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A Gay New Time

The city’s gay subculture is experiencing another nocturnal boomlet, thanks to a post-recession spate of new LGBT bars, clubs, and parties. Here, a survey of the scene, complete with the requisite go-go boys, outré drag artists, and low-key lounges for people who just want to drink.


XL at the Out NYC.  


The Alterna-Gay Danceteria:
WestGay at Westway

Tough door, drag queens, go-go boys, dancing, singing
This midweek throwdown at a former strip club—a straight bar every day but Tuesday—draws art students, transsexuals, Lena Dunham, and the occasional CockyBoys porn star. Cameos by fashion heavyweights Alexander Wang and the Proenza boys have inspired comparisons to the old scene at Studio 54, and as at that one, dancing is practically mandatory. Tuesdays at 10 p.m. 75 Clarkson St., nr. West St.; 212-620-0101.

The Come-As-You-Are Afternoon Mixer:
Scissor Sundays at the Rusty Knot

Dancing, singles scene, fun for straight people
Taking a cue from the Pines’ popular afternoon parties, lesbian icon J. D. Samson (of Le Tigre and MEN) co-founded this pansexual get-together last June. The D.J.’d events got rolling early enough at the Hudson River–abutting boîte to showcase the stunning summer sunset; now that it’s winter, the sunsets may be less pretty, but hip women and hirsute men continue to hit it up, trading barbs over umbrella-shaded cocktails and laid-back games of pool. Sundays at 4 p.m.; 425 West St., at W. 11th St.; 212-645-5668.

The Avant-Garde Eden:
ElevenEleven at Open House

Drag queens, dancing, singles scene, fun for straight people
All it took was one party in November for Open House to become the new standard for gender-bending club kids looking to dance till 4 a.m. The music—primarily house—is often manned by Cielo favorite D.J. Honey Dijon, and the aesthetics are set by promoter Ladyfag’s entourage of outlandishly costumed misfits. For now, the party is still easy to get into, with no dress-code woes or tough door. Starting after January 25, the monthly goes weekly. Fridays at 10 p.m.; 244 E. Houston St., nr. Ave. A; 917-225-9018.

The Loungey Throwback:
Penthaus at Copacabana

Dancing, singles scene, fun for straight people
Copacabana, once the steamiest spot north of Havana, reopened in 2011 and, since last month, started hosting a weekly gay party in its glass-encased rooftop supper club. The luxe space, normally reserved for corporate events, features three bars (with bottle service from $100, if that’s your thing) and a retractable roof—a boon come springtime. While there’s a dance floor where younger guys let loose to pop music, the older patrons tend to kick back on the leather banquettes, making for a pleasantly adult outing. Fridays at 11 p.m.; 760 Eighth Ave., nr. 46th St.;

The Daytime Den Of Iniquity:
Happycock Hour at the Cock

Go-go boys, singles scene
The legendary East Village dive has seen its fair share of sleazy late-night shenanigans. But starting this week, the Cock will open at a respectable 4 p.m. Frankie, a popular bartender at gay-bar-next-door Urge, has joined the “cockcrew” for “Happycock Hour.” As with the night parties, expect cash-only drink specials and go-go boys. Tuesdays through Sundays, 4 to 11 p.m.; 29 Second Ave., nr. 2nd St; 212-777-6254.

Phoenix Fridays  

The Fashion Insider’s Fashion Party:
Phoenix Fridays

Tough door, dancing, singles scene
It used to be that dollar-beer Wednesdays were the best thing the 13-year-old gay bar Phoenix had going for it—until a new owner bought and overhauled it last year. Now Friday is the night to go, thanks to publicist-D.J. Mark Holcomb and promoter Michael Cohen jamming the low-ceilinged room with discerning editors, modeling agents, and cute interns in motorcycle jackets. Top 40 pop—including Rihanna’s new album before it was released—makes up the soundtrack, and vodka-and-sodas are the drink of choice. Fridays at 10 p.m.; 447 E. 13th St., nr. Ave. A; 212-477-9979.

The VIP Sanctum:
Les Garçons at Le Baron

Tough door, dancing, singles scene
Once a week since October, a bow-tied young promoter named Michael Fragoso has ushered dandies-in-the-making, rich architects, and the unemployed artists who love them into Le Baron’s townhouselike environs. On all three levels, electronica and deep house thrum and well-groomed scenesters swill Champagne with people who don’t just read V magazine but aspire to be in it. Wednesdays at 11 p.m.; 32 Mulberry St., nr. Bayard St.;

The North Brooklyn Art Rave:
Ova the Rainbow at the Spectrum

Drag queens, dancing, fun for straight people
When Ova parties go down at this hybrid yoga studio, theater, and art space, the Spectrum morphs from an average-looking storefront into a pop-up rave. The wildly attired, mixed-gender crowd usually dresses in prerequested colors or themes (most recently yellow and clear), and proceeds from the door and ad hoc bar help support the venue’s queer-minded arts programming. E-mail to RSVP. 59 Montrose Ave., nr. Lorimer St., Williamsburg.

Chez Deep  

The Radical-Drag Night:
Chez Deep

Drag queens, dancing, singles scene, fun for straight people
Last August, Colin Self and his merry band of hyperintellectual performance-artist drag queens—no wigs, no punny names—began taking over the basement of Santos Party House for a revue and dance party. The semi-monthly affair draws all types—straight people included—and even surfaced at the last Art Basel Miami with the theme of “Tropical Transcendence.” The next party is slated for February 6 at Santos Party House, 96 Lafayette St., nr. Walker St.;

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