Top 5 gay bars in the Twin Cities

The Twin Cities gay scene is alive and kicking, with a taste for every want, whether it's classic, new and hot, something with a bit of kink, or a straight-up (ahem) neighborhood watering hole. 

Here is our list of the five best gay bars in the metro area.  

​5. Eagle/ Bolt In the online era, there's no substitute for visceral, in-person chemistry. This is a place to help you break down those cold, crazy walls. A drink might help loosen your social strings, but a relaxed environment is the kicker. The Eagle and Bolt (two sides of the same coin) have a meetability quotient that tops the local competition. Every gay bar touts itself as the place to be yourself. The difference here is that you'll never feel alone.(515 Washington Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.338.4214)

Hey there, Cowboy
Hey there, Cowboy

4. The Saloon The Saloon is a kick-ass bar that never shies away from being, first and foremost, a kick-ass gay bar. The dance floor is fairly large, the music is good, and it has a good-looking back porch (pun intended). The three separate bars in the Saloon all serve reasonably (but not irresponsibly) strong drinks. Visually clean but psychically dirty (what is up with the go-go dancer in the water-splashed booth with the glory hole?), the Saloon also happens to host more tight-panted, armless-shirted, muscle-ripped party boys than any other spot in town--which is not a bad thing for a gay bar. Not bad at all. (830 Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis; 612. 332.0835)

​3. 19 Bar This dark, unassuming Loring Park watering hole has been around since 1953, purportedly making it the oldest gay bar in the Twin Cities. The 19, however, defies all gay stereotypes. The bleary environs boast excellent pool tables, dartboards, pull tabs, and a jukebox with a diva quotient only slightly higher than most around town. It also has prices that wouldn't get you a glass of water at most downtown clubs. In other words, it's just a damn fine neighborhood bar whose clientele happens to be men who prefer other men. In recent times it's emerged as the hipster dive bar for gay boys. The 19 Bar also has one of the finest smoking patios in the Twin Cities. (19 West 15th Street, Minneapolis; 612.871.5553)

2. Jet Set The coolest bars are often the hardest to find. That rule definitely applies to Jetset. From the street there's not much to see: a small white light, signage that can only be spotted up close. Just watch for the beautiful, lithe hipster boys smoking on the sidewalk outside. Inside you'll find a chill hot spot with a bit of grungy New York glamour. The decor is sleek, white, and minimal, with most of the seating consisting of a long cement slab along the right-hand wall. The cocktails are incredibly tasty; many of the ingredients are fresh and/or house made. The space is long, which allows patrons to have intimate conversations in the back or to head up front for dancing as the DJ spins hits old, new, and obscure. Though the bar generally opens each day around 5 p.m., the action doesn't start too early. (115 N. First Ave., Minneapolis; 612.339.3933)

1. Gay 90's The crown jewel in our feathery headpiece. With multiple bars to fit any mood, you can dance, sing, watch, drink, and swoon in any room. The Le Femme ladies showcase the beautiful talent on the drag queen circuit, from top national names like Lady Bunny to our own Bebe Zahara Benet. Like your men a little more manly? Check out the chiseled go-go dancers downstairs. Looking for your own chance at love? Take it to the dance floor, honey. (408 Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis; 612.333.7755)

Previous coverage:

Top 10 dive bars in the Twin Cities

Top 10 late-night restaurants in the Twin Cities

Top 10 romantic restaurants in the Twin Cities

Top 10 bloody Marys in the Twin Cities

Top 10 margaritas in the Twin Cities

Top 10 macaroni & cheese dishes in the Twin Cities

Top 10 burgers in the Twin Cities

Top 10 sushi restaurants in the Twin Cities

Top 10 ice cream shops in the Twin Cities

Top 10 coffeehouses in the Twin Cities

Top 10 martinis in the Twin Cities

Top 10 hot dogs in the Twin Cities

Top 10 pizzerias in the Twin Cities

Top 5 brewpubs in the Twin Cities

All of these lists are available on City Pages' new Best of the Twin Cities app. Click here to see it in action.
Don't forget to vote in the 2012 Best of the Twin Cities Readers Poll! Click here to tell us your favorite restaurants, bars, bands, shopping, and more.

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