These are the best gay bars in Minnesota.
The Town House
1415 University Ave. W.
St. Paul, MN 55104
The Town House is St. Paul’s oldest GLBT bar, operating on University Avenue for over 40 years. Come out for a late-night drink and you’ll see that it hasn’t lost a step. Adding a little flair to an otherwise quiet stretch in the Midway neighborhood, The Town House hosts some of the coolest events in the city, serves up some of the best drinks and welcomes all types, from the balding bear and his transgender girlfriend to the youthful flannel and his straight chemistry partner, with wide open arms. For a night out with friends, The Town House is a welcoming place that guarantees a good time.
Lush Food Bar
990 Central Ave. N.E.
Minneapolis, MN 55413
An unassuming exterior (it’s housed in a large warehouse that looks like a large warehouse) hides one of the best gay bars in Minneapolis. Good food, as the name implies, is joined by fantastic drink specials and one of the best patios in Northeast for warm-weather nights. The events are always memorable, and one of the best karaoke nights in the Twin Cities happens on Thursdays. The crowd that fills Lush is always friendly and clearly having a good time, creating a great atmosphere that couldn’t be more welcoming. Don’t forget to try brunch; bottomless mimosas supplement awesome morning-after food options.
490 N. Robert St.
St. Paul, MN 55101
Classy downtown St. Paul nightclub is not only a great place for strong drinks, attractive, personable bartenders and great music, it’s also one of the best small theaters and cabarets in the city. You won’t want to miss the paintings that adorn the walls, especially the giant Judy Garland as the Virgin Mary holding Liza Minelli as baby Jesus. The mood is relaxed, almost more of a lounge than a club, until the music starts pumping on the dance floor and the crowd starts moving. CAMP is a great place where everyone and anyone can feel welcome and have a great time.
830 Hennepin Ave.
Minneapolis, MN 55403
For over 30 years, The Saloon has been the go-to for wall-to-wall packed dance nights, sculpted men dancing nude in onstage showers and some of the nicest bartenders serving strong drinks. If you’re not looking for a wild time on the dance floor, head to the back where a quieter atmosphere allows for conversation. It’s a great place to meet new people, and while it is a younger crowd to be found dancing and drinking, it is a welcoming place for all. Check the calendar for daily events, like shower contests on Sundays or Karaoke on Tuesdays.
Eagle Bolt Bar
515 Washington Ave. S.
Minneapolis, MN 55415
For all of the bachelorettes, suburbanites and first-timers who think that the Gay 90s is the quintessential gay bar, Eagle Bolt Bar is here to show you where it’s at. Pulsing beats keep the wall-to-wall packed dance floor shaking and there is plenty of eye candy for men of all types. It’s a club that has billed itself the “Premier Masculine Men’s Bar” for 15 years, and it shows no sign of slowing down. It’s the real deal at Eagle Bolt, so if you’re a tourist just trying to check “gay bar” off of your list that also includes Sex World and Deja Vu on your trip to downtown Minneapolis, this might not be the place for you.
Related: Minneapolis Named Gayest U.S. City
Adrian Schramm is a resident Saint Paul writer with a passion for all things local. Through his work with Saint Paul Almanac and Minneapolis Examiner at Examiner.com, as well as in the kitchens of bars and restaurants around town, he has discovered what truly makes the Twin Cities tick.