275 W. 22nd St., nr. Eighth Ave.; 212-645-8613
Those looking to avoid the buff and cruisey scene can count on Barracuda for some mellow, alcohol-tinged fun. The spot draws an earnest local male mix—some of whom bring their straight gal pals.
281 W. 12th St., nr. 4th St.; 212-243-9041
Since it opened in 1994, this West Village nook has garnered a reputation as not just a great lesbian bar but a cool neighborhood spot as well. On weekends, a packed crowd of both boys and girls freak out to Rihanna, Madonna, and whatever's next on the digital jukebox.
69-04 Woodside Ave., nr. 69th St., Woodside; 718-424-1171
Chueca is a Spanish word meaning “not straight,” and everyone speaks the language inside this Colombian-owned Jackson Heights lesbian nightclub. When not writhing to the reggaeton, the midriff-sporting patrons can be found shooting pool.
559 Lorimer St., nr. Metropolitan Ave., Williamsburg, Brooklyn; 718-599-4444
Brooklyn’s best gay bar is also its friendliest. In the summer, MFA grads patter around in sandals and sunglasses or flirt at the long, serpentine bar; a free Sunday-afternoon barbecue adds to the convivial vibe.
The Ritz Bar and Lounge
369 W. 46th St., nr. Ninth Ave.; 212-333-2554
Anchoring Restaurant Row’s brimming sink of sudsy gay bars and post-theater eateries, this nautical-themed spot keeps a laid-back Brooks Brothers crowd afloat with a half-price happy hour and a boogie-friendly back room.