Where To Eat & Drink In The Gayborhood

The best bars and restaurants in the Gayborhood, according to us.

A few blocks into Midtown Village, you may see the crosswalks, historical markers, and street signs go full rainbow. And that’s not because the city has an obsession with Lucky Charms. The 13th Street corridor includes one of the most fun and lively neighborhoods in the city: the LBGTQ+ centric Gayborhood. Within the area, you’ll also find the William Way LBGT Community Center, Philly AIDS Thrift, and a really cool Lil Nas X mural that you’ll want to stare at for a long time. Check out this guide for the best Queer and Queer-owned restaurants and bars in the neighborhood.


photo credit: Gab Bonghi

Bar Food

Center City

$$$$Perfect For:Small PlatesDate NightFirst/Early in the Game DatesCatching Up With Mates


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If we're looking for an affordable, delicious weeknight dinner, we immediately think of Barbuzzo. It's also our favorite Queer-owned restaurant in Gayborhood. The cozy, dimly-lit Mediterranean spot is usually packed, with couples having the "what are we?" conversation, families, and groups of friends passing around great pizza, pasta, and Mediterranean small plates. On nights when you're flying solo, head to their first come, first serve chef’s counter, have a glass of merlot, and get a front row seat to the plates of gnocchi whizzing by.

There aren’t many Italian spots in the neighborhood, but Little Nonna’s is one of our go-to spots in the city. They have a spacious, twinkle-lit garden out back and candlelit leather booths inside where you can pass around plates of gnocchi, chicken parmigiana, and a creamy vodka rigatoni that’s topped with peppery garlic sausage. Because it’s one of the more popular spots in town, be prepared to make a reservation early—especially if you want the Sunday Gravy, packed with slow-braised short rib and broccoli rabe. If you’re not a planner, you can always grab a seat at the bar and order some of the best meatballs in town.

We love Winkel. Whether you’re up before the sun on the weekend (they open at 8am) or you promised your parents that you’d finally go to brunch with them, the laid-back atmosphere is perfect for everyone. The Dutch restaurant has long tables that are great for groups, a few booths along the walls when you want to get comfy, and a menu that has something for everyone. From a la carte items like shakshuka, shrimp and grits, fried French toast, and a house-smoked salmon Benedict. Come early, because seating is all first come, first serve–even if that means showing up in your pajamas and having your parents judge you for it.

If you’ve ever seen Mad Men and wished your work life was all drinking martinis at lunch and having “creative meetings” that are really just more drinking, you should be hanging out at Bud & Marilyn’s. It’s perfectly retro, with wood-paneled walls and black-and-white dial TVs, and you can eat all of the buttery comfort food you want—like toasty chicken sliders and meatloaf. Plus, their weekend brunch includes some of the best breakfast cocktails we’ve found in Center City, and the caramelized apple french toast is exactly what your Sunday needs to distract you from the impending workweek.

Trying to get into Charlie Was A Sinner on a Saturday night is as difficult as hearing the person next to you during Made In America. That's because a) it’s one of the most popular vegan spots in the city, b) the interior looks trendy enough to film one of those group hang scenes in the Sex In The City reboot and c) the cocktails are great. The small dining room has a long bar, velvety booths, and is dimly lit by a wine bottle chandelier. The drinks are made with fresh fruit juice and organic liquor–try one of the cocktails with barrel-aged or sundew tea gin. And small plates, like zucchini sliders with an Old Bay remoulade and caramelized eggplant bao buns, are tasty enough that you’ll think the hassle to get in was worth it. 


Knock is a restaurant and bar with drag performances every Wednesday and piano karaoke on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, when it's show-tunes themed. The bar is long and u-shaped, and you should drink Almond Joy martinis, South Beach cosmos, or just a glass of rosé. This is a great spot to kick off your night in the neighborhood with fried calamari, salmon cakes, and chicken and mozzarella flatbreads for dinner. They’re always playing great music that you can even hear on their sidewalk seating. 

There are no low-key nights at Woody’s. On most weeknights, the bar has a DJ blasting a Rihanna remix and on Wednesdays, there’s drag karaoke. It can get crowded with locals who made this their go-to spot, groups of non-queer people who visit gay bars “just for fun,” and some tourists who hear the house music from outside and can’t resist checking it out. There are lots of tables inside so it’s great for any size group you bring here, especially if you’re hungry and want to snack on some sliders, hummus, and tacos. But for the most part, people come here to dance, drink cocktails, and get sucked into a fun time warp where you look up and realize it’s 2am. 

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Franky Bradley’s is a two-floor bar where almost every night is different. They have things like open mics, drag shows, burlesque performances, and even some live music. The popular dive bar is usually packed with a casual crowd on the first floor sipping on beers and sharing nachos, but on the second floor, you’ll find a bunch of rowdy people dancing under a disco ball to whatever the DJ is spinning that night. When it comes to the menu, they have bar food like mussels and cheesesteak eggrolls, but it’s best to stick to simple things like their smoky wings. They’re crispy, drenched in a sweet bourbon BBQ sauce, and come out quickly so you won’t miss your favorite part of whatever Dua Lipa track is playing. 

You want to come to U Bar on Saturdays—it’s fun, you’ll probably meet some new people, and even though the crowd is pretty energetic, it also somehow just feels like your neighborhood spot. The gay bar is open until 2am, and has plenty of booths, some colorful overhead lighting, high-top tables, and a glowing bar where you’ll probably have to yell extra loudly to order a drink. There’s a pretty lengthy beer menu here in case you’re looking to have a few IPAs and a round of nachos while watching the Locust Street crowd walk by. 

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