Hell’s Kitchen is the reigning queen of NYC’s queer nightlife. Long home to Broadway actors looking for affordable housing, the neighborhood has become the setting for lively dining and nightlife scenes—aided by the gentrification that has pushed many gay bars (and gay boys) out of Chelsea. Concentrated along Ninth and Tenth Avenues between 42nd and 57th Streets, Hell’s Kitchen also serves as a convenient Midtown base from which to explore some of the City’s best-known attractions. Read on for our picks of the area’s best restaurants and LGBTQ+ bars and clubs.
Bars & Clubs
Atlas Social Club
753 Ninth Ave., 212-262-8527
Atlas Social Club is a low-key neighborhood bar with terrific drink specials (2-for-1, anyone?), good music and a chill lounge space in the back where you can unwind with friends.
401 W. 47th St., 212-586-9390
NYC’s best gay lounge has floor-to-ceiling garage-style glass doors that are open on beautiful days. Take a seat with a few best friends or gather for a special occasion, though the blasting beats make conversation a challenge. (It’s a low-key spot, but you’ll still only be able to hear the person next to you.) Want a snack while you sip? Munch on pretzels and Goldfish crackers at the bar. Enjoy the racy decor in the bathroom too.
742 Ninth Ave., 212-951-1518
Boxers is an established sports-bar brand, known for its shirtless bartenders wearing boxer shorts. The Hell’s Kitchen location—there are others in Chelsea and Washington Heights— has one of the better neighborhood rooftops for enjoying a summer evening. Daily happy hours feature 2-for-1 drinks, while different nights of the week have special deals on premium vodkas. Any and every type of sporting event imaginable is on TV—constantly.
793 Ninth Ave., 212-713-0481
At the City’s only country-western-themed gay bar, the sexy male bartenders double as dancers. They’ll groove on top of the bar to whatever music you like—there’s a jukebox—but be careful where you put your drinks down
The Green Room 42
570 Tenth Ave., 646-707-2990
Tucked away in the back of The Yotel, the Green Room 42 offers one of the best cabaret experiences in NYC. With Broadway-caliber talent belting out show tunes, this cozy room holds the kind of fun, raucous crowd you’d find at a drag brunch.
697 Tenth Ave., 212-924-9885
Basically Hell’s Kitchen’s version of the bar from Cheers, this welcoming watering hole features nightly drag shows, friendly bartenders and a fun dance floor in the back too. Enjoy potent Long Island iced teas during their weekend Skinny Brunch specials or take advantage of the weekday deals on well drinks ($5) until 9pm.
355 W. 52nd St., 646-476-2747
This roomy club is a don’t-miss dance spot. It offers a lounge, an area (with a stage) for boogying and a bar in the back that’s open on weekends. Nightly events provide great entertainment, like Sunday night’s 1999, featuring all ’90s music, and Tuesday’s Drag Roulette. Pro tip: Industry is cash-only, so visit your bank ATM before you go.
Posh Bar & Lounge
405 W. 51st St., 212-957-2222
Open until 4am every night, Posh is the kind of intimate, local dive you might go to with a friend and wait for things to get a little dancy in back. You’ll enjoy good, boozy times here pretty much any night of the week. The crowd could be anyone from suits and squares to industry queens.
859 Ninth Ave., 646-892-3313
This neighborhood favorite is all the rage, slightly removed from bustle of Times Square and the main strip of Hell’s Kitchen. Come here for great cocktails and to see urbane locals celebrate birthdays, enjoy cucumber margaritas and dance to the latest hits.
369 W. 46th St., 212-333-4177
Everyone ends up here at the end of the night—sometimes lines form at 2am. You’ll always have a great time at this Hell’s Kitchen’s standby, and probably lose a friend or two in the club’s diverse sea of patrons. This is also the most unpretentious of dance spots; stand up on a platform against the wall and watch go-go boys in jocks rock to the latest pop hits. Or head upstairs and check out the crowd in the mirrored walls as you dance to a deeper beat.
Vodka Soda/Bottom’s Up
315 W. 46th St., 646-707-3630
This fun bar has karaoke nights, drag shows, affordable drink prices and a friendly vibe that attracts a young crowd and welcomes all colors of the rainbow. Located on Restaurant Row, it’s a short jaunt from the Theatre District, making it a prime stop for a drink or two before or after a Broadway show.
Named for the intersection it calls home, 44th Street and Tenth Avenue, this is a chic spot with great service in an ever-more-popular section of Hell’s Kitchen. The menu is filled with American comfort food favorites; try the herb scrambled eggs with Vermont cheese grits at brunch.
668 Tenth Ave., 212-920-4770
Añejo has a popular brunch, and it’s no secret why: you can have your choice of entrée plus three drinks (margaritas or mimosas) for $34 or go for the unlimited small plates and cocktails for $47. Chilaquiles, huevos rancheros are breakfast tacos are among the favorite dishes.
762 Ninth Ave., 212-489-0810
Arriba Arriba serves up a great margarita; their “La Mama”-size margs have been getting Hell’s Kitchen gays drunk since before Hell’s Kitchen was gay. Keep this place in mind for pre-theater drinks—and the Tex-Mex food is good too. You can also linger as long as you want; the friendly staff doesn’t try to shoo you out to turn over their tables.
885 Ninth Ave., 212-489-6889
Planning on strolling around Central Park? If you need a taco to tide you over—or a burrito to fill you up—stop by for the best quick Tex-Mex in the neighborhood. Try the barbecue chicken tacos, and enjoy free chips and salsa with every order.
346 W. 52nd St., 212-586-2880
Danji, which serves bulgogi sliders and other modern takes on traditional Korean specialties, is located across from Industry (check out the bars above). Reservations are recommended; the restaurant is small, and it was the first Korean restaurant in the States to receive a Michelin star.
824 Ninth Ave., 646-763-6585
El Centro has good service, great food and outdoor seating, a combination that’s kept it popular since its opening in 2006. Sit on the corner of Ninth Avenue and 54th Street (if you can manage to get a table) to watch the boys strut by while enjoying your favorite Mexican dishes.
735 Tenth Ave., 212-495-9024
The Israeli chef behind Miznon—the beloved street food eatery inside Chelsea Market—has opened a unique concept restaurant inside the Skyline Hotel that’s part dinner party, part performance art. The reservation-only restaurant is only open Thursdays through Saturdays, with one seating at 6pm and another at 8 or 8:30pm. The first is a formal experience accompanied by classical music; the latter a bass-thumping club experience scored by a live DJ.
754 Ninth Ave., 212-977-1588
Thanks to its consistently excellent nouvelle Mexican cuisine, Hell’s Kitchen can get quite crowded. Diners, who skew young, trendy and gay, sit at tables set snugly together and enjoy tasty seasonal ingredients put to good use in ceviche, tacos and more creative dishes.
717 Ninth Ave., 212-581-5999
This Hell’s Kitchen standby offers reliable Thai dishes—pad Thai, green curry, papaya salad and a number of gluten-free options—at affordable prices in a cozy, clublike atmosphere with a cool blue-lit interior. You’ll enjoy the fun pop soundtrack and buzzy bar scene.
792 Ninth Ave., 212-459-9057
There are seemingly countless Thai restaurants in Hell’s Kitchen, and most are average to good. But tiny Wondee Siam is a cut above; recommended dishes include kraree puff (puff pastry filled with chicken and sweet potato) and pad gra pow (basil and chili with your choice of protein).