Charlotte’s Best LGBTQ+ Bars
Ready for a night out? These gay bars are the city's top picks.
by Julianna Peres
Queen City? More like Kween City! We’ve compiled a list of Charlotte’s best gay bars below to celebrate Charlotte Pride and our diverse LGBTQ community. Just be careful with those death drops.
Neighborhood: Wesley Heights
As Charlotte’s oldest gay bar, this spot on Freedom Drive must be doing something right. That something is frequent drag shows where the dance floor comes to a halt, cheap (and strong drinks) and one of the more inclusive (both by gender and race) gay bars in town. This bar is 18+ and cash only, so the crowd does tend to skew younger.
Neighborhood: Plaza Midwood
Trivia games are led by iconic drag queens and live music serenades the crowds in this staple of Charlotte. Created by Connie and her partner Petra, this bar is open to anyone who likes smooth jazz, magicians or reasonably priced beer. Don't miss Hazy Sunday when they reopen on August 1.
Neighborhood: Lower South End
Neighbor to Sidelines Sports Bar and Billiards (see below), Bar Argon is the quintessential video lounge (music videos and often risqué movies play above the dance floor). The dance spot frequently hosts themed nights, including line dancing and Latin nights.
Neighborhood: Lower South End
In the mood for watching the game, throwing back a few beers and playing a round of pool? Sidelines is the (gay) sports bar for you. It’s no frills here at this South Boulevard bar near Woodlawn–and that’s what makes it great. If you want to turn the dial up a bit on the evening, luckily, Bar Argon, a gay dance club is next door.
Neighborhood: East Charlotte
Like its name suggests, Azucar is sweet like sugar. One of the largest gay clubs in Charlotte, this venue is all about dancing whenever, and with whomever, you want. Featuring up-and-coming DJs, drag queens and even go-go dancers, this is the place for a wild night out.
This bar gets packed pretty quickly, so find your spot early. Located in the historic Dilworth neighborhood in an adorable two-story home, this is one of Charlotte’s most popular gay bars. The Bar at 316 often hosts karaoke nights and drag performers in addition to its (small) dance floor. Don’t forget to check out the second-floor balcony!
Located near Charlotte Douglas International Airport, The Woodshed is Charlotte’s only gay bar that caters specifically to the “bear” and leather crowds. Gather your cubs, otters, bears and pups for an evening of fun. The spot features cheap drinks, pool tables an outdoor patio and more.
Ready for a wild night? If so, Chasers should be at the top of your list. As Charlotte’s only gay, all-male exotic dance club, the dancing here is top notch. Contestants from “RuPaul’s Drag Race” often perform here as well alongside the regular dancers. Grab a seat at this spot on The Plaza in NoDa and a drink, and don’t forget to tip.
Originally written by Jared Misner in 2018 | Updates by Julianna Peres made in 2021