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The Oldest Gay Bar in the US: A Historic Haven for LGBTQ+ Community

April 2, 2024

Step into history and discover the oldest gay bar in the US, a cultural landmark that has withstood the test of time. What secrets and stories lie within its walls, echoing the voices of generations past? Join us on a journey through time and identity as we explore the rich tapestry of this iconic establishment.

A Couple Drinking at the Bar

Julius' Bar, New York

Julius' Bar with Jeff and Matt
"Julius' Bar with Jeff and Matt" by Steam Pipe Trunk Distribution Venue is licensed under CC BY 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/.

Located in the heart of Greenwich Village, New York, Julius' Bar holds the esteemed title of being the oldest gay bar in the United States. Stepping through its doors is like stepping back in time, with its vintage decor and rich history dating back to the 1860s. It has been a safe haven for the LGBTQ+ community for decades, serving as a meeting place for activists, artists, and allies alike. Julius' Bar is not just a bar; it is a living piece of queer history that continues to thrive in the modern era.

Cafe Lafitte, New Orleans

Cafe Lafitte in Exile, located in New Orleans, holds the title of being the oldest gay bar in the United States. Established in 1933, this historic bar has been a beacon of LGBTQ+ culture and community for nearly a century. Interestingly, Cafe Lafitte's storied past includes a visit from famous playwright Tennessee Williams, who was known to frequent the establishment. The bar's rich history and vibrant atmosphere continue to attract locals and tourists alike, making it a must-visit destination for those seeking a taste of New Orleans' diverse nightlife.

The White Horse Inn, Oakland

"White Horse Inn on 66th St and Telegraph Ave, April 2017" by Erfym is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/.

The White Horse Inn in Oakland is not just any bar - it holds the prestigious title of being the oldest gay bar in the United States. Steeped in history and tradition, this iconic establishment has been a cornerstone of the LGBTQ community for decades, offering a welcoming and inclusive space for all who enter its doors.

The Stonewall Inn, New York



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"Stonewall Inn - New York, NY - June 18, 2019" by Biden For President is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/.

The Stonewall Inn in New York is not just a bar, it is a historic symbol of resistance and resilience for the LGBTQ+ community. It was at Stonewall where the famous Stonewall Riots took place in 1969, sparking the modern LGBTQ+ rights movement. Today, the Stonewall Inn continues to be a beacon of hope and pride, welcoming all who seek a sense of belonging and acceptance.

The Duplex, New York

The Duplex in New York stands as a beacon of inclusivity and acceptance, serving as a historic haven for the LGBTQ+ community. With its rich history and vibrant atmosphere, The Duplex offers a unique blend of entertainment and camaraderie, making it a must-visit destination for those seeking a welcoming space to express themselves freely and authentically. Step inside and experience the magic of this iconic establishment that has stood the test of time, embracing diversity and celebrating love in all its forms.

The Stud, San Francisco

The Stud in San Francisco holds a special place in LGBTQ+ history as one of the oldest gay bars in the United States. Since its opening, The Stud has been a historic haven for the LGBTQ+ community, providing a safe and welcoming space for people of all backgrounds to come together and express themselves freely. The vibrant atmosphere, inclusive environment, and rich history of The Stud make it a must-visit destination for anyone looking to experience the true essence of LGBTQ+ culture in San Francisco.

The Round-Up Saloon, Dallas

The Round-Up Saloon in Dallas holds a special place in LGBTQ+ history as one of the oldest gay bars in the US. Since its establishment, the Round-Up Saloon has been a historic haven for the LGBTQ+ community, providing a safe and welcoming space for individuals to express themselves freely. With its vibrant atmosphere, lively events, and supportive community, the Round-Up Saloon continues to be a cherished gathering place for those seeking acceptance and camaraderie.

The DC Eagle, Washington D.C.

The DC Eagle in Washington D.C. holds the prestigious title of being the oldest gay bar in the United States. Established in 1971, this historic haven has been a cornerstone of the LGBTQ+ community for decades, offering a welcoming and inclusive space for patrons to come together and celebrate their identities. With a rich history and a vibrant atmosphere, The DC Eagle continues to be a beloved gathering place for members of the LGBTQ+ community and allies alike, making it a must-visit destination for those seeking a truly authentic and meaningful experience.

The Black Cat, San Francisco

The Black Cat in San Francisco holds a special place in LGBTQ+ history as one of the oldest gay bars in the United States. This historic haven has been a gathering place for the community for many years, offering a welcoming and inclusive environment for all who enter its doors. With a rich history and a commitment to celebrating diversity, The Black Cat continues to be a beloved establishment for those looking for a sense of belonging and acceptance.

The Abbey, West Hollywood

The Abbey in West Hollywood holds the prestigious title of being the oldest gay bar in the US, making it a historic haven for the LGBTQ+ community. Established in the heart of West Hollywood, The Abbey has been a symbol of acceptance and celebration for decades. Known for its vibrant atmosphere, inclusive environment, and iconic events, The Abbey continues to be a beloved gathering place for the LGBTQ+ community and allies alike. With its rich history and unwavering commitment to diversity, The Abbey stands as a beacon of pride and solidarity in the heart of West Hollywood.

The LGBTQ+ Scene in the Paradise of Honolulu

After appreciating the historical significance of the oldest gay bar in the U.S, it's only fitting that we start exploring other distinctive LGBTQ+ friendly locations around the country. For this, let's jet off to the Pacific paradise of Honolulu. The city of Honolulu, being known not just for its breathtaking landscapes, but also for its vibrant gay scene, offers a variety of LGBTQ+ friendly bars and clubs. Places like Hula's Bar and Lei Stand, Bacchus Waikiki, In Between Waikiki, and Scarlet Honolulu paint a rainbow representation of the city’s bustling nightlife. Each spot provides a unique experience, ensuring a memorable outing whether you're a local or a wanderlust-driven adventurer. Want to learn more? Here's a comprehensive list of the best gay bars in Honolulu that you might want to check out on your next visit. Never forget, every city has a story, and in the case of Honolulu, it’s a dazzlingly colorful one indeed!

Café Lafitte in Exile: A Historic Legacy

Known as the epicenter of LGBTQ+ friendly establishments in the US, Café Lafitte in Exile in New Orleans holds a special place in the community's history. This legendary bar proudly claims itself to be the oldest gay bar in the United States, taking its roots back to 1933. It became a safe space for the LGBTQ+ community long before it was common or even accepted to do so. To this day, it stands unyieldingly at the location of what used to be Lafitte's, symbolizing hope and resilience throughout all these years. For a deeper understanding, you can explore the historic roots of Café Lafitte and its immeasurable contribution to the gay rights movement in America.

Final Thoughts

The oldest gay bar in the US, a historic haven for the LGBTQ+ community, has stood the test of time as a symbol of resilience and acceptance. Through decades of challenges and triumphs, this iconic establishment has provided a safe space for individuals to express themselves freely and authentically. In conclusion, it is evident that this historic gay bar continues to play a vital role in fostering unity and camaraderie within the LGBTQ+ community, making it a cherished landmark that deserves to be celebrated and preserved for generations to come.

Justin Ankus

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