Gay Bars Vancouver, BC
I wouldn’t suggest visiting all the gay clubs in Vancouver in one night – but I did. This list comes from my conversations with over a dozen bartenders, doormen, and regulars. All of the gay bars are within walking distance of each other, so picking one is the only challenge. Book at one of the hotels, roll the dice and grab a drink in the gay bars of Vancouver, British Columbia.
Fountainhead Pub — Neighborhood Bar
1025 Davie St, Vancouver, BC V6E 1M5, Canada
Fountainhead is a well-rounded, afternoon and early-evening pub at the mouth of Davie Street, the Vancouver gay area. This pub was widely regarded as a good choice for food. With it’s big patio and long tables, this is a good first stop for both solo-travelers and groups. The atmosphere is casual during the daylight hours and becomes more loud and active at night. Generally speaking, you can sit down and have conversation with someone at any hour without having to scream.
Fountainhead is reasonably priced, has a long list of drinks, and is visited by every orientation and gender in the Vancouver LGBT community.
Sunday – Thursday: 11AM-12AM
Friday, Saturday: 11AM-2AM
Numbers Cabaret — Dance and Karaoke
1042 Davie St, Vancouver, BC V6E 1M3, Canada
Numbers Cabaret or just “Numbers” is a large, 3-story dance club and the oldest gay bar in Davie Village. I hit this club in the early evening, when traffic was low. When you walk in, a doorman will scan your ID and take your picture – something I haven’t experienced at any other bar. Numbers benefits from a large space, a dedicated karaoke room, and a daily professional DJ. On late nights, Numbers gets spillover from Celebrities, a nearby EDM dance bar which gives the audience a lot of diversity in orientation, gender, and identity.
Of all the gay nightlife in Vancouver, Numbers received the strongest opinions. It’s a place you label as “plan b” on Davie Street and you either love or hate it. In my book, Numbers deserves a visit – especially if you’re interested in karaoke and live music on the regular.
Everyday: 8PM – 3AM
The Pumpjack Pub — Local’s Choice
1167 Davie St, Vancouver, BC V6E 1N2, Canada
As the signature gay bar in Vancouver, Canada, Pumpjack keeps a mixed crowd most days of the week. And as you might expect, it’s dominated by gay men. Pumpjack is casual during the week, but turns into more of a fleshy nightclub on Friday and Saturday nights. It’s noteworthy too for its large, recurring event schedule. Expect a $5 cover on busy nights and lines – including some kink-specific crowds. Drinks are fairly priced and there’s almost always a special going on. Visit at the end of the week for the popular “Kegger Sunday”.
Everyday: 1PM – 3AM
The Junction Public House — Drag Shows
1138 Davie St, Vancouver, BC V6E 4L7, Canada
Regularly scheduled drag shows put Junction on the list of clubs to visit for weekday entertainment. Even on a Wednesday night, the Barron Gurl Show put on quite an act. This bar features an event almost every night, including it’s own line of drag, trivia and comedy events. Food is offered, but it’s fairly standard American pub fare. Junction gets busy on Friday and Saturday, so it’s best to go early if you’ve got your heart on seeing a show and not waiting in line.
XY — Lounge
1216 Bute St, Vancouver, BC V6E 1Z8, Canada
The outside of XY looked intimidating, but it’s modern, clean and fresh as hell on the inside. It’s got the kind of comfortable and communal seating you’d expect from a lounge, alongside a large, well-staffed bar. XY makes it name on event nights, with karaoke on Tuesday and then five hours of live piano and show tunes on Wednesday. It’s a total riot and requests are taken of course. This is a mandatory stop in the Vancouver gay scene.
Mon – Th, Saturday: 7PM–2AM
Sunday: 5PM –2AM
1181 — Lounge
1181 Davie St, Vancouver, BC V6E 1N2, Canada
It’s marketed as a lounge, but 1181 feels closer to a sleek, big city bar (by my Iowa standards, anyway). This makes 1181 hard to pin down into any one category. But it is a place you can meet new people – mostly because the long and narrow space makes it unavoidable. 1181 is relatively new to the fray, but has a great, chill environment – and in my personal opinion – the hottest bartenders. They’re friendly too, of course.
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