Barrage is an upscale gay bar located in Hell’s Kitchen. It’s much more of a post-work Happy Hour stop than an after hours dance club, although of course it stays open late. It’s stylish without being overly trendy or pretentious; ample seating for a place its size, with red walls covered with giant black and white pictures of shirtless men. Happy hour runs from 5 pm – 8 pm and 11 pm to 12 am every night.
Eastern Bloc is a small gay bar in the East Village. Despite its size, Eastern Bloc has a great reputation for its dance parties and unpretentious, kitschy feel. It’s a bit of a dive, not much flash or glamour, which will work in its favor for some, against it for others. Weekly them nights include: Blococholic on Saturdays (“Proletarians, hairdressers, prostitutes, bearded ladies of the world unite.”), Bloc Party on Fridays (“Start your weekend off drunk.”), Atomic Karaoke on Mondays and Contact on Thursdays (featuring a genre of music called “Boner Jams”). Cash only.
XES Lounge is a gay bar in Chelsea known for its karaoke and outdoor patio, although its slogan adds, “No attitude, hot bartenders & strong drinks” to the list. The patio is only available in warmer months, but it’s a nice touch, not to mention large enough for non-smokers to avoid the smokers if they need. There are weekly theme nights, including something called Electrofuck, which takes place every Thursday starting at 9 pm. Happy Hour is daily, from 4 pm to 9pm.
A revamped version of the legendary but now defunct lesbian bar Rubyfruit, RF Lounge is a West Village bar with a comfortable but stylish feel. There are weekly specials, including Martini Madness ($5 martinis, no cover, Wednesdays), Thirsty Thursdays, GirlNationNYC (Saturdays), and Dykes on Mics NYC, a lesbian comedy show (First Wednesday of the month). There is usually a cover but it’s cheaper the earlier you get there. Little known fact: RF Lounge’s founder, Annetta Budhu, went to college at 14 and earned her MBA by 21.
The Pyramid Club is a legendary East Village dance hall with a themed dance party each night. From INXS dance parties to Michael Jackson Tribute Night to Industrial/Electroclash to the generic but fun 80s Dance Night, there’s probably something for everyone, providing they’re at least vaguely familiar with older music. It’s a bit of a dark dive, which adds to its unpretentious charm. It’s historic, too; since its opening in 1979, it’s played host to a number of legendary performers, including Madonna, Debbie Harry and Nirvana. There is usually a small cover charge but drinks are moderately priced, with a nightly beer special of some sort.