From the historic site of the Stonewall riots to the megaclubs of Chelsea, Manhattan is the borough most commonly associated with LGBT pride. But did you know Brooklyn has a vibrant LGBT community of its very own? From the artists of Bushwick to the parents of Park Slope, the county of Kings has establishments catering to LGBT folks of all stripes. Here are five of our favorite bars that cater to the community. For more action, check out Brooklyn’s very own Pride week, which runs June 9 to 14, 2014.
If barbecue and beer are more your speed than go-go boys and bottle service, check out this laid-back Williamsburg watering hole that’s been around for nearly a decade (a long time, in Williamsburg years). With a pleasant mix of indie rock, disco and electro music, a pool table, and a nice, big backyard, this bar creates a welcoming environment for all. Popular events include Sunday barbecues, Queereoke (Tuesdays), Girls Girls Girls (Wednesdays) and monthly “Alotta Stuff” clothing auctions. 559 Lorimer St., Brooklyn, 718-599-4444, metropolitanbarny.com
Not so much a bar as a queer community center and art space, Spectrum hosts everything from “All Identities Yoga” to full on ragers. On any given night at this East Williamsburg club house, you might encounter seapunks, drag queens, glittery ravers, retro torch singers, and club kids in outrageous costumes. Also, probably: lazers, smoke, mirrors and makeout corners. As it’s a DIY space with no AC, it can get a little steamy in summer … but that’s part of the fun. 59 Montrose Ave., Brooklyn, no phone, facebook.com/pages/The-Spectrum
No tour of Brooklyn’s gay bars would be complete without this Park Slope institution affectionately nicknamed “the G-Spot.” An unassuming exterior opens onto an un-fussy interior known far and wide as a prime destination for girls and bois of all stripes, and their friends. Regularly occuring events include BINGO with Luscious Lola (Sundays), Bklyn Idol Karaoke (alternating Thursdays) and Singles Nite DJ Partay (Fridays). There’s also a generous happy hour 5pm-8pm daily. 363 5th Ave., Brooklyn, 718-788-0924, gingersbarbklyn.com
Opened just one year ago by the free spirits who brought you Secret Project Robot, Happyfun Hideaway funnels the playful, artistic vibe of SPR into a more conventional bar setting with trippy video art, a pinball machine and rotating exhibitions of locals’ 2-D creations. The Bushwick art scene being a fairly queer place, it hosts all manner of LGBT-friendly events, including the Fade to Pink party (weekly), Gurl, and afterparties for the Bushwig drag festival. Regular bookings include Matty Beats, Horrorchata, and Raul de Nieves. 1211 Myrtle Ave., Brooklyn, 917-999-8282; facebook.com/HappyfunHideaway
The gentlemen’s gentlemen of Park Slope have long prized this neighborhood spot for its unpretentious vibe, solid jukebox, friendly bartenders and classic cocktails. Patrons can sidle up to the handsome wooden bar (and the handsome fellows surrounding it) without having to deal with too many crazy college kids. But just because Exelsior is sophisticated doesn’t mean Excelsior can’t have fun; events include drag shows by Lavinia Draper, weekly viewings of RuPaul’s Drag Race hosted by Davina DeVille, and numerous lively benefit parties. 390 5th Ave., 718-832-1599, excelsiorbrooklyn.com