It might seem surprising that Seattle has twice as many gay bars as Pacific Northwest neighbors Portland and Vancouver do combined. Then again, this is a city with LGBT residents scattered throughout every neighborhood possible, from Madison Park and Beacon Hill to Greenwood and Georgetown. The Wallingford, West Seattle, and Pioneer Square districts each have gay bars, though the bulk of them are on Capitol Hill, making it simple for out-of-towners to dash from one to the other without having to do much traveling. Jinkx Monsoon, Bendelacreme, Dan Savage, and Vicci Martinez are among the local gay celebs you might see out and about.
1221 East Madison Street
If there's any place in Seattle worthy of a 'hot mess' hashtag, it's Pony. It's a debaucherous mix of porn-plastered walls, go-go boys swinging on poles, goth queens, gym rats, geeky boys, and 80s new wave blasting overhead, all inside a dingy and normally cramped room. It's a dive bar, for sure, and on any given night it can be a harmless freak show. "TeaDance" on Sunday afternoons features the best and worst disco with no cover charge, while every last Wednesday is "Bloodlust" with an edgier clientele and DJs spinning industrial and death-disco tunes.
Purr Cocktail Lounge
1518 11th Avenue
Guaranteed to be packed every weekend is Purr, a magnet for the Aeropostale-Ben Sherman crowd with a super friendly staff. There's lots of space to sit or stand as you jam to the hottest tunes and watch music videos or a big game on 15 flatscreen TVs. Lounge owner Barbie Humphrey is the hostess with the mostess and longtime supporter of the community, helping raise thousands of dollars annually for various LGBT charities and organizations.
1315 East Madison Street
You may have heard that Seattle has a championship football team, the Seahawks. But it also has a winning soccer program (the Sounders) and semi-successful MLB franchise (the Mariners), and the best place to catch all the action is at Madison Pub. This sports bar takes game days seriously, especially the football and baseball seasons when jersey-wearing fans come to root for their hometown team, cheering loudly over pints of cold beer, peanuts and other snacks. Pool tables, pinball machines and a jukebox entertain on non-game days.
619 East Pine Street
This tri-level bar has undergone several transitions over the years, but remains a favorite amongst Happy Hour peeps, karaoke faithful, and younger guys. Besides pool tables, dartboards, and TVs, R Place serves up weekly fun offerings, like "Robbie Turner's Playground" on Wednesdays, "Thirsty Thursdays," and karaoke on Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays. Oh, and there's a dance floor that heats up on Saturday nights.