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Seattle Gay Nightlife Review

Seattle Gay Nightlife Review

Old Nov 1, 06, 11:32 pm
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Seattle Gay Nightlife Review

On Sunday the Cuff Complex has their Classic Tea Dance starting at 6 pm until close with no cover and one dollar beers. This event draws a large mix of mainstream gays into this "leather" bar with a dance floor and DJ. Years ago, whenever The Cuff became the Cuff Complex Nightclub, Fridays and Saturdays also became more mainstream gay and not exclusively for leather or bears. They even stay open till 3 am on Saturday giving you an extra hour after beer time ends. The bartender attitude is average. Friday's are the slowest of the three nights and Sunday is typically the most crowded.

Manray, a trendy bar with ultra modern décor, has never been the same since nearby residents forced the closure of their outdoor atrium. However, this tight but brightly lit video bar with a large central oval bar can get crowded. Never a wait to enter. Caters to a younger nicely dressed crowd and stiff drinks that makes it a decent place to start the night and get orientated. During weekends the drink line takes longer then it should. Most of the bartenders have a great attitude but something with the system makes things slow at times. UPDATE: This bar has closed down

Purr Cocktail Lounge, has become a ritual to start the night for so many people. The place can be a bit cliquish in that you either know people here or you feel out of place and caters to a young crowd on weekends. Mexican food is available. The Karaoke Sunday beer bust can also be popular as well with $1 beers and $5 pitchers and starts at 2 p.m. and goes till midnight. The main thing they lack is a dance floor which means by midnight many people move on to the next bar. Update 06/07 - The place is still quite a scene Thursday through Sunday. There is a mix of mostly younger but some older patrons as well. There is a secret bar upstairs. Currently, there are few places in Seattle that get going as early as this one. Never a cover so worth checking out.

If you are looking to hop instead of dance R Place may be your scene. My feeling about this place is you either hate it, love it, or you hate it but you are forced to love it because you love the people that hang out there. Its gay hip-hop format on the 3rd floor is popular with a certain generation. The 2nd floor balcony is more casual with a pool table and small video screen but cramped. Unlike the straight hip hop bars you rarely find trouble here. Good place to find special events during the weekday.

Madison Pub is one of the most comfortable gay bars with a more sporty adult crowd. This feels like R Place USE TO BE with darts, pool tables, pinball, sports orientated memorabilia and a very good selection from the video jukebox. There is a generous amount of room for a bar of this type and even though it gets crowded it feels more relaxed but socially busy. At times it feels like it has the right mix of real people. The kind of place where a gay baseball team would hang out and great place to start the night on weekends. The bartenders mostly have a positive attitude but can occasionally get moody.

Recently, Thumpers closed down after 22 years of business leaving C.C. Attle's by itself. The large wraparound deck provides a nice place to socialize on warm days. Happy hour until 8:30 PM. This can be a popular and friendly place for bears and their admirers. With the strongest drinks around and hot bar food is available and cooked to order until 10 PM. It can be more than your average neighborhood bar the key is catching it when it is not slow.

Martin’s Off Madison is an eclectic martini and piano bistro with equally classy late night dining. It is a relatively new intimate bar to the scene if you are in a relaxed mood to sit and listen to live music or have an intimate chat with special friends next to a towering flame. The owners have worked hard to create their quaint upscale environment. Sadly weekdays look slow so please at least pay them a visit on your next trip so we don't lose another restaurant.

NOTE: Sugar has changed formats in March 2007 and is no longer a gay club. If you see it on a gay club list somewhere it is probably outdated.

While technically a gay-friendly bar, The Chapel still deserves a mention and worth a visit in the that it is housed in a historic old mortuary. The $4 martini happy hour is popular with a mixed crowd. Watch for the occasional after hours events on Saturday.

Broadway New American Grill is the most gay restaurant on Broadway with a small bar area as well. Electric Teas and their daily drink specials are popular. Some of the food is an above average menu of eclectic renditions of some American classics but sometimes it is not the best value in town but great for people watching if you’re from out of town. Popular on hot days because of its plentiful outdoor and window front seating facing Broadway but you must request these seats or they will put you in the back.

Neighbors Nightclub has been the gay dance club mainstay in Seattle for over 20 years. This is very unfortunate for all of us in Seattle who desire something new and better. (Why can’t we have a place like Twisted in Calgary?) Neighbors has the largest dance floor. Sometimes this can draw in the straight girls out on a bachelorette party or dragging their straight boyfriends in to dance. If you intend on going here try to get stamped before midnight when the cover is just $5 and after that it goes to $8. On Friday and Saturday they always stay open till 4 a.m. so at 2 a.m. the lines may instantly get long and slow as the other bars clear out and the under 21 crowd is allowed to enter. On most weekends this club will be [b]completely[b] dead before midnight but many times packed by 2 a.m.
The Underground is a separate 18+ club below Neighbors with a steep cover and never really gets going BUT it is free to enter with a stamp from Neighbors. The Underground’s best night is Friday. Updated 2/07 - The Underground now closes at 2 am. when the 18-20-year-olds are allowed in the main club at that time. Consistently, on weekends Neighbors is pretty crowded as it gets closer to 2 am. At 2 am the crowd drastically rotates, meaning, a lot of people that have been there drinking leave at 2 am and while many others arrive from bars around the area. Not uncommon to wait in long lines at 2:30 a.m.

Pony is the new bar in town. Taking over where the Cha Cha Lounge use to be located - 506 E Pine Street. The bar is a campy retro recreation of the 70’s sleazy porn bars. Giant pictures of classic porn star Joe Dallesandro hang from the walls. Because of the bar is new and people like the retro sleaze theme the bar is popular with the hip crowd.UPDATE: Pony has closed down

A couple of excellent sites for the latest gay seattle info are www.gayseattle.blogspot.com and www.seaQwa.com

Last edited by westcoastman; Mar 22, 08 at 7:31 pm
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Old Nov 2, 06, 7:10 am
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Old Nov 2, 06, 11:09 am
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It’s Saturday night so where do I go for dancing?

1) Neighbors Nightclub has the largest dance floor and lights with dancing till 4 a.m. to famous local D.J. Randy Schlager. It has been the mainstay for over 20 years and one of the only places to go after 2 a.m. The club attracts a mixture of people looking to dance but also a number of straight chicks while a lot of the patrons seem to keep to themselves. Late at night this club can have the most people so with the right look and attitude meeting someone new can happen. Best place to meet people is near the front door between the bars. The Asians here tend to be interested in other Asians. Don't get here too early. On most nights anytime before midnight it will be pretty dead. UPDATE 6/07: This place continues to pack people in closer to 2 a.m. - seems like a lot of people eventually end up here
2) The Cuff Complex features one intermediate sized dance floor and guest DJ with dancing till 3 a.m. An interesting mixture of bears and twinks. Three distinctly separate bar areas make this some people’s favorite place to dance. Best place to meet someone is on the back patio with two separate areas for drinking and smoking.
3) R Place advertises dance music but from what I can hear it is thug music located on the 3rd floor of this bar. Racially mixed crowd of both Afro-American and Asian. A lot of people swear by this dance bar and spend the entire night here. Best place to meet someone is on the 2nd floor near the pool table or on the couches.

Last edited by westcoastman; Jun 29, 07 at 4:42 pm
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Old Nov 2, 06, 11:26 am
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It’s Saturday night so where do I get the night started before 11 p.m.?

1) Purr Cocktail Lounge also has its following from many people who use to go to Manray. While the crowd can be cliquish the atmosphere is young and fun. No cover. Update 6/07 - This is most likely the place to be before 11 PM
2) Madison Pub is a great place to begin especially with your closest friends. A lot of activity in the bar and even a drink special on Saturday. It starts clearing out later but a number of patrons do stay the entire night. The forced lineup of 3 or 4 people when the place is relatively empty can be annoying. No cover.
3) manray gets going early and dissipates later as people move on. The drinks are decent and uplifting video atmosphere can be enough to get you going for the night. No cover. UPDATE: manray will be closing by November to make room for a condo development. The new building does not want loud bars. Enjoy it while you still can.
4) Go too early at R Place and it is pretty dead but things do get going a little earlier here than any of the other dance bars. An early cover charge requires a commitment though so many people just spend the entire night here. With similar music as The Rage in L.A. it is a bar you will either really like or hate.
5) C.C. Attle’s – Notoriously stiff drinks good for the early evening crowd and decent bar food. The crowds have been absent the past few months but it is too cold for the patio.

Last edited by westcoastman; Jun 29, 07 at 4:43 pm
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Old Nov 2, 06, 2:51 pm
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Gay Dining in Seattle:
The original gay restaurant Thumpers is now gone. Long gone are the days when Hamburger Mary’s was at the top of the Broadway Market. Gay dining in Seattle has become more mainstream.

1200 Bistro, while fairly pricey, is a stylish restaurant in the heart of Capital Hill mostly catering to a gay clientele. You may want to try the bar menu instead. A little less expensive is Martin’s Off Madison, with its live Piano music and serves a full dinner menu.

Historically Broadway Ave has been the center of the gay community and while most restaurants along Broadway still cater to the gay population they have noticeably become more mixed from the nearby community college. Broadway is where you could grab a quick bite from a number of value conscious and friendly establishments such as Hana Japanese Restaurant or Pho Cyclo. If you are on the north end of Broadway Ave the Deluxe Bar and Gill may be worth a try. Burgers and quality microbrews are their speciality along with other comfort food. Happy hour daily 3 to 6 and Wednesdays are popular with $4.95 gourmet burgers. Sitting near their fireplace is nice on a cold rainy day.

Broadway New American Grill has been an establishment within the gay community for over a decade. The food and menu has recently improved after a decline in quality a few years ago. It is not the top value nor fanciest restaurant in the city but it has a modern decor and the setting is comfortable but visually stimulating. The food is decent with some items under $10 and much better than a Hamburger Mary's. While the clientele is mixed, on any given night they will have a large gay following peculiarly including those that have recently “come-out.” Probably because a lot of the population has grown tired of the restaurant over time. A large draw is the ample outdoor and window side seating which is now non-smoking and the prime spot for people watching on a nice day.

Next to the bars:
Quaint and gay friendly restaurants next to the bars include Rosebud, 611 Supreme and 22 Doors. Across from Sugar, mostly straight Via Tribunali is hot now and very hyped up and popular but seems dark, overpriced and has a long wait time where you are expected to buy overpriced drinks in the bar. The Italian restaurant Machiavelli on Pine Street, while mostly straight, has quite a following in the early evening due to its authentic Italian food and casual atmosphere with good prices. Many stop at Hot Mama’s Pizza across from R Place for a late night slice of fresh hot pizza on their way between clubs. Across from Sugar and located outside of a place called Neumo’s is "Frites: Belgian Fries" for a fast and hot snack.

Across from where Thumpers use to be, CC Attle’s serves hot bar food for under $10 until late at night including things such as a large cheeseburger or a large fried seafood platter. Purr Cocktail Lounge has a full Mexican menu.

The Belltown neighborhood features a bevy of straight but very hip gay friendly restaurants. Just take a stroll down 1st or 2nd avenue in the downtown Belltown neighborhood.

Also more on the straight side (but still gay friendly) if you are visiting you’re probably better off going downtown and visiting one of the classier high-end restaurants such as Campagne, Brasa, Dahlia Lounge, El Gaucho, Flying Fish, Queen City Grill, Palace Kitchen, or Wild Ginger

Gay.com has an excellent and comprehensive discussion of some of the better places to eat in Seattle while some may be a little "off the radar":
http://www.gay.com/travel/premium/sp...num=315&page=1

Last edited by westcoastman; Nov 12, 06 at 10:29 am
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Old Nov 3, 06, 10:57 am
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Where have all the flowers gone?

Some would argue that the best gay nightlife in Seattle is nearly 3 hours away...in Vancouver, BC. (Personally, I don’t even find Vancouver all that good either) The gay clubs in Seattle have had there ups and downs over the years with some of the hottest clubs to come to the scene eventually closing down after being open only a relatively short time. Some have transformed themselves several times such as the current Neumo’s which was at least three different gay clubs before its current forum of being mostly a straight venue for live music. Where The Brass Connection use to be, the once hot Blu Video Bar also closed down and to eventually become the very straight War Room hip hop bar. Sugar completely changed its format from gay to attracting a crowd similar to the War Room.
For a while in Seattle, sadly for them, the to place to be for straight people was Pioneer Square with its one-time cover charge, tavern style dance clubs and live music. However, the area was inundated with suburban rednecks and was also becoming dangerous from a few thugs who were more interested in stirring up violent confrontations. What may have started with the more alternative club, The Vogue, sprang up new hip straight clubs on Capital Hill right next to the gay clubs. The format was a smaller and darker candlelit lounge type establishments. And some of the younger hip straight crowd began preferring the relative class and safety of gay Capital Hill. Soon the crowds of Pine and Pike Streets were becoming much more mixed as the straight scene elevated itself way beyond the pub like Capital Hill straight bars of Linda’s, the Comet Tavern, and Kincora Pub. Straight but mildly gay friendly establishments like Cha Cha Lounge, Chapel, Barca, and Capital Club appeared.
I certainly would not suggest that this has contributed to the decline of gay clubs in Seattle. It should have intensified the atmosphere, style and energy of Capital Hill. When Thumpers recently closed down they blamed it on how everyone is so connected on the web now. No longer do people need to go out to bars in order to meet that special someone. However, the transformation of Capital Hill is probably more related to the interests of the club owner to survive the dwindling desire of gays in Seattle to remain in the boundaries of a gay ghetto. Gays were becoming more orientated with the mainstream of Seattle’s nightlife such as in the chic new bistros in Belltown and downtown.
Well the good part is by having the gay scene concentrated to just a few mediocre establishments on any given weekend you can expect to be partying with THE crowd that is there to have fun. Just like the power of political parties, over time gay Seattle has had its ups and downs and maybe the future has a revival in store for Seattle.

Last edited by westcoastman; Jun 19, 07 at 9:24 am
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Old Nov 3, 06, 1:02 pm
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Feel free to post if you have any comments or criticisms about Seattle or what is written here.
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Old Nov 4, 06, 2:46 pm
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Other than to thank you and wish I had spoken to you a few weeks ago when I visited, I have nothing to add!
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Old Nov 4, 06, 3:09 pm
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I am SOOOO sorry to hear that Thumpers has closed down.

As a consultant who used to get to SEA frequently (and had an ex who moved there and visited a lot before he became an ex) I LOVED Thumpers! The food was great. Sitting by the fireplace with a Scotch was great. Had a few romantic dinners on the small patio .. was even there the day after the infamous patio car accident (am I dating myself) ..

And still have CDs from Marge Starks who used to play piano at Thumpers!

Thanks for the update . I have flown into SEA for long weekends before just to have dinner at Thumpers and 13 Coins (sitting at the food bar at 4am watching the hot chefs working in the kitchen prior to my 7am flights back home . was fun) .. or to shop Pike Place Market..
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Old Nov 4, 06, 3:48 pm
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Originally Posted by JGR01
I am SOOOO sorry to hear that Thumpers has closed down...
...Thanks for the update . I have flown into SEA for long weekends before just to have dinner at Thumpers and 13 Coins (sitting at the food bar at 4am watching the hot chefs working in the kitchen prior to my 7am flights back home . was fun) .. or to shop Pike Place Market..
Thumper's opened April 1985. Here is the information about the closing.
I doubt Martin's Off Madison will ever come close to Thumper's but it is nicer and may be worth a try if you are in town.
I almost forgot about 13 Coins. An easy pick for anyone on Flyertalk as it is right across the street from the airport. It is open 24 hours. It is not cheap nor gay but you can't beat the atmosphere late at night. The food is both excellent and the portions are large (the other 24 hour chains are not even in the same league) and certainly one of the best 24 hour restaurants in the country. At times, even very late at night, the wait can be long but check out their website

Last edited by westcoastman; Nov 4, 06 at 3:53 pm
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Old Nov 5, 06, 2:31 am
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Thumpers didn't close due to the lack of interest in going out to the bars. The owners owned the building and land. They sold to a developer which will put condos or something of that sorts up on the land. On a some what side note do not go out anymore in Seattle. The music is bad, the attitudes are worse, and the places all look ran down.
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Old Nov 5, 06, 12:44 pm
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Originally Posted by fly4funsea
...On a some what side note do not go out anymore in Seattle. The music is bad, the attitudes are worse, and the places all look ran down.
While I don't disagree - where do you go? Another city? Other activities? Stay at home?
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Old Nov 6, 06, 6:15 am
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We were working on adding Seattle to our gaydarguide website, but we have not had a lot of luck finding a large number of gay bars or gay friendly business'.

I think Seattle is becoming more like San Diego and other cites where the gay "lifestyle" is no big deal and everyone just co-exists.

Would you agree?

I enjoyed my trekking around Seattle looking for Hamburger Mary's that had long since closed when I was there....
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Old Nov 6, 06, 11:39 am
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Originally Posted by Gay_Traveler
We were working on adding Seattle to our gaydarguide website, but we have not had a lot of luck finding a large number of gay bars or gay friendly business'.

I think Seattle is becoming more like San Diego and other cites where the gay "lifestyle" is no big deal and everyone just co-exists.

Would you agree?

I enjoyed my trekking around Seattle looking for Hamburger Mary's that had long since closed when I was there....
Exactly right. According to a recent study Seattle is #2 (behind San Francisco) in percentage of Same-Sex couples compared to the population - 12.9% of the city and 6.5% of the metropolitan area (Seattle/Tacoma/Bellevue). Imagine what kind of effect that can have on a city. Similar to SF, the gay population in Seattle is very influential and quite politically powerful and well funded with the large nearby tech industry. San Diego, however, is quite conservative and I feel merely tolerant of the gay community (I could be wrong). Seattle's congressional district #7 (2nd most gay in the country) votes over 80% for the democrat Jim McDermott. The Seattle area will have 4 openly gay state legislators (including one in the suburbs!). The tech downturn after 2000 actually had a noticeable effect on the gay scene in Seattle. Hope that puts it in perspective.

Don't feel bad about not finding a Hamburger Mary's. After it moved to its last location on Olive St. the place was virtually empty most of the time. Before that, several years ago, Hamburger Mary's was in the Broadway Market and the bar was packed on weekends. It was quite a site but that was the good old days before the gay businesses moved out of Broadway Market and before the whole thing became a QFC Grocery store.
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Old Nov 7, 06, 6:06 am
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Cool, thanks for the info, we will still be adding Seattle at some point, I love the area and the people are fantastic.
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