275 West 22nd Street, 212-645-8613
Seven years ago, Stephen Heighton and Bob Pontarelli sold Crowbar—the legendary East Village gay bar where drag queens Mona Foot, Candis Cayne, and Hedda Lettuce made names for themselves—and headed west. Very west. To Chelsea. Despite being located in the heart of Boys Town, the 2,500-square-foot bar was never in danger of being turned into just another homogeneous, circuit-party-centric watering hole. The consistently well-balanced mix of prepsters, fashionistas, Abercrombie & Fitch–model wannabes, and art fags means that you’ll always find what you came for. The dim lighting and black walls give it a comfortable edge of sleaze—but you can settle into one of the many couches in the back without worrying about what you might be sitting in. And the special celeb appearances are so off-the-wall that they can’t help attracting hordes of the curious. How else to explain the SRO crowds that arrived as much as two hours before showtime just to catch a glimpse of Tammy Faye Bakker, Tonya Harding, and Gennifer Flowers when they passed through?
Best Gay Bar
From the 2003 Best of New York issue of New York Magazine
So what exactly does “best” mean in a city with thousands of pizza joints, hundreds of celebrity masseuses, and museum-worthy concept shops on every corner? Well, in the case of this, our annual “Best of New York” roundup, there’s a heavy emphasis on what’s new or what has somehow remained virtually unheard of (until now, of course).