Happy Pride Weekend! To celebrate, let's raise a glass of diet soda at one of NYC's many establishments catering to homosexual revelry. I'll give you 30 such joints to choose from, ranked in order of sheer fabulousness, factoring in their ambience, staff, events, and history. Being a man in Manhattan, I'm limiting the list to gay-male-oriented places in that very borough. And I'm not including the big dance clubs--just the bars, OK? Here goes a lot:
1) Julius (159 W. 10th Street)
The long-running neighborhood bar is cozy and friendly, plus they have a food nook where they'll broil up some five dollar burgers, and there are two really fun game machine too. What more could a gay want?
2) Industry (355 W. 52 Street)
You can't be gay without going to Hell's Kitchen bars, and this one is the shiniest and most happening, with drag shows and more drag shows!
3) Pieces (8 Christopher Street)
A personal fave of mine, this is the gay Cheers -- a haven to come back to again and again, for all its no-frills splendor.
4) Hangar Bar (115 Christopher Street)
Gays of color come for pool, schmoozing, and all-around good times. This place is always worth a gay visit.
5) Flaming Saddles (793-Ninth Avenue)
For those who thought "gay" and "country" could never intersect, check out this fascinating hybrid, complete with staffers dancing a hoedown on the bar and constant showings of The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.
6) Barracuda (275 W. 22 St.)
Keeping the gay spirit alive in Chelsea, this raucous hangout has a welcome air of familiarity, and some very lively customers.
7) Eastern Bloc (505 E. 6th Street)
This unpretentious hole in the wall gets so comfy it feels like a house party. Prepare to meet people.
8) 9th Avenue Saloon (656-9th Avenue)
You never know who you'll run into at this offbeat hangout, and that's the fun of it. You might meet your next husband--or, more likely, your last one.
9) The Monster (80 Grove Street)
A Village staple, this divey playpen gives you a bar, a piano, a dance floor, and some very interesting characters to size up.
10) The Cock (29-Second Avenue)
When the rooster crows, it's time to join the 'hos. Or something like that.
11) Boots and Saddle (76 Christopher)
Tiny yet atmospheric, with a game array of drag queens, B&S; is closing, but make sure to look for them in their next space.
12) Therapy (348 W. 52nd)
Sleek and filled with entertainment, this uppity twink palace ain't going anywhere.
13) Atlas Social Club (753-9th Avenue)
A gentleman's parlor with interesting dÃ©cor, this was launched with a celeb bash, then became a neighborhood cruise bar slash hangout.
14) Hardware (697-10th Avenue)
The Pieces team brings you unpretentiousness in a different nabe, but with a bit more gloss.
15) Rockbar NYC (185-Christopher)
A down-home hangout where you'll see various leather pageant title holders and/or live game shows.
16) Posh Bar & Lounge (405 W. 51 St.)
Lively, intimate, and exuberant--good times, for sure.
17) Nowhere (322 E. 14th)
It's somewhere all right -- a place for bears and other regular types looking for a nocturnal experience sans attitude.
18) The Ritz Bar & Lounge (369 W. 46th)
Multiple levels of dance, drink, and drag. I never cared much for it, but I'm factoring in the sense that others do. A lot.
19) Townhouse (236 E. 58th Street)
This swellegant wrinkle bar exudes a perverse fascination. Unlike some of the customers, it never dies.
20) Stonewall Inn (53 Christopher Street)
Incredibly historic. And is it really nicely decorated and fabulously fun? Well, it's incredibly historic.
21) XES Lounge (157 W. 24th)
This smallish hangout is not what it was, but what is these days?
22) Gym Sportsbar (167-8th Avenue)
Yes, a gay sports bar. The energy here, I must admit, has always scared me a little, but it's definitely not boring.
23) Boiler Room (86 E. 4th)
The doors are still open and the result keeps the East Village a little bit more gaylicious.
24) Boxers NYC (37 W. 20th and 742-9th Avenue)
Two outposts for gay he-men who don't like drag queens -- until one walks in the room and they squeal with delight!
25) Phoenix NYC (447 E. 13th)
I never met a friendly person there, but hey, maybe that's just me.
26) G Lounge (225 W. 19th Street)
"Where is it again?" is a familiar cry, but some people insist on finding it anyway. To its credit, it manages to create several varied ambiences within its hallowed halls.
27) Ty's (114 Christopher)
Small and a little too macho for folks like me, but feel free to paint on your leather vest, hold in your stomach, and get there.
28 through 30: Bar-Tini Ultra Lounge (642-10th Avenue), Fairytail Lounge (500 W. 48th), Uncle Charlie's (139 E. 45th).
And also, what the hell, Barrage (401 W. 47th Street). Oh, and notspot Stairs. (192 E. 2nd). Hey, it's all about choices.