Queens is, hands down, the most diverse of New York City’s five boroughs. Its thriving queer nightlife scene reflects this. Wherever you go—established spots on the main strip in Jackson Heights, Latin-flavored hangouts in Elmhurst and Woodside or a bar in Astoria’s burgeoning LGBTQ scene—Queens nightlife has presence and personality. The best thing about the places we’ve highlighted is that they remain devoted to locals but are welcoming to all; read up to find out what they offer, and then check them out for yourself.
This welcoming, no-judgment hangout has sweet bartenders and a chill crowd. On the early side of the evening, you can slowly sip drinks and catch up with friends while watching the latest episode of Will & Grace, Drag Race or other must-see queer TV of the moment. Later, Albatross gets busy: you’ll find lively karaoke nights on Mondays and Fridays; Gilda Wabbit presides over drag bingo on Tuesdays; and on Saturdays, resident queen Sutton Lee Seymour hosts drag performances.
The staff is friendly at this longtime lesbian hangout in Woodside. Most patrons come here to dance—usually to Latin-flavored music like salsa, bachata or merengue. If you get tired of shaking your booty, take a seat at one of the tables lining the edges of the room and sip a Latin liqueur from the bar. Expect a cover charge some nights.
This dance club opened over 20 years ago (as Club Atlantis) and remains an important cultural landmark for the LGBTQ Latino community in Jackson Heights. Experience a booty-shaking mix of pop, house, hip-hop, salsa, merengue, bachata and reggaeton on their spacious dance floor. While the crowd is mostly male, the club prides itself on being an inclusive place for any gender expression.
True to its name, Friend’s Tavern is a local gathering spot. Hunky bartenders and dancers provide the eye candy and, in the case of the former, reasonably priced drinks. In the back, you can shake off the stress of the week on the dance floor. Check out special theme nights like karaoke with Mauricio on Thursdays and Bodylicious on Sundays.
Catering to a diverse crowd of all ages, races and genders (plus having some cute bartenders!), this sleek, stylish lounge gets hopping on the weekends. Moderately priced drinks keep the clientele in good spirits, with Thursday’s beer blast offering bargain $5 beers and club music by DJ Jovanotti. Fridays are always a hit with the Score party, featuring DJ Joseph, go-go dancers and giveaways.
Astoria is an increasingly popular neighborhood for creative types; Icon is its hot spot for local drag talent. This fun, friendly bar has something happening most nights of the week, including Magical Mondays with Boudoir LeFleur, Fabulous Fridays with Jan Sport and Slayed Saturdays with Rosé; there’s also trivia and Drag Race viewing parties.
Opened back in 1993, the Music Box touts itself as the first gay sports bar in Queens. That makes it a reliable spot to watch all kinds of live games, especially soccer. There’s also go-go dancers every night and frequent shows by Queen’s queens like Eiby Leandra. Friday night’s house party with DJ Charlie Brown is a neighborhood staple.
A favorite bar for those frequenting the Roosevelt Avenue strip that borders Jackson Heights and Elmhust, this spot feels like an intimate lounge and wild party all at once. On Wednesdays, they’ve got bingo and house music; Thursdays offer karaoke hosted by Victoria Chase, with a 10,000-plus song selection in both English and Spanish; and Saturdays are for the Rumba Latina party with DJ Soley.