An alphabetical list of the best bars and nightclubs in Palm Springs for gay travelers. This favorite gay vacation getaway in Southern California's Mojave Desert has a great variety of gay bars, piano lounges, dance clubs, and cruising grounds to go with its abundance of gay resorts. There's a reason this is the West Coast's leading resort getaway among the GLBT set, especially from fall through spring, when temperatures here are mild and inviting.
The old Denny's on East Palm Canyon Drive in Palm Springs is now a hip, gay-popular restaurants and lounge called King's Highway and The Amigo Room - that's just part of the good vibe that resulted when the retro-hip Ace Hotel opened in this desert playground. The restaurant here, off of which the hotel lobby is located, serves tasty mod interpretations of classic American comfort chow, and in the Amigo Room you can sip colorful cocktails, like the King's Margarita with fresh lime and house-made triple sec, or the Kiwi Caipirinha. Amigo Room is a natural fit with guests of the Ace, but it and the adjoining restaurant also pull in plenty of locals - gay and straight. Pictured here is the dining room of King's Highway.
The definitive hangout, from 2 pm until 2 am, for guys into leather, uniforms, fetish, bears, boots, pierced and tattooed dudes, muscle worship, military gear, water sports, hard-core cruising, and other good-clean-dirty fun, the Barracks is in a secluded locale in Cathedral City, just a 10- to 15-minute drive from Palm Springs. You can always count on good stiff drinks here, to go with a good stiff time. It's a little tricky to find - look for the Arco gay station at El Dorado and Canyon Plaza, on East Palm Canyon Drive.
Formerly Club W, the friendly gay neighborhood bar known as Digs Bar is a casual little hangout in Cathedral City, about a 10- to 15-minute drive from Palm Springs. It's a good bet for drinks if you're staying at one of the few gay resorts in the area or coming from nearby Rancho Mirage. Digs Bar has a pool table, Wii games, country-western tunes, and free barbecues on Friday and Sunday afternoons.
On the second floor of the convivial Mexican and tapas restaurant Azul, you'll find the Palm Springs outpost of Georgie's Alibi - long known among Floridians for its locales in St. Petersburg and Fort Lauderdale (technically in the community of Wilton Manors). This spacious, upbeat spot is part video bar, part sports bar, and an excellent place for cocktails and people-watching early in the evening, as the balcony setting overlooks bustling Palm Canyon Drive below and the mountains to the west. Talent shows, Wii games nights, bingo, drag shows, and comedy-video nights are among the many reasons gay guys and lesbians pack this lively bar.
It makes perfect sense that the renowned gay restaurant chain, Hamburger Mary's, is one of the favored hangouts for both food and cocktails in Palm Springs. This festive, campy spot in the heart of downtown PS specializes in affordable American chow as well as cocktails - it's especially popular during happy hour, from 3 until 7 pm daily.
The largest and most popular of the gay bars along the East Arenas Road strip in downtown Palm Springs, Hunters Nightclub is a spacious, well-decorated, upscale-looking gay video and cruise bar that's a mainstay of the region's clubbing scene. Popular as much for watching videos and dancing as for watching hot go-go boys dancing, Hunters fills to the rafters on weekends in high seasons and draws pretty good crowds year-round. Note that in Chicago's Elk Grove Village, you can party at the sister Hunters Nightclub.