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Best GLBT Bars In The Twin Cities

June 24, 2011 8:45 AM

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(credit: Jupiter Images)

(credit: Jupiter Images)

Gay bars come and go in the Twin Cities, questioning their own sexuality and “experimenting” as the years go on. Does anyone remember that brief period when Augie’s, now one of Hennepin and 5th’s lovable strip joints, tried to flip their script completely and make a go at M4M clientele? (No? Well, the phase didn’t last long.) For every bar that went straight, there’s another one that just simply vanished. I remember awhile back joking about how Boom in Nordeast was a “way station for Twin Cities gays who were just waiting to make a break for New York.” Apparently they all got there.

And yet, in other cases, the bars pull off a Dorian Gray act, keeping their patrons forever young in a Shangri La of lights, music and rum. Here are some of the best GLBT bars in the Twin Cities.

jetset Best GLBT Bars In The Twin Cities



115 North First Street, Minneapolis
(612) 339-3933

This is, for all intents and purposes, the new Boom, but thankfully without that bar’s undercurrent of social-climbing desperation. Jetset has a cozy feel that can make even a sparse night feel pretty live, a reliably attractive and mixed crowd, and nice big picture windows that say, “Here I am!”

lush Best GLBT Bars In The Twin Cities



990 Central Avenue Northeast, Minneapolis

Don’t be fooled by the exterior. What looks on the outside like a paper-holding warehouse is in actuality one of the Twin Cities’ most friendly gay bars. It’s spacious and serves some of the stronger drinks I’ve ever had this side of Red Dragon’s wondrous punch.

saloon Best GLBT Bars In The Twin Cities


The Saloon

830 Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis

This is the one that separates the lifers from the tourists. The Saloon’s unfettered atmosphere of loud house beats, Red Bull-spiked drinks and naked pecs doesn’t exactly lend itself to those who aren’t 100 percent comfortable in their sexuality. (And then there’s that shower stall.) But if eye candy is what you’re looking for, the Saloon is Willy Wonka’s land of pure imagination. One which leaves very little to said imagination.

townhousebar Best GLBT Bars In The Twin Cities

Pumps & Pearls Drag Revue at Townhouse Bar. (credit:

Town House

1415 University Avenue West, St. Paul
(651) 646-7087

Variety is the spice of life at the Town House. Gay, lesbian, bisexual, animal, vegetable, mineral. It all flies here, though it should be noted this is one of the few bars in the Twin Cities that seems to cater more exclusively toward lesbians. In any case, the entertainment options are as diverse as you please. Karaoke, drag shows and even some line dancing.

eagle Best GLBT Bars In The Twin Cities


Minneapolis Eagle/Bolt

515 Washington Ave South, Minneapolis

The Eagle is synonymous with one three-syllable phrase: “3-for-1s.” Well, it’s also known for being a cavern for bears of the non-hibernating variety, though I’ve seen bears, otters and bunnies in equal measure there on any given night.

19bar Best GLBT Bars In The Twin Cities


19 Bar

19 West 15th Street, Minneapolis
(612) 871-5553

The 19 Bar is the ultimate low-key gay bar in Minneapolis. Without actually meriting the backhanded (but sincere) compliment “dive,” there’s a distinct lack of polish and glitter at this establishment. Just your standard-issue pool tables and dart boards and a well-stocked jukebox. The no-pressure atmosphere ensures it attracts one of the most diverse crowds in the Cities.

1182796238 front bar Best GLBT Bars In The Twin Cities



490 Robert Street North, St. Paul
(651) 292-1844

“Old school,” as any bar sporting a painting of Judy Garland as Mary of Nazareth and Liza as her own baby Jesus would be. Simultaneously upscale and down-to-earth.

gay90s Best GLBT Bars In The Twin Cities


Gay 90s

408 Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis
(612) 333-7755

Sometimes derisively referred to by the Twin Cities’ GLBT population as the “Bi 90s,” this straight-friendly Disney World-esque theme park of a gay bar sets out to prove that it’s a small world after all.

-Eric Henderson is a web producer at WCCO.COM.

View Comments
  • Alex

    All you have to do is look. There are at least 6-7 different lists.

  • digitaltrans2

    You could go to gay 90’s because trust me they do not cater to GLBT at least not to T. Take it from this girl that was kicked out of the girls room there.

    • Curious

      Can you help an ignorant fellow. I never understood why the T is lumped in with the GLB? I mean the GLB’s all refer to sexuality…whom someone cares to sleep with. But the T…that is a gender issue…not a sexuality issue right? I might be mistaken about some things..but i’ve always wondered why the T goes with GLB.

      • Michael Clark


    • Straight and proud

      They don’t like the real Sikos in there. Mostly straight people with a few token obvious GLB running around. That’s they way we like it.

  • Bob

    The Gay 90s, needs to change its name to Straight 90s. Gays, are rarely seen there. The show brought in the straight suburb girls and now its now longer gay. I stopped going years ago. The straights can have it.

  • Neil

    Haven’t been in the 90’s for maybe 10 years. Like Jetset but the music is way to loud although the mixes are good. Townhouse – some of the women are mean so I’ve not been interested in going back. Camp is nice. Saloon is money grubbing and the shower is icky. 19 is neighborhoodish, nice. Haven’t been to Lush yet but will. Tickles is fun. Eagle/Bolt is what it is, and DJ CooCooCox is great! That’s my opinion for what it’s worth.

  • Becky

    The Saggy Pants Thug Crowd seems to find it’s way to the 90s on a regular basis, lookin to set up, scam & victimize vulnerable Gay persons. It’s been happening for years but they still keep lettin em in. Kind of an unsafe place.

    • v

      So….. being gay makes someone more vulnerable to crime?
      How does what you do with your genitals increase or decrease your chances of being a victim?

  • dp

    What I love here is how folks hate on the “straights,” but would be absolutely appalled by someone disparaging the gay lifestyle.

  • pete

    Tickles closed several months ago… I don’t make it out to the bars all that much, and even I know they closed.

  • marka

    @ author
    Jetset actually was there before Boom; Boom tried to be the next Jetset but crashed. Just fyi

  • Straight and proud

    Eventually all the bars listed will be straight bars where we go and they (glbt) entertain us.

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