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Tampa and Ybor City Gay Bars Guide

Plus Gay-Friendly Restaurants and Cafés

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14. Rainbow Cabaret and Playhouse Theatre - gay bathhouse

photo by Andrew Collins
Tampa's Rainbow Cabaret and Playhouse Theatre (4421 N. Hubert Ave., 813-877-7585) is an adult theater and sex club (it proudly bills itself "better than a bathhouse") a short drive north of Tampa International Airport. It's one of two noted cruising spots in Tampa, the other being Ybor Resort & Spa bathhouse in Ybor City. The Rainbow Cabaret rents lockers and guest suites and has all the features of a bathhouse (plus a patio), including sauna, steam rooms, mazes, and a video lounge, and the theater shows adult gay movies around the clock. Note that the club is in an industrial area a bit off the beaten path.

17. 2606 Club - gay bar

photo by Andrew Collins
Rowdy and butch 2606 (2606 N. Armenia Ave., 813-875-6993), which is a 10-minute drive north of downtown, has been a favorite Tampa destination for bears, leather daddies, and manly men for many years now. It's run by the same owners as Metro Tampa and is one of the cruisier gay bars in town, although with a very welcoming attitude whether or not you happen to be into leather and uniforms. In addition to weekends, the Monday underwear parties bring in plenty of crowds.

18. Valentine's - gay bar

photo by Andrew Collins
Northern Tampa's convivial drag show bar Valentine's (7522 N. Armenia Ave., 813-936-1999) is open nightly and has some of the best-attended and most interesting nightly theme parties in town - there are Latino parties on Monday, Thursday, and Saturday, go-go dancers on Tuesdays, karaoke on Wednesdays, go-go girls performing during Friday's lesbian, and hip-hop on Sundays. Every night but Wednesday you can catch the wildly campy and fun drag shows at midnight and 1:30 am - be prepared that these can be packed, especially on weekends, so arrive early to get a good seat.

19. Ybor City Social Club - gay bar

photo by Andrew Collins
Part of the group behind Gbar and the gay and lesbian parties at Honey Pot, Ybor City Social Club ((1909 N. 15th St.) occupies a dramatic, neo-gothic structure and is open only Thursdays, Friday, and Saturday, with Thursday's gay college night (18-and-over) especially popular. Several other gay bars are closeby, as is the TICO Line Streetcar, a handy way to get to Ybor City from downtown (and to save yourself the hassle of expensive parking).

20. Ybor Resort and Spa - gay bathhouse

photo by Andrew Collins
Tampa's most popular bathhouse, the clean and nicely maintained Ybor Resort and Spa (1512 E. 8th Ave., 813-242-0900) is one of the better such facilities in the Southeast. It's situated close to several gay clubs and gay-friendly restaurants in historic Ybor City, and the resort functions not just as a bathhouse but also an affordable hotel (fairly basic, but with flat-screen TVs, good bedding, and shared bath/shower facilities - perfect if you're looking to cruise and socialize). Rates for hotel rooms start at $56 on weekdays and $72 on weekends. The bathhouse has more than 200 lockers and 40 rooms, plus a full complement of amenities: sauna, steam room, hot tub, maze and sling, video lounge, gym, and so on.

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