A Definitive Ranking Of Literally Every West Hollywood Queer Bar
photo credit: Benji Dell
Resting not-so-gently between Robertson and La Cienega on Santa Monica Blvd., this section of Weho might be one of the most culturally significant queer neighborhoods in the entire world. And it also has more nightlife than anyone knows what to do with.
So how do you make sense of it all? Everywhere you turn there’s another jam-packed bar filled with people who could all be Jonathan Bailey's Wicked stunt double. Because we’ve ranked every single queer bar in the area, and we’re here tell you how exactly each one should fit into your night out in Weho. Ready? Let’s get weird.
We respect any bar that pulls off a punny name, and Hi Tops has that going for it. This popular SF-transplant is still on the newer side by West Hollywood standards, and for that reason alone, it’s crowded. The high-school-themed space is big and open, which is ideal for people to stand around and look at each other until somebody makes the first move. Tuesday night trivia is very popular, and some people here are actually watching sports unironically. That said, the most surprising aspect of this place is their excellent craft cocktails. So instead of your usual vodka soda, go for the mezcal-heavy Magic Hour, or The Claw, which is made with gin and cardamom bitters.
Taking over the legendary Gold Coast space, Or Bar opened in 2022 and is already one of our go-to drinking spots in West Hollywood. Yes, $18 craft cocktails are egregious even for Weho, but we appreciate the fact that Or Bar is more than just a four-walled room filled with Britney remixes and 24-year-olds standing around on Grindr. People here are actually hanging out, and if you can believe it, talking. The place skews loungey, but not in a tacky, bottle service kind of way. There are plush, comfy banquettes where anyone can sit and a giant, amoeba-shaped chandelier hanging over the bar. It’s retro, kitschy, and gives off the energy of a well-attended dinner party in Palm Springs.
Despite being located in the center of the action on Santa Monica Blvd., walking into this restaurant/performance space feels like you've found a secret oasis. There’s a great front patio that never gets too crowded, bartenders who’ll actually look you in the eyes, and excellent queer programming throughout the week that includes bearded lady cabarets, Drag Race viewing parties, movie nights, and more. If you’re in the mood to day drink on the weekends, it’s all about the Wig & Waffles drag brunch with $29 bottomless mimosas and copious amounts of death drops.
You’re probably at Revolver because you’re too drunk to realize it’s not Micky’s and you’re under the impression that go-go dancer is in love with you. Revolver could be any gay bar anywhere in the world, which also means it’s quite popular. It also benefits from having dozens of TVs playing iconic music videos and a great corner location where hundreds of girls finally decide to take off their high heels and cry.
In reality, St. Felix is far less a gay bar and much more a place to just hang out, eat good food, and people-watch on the patio. Located smack in the center of all the action, the bigger scenes here happen during the week, when the after-work crowd invades for the fantastic Happy Hour, or on Sunday afternoons for brunch. St. Felix is your cool gay uncle who still knows how to have fun - but keeps his life together at the same time.
Reporting live from Weho’s latest round of bar-switch-a-roos, Schmitty’s is a neighborhood bar operating inside the old GymBar space, now run by the same people as FuBar—which is still closed. Got that? It doesn’t matter. All you need to know is that Schmitty’s is a solid place to grab a drink and hang out on a spacious patio next to a closed-down Five Guys. The Irish pub aesthetic is definitely a little cheesy, but no one’s really complaining about that when there’s a four-hour weekday Happy Hour with $5 well cocktails, wine, and beer.
The Bayou is where you go when you’ve just arrived in Weho and realize you’re way too sober to be doing this. Their daily Happy Hour goes until 8pm with $3 beers, $5 well drinks, and good cell service for checking Grindr. Bayou might be small, but the feel is right (read: Mardi Gras) and the bartenders will almost certainly pour you free Fireball shots for no reason. You're jumping off point for an evening of personal destruction lies here.
GymBar was one of the first spots in Weho to announce its closure in 2020. It was also the first bar to announce its reopening… in a brand new space a few blocks down Santa Monica Blvd. Taking over a former Halal Guys that absolutely no one went to, the new digs are pretty similar to the old ones. Which is to say, it’s a fairly cramped space with TVs blasting MLB games, rec sports teams throwing back drinks as quickly as possible, and a few lost straight guys who haven’t figured out this isn’t Barney’s Beanery.
Welcome to Weho’s lost and found. Trunks is where you go when you lost one friend at the Chase ATM line and the other is still inside the Pavilions that closed a half hour ago. Trunks is tiny, easy to get into, and in the middle of everything, making it the ideal spot to regroup and find your people before heading to the next spot. Also, bartenders here hand out tequila shots like they’re free. And if you flirt with the right server, they might be.
Finally making use of the best corner in Weho (Santa Monica and San Vicente), Rocco’s is a relatively new addition to the neighborhood and, at the very least, looks a whole lot better than the sad Bank of America it replaced. With a massive, wrap-around patio and huge bar area inside, Rocco’s is a bit corporate but gets points for providing the area with the restaurant/bar combo it needed. Is the food good? Not really. But they have a decent beer list, plenty of appetizers you’ll be fine with when you’re drunk, and Wheel of Fortune playing during the week. Also, they have a full dog menu if your canine son is tagging along.
No introduction necessary here, but we’ll give one anyway: The Abbey is the most recognizable gay bar in LA and probably the country (maybe the world?) and ground zero for all things Weho nightlife. And with four separate bars, a gigantic front patio, and a multi-tiered dance floor, it’s not going anywhere anytime soon. Just avoid the weekends, when every Brentwood divorcee and carpooling teenager from Rancho Cucamonga descends on it. One overlooked aspect of the place though is the food. Get here on a Sunday afternoon for brunch and walk away thrilled. And hammered.
The closure of Rage in 2020, one of Weho’s oldest and most recognizable gay bars, was a major loss for the community. The fact that Heart has re-energized the space and brought life back to one of the most prominent corners of Santa Monica Blvd. is reason enough for us to like it. That said, it’s still pretty generic: complete with crowded dance floors, long lines, and a generally attractive crowd standing around not having fun. Keep your eyes on Heart’s Instagram though. They pull in some of the biggest names in the business with shows throughout the week.
If you were to look up “complete and utter sh*tstorm” in the dictionary, you would absolutely find Micky’s. This is where you go after a sloppy breakup (or the death of a Golden Girl) to realize the power of yourself and others. Everyone in Micky’s is dead-set on getting as hammered as humanly possible and they’re very good on their word.
You wake up Sunday morning, you don’t know where you are, and there’s a number in your phone that reads “Craig from Kitchen24.” Assume you went to Mother Lode. The classic dive bar underwent a facelift a few years back, but luckily, is pretty much unchanged otherwise—good news for those seeking mixed drinks that are actually just full cups of well tequila. The interior isn't great by any means, and there’s a decent chance someone will kiss you on the neck without telling you first, but generally speaking, you’re in for a good time.
Hamburger Mary’s is all about three words: Drag Queen Bingo. Come Sunday afternoon, get intimate with some bottomless mimosas, text an ex at brunch, and stick around until 6pm when the best bingo in the world commences. Hamburger Mary’s might not be much of a nightlife fixture but on Sundays it’s a flat-out destination that you need to work into your schedule—especially if you have people visiting from out of town.
Who doesn’t want to drink in a bar named after a Bette Midler movie that deals with the crippling effects of viral cardiomyopathy? This beach-themed bar actually does promise some fun things, like a solid Happy Hour, alcoholic slushies, and something called #BaeWatchFridays. But in reality, there’s not much separating Beaches from other generic bars on the block. If you stumble in here on the way to somewhere else, you’ll be fine, but no one comes to Weho just for Beaches.
Sitting directly next door to The Abbey, the crowd at this aggressively by-the-books club is mostly comprised of circuit gays and overflow from its more famous neighbor. The music can be fun sometimes, but it’s so over-crowded, everyone just ends up standing around talking about how fun the music is instead of actually being able to dance.
Fiesta Cantina is one of those terrible bars that still think as long as you get people drunk enough, using broad-stroked Mexican culture to entertain them is completely fine. It’s not. And by “culture” we mean plastic palm trees, spray-painted beach tableaus, and All-You-Can-Eat Taco Tuesdays. It’s also important to note that no matter where you are in Fiesta, you’re less than six inches away from the nearest vomit, so stay on your toes. And while you’re at it, just turn around and leave.
We’re now entering the Lisa Vanderpump portion of the list, which is to say, we’re almost at the end. Tom Tom is the latest in a long line of Bravo-powered bars that are quickly erasing all traces of authentic queer culture in West Hollywood. Is Tom Tom even a gay bar? It doesn’t matter—it’s a bad bar, full of straight girls on vacation who think gay men are tourist attractions. And yet, this steampunk-themed atrocity still manages to be slightly better than Lisa’s other properties, simply because there are weird mechanical clocks you can stare at while you contemplate if you’re part of the problem.
Congratulations. The dullest, most meaningless spot in all of Weho is PUMP. The “Sexy Garden” restaurant is a complete waste of one of the best properties on all of Santa Monica Blvd. Lisa Vanderpump could’ve given the queer community a place that mattered, but instead created a stale, over-designed lounge straight from the heteronormative bowels of Beverly Hills. Here's the good news—it closes in July.