Charlotte’s Best LGBTQ Bars
Ready for a night out? These gay bars are the city's top picks.
by Jared Misner
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.
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.
If you haven’t heard of this gay bar in Charlotte’s historic Smallwood community, it’s time to get acquainted. The Nickel Bar is popular with the city’s black LGBTQ community, throwing, arguably, the city’s best Black Gay Pride Weekend parties every July. The club oftentimes welcomes guest DJs and isn’t shy about the potency of its drinks.
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 is packed on weekends, and it frequently hosts themed nights, including line dancing and Latin nights.
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.
What used to be Cathode Azure, the splashy blue-bathed gay nightclub, is now this drag-themed restaurant in South End. All the restaurant’s hosts and servers are drag queens, and the restaurant and bar offers performances throughout the evening. Order a burger and a beer and cheer on some of Charlotte’s finest drag performers.
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.