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Gay Nightclubs in Philadelphia, PA

Updated on September 16, 2011

Written by: Jaclyn Popola

Ahh, Philadelphia: the City of Brotherly Love -- at least it was known as such until it became the brunt of one too many gay jokes, at which point it was changed to Philadelphia: the City That Loves You Back. Despite it's name change, Philly is still home to a gay and lesbian nightlife scene rivaled only by New York and San Francisco. Catering to all walks of life and a variety of niches, Pennsylvania's capital city contains a number of hot clubs and about a billion bars. Whether you're traveling in a pack, along with your partner, or flying solo, you'll find a place where you can let loose with some of the friendliest people in the nation.

WOODY'S 202 S. 13th Street

  • Operating as a café every day from 11am til 9pm and with four parking lots on the same block, when ten o'clock hits Woody's becomes "Philly's Gay Mecca". Woody's claim to fame is their "18 to Enter" College Night which is held each Wednesday. You'll find hundreds of shirtless scholars from the neighboring universities of Temple, UPenn and Drexel dancing to the seemingly endless, thumping techno beats. In fact, if you prefer hip-hop and R&B, you're going to be out of luck. The DJs only spin house and electronica (except on Thursdays, which feature salsa and merengue and Sundays, when country 2stepping is played until 10pm).

PURE NIGHTCLUB 1221 Saint James Street

  • Pure Nightclub, a fairly new Philadelphia endeavor, headlines itself as "Gay Nightlife...finally done right." I would have to agree, due in part to it's eclectic mix of music and events. Although Mondays through Thursdays feature only house music (the gay anthem), Fridays have disco on the mainfloor and hip-hop upstairs and Saturdays have karaoke in the Pink Lounge until 9pm followed by ‘80s hits and acid trip-hop -- both nights feature $2 drink specials. Pure's Pink Lounge also holds a "Who's Your Daddy?" trivia night Fridays at 9pm.

The rooftop Sky Lounge at 12th Air Command
The rooftop Sky Lounge at 12th Air Command

12TH AIR COMMAND 254 S. 12th Street

  • Formerly known as a leather bar, 12th Air Command has transformed itself into a slightly more mainstream nightclub. Although 12th Air also offers an all-ages evening (17 to enter, as opposed to Woody's age 18 minimum) it is not as popular as it's 13th Street counterpart. Karaoke Tuesdays and Frat Thursdays are usually fun times, and every Friday there's a different feature event such as drag queen shows or a 1-800-GayLive party. But the best thing about 12th Air is, undeniably, the rooftop sky lounge; there's nothing better on a warm summer night than an evening under the stars.

The Bike Stop is Philly's premiere leather bar
The Bike Stop is Philly's premiere leather bar

THE BIKE STOP 206 S. Quince Street

  • The Bike Stop took over where 12th Air Command left off. With four floors complete with four matching bars, The Bike Stop is "the Epicenter of the Gay/Lesbian leather world." Shirtless Thursdays, Monday night football, and FREE pool tables on Tuesdays make this a spot worth putting your kickstand down for. And the best part? There's never a cover charge, even on the weekends.

"Shaft Fridays" are a weekly gay event at Club Shampoo
"Shaft Fridays" are a weekly gay event at Club Shampoo

SHAMPOO 415 N. 8th Street

  • Although it's not a gay club, Shampoo does feature a gay night every Friday. Shaft Fridays are 18 to enter, 21 to drink, and run from 9pm until 2am (no cover before 11pm). The themes rotate every week between dance parties, guest DJs, and Latino beats. I have been to Club Shampoo on several occasions, so believe me when I tell you that this place is humongous. I got lost three times trying to navigate my way from the main floor to the underground level to the VIP blue room. Since there's nothing worse than walking into a club and seeing a large dance floor with nobody on it, you'll be glad that Shampoo is always packed.


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      Mommi Poppins 4 years ago

      Here is a gay dating tip for gay men. Sometimes when two gay men have a LTR the other spouse may break up with you or try to pawn you off on a new man. If the relationship is more than 10 years old threaten your spouse with death or beat him unconscious. One time my spouse broke up with me when he was working at Food lion. I came to visit him at the store and the next thing I knew I was fucking him in the back of my Explorer. We got back together because we have chemistry. Top or bottom it does not matter. When I lived In Jersey and I broke up with Mike after 3 months for not bringing me to his home and not letting me meet his friends or family. Mike may have had a girlfriend at the time. I took Mike to Outback to eat in Cherry Hill, New jersey. I paid for the meal. I started to drive back and Mike wanted me to pull into a parking lot. Mike started to give me a blowjob. I guess he felt obligated because I paid. Mike latter got on the high speed line and went into Philadelphia. Mike loved the subway if he had a boyfriend.

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      Daniel 7 years ago

      Agreed, Chicago has a bigger scene. But it's no more fun or comfortable... Philly gay scene rocks. To the author: Philadelphia is not Pennsylvania's capital city. Harrisburg is.

    • kappa02 profile image

      kappa02 9 years ago

      Nice resource

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      buckley 9 years ago

      If you think Philly is only rivaled by NYC and San Fran, then you haven't been to Chicago yet!