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Lariat Saloon, Bullhead City, Arizona (closed)

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Lariat Saloon, Bullhead City, Arizona (closed)
photo by Andrew Collins

Note: Lariat Saloon has closed

Where can you find the only gay bar in Arizona north of Phoenix? You might guess the relatively liberal college town and outdoors mecca of Flagstaff, or New Age-y and upscale Sedona. In fact, the state's only northerly gay club is in a fast-growing but relatively off-the-beaten-path community popular with retirees, called Bullhead City. Here the Lariat Saloon (1161 Hancock Rd.) serves cold beer, warm welcomes, fun music from a jukebox, pool tables, and a super-friendly, eclectic crowd. This well-kept bar is centrally located in Bullhead City, just a couple of blocks west of the main north-south road, Hwy. 95.

If you're wondering what a surprisingly popular, attractive GLBT hangout is doing in a part of Arizona that's not exactly a gay mecca, consider that Bullhead City is just across the Colorado River from Laughlin, the third-largest gambling-resort hub in Nevada (it's 90 miles south of Las Vegas). With the tourism drawn to Laughlin, the more than 40,000 residents living in Bullhead City, and sizable populations in other northwestern Arizona cities like Kingman (40 miles) and Lake Havasu City (60 miles), the Lariat serves a substantial area of the Southwest's Mojave Desert. Oh, and don't forget the town of Needles, just over the Arizona border in California, which is just 20 miles south. Whether you're road-tripping through the Southwest's fabled Route 66 territory or playing the slots and card tables in Laughlin, consider stopping by this laid-back, welcoming gay bar.

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