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Discover the best gay hotspots in Cincinnati
Cincinnati may turn some gay travelers off, but, for a relatively conservative city, it has a rather lively LGBT scene.
Recently, the Queen City of the West was recognized as an inclusive city by the Human Right Campaign for LGBT, putting Cincinnati on the map for gay-friendly destinations. Although many may think the Queen City of the West is close-minded, the LGBT community here is lively and finding its voice.
There aren’t too many gay venues in Cincinnati, but this is not because people aren’t tolerant enough, but because most straight bars and clubs are gay-friendly now. The Northside, originally known as Cumminsville, is where all the action is, but you can also find a handful of gay establishments downtown. Hip and progressive, Northside has some of the best bars and restaurants in town and gays and straight alike teem the streets looking for the same thing: a good time.
Even though Cincinnati is the most conservative cities in the Midwest, people from all around the area flock here every summer to celebrate the LGBT community. Taking place just across the river from Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky Pride takes place in late June.
Below Zero Lounge
Located in new and hip Gateway Quarter district, in downtown Cincinnati, Below Zero Lounge is an ultra plush lounge well-known for its chic atmosphere and impressive selection of over 100 vodkas. Below Zero Lounge offers nightly entertainment, some of the most popular themed nights being sing-along movies on Mondays, Music Trivia Tuesdays, and Thursdays karaoke. On weeknights, various DJs spin creative sets while gays, lesbians, and bis swig their drinks.
On Broadway Bar
Attentive and, more importantly, cute bartenders serve you grilled steak and cold beer at this small, but friendly neighborhood bar. A mixed crowd of locals, gays, tourists, and straights gather on their backdoor patio on warm, sunny days.
Fresh food, affordable prices, and a welcoming atmosphere made Parkside Café one of Cincinnati’s go-to places for brunch. Founded in 2007, in Walnut Hills, this down-homey restaurant has developed a fair reputation of being one of the city’s top gay-friendly venues.
The Celestial Steakhouse
With an excellent menu, outstanding service, and an impressive wine list, there’s no wonder that The Celestial Steakhouse is an award-winning restaurant and the only one in Cincinnati to receive a Four-Star and Four-Diamond ratings. Expect good food, an elegant setting, and a spectacular view overlooking the Ohio River.
Don your boots and kick up your heels, at Shooters’ country music is playing loud and shirtless strangers are dancing their hearts out. If you enjoy country western music and love line dancing, this gay bar is the place for you. Don’t worry if you don’t know to line dance, they offer free lessons every Thursday night from 8 PM.
Nested in the heart of downtown Cincinnati, just steps away from many attractions and entertainment venues, Hyatt Regency Cincinnati is a great, gay-friendly lodging option for those who want to feel the city’s beat. Boosting the largest hotel ballroom in town, Hyatt Regency is an excellent choice for convention meetings, conferences, or weddings.
The Cincinnati Pride is a week-long celebration of the city’s LGBT community’s culture and rich history. The festival, which usually takes place in late-June, celebrated its 40 years anniversary in 2013.
The Cabaret is Cincinnati’s premiere entertainment destinations and a popular drag performance venue. Opulence is the word that best describes this watering hole – ornamental rugs, curtains, a large ornate bar, and a crew of fabulous performers entertaining the crowd. Each week, from Thursday through Sunday, the Cabaret holds different shows ranging from sing-alongs and drag queen bingos and charitable events.
There’s something about small town bars that make us all feel relaxed and willing to socialize. Maybe it’s the cheap booze, maybe it’s the friendly locals, or maybe it’s our desire to dive in the city’s culture. Junker’s Tavern is that kind of bar. Small and unpretentious, with an eclectic crowd of young, olds, hips, and drabs, Junker’s Tavern is a down-homey place that will make you fall for its friendly vibe.
What’s different about Daveed’s Next is that, while most restaurants occasionally serve tasting menus, Daveed’s entire concept is based on small plates. Nestled in a former strip mall coffee shop, this unique restaurant focuses on offering a la carte American tapas style fares.
If you are in Cincinnati and in the mood for Mexican food, head to Nada, a popular restaurant serving a variety of tacos and innovative appetizers.
Indigenous, a handcraft gallery
Located in the historic shopping district of O’Bryonville, Indigenous, a handcraft gallery, showcases an eclectic array of contemporary craft from more than 150 artists. The indigenous collection includes jewelry, pottery, art glass, stained galss, wood, prints, and more.
Park + Vine
Nested in the Rhine neighborhood, Park + Vine is a hip vegan store. Park + Vine is divided into two parts: one side sells eco-friendly dubs, bicycle accessories, and handmade gifts, while the other one is an organic store, providing everything from vegan detectable to locally grown foods.
The Crazy Fox Bistro
Opened in 1986, The Crazy Fox Bistro has been serving food to hungry locals and travelers for more than 25 years. A gay-friendly restaurant, set in a casual ambiance, The Crazy Foxs brings together the best of classic and contemporary cuisine. It’s the perfect place in Barrie to stop by after work to dine and relax.
HBT Home Base Tavern
Well-known for the fun atmosphere, cheap drinks, good music, and nice people, Home Base Tavern is a favorite neighborhood institution. Located in Clifton, just two blocks away from the University of Cincinnati’s campus, the crowd here is young and cheerful.