200 of the Greatest Gay Bars in the World
ASIA + PACIFIC
THE IMPERIAL HOTEL: Walk in and discover a thriving icon of gay Australia. Nestled in the Sydney suburbs is the Imperial Hotel, which is home to a mixed community of gays and lesbians. After years of renovations, ‘The Impy’ boasts a show room, two main bars, an underground disco, and an upper level deck and courtyard to mingle or smoke. The final scenes from The Adventures of Priscilla: Queen of the Desert were shot at the Imperial, and new drag stars in the making reenact Priscilla, and Abba, a few nights a week and on weekends.
DT’s PUB: The pond and the palm trees in the back are enough to get you to this local favorite, but the assortment of men — all sizes, all shapes — and their welcoming attitude will make you want to spend the night.
THE LAIRD: Not all Aussies are blonde surfer dudes. There are plenty of bears, bikers, cowboys, nerds, and many more beefy, brooding and sensual men around, and they can be found at The Laird Hotel.
PSYCHIC JACK’S: A pop piano bar-cum-lounge that could only be found Hong Kong, Psychic Jack’s is unlike you’ve ever seen, and there’s no telling what kind of trouble you could get into here.
SHANGHAI STUDIO: Head below street level to find this arty Shanghai watering hole where locals and expats mix freely. Shanghai Studio is a staple of gay life in the French Concession and the perfect place to get over your culture shock. The crowd is friendly and eager to help any new comer to the city learn the ropes.
ADVOCATES CAFE: With tiger stripped wallpaper and a front patio so brimming with patrons they spill into the street, it’s hard to miss Adovcates Café, one of Shinjuku Ni-chome’s most popular gay bars. Popular with expats, tourists, locals, and occasionally the odd go-go boy, Advocates is a hub of the Tokyo gay scene. Don’t worry about a language barrier, with a very friendly and international clientele, you’ll find somebody to strike up a conversation with.
ARCH: Offering up some of the best clubbing in Shinjuku, ArcH is staple of Tokyo’s gay nightlife. Theme nights are big here, so depending on the night you could be grinding up on a local to techno or dancing with a drag queen to the Sailor Moon themesong. But check the schedule before you go, as some nights are men or women only.
PEGS N PINTS:
Delhi’s queer chameleons get karma points for coming out of the closet on this Tuesday-only gay night (the only regular public gay venue outside the city’s cruisy parks). MTV India and Bollywood showstoppers play on a loungey level overlooking the small dance floor.
FUSION BAR AT DWARIKA’S HOTEL: Poolside at the two-level bar is the best spot for evening cocktails and live music. The crowd, though mostly straight, is almost exclusively expat, so if there’s a well-heeled homo traveling through Kathmandu at the same time you are, chances are he’ll swing through here.
BIG PAPA: One of many “macho dancer bars” in Manila, bars where the muscle-bound go-go bars dance artfully to moody music instead of gyrating to the bass, Big Papa’s also one of the best.
DJ STATION : At the end of a gay alleyway, just around the corner from the notorious pussy shows of Patpong, tourists and locals all converge at DJ Station. The space consists of three levels of industrial metallic, and the dance floor is always in full swing. Thai boys have the taste for a new face even when it’s an old face. At DJ Station fresh meat is ageless, and there’s so much body contact on the dance floor, one wonders if the sexy locals are looking to dance, find love, or pick a pocket.
G BANGKOK: Down a dark and gritty alley in Patpong, you’ll find G Bangkok (formerly G.O.D. – Guys on Display). Gets busy after 2 A.M., this three-level club packed with stages, cages, and zebra-patterned couches. G’s notorious drag shows don’t really get going until after 5 A.M. but continue into the late hours of the morning.
VERTIGO AT BANYAN TREE : Situated 61 floors above the bustling streets of Bangkok, Vertigo restaurant’s Moon Bar is the highest outdoor bar in the Asia-Pacific region. Settle in for stunning views, sumptuous cocktails, or an unexpectedly inventive barbecue menu. Don’t let the setting sun distract you from finding visiting corporate executives flashing black Amex cards and suggestive smiles.
GC BAR: In Hanoi’s French Quarter the solid-oak bar at GC (Golden Cock) greets you from the street while a huge pool table dominates a back room full of expats, transvestites, and hairless Hanoi hipsters. Farther back is a lovely open-air garden. A word of caution: GC not only closes early but is also often raided by local police, even if at last visit they seemed more interested in the pool stick, straddling transvestites than in pimping bribes.
HO CHI MINH CITY
APOCALYPSE NOW : One of the oldest clubs in the former Saigon, AN is the unofficial after-hours spot in the city. Amiable pimps and local prostitutes shoot pool as hordes of foreigners drink tequila and party until dawn. The best night for those looking for action is Tuesday.