The list goes on and on, but here are 50 of the best gay and lesbian bars in the United States, places to kick back with a cocktail or cold draft, belt out some karaoke, check out the go-gos, catch a show, dance to the early morning hours and just be yourself. From long-time institutions like The Stonewall Inn in New York City and Woody's in Chicago to newer hot spots, the bars continues to serve as community meeting points. Note that this list is in no particular order, although please do chime in with any of your favorites.
West Village, New York City, United States
Perhaps the most famous gay bar in America, The Stonewall Inn was the site of the 1969 riots that ushered in a new era for gay rights in America. Though it's changed management a few times over the years, it remains a cozy, friendly local watering hole.
Downtown Center, Provincetown, United States
Atlantic House - or the A-House - was Provincetown's first post office, then a 1950s jazz club, before transforming into one of the first gay nightclubs in America. Inside you'll find the "Little Bar" - a cozy spot with fireplace and strong drinks - and a dance club that many claim is the best in town. Resident DJ David LaSalle keeps the beats pumping all summer long, and the crowd is young and beautiful. A cash-only cover applies.
East Atlanta, Atlanta, United States
It may be Atlanta's only gay hipster hole-in-the-wall, but this small bar on Glenwood never seems too crowded. With a real gayborhood feel, the clientele is of all ages - made up of boys that have a bit more substance than those over at Blake's and a few lesbians likely longing for the days when My Sister's Room was next door.
Washington, DC U Street Corridor, Washington DC, United States
This welcoming, two-level sports bar with outdoor deck is packed with fun events like trivia night, drag bingo, Sunday drag brunch, karaoke and darts. Located in the historic U Street Corridor and set in a sprawling antique Victorian house, it's the perfect brunch spot or place to make new friends by the dart board.
Shaw, Washington DC, United States
Combining cabaret, high-energy dance floors and a plush lounge, Town Danceboutique draws a diverse crowd as DC's largest gay nightclub. Town has two floors, numerous rooms and the Patio, a 4,000-square-foot (372 m2) drinking and socializing space open six nights a week in warm weather. Part of the bustling U Street Corridor, the busy club kicks off the weekend with a Friday "Bëar Happy Hour," the nation's largest, all-welcoming weekly Bear event. Drag shows start at 10:30 pm Fridays and Saturdays. And every other Saturday, led by the DC Rawhides, two-steppers and linedancers take the floor.
Hillcrest, San Diego, United States
Around since 1991, Rich's is the largest and best known of San Diego's LGBT clubs and a favorite spot during the annual Pride celebration. It boasts two dance floors - each with its own brand of music - and three patios plus of couple VIP areas. Each night offers something different. #LEZ on Thursdays has been voted the #1 lesbian event in town for its highly choreographed show, all-night drink specials and rotating DJs spinning hip hop and house. Stripper Circus on Sundays is another favorite with high-energy electro on the main dance floor and hip hop/POP videos in the front room and special performances by RuPaul's Drag Race queens.
Hell's Kitchen, New York City, United States
As the name suggests, Flaming Saddles Saloon is a country-western themed gay bar in Hell's Kitchen with super friendly staff in tight jeans who'll get up on the bar top and do a little two step. The small straight-owned space which hints at frontier decor gets packed with a fun and country loving crowd, particularly for one of the many happy hours, including one that starts at midnight.
Bernal Heights, San Francisco, United States
The Wild Side West dates to 1962 when proud lesbians Pat Ramseyer and Nancy White opened the first incarnation in Oakland. Two years later, it moved to Broadway in San Francisco and then on to its current location in leafy Bernal Heights in 1976. To this day, the cozy bar is lesbian-owned and continues as a neighborhood place for the ladies to kick back, have a beer and shoot some pool. There's a standard schedule of trivia nights and karaoke, but even just any old Tuesday is fun. The jukebox is pretty fabulous, as are the patio and the sculpture-filled garden.
Castro, San Francisco, United States
Crowded with young things in their best finery, Blackbird is a sexy little spot in the Castro that prides itself on a properly mixed cocktail and a gentlemanly atmosphere. The perfect place for a stylish pre-dinner drink, the low lighting, billiards table, and photo booth keep people happy.
South Beach, Miami, United States
The Palace Bar & Grill, with the motto "Every Queen Needs a Palace" has been stage center since 1998 when it became the first gay restaurant/bar on Ocean Drive. Reminiscent of "The Bird Cage," it is known for its cruise bar, drag shows and happy hours. Not far from its original location across from 12th Street Gay Beach, it flies the rainbow flag and is a tourist attraction by day and cruise bar by night. Its rambunctious drag shows often spill out onto Ocean Drive. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner with a great Sunday "Brunchic." You need to be 18+ to attend the drag shows, Tuesday-Thursday noon to 3 pm, evening shows seven days a week from 7 pm to 11:30 pm. Best to reserve.