Visitors Guide: LGBT Philadelphia

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Jason Brendel holds a rainbow flag, representing diversity and LGBT equality.

GAYBORHOOD

For the Shopping
Philly AIDS Thrift at Giovanni’s Room
(345 South 12th St.)
Founded in 1973, Giovanni’s Room was the oldest gay and lesbian bookstore in the country until it closed in May of 2014. Soon after, Philly AIDS Thrift became the proprietor of Giovanni’s Room. Now, a great selection of LGBT books (both new and used) as well as clothing, housewares, art and chochkies galore are available for the nostalgic hoarder in us all. Philly AIDS Thrift also has a larger location at 710 South 5th St.

For the Workout
12th Street Gym
(204 S. 12th St.)
If you are looking to get out of the hotel for a sweaty workout, hop over to the gayest gym in the city. 12th Street Gym offers day passes for $20. That gives you unlimited access to the gym, pool, group fitness classes and hot stares galore for that single business day.

Unite Fitness
(105 S. 12th St.)
If cross training is more your game, than check out Unite Fitness where your first class is always free and the trainers are ripped like Greek Gods.

For the Community
William Way Community Center
(1315 Spruce St.)
There is always something happening at William Way, Philadelphia’s LGBT community center, from art shows to lectures. So stop by, find out about the happenings there and pick up resources with additional information on where to go and what to do during your stay.

For the Resources
Mazzoni Health Center
(21 South 12th St.)
Mazzoni Center is Philadelphia’s LGBT health care and wellness center. Services that may be of interest to a visitor are free walk-in rapid HIV testing and STD screening at Mazzoni’s Washington West Project (1201 Locust Street). Alcoholics Anonymous meetings take place 5:30 p.m. daily on the second floor at the Washington West Project as well.

For the Day Drinking
U Bar
(1220 Locust St.) 
Formerly Uncles, U Bar is an unpretentious hangout with a great selection of beers. Get there early on Sunday Funday to claim your spot at the bar. It gets packed with locals trying to end their weekend on a high note.

For the Eye Candy
Boxers PHL
(1330 Walnut St.)
Boxers is the Hooters equivalent for gay Philadelphia. Let the shirtless beefy boys in red athletic shorts pour you a drink and flirt. Look but don’t touch. Too much.

For the Balls
Tabu Sports Bar and Lounge
(200 South 12th St.)
For the sports enthusiast, Tabu is the gay sports bar to cheer on your home team during their latest match. With cheap daily drink specials and a menu full of fried food delights, you can get rowdy with fellow sports aficionado. Lots of different events from drag shows to karaoke take over the bar’s second floor. So make sure to ask you bartender what’s on the schedule. 

For the Showtunes
Tavern on Camac
(243 South Camac St.)

Every night, a talented pianist takes the helm at Tavern on Camac, a historic watering hole for the nostalgic queen. Sit back with friends and sing along with favorites from everything to Carol King to Wicked. Sing out Louise!

For the Daddies
Knock Restaurant and Bar
(225 S. 12th St.)
Grab your walker. Full of Golden Gays, Knock draws an older clientele into its mahogany front doors. With a busy lunch offered daily, Knock is also perfect for a sugar daddy night out or a night out sugar daddy hunting. Viagra sold separately.

For the Ladies
Stimulus Events
After Sister’s closed in 2013, there is no dedicated lesbian bar in Philly. But keep your eye out for the many monthly and well attended events Stimulus throws for lady lovers.

For the Twinks
iCandy
(254 South 12th St.)
This entertainment complex has multiple levels of dancing, drinking, and debauchery. With an interior that mirrors Cheesecake Factory (yes, the restaurant) and an open air tiki bar upstairs, iCandy always has a surprise waiting for you.

For the Dancing
Woody’s Bar
(202 S. 13th St.)
Woody’s Bar is a staple in the Gayborhood and a must see on every tourist’s itinerary. Packed to the brim each Friday and Saturday, the upstairs dance floor costs $10 until it’s free at 1:30am.

Voyeur Nightclub
(1221 Saint James St.)
The party keeps raging after 2:00 a.m. right across the street at Voyeur Nightclub, the only afterhours spot in the Gayborhood. Good luck checking out of your hotel room by 11:00 a.m. the next day. 

For the Underwear
Bike Stop
(206 S. Quince St.)
Bike Stop is Philly’s obligatory leather/biker bar. You never know who you will meet in the dark and cavernous corners. Stop by for the extremely popular Jock Strap Night on Mondays or Underwear Night on Wednesdays.

 

Everywhere Else...

For the Dessert
Big Gay Ice Cream
521 South Broad St. (Avenue of the Arts)
Slated to open this spring, popular New York City dessert destination is coming here to Philadelphia, offering all sort of sweet treats like the Salty Pimp, a concoction created with vanilla ice cream, Dulce de Leche, and sea salt with a chocolate dip. Sounds sassy to us.

For the Drag
Bob and Barbara’s
1509 South St. (Queen Village)
Bob and Barbara’s, a dive bar in the South Street West neighborhood, is home to the longest running drag show in Philadelphia hosted by the fabulous Miss Lisa Lisa. Every Thursday, everyone from rowdy straight frat boys to drag queen wannabes crowd this diva den.

For a Quiet Drink
Stir
1705 Chancellor St. (Rittenhouse)
Most nights at Stir are pretty low key. This watering hole in the Rittenhouse neighborhood attracts a modest clientele looking to get away from the hullabaloo of the Gayborhood for actual cozy conversation. For the more boisterous boozehound, make your way to Stir on a Thursday night for Dollar Drinks.