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Club Cafe in Boston.
Club Cafe

Where to Celebrate Pride Month 2022 in Boston

The best of Boston’s gay nightlife scene can be found around the South End, Dorchester, and beyond

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Club Cafe in Boston.
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The conversations about Boston’s gay nightlife scene often center around the closings of cherished establishments and rapid gentrification of once-gay neighborhoods. Longtime revelers lament the loss of Paradise and its sweat-soaked basement with no cell service and lots of jockstraps; city stalwarts reflect fondly on the days when Fenway was known for cruising instead of glistening high-rises. Like nearly every other city, Boston has seen a decline in LGBTQ-specific venues in recent decades.

But those who only mourn the past are missing out on an exciting and innovative present. Sections of Dorchester, once the epicenter of Boston’s Irish Catholic working-class, are now miniature gayborhoods — complete with Sunday tea dances. The Theater District is home to multiple clubs that regularly host big-name DJs and queens from RuPaul’s Drag Race (season 14 winner Willow Pill performed the week after she won), and Back Bay remains filled with gay-friendly neighborhood haunts.

With a proud history of supporting gay rights and a large LGBTQ population, Boston is unsurprisingly one of the most inclusive metro areas in the country. It is true that gay people can feel comfortable galavanting anywhere, from Eastie’s waterfront to Somerville’s Davis Square.

Still, there is a need for gay-specific spaces, and a new generation of socialites are ensuring that Boston remains a destination for LGBTQ people. With Pride Month getting started, here is a look at the city’s gay bar scene and all it has to offer.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
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The Alley Bar

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Widely considered the most bear-friendly bar in Boston, the Alley hosts reoccurring events every week, including bi-monthly Friday Fuzz with DJ Taffy and Brent Covington, Underbear (first Saturday of every month), and Bearaoke (every Sunday).

The Pride Week calendar features a special Fuzz on June 10 and dancing on June 11 from noon until 2 a.m.

Candibar

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Part of the Royale Entertainment Group, Candibar is a favorite for those who work in the restaurant and nightlife industry. Hot Mess Sundays are always lit.

There will be a Hot Mess Sunday Pride finale June 12.

Jacque’s Cabaret

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Jacque’s Cabaret is the drag capital of Boston. Tucked away in stately Bay Village, Jacque’s has reoccurring themes during the week, like a Sing for Your Supper karaoke buffet and Drag on Broadway. It hosts drag shows with Boston queens every Friday and Saturday night.

Legacy, another venue run by Royale Entertainment Group, has taken the mantle from Paradise as one of Boston’s most hedonistic gay nightlife destinations. Located in the Theater District, Legacy hosts weekly Latinx nights and Serve Thursdays with nationally known and local queens, as well as popular DJs from the circuit scene.

For Pride Week, RuPaul season 12 winner Jaida Essence Hall will be there for Serve Thursday (June 9), DJ French will be hosting Bussdown Fridays Pride Edition (June 10), and DJ Abel will be spinning Saturday night (June 11).

Club Café

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Around for more than 30 years, Club Café is one of the oldest gay bars in Boston, but you wouldn’t be able to tell from the throngs of Gen Z-ers and millennials who wrap around Columbus Avenue on Friday and Saturday nights to get inside (pro tip: buy a yearly VIP pass to skip the line.) Club Café — or “CC” as it’s known among the local 20- and 30-somethings — has themed events every night of the week, from drag bingo to trivia to dance parties.

Club Café has a full calendar for Pride Month 2022, with events such as Queer History Trivia (June 7), Paige Turner’s Big Gay Pride Show (June 10), and Mizery’s Sip and Swallow drag brunch (June 11).

Trophy Room

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Conveniently located less than half a mile from Club Café, Trophy Room is packed on Friday and Saturday nights with the pre-club crowd. Formerly an old-school video bar — Trophy Room also used to host weekly drag brunches — the space is still a gay favorite.

Trophy Room is always involved with the Chandler Street Pride Block Party (June 11).

Anchovies

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There are few better ways to cap off a Sunday Funday than with some house-made Italian favorites from Anchovies. In this gay-friendly establishment, the portions are big and the drinks are stiff.

Cathedral Station

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Open since 2014, Cathedral Station is operated by some members of the legendary Fritz, a now-defunct beloved South End watering hole. Local LGBTQ sports leagues often host socials in the space, where players sip cosmos on the patio and play pool with the Sox game on in the background. Cathy’s is open until 2 a.m. seven days per week.

Harp and Bard

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With its spacious bar and numerous high-tops, Harp and Bard has become a destination for Dorchester gays who want to enjoy a colorful selection of cocktails or chow down on comfort food favorites like turkey tips and meatloaf. Harp and Bard is buzzing every Sunday night, with the party-going masses spilling over from Dbar tea dance for some fries and a nightcap.

Brian Piccini’s Dbar has been a gay favorite for years (along with its siblings Boston Chops in the South End and Deuxave in Back Bay). When the dinner plates are cleared, the atmosphere becomes a bit more decadent. Dbar After Dark throws some of the most bacchanalian events on the Boston gay nightlife calendar, attracting hordes of pleasure-seekers for its bi-annual glow party and raucous Sunday outdoor tea dance. Show Tunes Tuesdays and Karaoke Fridays are neighborhood staples, along with the yearly Pride Stoplight party.

This year’s Stoplight party will take place on June 10.

Blend is a vibrant spot with dance parties every Friday and Saturday night, including favorites such as wig night and onesie night, as well as Sunday tea and twice-monthly drag brunches.

Blend is hosting a number of events for Pride, notably its “Mayhem Saturdays” Pride dance June 11 and a pop star diva anthems drag brunch June 12.

The Blarney Stone

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Every Saturday during the fall and spring, the Blarney Stone hosts Boston’s LGBTQ flag football league for some post-game food and fun. It’s not uncommon to see league members seated at the bar from late morning until sunset, executive mimosa in hand. 

The Alley Bar

Widely considered the most bear-friendly bar in Boston, the Alley hosts reoccurring events every week, including bi-monthly Friday Fuzz with DJ Taffy and Brent Covington, Underbear (first Saturday of every month), and Bearaoke (every Sunday).

The Pride Week calendar features a special Fuzz on June 10 and dancing on June 11 from noon until 2 a.m.

Candibar

Part of the Royale Entertainment Group, Candibar is a favorite for those who work in the restaurant and nightlife industry. Hot Mess Sundays are always lit.

There will be a Hot Mess Sunday Pride finale June 12.

Jacque’s Cabaret

Jacque’s Cabaret is the drag capital of Boston. Tucked away in stately Bay Village, Jacque’s has reoccurring themes during the week, like a Sing for Your Supper karaoke buffet and Drag on Broadway. It hosts drag shows with Boston queens every Friday and Saturday night.

Legacy

Legacy, another venue run by Royale Entertainment Group, has taken the mantle from Paradise as one of Boston’s most hedonistic gay nightlife destinations. Located in the Theater District, Legacy hosts weekly Latinx nights and Serve Thursdays with nationally known and local queens, as well as popular DJs from the circuit scene.

For Pride Week, RuPaul season 12 winner Jaida Essence Hall will be there for Serve Thursday (June 9), DJ French will be hosting Bussdown Fridays Pride Edition (June 10), and DJ Abel will be spinning Saturday night (June 11).

Club Café

Around for more than 30 years, Club Café is one of the oldest gay bars in Boston, but you wouldn’t be able to tell from the throngs of Gen Z-ers and millennials who wrap around Columbus Avenue on Friday and Saturday nights to get inside (pro tip: buy a yearly VIP pass to skip the line.) Club Café — or “CC” as it’s known among the local 20- and 30-somethings — has themed events every night of the week, from drag bingo to trivia to dance parties.

Club Café has a full calendar for Pride Month 2022, with events such as Queer History Trivia (June 7), Paige Turner’s Big Gay Pride Show (June 10), and Mizery’s Sip and Swallow drag brunch (June 11).

Trophy Room

Conveniently located less than half a mile from Club Café, Trophy Room is packed on Friday and Saturday nights with the pre-club crowd. Formerly an old-school video bar — Trophy Room also used to host weekly drag brunches — the space is still a gay favorite.

Trophy Room is always involved with the Chandler Street Pride Block Party (June 11).

Anchovies

There are few better ways to cap off a Sunday Funday than with some house-made Italian favorites from Anchovies. In this gay-friendly establishment, the portions are big and the drinks are stiff.

Cathedral Station

Open since 2014, Cathedral Station is operated by some members of the legendary Fritz, a now-defunct beloved South End watering hole. Local LGBTQ sports leagues often host socials in the space, where players sip cosmos on the patio and play pool with the Sox game on in the background. Cathy’s is open until 2 a.m. seven days per week.

Harp and Bard

With its spacious bar and numerous high-tops, Harp and Bard has become a destination for Dorchester gays who want to enjoy a colorful selection of cocktails or chow down on comfort food favorites like turkey tips and meatloaf. Harp and Bard is buzzing every Sunday night, with the party-going masses spilling over from Dbar tea dance for some fries and a nightcap.

Dbar

Brian Piccini’s Dbar has been a gay favorite for years (along with its siblings Boston Chops in the South End and Deuxave in Back Bay). When the dinner plates are cleared, the atmosphere becomes a bit more decadent. Dbar After Dark throws some of the most bacchanalian events on the Boston gay nightlife calendar, attracting hordes of pleasure-seekers for its bi-annual glow party and raucous Sunday outdoor tea dance. Show Tunes Tuesdays and Karaoke Fridays are neighborhood staples, along with the yearly Pride Stoplight party.

This year’s Stoplight party will take place on June 10.

Blend

Blend is a vibrant spot with dance parties every Friday and Saturday night, including favorites such as wig night and onesie night, as well as Sunday tea and twice-monthly drag brunches.

Blend is hosting a number of events for Pride, notably its “Mayhem Saturdays” Pride dance June 11 and a pop star diva anthems drag brunch June 12.

The Blarney Stone

Every Saturday during the fall and spring, the Blarney Stone hosts Boston’s LGBTQ flag football league for some post-game food and fun. It’s not uncommon to see league members seated at the bar from late morning until sunset, executive mimosa in hand. 

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