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EXCLUSIVE | Las Vegas: Where to Play/Meet

EXCLUSIVE | Las Vegas: Where to Play/Meet

This Travel Guide was last updated 5/08. There may be places that changed since then. Call ahead, and please let us know about any corrections or new places of interest.>

Despite the city's size, the gay scene in Las Vegas is fairly small and local, and, with a few exceptions, it's not known for its friendliness. Because of the city's transient nature, crowds at bars can vary a lot from night to night and season to season; this is one reason the crowds don't always seem especially warm and friendly. But the variety keeps things interesting. Another bit of good news is that the bars are easy to find and cluster around two major areas, with about half the nightspots on Paradise Road between Hanson and Tropicana and many of the rest in Commercial Center. Also, you should feel perfectly at ease asking any waiter, waitress, bell person, concierge, or taxi driver for a list and map of gay bars. They'll happily direct you without batting an eyelash. Most bars in Las Vegas start and run late, generally getting busy after midnight.

Those gearing up for a heavy Las Vegas clubbing experience would do well to check out Vegas Passport's Gay and Lesbian Nightlife Package. At $120 a pop it ain't cheap, but can pay for itself quickly since it includes cover charges, VIP line access, and drink discounts at many of the top establishments listed here, including Krave, 8-1/2 Ultra Lounge, Piranha, Gipsy and Suede.

For a city that's constantly changing, Las Vegas has always been fairly steady when it comes to gay and lesbian nightlife -- most of the big players have been around for years. In 2004 that all changed, when the Strip got its first high-profile gay club in years with the opening of Krave (Las Vegas Blvd. S. at Harmon Ave.; 702-836-0830; www.kravelasvegas.com), right beside Planet Hollywood casino resort. This glitzy and often homo-star-studded warehouse disco is open Tuesday to Sunday for alternating boy parties; Saturdays also feature Candybar, a women's party presented by L.A.'s Girlbar. There's valet parking.

At Gipsy (4605 Paradise Rd.; 702-731-1919), a mostly dance and show bar, Wednesdays and Sundays have no cover, Mondays are Latin night, and Thursdays are Drag Night. This is probably the best all-around gay club in town, consistently drawing a lively and fun bunch.

Next door, 8-1/2 Ultra Lounge and Piranha Nightclub (4633 Paradise Rd.; 702-791-0100), which occupies the space formerly occupied by Icon, draws diverse crowds, depending on the theme. Weekends there's circuit-style music and dancing, and Wednesdays pull in a lesbian crowd.

Across the street, FreeZone (610 E. Naples Ave.; 702-794-2300) is one of the most popular all-around gay bars in town, and it's one of the few places that pulls in a mix of lesbians and gay guys, especially the under-30s set. By Vegas standards, it's a friendly place, and it has some nice amenities, including a decent restaurant, a pool hall, and great drink specials (okay, every LV gay club has great drink specials, but they're especially impressive here). Tuesday is specifically geared toward lesbians, and Thursdays toward guys. Otherwise, it's very mixed.

Charlie's (5012 S. Arville Rd.; 702-876-1844) is a popular C&W dance bar offering dance lessons on Monday and Thursday nights and the friendliest beer bust in town on Sunday afternoons from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. It had been known as Backstreet until 2006, when the regional gay country-western chain Charlie's (with branches in Chicago, Phoenix, and Denver) took over.

The Buffalo (4640 Paradise Rd.; 702-733-8355) is a leather-and-Levi's country cruise bar with a very popular beer bust on Sundays beginning at 4 p.m. Next door is Suede (4640 S. Paradise Rd.; 702-791-DINE (702-791-3463), a gay restaurant and lounge serving good food and strong cocktails that's become a top stop along the "fruit loop."

Part One | Part Two

Related Articles:
Las Vegas: Intro
Las Vegas: Where to Stay
Las Vegas: What to Eat
Las Vegas: What to See and Do
Las Vegas: Resources

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