is delicious, and you won’t be disappointed. Just go up to the bar to order what you want, and they’ll bring it out to a table for you.

The drinks here, as well, are not to be missed, whether you’re a beer lover or a shot aficionado. There are also multiple rooms here, though sometimes the upstairs one is closed for private events, so that’s something to keep in mind. The main area downstairs, though, is typically quite lively and filled with LGBTQ+ people, so Franky Bradley’s is a place you can always feel comfortable in.

frankybradleys.com

(215) 735-0735

1320 Chancellor St, Philadelphia, PA 19107

Voyeur Nightclub

inside of Voyeur

voyeurphilly / Instagram

Voyeur Nightclub is what it says it is: a nightclub. This is not a laid-back, have a deep conversation with friends type of spot. Rather, Voyeur is a popping nightclub that you go to do truly dance and let loose. You can even tell it’s that type of spot based on its hours: On Thursdays, it opens at midnight; on weekends it opens at 11 p.m.; and Sundays, it opens at 1 a.m.

There are also a ton of events always happening at Voyeur, so be sure to check out the club’s Instagram to get the latest update. Voyeur is a good place to hit if you are a night owl, or if you are not quite ready to wind down yet from the other bars you checked out, you can head to Voyeur and keep the party going.

voyeurnightclub.com

(215) 735-5772

1221 Saint James St, Philadelphia, PA 19107

Howl at the Moon

drinks, neon sign

howlatthemoon / Instagram

One of the more chill spots on this list, Howl at The Moon is actually a bit of a chain, boasting locations in many cities across the country, including Boston, Fort Lauderdale, Denver, and Columbus. Sunday through Wednesday, the bar exclusively hosts events, and then Thursday through Saturday is when it’s open to the general public. You’re also always welcome to book a table in advance here, and because it opens so early (6 p.m. on weekends), it can serve as a fun start to your night.

The vibes in here are chill, as I mentioned, but that doesn’t mean there’s not dancing. Depending on the night, event, and DJ, there can be some pretty fun dancing going on. Howl at The Moon is a good compromise spot for both the friends who want to sit down and sip their drink, and for those who are ready to hit the dance floor.

howlatthemoon.com/philadelphia

(267) 519-2189

258 S 15th St, Philadelphia, PA 19102

Blind Barber

a strawberry cocktail

blindbarber / Instagram

A unique speakeasy tucked behind a fully-functioning barbershop is Blind Barber. All of the times I’ve been, you don’t need a secret passcode or anything to access the back room, so that’s good to keep in mind. There are actually a couple of Blind Barber locations throughout the country, including in Chicago, New York, and Nashville, but there’s only one in Philly, and it should be at the top of your list of LGBTQ+ spots to check out.

While Blind Barber isn’t officially an LGBTQ+ spot, it’s located in Center City on the edge of the Gayborhood, so it’s become a popular spot for LGBTQ+ folks to go to. Sip City Mixer also sometimes puts on events at Blind Barber, so the visibility in the community about this spot has increased because of that. There are two floors here with a bar on each floor, and the speakeasy vibe is present throughout the back rooms. The cocktails are solid, there are plenty of comfy booths to kick back in with friends, and overall, Blind Barber is a fun, different bar to find.

blindbarber.com

(215) 528-9485

1325 Sansom St, Philadelphia, PA 19107

Cockatoo

chicken and waffles

Cockatoo.fun / Facebook

A vibrant change in pace from some of the other options, Cockatoo is all about keeping things bright and light. From the colorful murals to the tasty cocktails and scrumptious brunch menu items, you can’t help but feel good at Cockatoo. This indoor-outdoor space has plenty of tables, and if you’re looking to catch an entertaining drag brunch in the city, this is a fun spot to support.

Once again, like most of the LGBTQ+ bars in the city, the space does host a lot of events, so be sure to double check its Instagram before popping over. The food here is also actually tasty, as are the cocktails. Be sure to try one of its signature drinks of the moment or catch the happy hour (cheekily dubbed the Flocktail hour) from Monday through Friday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on non-event days.

cockatoo.fun

(267) 324-5603

208 S 13th St, Philadelphia, PA 19107

Level Up Bar & Lounge

people in Level Up

philly.bebashi / Instagram

Level Up Bar & Lounge really does level things up. This Black-owned LGBTQ+ bar is always bumping with people and events, especially because the location is great in the Gayborhood. Truly, you could do some serious bar hopping with the places on this list and discover every corner of the Gayborhood. Level Up Bar & Lounge is very inclusive, including toward allies, so if you want a safe, comfortable spot for everyone in your friend group, try out Level Up Bar & Lounge.

The bar does host many events, including karaoke, drag shows, and even a monthly Zodiac party (I recommend going when it’s your star sign’s month). The bar also offers bottle service and drink covers to stay extra safe. This is a place that truly has customer comfort and safety in mind so everyone can have a good time at Level Up Bar & Lounge.

levelupphl.com

(215) 545-1959

1330 Walnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19107

Methodology

a Philly bar

Bastiaan Slabbers/Getty Images

These bars were selected based on a combination of personal experience, friends’ recommendations, and supplemental research online. Not every LGBTQ+ bar in Philly is worth going to, but the ones on this list are absolutely worth a visit.

I chose bars based on their vibes and how welcoming the environment is, the drink options and quality, as well as what the bar offered to the community in terms of experience (Did it have good music? Good drinks? Good location?). And though some of these places are simply bars that happen to draw a large LGBTQ+ crowd, they were still included in this list because they are just as good of spots to check out as the specifically LGBTQ+ designated ones.

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