Pride Month 2014 is upon us in New York City, and with it comes a whole slew of events and activities honoring the past, present and future of the gay rights movement. From festive parades to steamy parties to more family-focused events, Pride honors a diverse cross-section of New York’s LGBT community — June 29 is the biggest day with Pridefest, the March and Dance on the Pier. But even when it’s not Pride, this type of open expression is par for the course at New York’s numerous gay focused bars and clubs. Here are five hot spots where it feels like Pride 365 days of the year.
With its rock and roll soundtrack, pole dancing go-go boys, and Soviet decorations, this dirty dive — co-owned by Anderson Cooper’s partner Benjamin Maisani — is keeping the spirit of the old East Village alive even as it’s surrounded by an increasing number of Whole Foods stores and dog clothing boutiques. Gay porn and homoerotic commie kitsch form the backdrop for fun events like My Chiffon Is Wet and Disco Wednesdays, which attract a bevy of hip young attractives ready to boogie. Celeb sightings include Alan Cumming and Madonna(!!!). 505 E. 6th St., 212-777-2555, easternblocnyc.com
The Stonewall Inn
When a group of patrons fought back against the police following a raid in 1969, the Stonewall Inn forever cemented its place in the history of the gay rights movement. Forty-five years later, it’s been designated a historic landmark and changed hands a few times, but it’s still going strong with lively dance parties, drag shows, and more. Go and see where Pride began while making some history of your own; show up during “big gay happy hour” for deep discounts. 53 Christopher St., 212-488-2705, thestonewallinnnyc.com
One of the oldest lesbian bars in New York, Henrietta Hudson attracts a diverse crowd of women and friends from across the gay-friendly spectrum. It hosts a chatty post-work happy hour, which generally gives way to steamy parties later in the night. Regular events include Salsa Caliente (a Latin dance night), Sing Out Tuesdays (karaoke) and Revolver Saturdays featuring the electro stylings of DJ Culi. 438 Hudson St., 212-924-3347, henriettahudson.com
For a place with an intense hook-up vibe, look no further than the Eagle, a fetish bar with its priorities in order. From leather nights to foot worship parties to simple Jockstrap Wednesdays, this place has something for everyone. Less adventurous types may engage in some good old-fashioned cruising at the bar’s numerous rooftop barbecues. No orifice left behind! 554 W. 28th St., 646-473-1866, eaglenyc.com
Since 2009, this club with a capital C has been raising the temperature with thumping music, cruise-y bathrooms, and tasty snacks. (We hear the food is good, too.) With a two-level dancefloor, weekly drag shows, and creatively named cocktails, this Hell’s Kitchen hot spot has everything you need for a wild night out with the boys (or girls …lady-pals are welcome here too). Wood paneled walls give it a classy, spa-like feel. 348 W. 52nd St., 212-397-1700, therapy-nyc.com
For more in gay nightlife, check out the 5 Best Gay Bars in Brooklyn.