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Your Guide To The Best Gay Bars In Tampa Bay & Surrounding Areas

Best Tampa Bay Gay Bars
Photo by Rachel Covello from Balance Tampa Bay

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Tampa Bay offers fun and adventure for LGBTQ community members, and plenty of gay bars! In fact, the Tampa Bay region has the fastest growing LGBTQ scene in Florida.

Before we dive into the best gay dives, it’s important to understand the layout of the region, so you can plan your nightlife schedule with drive time and proximity in mind.

The Tampa Bay Region sits along Florida’s gulf coast and it comprised of two major regions – Tampa to the east and St Petersburg to the west. The region is divided by the Tampa Bay and its many bridges. Nearby you will find other LGBTQ-friendly cities like Sarasota to the south and Dunedin to the north.

This short guide is for the partygoers. Here, we clue you in on some of the best gay bars in the Tampa Bay area and beyond. And no worries, ladies – this guide isn’t just for gay men! We have plenty of places for you to kick your heels (or flip flops) up as well.

The Best Gay Bars In Tampa, Florida

Although the entire City of Tampa is LGBTQ-welcoming, Ybor City, known as “GaYbor” to locals, is the hub of LGBTQ nightlife. Looking to dance the night away? Want a taste of Tampa’s local drag scene? Or maybe you just want a laid-back evening with your friends? No matter what kind of night you want to have, these gay bars and clubs in Tampa have you covered.

Bradley’s on 7th

1510 E. 7th Ave

Ybor City, a vibrant and diverse artist’s haven that is lovingly called Tampa’s gayborhood, is home to countless LGBTQ-owned and operated businesses. Bradley’s on 7th sits right in the heart of the GaYbor District and is a favorite among locals. 

Its quirky decor is sure to charm you, with realistic-looking tree trunks sprawling from floor to ceiling and a stream that cuts into the bar top. But, it’s the friendly staff and strong drink offerings that will keep you coming back for more. 

Bradley’s hosts an amateur strip contest every Thursday and it hosts DJs, sexy dancers, and drag shows on weekends. 

City Side Lounge

3703 Henderson Blvd

This South Tampa club is a lot of things at once. It’s got three separate bars – the main bar, a weekend-only patio bar, and a sports bar – and daily events, including karaoke nights, drag bingo Sundays, “Free for all Fridays”, game nights, bear nights, and the list goes on.

City Side Lounge is another popular spot among locals – and for good reason! Aside from the bar options and daily happenings, it’s also known for its friendly and easy-going atmosphere, Top 40 music, and strong drinks. If we had to point out one major downside, it’s that the inside bar area can get a bit too smokey for non-smokers.

Reservoir Bar

1518 E 7th Ave

Not the clubbing type? Perhaps you’d enjoy Reservoir Bar, a low-key dive bar that describes itself as “the finest hole-in-the-wall” in Ybor City. Customers can play pool, darts, and other games while enjoying the bar’s extensive menu of boozy cocktails and specialty beers. While not technically a gay bar, Reservoir is open to all and is patronized by a diverse group of friendly, laid-back locals. 

Southern Nights

1401 E 7th Ave

Formerly known as G-Bar, Southern Nights is the place to be if you’re looking for a raucous night of dancing, drinking, and entertainment. In this expansive, glitzy club, there is room for everybody – they hold lesbian and burlesque nights, amateur drag competitions, college nights, and drag shows featuring world-famous RuPaul’s Drag Race alums like Symone, Detox, and Brooke Lynn Hytes. 

Johnsons Tampa

2606 N Armenia Ave

Tampa’s only gay male strip club, formerly known as Cristoph’s is now Johnsons Tampa. You will feel welcome in this two story neighborhood bar that happens to be a strip club for men featuring over 20 dancers.

The Best LGBTQ Bars & Clubs in Florida

Gay Bars In St Petersburg FL

The party continues across the bay in St. Petersburg, Florida – a slow-paced city with a growing arts scene and tons of diversity. This city is quickly establishing itself as the next gay capital of Florida, with the biggest pride celebrations in Florida.

St. Petersburg’s gay bars are a good mix of high-energy clubs and no-frills lounges. This is also where you’ll find the majority of Tampa Bay’s lesbian crowd. Here are a few of our top picks:

COCKtail St Pete

2355 Central Ave, St. Petersburg

Looking for a roaring good time? Get your fill at COCKtail, a chic new club where you can enjoy drag shows, gay sing-alongs, leather nights, and all sorts of fun. While you’d think that this bar is frequented by gay given it’s name, it’s a favorite with the ladies, too.

Oh, and did we mention they have a pool? The new Wet Spot opened in 2022 and offers membership options and pool-side drinks served up by scantily clad men.

In the rear of the property you’ll find The Back Door, a small shop with everything you need to continue the party back home.

Enigma

1110 Central Ave, St. Petersburg

Enigma is located in St. Petersburg’s EDGE district, an eclectic, walkable neighborhood lined with galleries, painting studios, restaurants, and locally-owned businesses. Here, you can cap off a shopping day with a casual round of cocktails at the al-fresco area or gather all your besties for a chic night of dancing and entertainment. 

This is a popular watering hole for local retirees and middle aged men. But the bar welcomes all who enter.

The Garage On Central

2729 Central Ave, St. Petersburg

The Garage is smack dab in the heart of the Grand Central District, the neighborhood where most of St. Petersburg’s LGBTQ-friendly businesses can be found. But unlike Cocktail and Enigma, the Garage is more low-key. With a garage aesthetic (think diecast cars and license plates as decor), a pool table, dart board, TVs, a jukebox, and regular karaoke nights, the Garage on Central is for those looking for a more laid-back kind of night out. 

Salty Nun

2501 Central Ave, St Petersburg, FL 33713

Salty Nun is a joint collaboration between JP Brewer, the former owner of Salty’s, a popular hangout for ladies in Gulfport, and Barbara Banno, the current owner of Stella’s, a popular breakfast spot in Gulfport. The two have teamed up to create a restaurant by day and outdoor club by night in The Grand Central District on Central Ave. Although the venue is open to all, it is most often frequented by local lesbians due to the lesbian bands and ownership.

Salty Nun is open for brunch on the weekends.

Quench Lounge

13284 66th St N, Largo

Quench Lounge describes itself as a “trendy, alternative bar in Central Pinellas”. From trivia nights to karaoke to black light parties to drag shows, Quench is known among locals for producing some of the sexiest and most exciting LGBTQ events in the city. It’s also the perfect bar to visit if you’re looking to avoid downtown St Pete.

Other Gay Bars to Visit near Tampa Bay

Blur Nightclub

325 Main St, Dunedin, FL 34698

Located on the main drag in the beautiful town of Dunedin, Blur Nightclub adds a trendy vibe to an otherwise laid-back, LGBTQ-friendly retirement town. Blur Nightclub has been in business since 2007. This upbeat nightclub features DJ-fueled dance parties, live bands, karaoke nights & themed events.

Purple Rhino

2920 Beneva Rd, Sarasota FL 34232

Purple Rhino is Sarasota’s oldest gay bar. It’s also a private, nonprofit gay bar that doubles as a community center. You can expect the same type of events that you’d find at any other gay bar – drag shows, drag bingo, leather and more. The difference here is that patrons are paid members and bartenders work as volunteers, so tip them well! Proceeds go toward Red Ribbon (HIV) services and helping to maintain the lounge as a space for the LGBTQ community.

The Bottom Line

Tampa Bay is home to a truly diverse set of gay bars and clubs. From high-energy dance clubs to cozy lounges, you’re bound to find something up your alley. Also Enjoy the Best of LGBTQ Florida Nightlife with our statewide list of bars and clubs.


**Disclaimer: There is a good chance that this post contains affiliate or sponsor links. If you make a purchase through them, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you (for which we are extremely grateful).

Also, while we do our best to highlight LGBTQ-friendly destinations and businesses, info provided is based solely on personal experience and recommendations by community partners. We hope that nobody experiences discrimination or homophobia while visiting Florida and beyond, but we make no guarantees. Please inform us if you experience discrimination or homophobia while visiting any destination so we can make updates to our recommendations.

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