I was asked to talk about the best gay bars in the world, and given a list of suggestions. I was thrilled to see The Royal Vauxhall Tavern, in London on the list because I used to haunt it when I lived in London. I spent many a wild evening there with its drag acts and warm beer, I even performed in cabaret there once or twice and, years ago, on one summer sports day they host for charity once a year, I remember a particularly sexy guy in lycra who came home with me after the egg and spoon race. But that’s a different story. The ‘Vauxhall’ or imply the ‘RVT’ as it’s locally known, is the oldest surviving gay venue in London, its housed in a traditional ‘gin palace’ of a building and hosts everything from bingo to bonanzas. Old-worldly, yet up to date, fun and cruisey, handy for transport and still going strong after all these years, it’s top of my list for sure.
But what about other gay bars around the world? Out.com has a list of 60 and I started to look through these but, to be honest, I found the site a little on the slow side. So I went back to the list that had been suggested to me, and here are the rest, in no real order:
The Abbey in LA
The Los Angeles Times called this place ‘a gay bar with no shame’ which sounds fabulous to me, and it was voted ‘the best gay bar in the world’ in 2009 and 2010 by MTV Network’s Logo channel. Its success it put down to, according to Jason Cooley, the president of Abbey Food and Bar in West Hollywood, the fact that everyone who walks through the door is a VIP. The bar treats you as a star whether you’re an A List celeb or Joe Pubic. Bravo them I say.
Manana, Puerto Vallarta
Down to Mexico now for what must be the best, most popular bar in the country, and one of the top gay bars in the world. Out.com had it there in its list of the 60 best. Manana is all about hedonism all the way with events, raves, dancing, bars and a pool. The advice is not to swim in the pool though, presumably it’s a safety thing. The bar/club featured go-go dancing boys from nine pm every night, when the doors open, until 4.00 am, but the venue itself stays rocking until six. You’ve got hot boy dancers every day, happy hour until midnight and a hot and sultry destination for romance and cruising.
Roscoe’s is one of Chicago’s best known and best loved gay venues. It’s described as a ‘place to go to for a chill out after work during the week,’ but there is more to it than that. It’s got a very flashy website of its own where the calendar of events shows you that there is something going on more or less every night of the week; from Karaoke to drag. Many live events and special drink promotions, a friendly atmosphere and just a general feeling of fun and friendship pervade on the side of the lake at Roscoe’s. There is also a café so you can eat, drink and party the nights way whether you’re a visitor or local.
The Week Rio/Sao Paulo
And last, but not least, down in Brazil, we’ve got The Week to look forward to. (Full name, The Week International.) Trip Out Gay Travel called it ‘the best disco in Sao Paulo, it has been alive since September 2004 and covers 64,000 square feet of space. Er, that’s pretty huge. And it gets packed – you have to wonder where all the guys come from. But come from somewhere they do, and the venue is constantly at or near the top of the top-lists for the world’s best gay venues. Expect over 2,500 visitors, guests, party-goers and hunky guys each weekend, and expect to be up all night – in more ways than one.
Again, just a quick run down of a few of the best gay bars in the world, according to various sources. It’s up to individuals to remember their favorites or best venues of course. As for me? I’m still thinking about the guy and the egg and spoon race at the Vauxhall Tavern all those years ago…
Our Pick for Best Gay Bar in The World goes to Heaven Nightclub in London.