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Atlanta Gay Bars Guide - Atlanta's Best Gay-Friendly Bars & Restaurants

Including Several Gay-Popular Eateries and Cafés

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In terms of sheer variety, Atlanta has long ruled the Southeast in gay nightlife. The scene has undergone a number of changes in recent years, though several long-running favorites (Blake's, Burkhart's, Heretic, the Eagle, Jungle Atlanta) continue to pull in big crowds. In addition to great bars, you'll find plenty of cool, gay-friendly coffeehouses and restaurant lounges around the region, several of them included in this list. Here's a look at some of the top gay bars in Atlanta, listed in alphabetical order.

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Amsterdam - gay bar

photo by Andrew Collins

If this attractive bar had a tagline, it might be "finally, a bar for the rest of us." Atlanta's gay club scene can feel a bit stand-and-model at times, or too finely pigeonholed by type. Amsterdam Atlanta (502-A Amsterdam Ave., 404-892-2227), refreshingly, is the kind of bar where just about anyone might feel welcome. It's mostly a guys' spot, but women often hang out here, and you'll see a nice mix of ages, styles, races, and so on. Part of the draw is the variety of diversions, including a nice section with pool tables - Amsterdam feels a bit like a laid-back sports bar during the week (especially after work), but it draws more of a crowd on weekends. There's also casual restaurant serving sandwiches, wraps, wings, and the like.

Atlanta Eagle - gay bar

photo by Andrew Collins

Some of the Eagle gay bars in the world have become fairly standard cruise bars over the years, but the Atlanta Eagle (306 Ponce de Leon Ave. NE, 404-873-2453) remains true to its roots - an authentic leather-and-Levi's bar, in a city that still has a loyal following for this sort of a hangout. This is pretty much ground-central for bears, cubs, leather daddies, and hard-core cruisers. Gets bonus points for having a very fun-loving staff.

Bacchanalia & Star Provisions (and Westside Provisions District) - restaurants

Bacchanalia & Star Provisions (1198 Howell Mill Rd., 404-365-0410) are the anchors of a transformation that has turned West Midtown, a formerly downcast industrial area a couple of miles across I-75/I-85 from Midtown's gay scene, into a hotbed of edgy design shops, hipster bars, and trendy restaurants. At this beautifully rehabbed space you'll find the long-running contemporary American restaurant Bacchanalia, as well as the newer and even more opulent Quinones at Bacchanalia; in the front of the space, Star Provisions is an upscale deli, gourmet food shop, and cafe serving delicious sandwiches and salads, plus a shop with fine kitchenwares, gourmet cheeses, a first-rate butcher, and more. Walk back behind the main restaurant and you'll find yourself in the heart of the Westside Provisions District, overlooking a courtyard (pictured here) that's home to the casually hip JCT. Kitchen & Bar, Sid Mashburn men's shop, and G. Gilbert women's boutique. A pedestrian bridge leads over rail tracks to more shops and galleries, plus another culinary member of the Star Provisions family, Abbatoir. Jack Spade, Jonathan Adler, Room & Board, and Perrine's Wine Shop are a few more reasons to check out this campus of design and dining.

BJ Roosters - gay bar

photo by Andrew Collins
With it much-appreciated stable of hot go-go boys (the lap dances here are reputedly the best in town), this cruise-y, not-so-subtly named men's strip bar on Cheshire Bridge Road is a consistent hit with guys of all ages (although tending toward the 40-plus set many evenings). BJ Roosters (2043 Cheshire Bridge Rd., 404-624-5895) moved into a larger and more attractive space in 2013, just down the street from its former location in a shopping mall (it's now a neighbor of another long-running bar in these parts, Heretic Atlanta). For fans of male Latino strippers, who make up a substantial percentage of the go-go staff, BJ's is nirvana. If that's the sort of thing that gets your blood flowing, don't miss this place...

Blake's on the Park - gay bar

photo by Andrew Collins

There was a time when Blake's (227 10th St. NE, 404-892-5786), despite its attractive decor (exposed-brick walls, cheerful sun porch) and appealing location near Piedmont Park and several good restaurants, seemed a bit too stuck up for its own good. And true enough, it still draws an awfully pretty bunch of boys (and more than a few girls). But the 'tude has softened a bit over the years, and once you fight your way past the occasional posse of plastics, you'll find some genuinely friendly barflies here (and a very nice staff). There's no question that it's highly popular place, and a good bet for visitors trying to get a sense of the gay Atlanta scene.

Bulldog's - gay bar

photo by Andrew Collins

For more than 30 years, this hugely popular gay club smack in the center of Midtown has been going strong as one of the largest and most successful African-American GLBT hangouts in the country. Always drawing good-sized crowds, especially on weekends, Bulldog's (893 Peachtree St. NE, 404-872-3025) tends toward a fairly cruisy mix of guys in their 30s and 40s, though you'll see more than a few younger men, too, especially late on weekends. There are a few different spots to settle in with a drink and mingle or cruise, but in the warm weather, the large patio is the best place to congregate. Although the clientele is predominantly black, the staff and crowd couldn't be more welcoming of all kinds, whatever your race.

Burkhart's - gay bar

photo by Andrew Collins

Gay bars and businesses have come and gone over the years to Ansley Square Shopping Center, a homo-frequented strip mall a bit north of Piedmont Park, but rambling Burkhart's (1492 Piedmont Ave. NE, 404-872-4403) has been a dependable, friendly fixture for seemingly eons. The bi-level space is great for people-watching (you can spy on cuties on the main floor from a second-floor railing up above), shooting pool, and belting out tunes during the famed Monday and Tuesday karaoke nights. The interior is happily cluttered and old-school, which actually feels pleasant given the self-consciously chic interiors of many newer spots.

Cockpit Atlanta - gay bar

photo by Andrew Collins
The only gay nightlife option in the historic and increasingly GLBT-inhabited Grant Park neighborhood, the rather slick and modern-looking Cockpit Atlanta (465 Boulevard SE, 404-343-2450) is a fun, smoke-free hangout with a mostly locals following. Depending on the night, there's karaoke or different videos and shows playing on the video screens, and there's also a pool table. The crowd is somewhat eclectic in age and style, and by no means exclusively GLBT. Beware that parking is very limited.

The Colonnade - restaurant

photo by Andrew Collins
Situated beside the retro-fabulous (and surprisingly well-maintained) Cheshire Motor Inn on slightly seedy Cheshire Bridge Road, the The Colonnade (1879 Cheshire Bridge Rd., 404-874-5642) has been delighting fans of old-school Southern cooking since 1927 (there's a great picture of some of the restaurant's vintage menus on the website). As it's both an Atlanta institution and one of the nearest eateries to the several gay nightspots in this part of town, the Colonnade draws a truly diverse crowd, from little old ladies who lunch to boisterous drag queens to working joes to cruise-y dudes. Eating here provides a genuine (and delicious) glimpse into an earlier era in Atlanta - think salmon croquettes, chicken-fried steak, grilled calf's livers, fried or broiled oyster and shrimp platters, and gloriously rich desserts like coconut ice box pie and hot fudge cake.

CosmoLava/Cosmopolitan Lounge - mixed bar

photo by Andrew Collins
CosmoLava (45 13th St., 404-873-6189) is a sprawling entertainment and clubbing complex on an attractive block in Midtown, comprising several indoor-outdoor spaces. The main sections are Cosmopolitan Lounge, which has a lush deck and dramatic indoor bar with swanky seating and a plush feel, and the connected dance club, Lava, with several bars on three floors. Most nights, the crowd is more hetero than not, but there are occasional gay parties, and it's definitely a gay-friendly space, making it popular with mixed groups of friends looking for a fun place to dance to top area DJs.

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