Bars and Nightlife: Palm Springs

9.27.2013

By Daniel Reynolds

From leather bars to drag queen revues, there's a venue to quench any thirst in Palm Springs.

Palm Springs boasts a diverse array of watering holes for LGBT patrons. From dancing at Hunters Palm Springs, to show tune sing-alongs at SpurLine Video Lounge, to beer busts at The Barracks, there’s something to quench any thirst of desert-living. Here are seven of the top bars and nightlife destinations of Palm Springs.

Hunters Palm Springs

huntersnightclubs.com/palmsprings

Established more than 13 years ago, this video bar and dance club boasts a 9-hour “Size Matters” happy hour (10 a.m. – 7 p.m.), which the club bills as “the longest in the desert.” During this time, patrons can enjoy drafts for $1.50 and cocktails for $3 while watching the parade of downtown Palm Springs through Hunters’s floor-to-ceiling windows. The club also hosts popular weekly parties like pool tournaments, underwear contests, and “Calling All Fans,” a screening of professional sports games. 10 a.m - 2 a.m.; 760-323-0700; 302 East Arenas Road, Palm Springs

Photo Credit: Hunters/Facebook

Streetbar

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Neighboring Hunters, Streetbar offers a more relaxed alternative to the oft-packed Palm Springs dance club. Loquacious locals lounge on the spacious patio overlooking the San Jacinto Mountains, a stunning backdrop to the drag shows, show tune sing-a-longs and karaoke performances that often headline the bar’s evening entertainment. Streetbar also hosts semi-regular art exhibitions as part of its Artwall Project, which highlights photographs, paintings, and other works by local artists. Monday – Friday: 10 a.m. – 2 a.m.; Saturday: 6 a.m. – 2 a.m.; Sunday: 6 a.m. – 12 a.m.; 760-320-1266; 224 East Arenas Road

Photo Credit: Streetbar/Facebook

Toucans Tiki Lounge

toucanstikilounge.com

Palm Springs Lifenamed Toucans Tiki Lounge “Best Gay Bar 2013” for its “savvy clientele,” as well as its fierce Sunday drag shows headlined by Tommi Rose and the Playgirls. The popular performance, touted as the “Valley’s Original and Longest-Running Drag Revue,” features regular appearances from many RuPaul’s Drag Racealumni, including Delta Work and Morgan McMichaels. But drag is not the only reason to love Toucans. A weekly go-go competition, hosted on Wednesdays by Ehylina Canne, draws a well-muscled and loose-buttoned crowd hoping to snatch a cash prize, and a popular party Jungle Boogie, which occurs on Fridays and Saturdays, showcases the talents of male and female dancers around the small-but-packed dance floor. Tuesday, Thursday – Sunday: 12 p.m. – 2 a.m.; Monday and Wednesday: 12 p.m. – 12 a.m.; 760-416-7584; 2100 North Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs

Photo Credit: Toucans Tiki Lounge / Facebook

The Barracks

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Strap on the leather and smoke a cigar at The Barracks, a spacious patio bar that caters to every kink, including bondage, boots, bears, and body piercing. And expect to see a lot of body. Events like “Torso Tuesdays,” “The World Famous Underwear Night,” and “SPANK” illustrate how the bar even rewards patrons who shed their clothes by offering drink discounts to eager participants. “The World Famous Sunday Beer Bust” has garnered local, if not international, renown for its cheap cold brews and hot dog specials, which may have replaced church as the Sunday tradition of the greater Palm Springs area. 2 p.m. – 2 a.m.; 760-321-9688; 67625 East Palm Canyon Drive, Cathedral City

Photo Credit: Joe Behr / Flickr

Tool Shed

toolshed-ps.com

Tool Shed, a smaller and more intimate version of Barracks, attracts an older “leather and levis” crowd seeking to strike up a round of pool and good conversation. Drinks are cheap, and happy hour runs from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m., ensuring enough social lubricant to get either game going. The small space can fill up fast, particularly during Sunday’s “Cheap Beer Day” ($1.75 drafts), which should appeal to those seeking cold beer and close quarters within the chain-linked indoor patio. Monday – Friday: 10 a.m. – 2 a.m.; Saturday – Sunday: 8 a.m. to 2 a.m.; 760-320-3299;600 East Sunny Dunes Road, Palm Springs

Photo Credit: Tool Shed/Facebook

SpurLine Video Lounge

spurline.com

The SpurLine Video Lounge is popular for its show tunes and viewings of scenes from popular musicals, which are shown in full glory on oversized screens. Accordingly, patrons will burst into song, aided by the liquid courage of the bar’s strong cocktail specials, as well as by the bar’s employees, who will occasionally pass out props that correspond to different dramatic scenes (e.g. tissues for “Don’t Cry For Me Argentina). Local stars are made weekly at SpurLine’s “Karaoke Cabaret,” with many garbed in their most fabulous country western attire. Monday: 2:30 p.m. – 2 a.m.; Tuesday – Sunday: 12 p.m. – 2 a.m.; 760-778-4326; 200 South Indian Canyon Drive, Palm Springs

Photo Credit: SpurLine/Facebook

George’s Alibi

azultapaslounge.com

Located upstairs from Azul, a restaurant that serves al fresco drinks and tapas, George’s Alibi is a cozy bar packed with activity, including Monday night bingo and regular go-go boys. The festivities often spill over into Azul, which features a Sunday disco brunch and drag queen performances from Bella da Ball. Patrons often escape to the spacious patio for time on the porch springs, where they can snack on small plates and watch the passersby. 11 a.m. – 2 a.m.; 760-325-5533; 369 North Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs

Photo Credit: Azul Tapas Lounge

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