4168 Broadway, at 177th St.; 212.923.8700
Unless you're part of Washington Heights's growing gay community, it's quite the hike to the hood's only gay bar, but it's worth it, especially on a weekend night. The space, arranged like a rotary around the bar, is jam-packed with hot men (and some women) of all colors bumping to pumped-up pop and R&B remixes; bodily friction is inevitable, and part of the gestalt, as are the flirty sidewalk scene out front and the fleeting majestic views of the GWB and the Hudson to and from the club. Even the joint's logo—a stick figure making a "no parking" sign—looks like he's Voguing With Serious Attitude.
Skyline Cafe, 3835 Tenth Ave., at 206th St.
New Wednesday-night party, decorated to look like the inside of an airplane, for gay guys and women alike. Latino crowd with big muscle-y Latino go-go gods, according to the pics online at myspace.com/lpeventsnyc.
559 Lorimer St., nr. Metropolitan Ave.; 718-599-4444
Center of Billyburg's gay universe, with a big, cozy front room with pool table and sofas in front of a brick fireplace and a spacious backyard that, in summer, features a free Sunday afternoon cookout, a staple stop on the weary circuit of the bearded gay twentysomething hipster.
221 N. 9th St., nr. Roebling St.; 718-599-4044; myspace.com/sugarland
Caters to "the Williamsburg twink" scene, says Butt's Michael Bullock, plus a fair number of girls. "It's a big open space with a nice little patio to smoke in and lots of nooks and crannies to go hide in," says Moylan.
363 Fifth Ave., nr. 5th St.; 718-788-0924
Neighborhood lesbian bar (that's boy-friendly) with great pool table, juke, outside area. Softball vibe. "It's a bit like if the Cubby Hole came to Brooklyn," says a regular goer.
390 Fifth Ave., nr. 6th St.; 718-832-1599; excelsiorbrooklyn.com
Super-down-to-earth local bar with a juke spanning eighties punk to Kelly Clarkson and a cozy smoking patio and garden. "It's Park Slope residents mixed with kids from Bensonhurst and Williamsburg," says Ben Ryan, a bartender there the past seven of the joint's nine years. Owned by a gay male couple.
249 Bar Lounge
249 Fourth Ave., nr. Carroll St.; 718-622-5183; 249barlounge.com
New mostly lesbian joint where old mostly lesbian joint Cattyshack used to be. Dance club with two bars on two floors, outdoor smoking patio.
Elsewhere in Brooklyn
1073 Atlantic Ave., nr. Franklin Ave.; 718-622-5183; clublangston.com
"At Brooklyn's downlow choice, DJs spin the best in hip-hop, house, R&B and Top 40," says HX magazine. "I really like it," says Butt's Bullock. "If I go with friends, we end up being the only white people there. Saturday is the big night, it's totally packed. The aesthetic is hip-hop and a bit thuggy. You'll hear reggaeton, Ludacris, Top 40 hip-hop."
1014 Fulton St., nr. Grand Ave.; 718-636-1260; outpostlounge.com
Since two twentysomething gay men opened this café-by-day, bar-by-night (with back garden) two years ago, it’s become a hub for Clinton Hill’s polyracial, polysexual boho set, with many teens in the mix, especially during the day. They even serve up a kettle of mulled wine and roast S'mores out back on Sunday nights!
1084 Bergen St., at Nostrand Ave.; 718-771-3340
Comfy old Bed-Stuy dive that's not only gay, but also, legendarily, the city's oldest black-owned “non-discriminating” bar. Plays lots of great old soul and R&B. "There was a makeshift dressing room in the front where you could see a drag queen getting ready," says Next's Moylan, "and it looked like a weird good time."
The Lab Banquet Hall
1428 Fulton St., nr. Brooklyn Ave.; 718-773-1760
Every Sunday night in Bed-Stuy, this all-purpose wedding-disco-function hall welcomes a virtually all-black crowd for a booty-bumping "Alternative Lifestyle Night" of hip-hop, reggae, and dance-hall. The night’s officially 18-and-over but, in the vogue-ball parlance of one frequenter, Clarence, an old man at 21, the crowd is heavily “child point.”
Fondle Mondays at South Brooklyn Pizza
451 Court St., at Fourth Pl.; 718-852-6018
Newish Monday-night gay and lesbian party, complete with go-go dancers, at a pizzeria.
76-19 Roosevelt Ave., nr. 76th St.; 718-457-3939
Latin megaclub is the eye of Jax Height's gathering gay storm, with a crowd that's about half Latino and half not. There's a bar and dance floor in the front and a room made up like a Latin American cantina in the back with tables and chairs. "It's the king of the bars" in the hood, says Butt's Bullock. Sunday night is Mexican night!
78-11 Roosevelt Ave., nr. 78th St.; 718-397-7256
The oldest gay bar in Queens, this mixed Latin-white joint is "the basic watering hole," says Krumholz. There's always a bouquet of festive balloons hung up outside.