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We rank top 10 lesbian bars in North America, including SF’s Lexington Club. Credit: Hannah Cairns.

By Matthew Link

Any traveling woman knows that finding a decent lesbian bar — or any lesbian bar at all — can be like finding a needle in a haystack. Many major cities have merely a token once-weekly “girl’s night” at a gay men’s bar. So after combing the map of the U.S. and Canada, we came up with the indispensable list below — the best of the best, at least in our subjective opinion! (And don’t worry guys, these party-hearty venues are all boy-friendly.)


1. Montreal – Le Drugstore
Near the epicenter of Montreal’s LGBT stretch of Rue Sainte-Catherine Est, this mammoth six-floor drinking establishment on multiple levels will prove to you that the Quebecois know how to throw a party of both class and epic scale. The complex houses several bars (and pool tables, a hair salon and food counters), and echoes New York City with street signs and exposed brick walls. The crowds migrates to whichever level the music is thumping the loudest on any given night.

2. Atlanta – My Sister’s Room
In East Atlanta Village you’ll find this, one of the best lesbian venues in the entire South. There’s always something provocative going on here, from “Iced Out Femme” shows to “Pimps and Hoes” disco nights. With great DJs, a roomy dance floor and plenty of comfy lounge space, it’s no wonder a number of gay boys gravitate to My Sister’s Room, too.

3. San Francisco – The Lexington Club
Women-popular San Francisco has a quite a good selection of lesbian venues, but this “friendly neighborhood dyke bar” in The Mission district is a longtime local favorite. Small and intimate during the week with great drink deals, it explodes and pumps to the gills on the weekends with sexy bartenders and scantily-clad dancers. Head straight from the airport to Lexington, and you’ll feel like you directly entered urban lesbian nirvana.

4. Toronto – Tango
Sharing a patio space with its adjoining gay bar brother Crews, Tango is the women’s mainstay in Toronto. Located in the heart of the city’s LGBT village on Church Street, it’s housed in a Victorian building, where all kinds of tunes reverberate between its walls — from disco to house to R&B. Crowds often migrate from Tango to Crews and back depending on what fabulous stage performance happens to be going on.

5. Los Angeles – The Palms
Once a basic neighborhood women’s bar in the heart of West Hollywood, The Palms has spruced itself up over the years and is now a shiny, sexy bar and club, but retains its casual roots. Its been pouring the fun for over four decades, and past patrons include famous names like Ellen DeGeneres and Melissa Etheridge. Any day of the week there’s something interesting here, from open mic comedy nights to great live music to hot go-go girls.


6. Brooklyn, N.Y. – Ginger’s
Finding an economical happy hour in New York City is no small feat, but Ginger’s has an awesome one nearly every night of the week. Located in Brooklyn’s Park Slope (NYC’s lesbian central), Ginger’s is a non-nonsense bar with a pool table in the backroom and a long wooden bar in front, and space to let your hair down and go wild. It’s so much fun that even Manhattan girls make the schlep out to the boroughs to partake in the Sapphic festivities. Even gay boys and straights slide their way in to seewhat all the ho-ha is about.

7. San Diego – Gossip Grill
Come for the food, stay for the eye candy. This lesbian-filled bar and grill in San Diego’s gayborhood of Hillcrest offers up “orgasmic flat bread” sandwiches and “sexy steamy paninis” as well as a mac-n-cheese comfort foods. Enjoy a stiff drink under the “feminine-inspired post-Dada art” on the walls and watch the tanned beach girls of Southern California get their groove on.


8. Seattle – The Wildrose Bar and Restaurant
Did someone say $2.50 microbrews and $1 tacos? Beyond the mind-boggling specials, it’s hard to have a bad time at Seattle’s best lesbian hangout, what with the pizza eating contests, beer pong tournaments, “butch contests,” live bands and spinning DJs galore. Proudly inhabiting the bottom floor of an historic building, you can’t say you’ve seen the Seattle girls without a visit to Wildrose.


9. Northampton, Mass. – Divas
The college town of Northampton, Massachusetts, proudly wears its moniker of “Lesbianville, USA,” and Diva’s is the happening hot spot. With red walls, a sea of bar stools and an open back patio, it’s the favorite spot for LGBT fundraisers and events, as well as young girls grinding to hip hop on the large dance floor.

10. St. Louis City – Novak’s
Drag king shows, Jello shots, karaoke and the occasional “Pretty in Pink Dress Up Night” – this wood-floor brick-wall lesbian hangout is as gosh-darn friendly as the Midwest itself. Ranked high by Curve Magazine, there’s always some event going on every night of the week, and lots of yummy “oh God, I drank too much” menu items like fried cheddar cauliflower mini corn dogs.

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Matthew Link, former Editor for The Out Traveler magazine, has been to over 60 countries and all 7 continents but that doesn’t keep him from getting on the next plane.  He also enjoys hanging out with his female friends discovering the under-explored lesbian travel scene.

Tagged: New York

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