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The Spotlight (957 E. Sahara Ave.; 702-696-0202) is a gay bar for the guy who doesn't frequent dance clubs and likes just hangin' out and playin' pool. It's one of the few venues that is crowded every day, but Spotlight also offers a Sunday evening Beer Bust and a Saturday night Jock Night. With more of a working-class vibe, it's in the Commercial Center, which is also home to another low-key neighborhood joint, the country-western Badlands (953 E. Sahara Ave.; 702-792-9262).
Other options in the Commercial Center include Ramrod LV (900 E. Karen Ave.; 702-735-0885), a leather and cruise bar; and Las Vegas Lounge (900 E. Karen Ave; 702-737-9350), known for its transgender go-go dancers and Friday and Saturday cabaret. The Backdoor (1415 E. Charleston Ave.; 702-385-2018) is a sleepy locals' bar that stands out for one thing: it's that rare LV gay bar with a strongly Latin crowd, especially on Thursday nights. The Las Vegas Eagle (3430 E. Tropicana Ave.; 702-458-8662) is a classic leather-and-Levi's option, with free well drinks and drafts for guys in underwear Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays 10 p.m.-3 a.m.
In the same shopping center as the campy Liberace Museum, Goodtimes (1775 E. Tropicana Ave.; 702-736-9494) has long been famous on Monday nights for its "liquor bust"; any night of the week, it's a lot of fun and draws a diverse bunch. It's definitely an appropriate way to finish off a tour of the Liberace. Goodtimes employs a handsome stable of go-go dancers. The same owners opened Escape Lounge (4213 W. Sahara Ave.; 702-364-1167) in 2006, with popular events at this friendly spot including Gong Show Karaoke on Tuesdays and a Sunday jazz brunch on weekends.
Flex (4371 W. Charleston Blvd.; 702-385-FLEX (702-385-3539) is a neighborhood bar with theme nights including wet underwear Mondays, ladies' night Thursdays and hip-hop Saturdays. Down and divey Snick's Place (1402 S. 3rd St.; 702-385-9298) serves drink specials Saturday nights until midnight, and Bloody Mary Sundays start at 9 a.m. It's a pretty tired place, but it's been around for years (and years... and years... since 1976!), making it something of a local legend.
Just about all of the discos and nightspots in the major casino resorts are gay-friendly, which is not to say that you'll actually see a lot of other Friends of Dorothy in some of these places. If, for example, you see an openly gay person at a horny-hetero hangout like New York-New York's Coyote Ugly, it's probably because you're looking in the bathroom mirror.
There are exceptions, though. The super-gay-friendly MGM Grand draws plenty of same-sexers for partying at its reincarnation of the legendary Studio 54 (3799 Las Vegas Blvd. S.; 702-891-7254); similarly, the MGM's swank Tabu Ultra Lounge (702-891-7183) tends to glow a little pink. Just about any of the bars and clubs at such gay-favored casinos as Mandalay Bay, the Hard Rock Hotel, and the Palm Casino have a small but discernible gay presence (or, at the very least, draw plenty of hip metrosexuals who seem, uh, a tad bi-curious).
Part One | Part Two
Las Vegas: Intro
Las Vegas: Where to Stay
Las Vegas: What to Eat
Las Vegas: What to See and Do
Las Vegas: Resources