These Establishments Guarantee a Gay Old Time.
There's more to a “gay” bar than just having a large LGBTQ clientele frequenting it. It's all about the atmospheres of acceptance that these places cultivate that makes them great.
This is nothing new, of course. Gay bars have been around for a long time — since the 1800s, at least — and they're a healthy, necessary addition to the nightlife landscape, to be sure. As with everyone else in society, it's important for LGBTQ persons to have public places where they can interact in any way they choose.
But there's more to the constitution of a truly good gay bar than the services and open minds offered. As with any bar, a good gay bar is as much determined by its patrons and the flavor that they provide the place as anything else.
Curious to check out the local LGBTQ nightlife scene for yourself? Here's a list of our favorite Dallas gay bars. These establishments all offer something unique to the scene — and, in most cases, just all-around excellent service, too.
Station 4. Sue Ellen's. BJ's NXS. It'll Do Club. Jr's Bar and Grill. The Round-Up Saloon. The Tin Room. It'll Do photo by Melanie Shafranek. Sue Ellen's photo via the club's Facebook page. All other photos by Erika Lambreton.
Station 4, better known locally by its S4 nickname, is definitely the most well-known club on the Cedar Springs strip — and for good reason. The sheer size of the space allows for large crowds, multiple bars and a packed dance floor. The cherry on top at this spot is S4's Rose Room on the upper floor, where amateur and professional drag personalities perform almost nightly. Say what you will about it being as stereotypical a gay bar as you can find in Dallas, but S4 really does have something for everyone.
Calling all lesbians: Sue Ellen's is your hangout. With an always-polite staff and a cool crowd, this bar is definitely the right spot for a night out with the ladies. Plus, it's one of the only good gay bars in town that offers live music shows with any regularity.
Usually just referred to as BJ's, this bar makes it on our list due to its “Tuesday Night Trash” events, which happen each Tuesday. The offer is simple — just some seriously cheap drinks is all. But the resulting crowd on these nights makes for some pretty choice mingling.
Though not a traditional “gay” bar by any means, It'll Do is still very LGBTQ friendly. Back in the fall, the bar catered itself to this community specifically by hosting its weekly Thursday night drag parties called “Queen,” which featured a different drag personality each week. Those events have fallen somewhat by the wayside, but It'll Do remains a LGBTQ-friendly spot not on Cedar Springs, which is nice.
Not only does Jr's Bar and Grill offer a comfortable space in which to drink and dance, but it also offers some pretty decent food to boot. Since the place is also adjacent to S4, you can expect a lot of people to be hopping from there to here (and vice versa) on a given night, which definitely adds nicely to this spot's vibe.
If John Travolta's character in Urban Cowboy was gay (no, not Travolta; his character) and lived in Dallas, Round-Up would definitely have been central to the film's plot. From karaoke to gay cowboys and cowgirls to line-dancing and the occasional Lady Gaga cameo, it's no wonder that this saloon is always packed on the weekends. It's also, we should note, the only gay western bar in Dallas.
If you're in the mood for dancing, Tin Room may not be the place you're looking for. But if your aim is to get some drinks with friends and party with some go-go dancers, Tin Room will do the job nicely. Plus, if you do want to dance (after a couple of drinks, of course), there is some room for you to do that, too.
It'll Do Club.
Jr's Bar and Grill.
The Round-Up Saloon.
The Tin Room.
It'll Do photo by Melanie Shafranek. Sue Ellen's photo via the club's Facebook page. All other photos by Erika Lambreton.