Charlotte’s Best LGBTQ+ Bars
The Queen City has a vibrant and busy gay scene, with something happening virtually every day of the week. We’ve rounded up a list of the city’s best hot spots, from nightclubs & sports bars to lounges & Sunday Funday oases. And yes — we have plenty of drag.
by Dean McCain
The Bar at 316 is one of Charlotte’s most popular gay bars and their newly expanded patio area is ready for the party. Located in the historic Dilworth neighborhood, this unique two-story-home-turned-lounge is good for pre-dinner drinks, late nights dancing and everything in between. With quick access from South End restaurants and a Lynx station nearby, 316 is a natural choice for a gay Charlotte experience. Check their Instagram for information on touring drag queens, RuPaul's Drag Race viewing parties and more.
Located down South Boulevard in the Lower Southend (LoSo) area, this casual dance club is a welcoming spot for all types. Check Argon’s online calendar for frequently-hosted themed nights like leather gear parties, Latin nights, line dancing lessons, karaoke and even table-top card game tourneys. Saturday nights on the dance floor are some of the best on the scene.
Neighborhood: Wesley Heights
The Scorpio is Charlotte’s oldest gay bar and one of the most consistent for big crowds and wild times. Drag shows are the main draw here, with the dance floor clearing at least once a night (Fridays & Saturdays) for some seriously high-energy spectacles. The Scorpio has one of the most diverse crowds of any Charlotte gay bar, by age, race and gender expression. The venue is 18+ and cash only.
Neighborhood: East Charlotte
If you’ve got dancing on your mind and need to move your hips, Azucar is your nightclub. Rising-star DJs, extravagant drag queens and studly go-go dancers make this Latin venue one to guarantee a wild night out. The fun and flashy nightclub is all about dancing whenever, and with whomever, you want.
Neighborhood: Plaza Midwood
This funky Plaza Midwood bar is open to anyone who might like smooth jazz, karaoke, live art performance, or a stiff Tiki drink. Petra’s is a fun, lowkey atmosphere catering to anyone looking for a creative scene. Don't miss Hazy Sundays for an afternoon of deep house cuts & dancing on the back patio. Not hosted every Sunday, and worth planning ahead for.
In the mood for watching a game, playing a round of pool and having a few cold ones with the local rugby guys? Sidelines is the (gay) sports bar for you. It’s a no-frills spot with a friendly neighborhood-crowd feel. Visitors to Charlotte might start their night here before amping it up next door at Argon.
Located off I-85 and near the airport, The Woodshed is Charlotte’s only gay bar catering specifically to the leather crowd. Don’t let the view from the highway deter you – once you enter The Woodshed you’ll be treated to friendly faces on both sides of the bar, cheap drinks, low lights and Dolly on the jukebox. The back patio is where the real party’s at, featuring a leather shop (see Enzo for a custom harness and other sexy gear). Whether you’re on the prowl for bears, pups or otters, this spot is for you.
Neighborhood: Plaza Midwood
Hattie’s Tap and Tavern is another great pick for a lowkey night out. Hattie’s is a friendly neighborhood joint featuring local brews on draught, a massive (and dog-friendly) patio, and themed nights ranging from comedy shows to burlesque, and everything in between. Though not designated as an “LGBT bar,” this taproom is a favorite particularly for ladies and femmes in the community.