Celebrate Inclusivity: Uncover 8 LGBTQ+ Welcoming Establishments in the Phoenix Area

By Robert Gundran

May 19, 2023

Nearly 5% of Arizona’s adult population identified as LGBTQ+ in 2019, the latest data available from Gallup, and that number is likely to increase—according to a different Gallup poll, the percentage of adults who self-identify as LGBTQ+ rose to 7.1%, double what it was when Gallup first measured it in 2012. 

Despite attempts from local Republican lawmakers and anti-LGBTQ+ activists to threaten and harass queer people, other politicians and businesses serve as allies. Phoenix and surrounding towns offer safe and welcoming spaces for everyone to gather, celebrate, eat, drink, and enjoy the Valley. 

The Valley is very spread out, so there aren’t large concentrated LGBTQ+ neighborhoods like the Castro District in San Francisco or Northalsted in Chicago. What Phoenix does have is the Melrose District, a one-mile stretch of gay-friendly bars and restaurants on Seventh Avenue from Indian School Road to Camelback Road. 

Here are eight LGBTQ+ friendly bars and restaurants in metro Phoenix, inside and outside of the Melrose neighborhood.

Bars & Clubs

Charlie’s 

727 W. Camelback Road, Phoenix

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Charlie’s has been around since 1984, when it started as a small country bar and evolved into maybe the state’s most well-known gay bar.

It won Phoenix Magazine’s “Best of the Valley” award every year from 2019 to 2022 for best gay and lesbian bar. 

Charlie’s still maintains that lively country theme and offers line-dancing lessons, drag shows, and karaoke nights.

It’s a welcoming space for everyone, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Charlie’s is open from noon to 2 a.m on Sundays, 2 p.m. to 2 a.m. Monday through Thursday, 2 p.m. to 4 a.m. on Fridays, and noon to 4 a.m. on Saturdays. 

Boycott Bar

4301 N. Seventh Ave., Phoenix

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Boycott Bar is a place specifically for the L in LGBTQ+. 

Like other bars and nightclubs, the lesbian bar offers drag shows, karaoke, guest DJs, line dancing, and special events on holidays. 

Boycott is open 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. Tuesday through Friday, 3 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Saturdays, 3 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Sundays. The bar is closed on Mondays. 

BS West

7125 E. Fifth Ave. Rear, Scottsdale

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Just outside of Phoenix lies BS West, a nightclub for the LGBTQ+ community that opened in 1988.

“We’re not limited to that though,” the bar’s website states. “Some call BS West home while others stumble upon its diverse, yet unified constituents in all colors, shapes, ages, and sizes.”

BS West offers karaoke, drag shows, and guest DJs. 

“We have an undeniably strong no hate policy and will not bend or break for anyone who walks through our doors,” BS West’s website states. 

BS West is open from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. Mondays and Tuesdays, 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays, and 2 p.m. to 2 a.m. Friday through Sunday. 

Kobalt 

3110 N. Central Ave. #175, Phoenix

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Kobalt is unashamedly Arizona—it offers beer and liquor made in Arizona alongside fresh garnishes that are in season. 

It opened in 2006 and has plenty of events, from showings of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” and drag shows to karaoke and trivia nights.

This bar is nestled right in the heart of central Phoenix, in the Park Central open air mall. 

Kobalt is open from noon to 1 a.m. on Sundays, 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. Monday through Thursday, 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Fridays, and 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. on Saturdays. 

Restaurants and Coffee

FEZ Restaurant & Bar

105 W. Portland St., Phoenix

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FEZ opened in 2005 and is best known for its Mediterranean cuisine alongside American fare. 

“FEZ is proud to be actively involved in the Phoenix Metro community,” the restaurant’s website states. “It means we support a community that is full of diversity and create a space that is safe and celebrates that diversity.”

It’s not just talk. FEZ is involved in hosting and sponsoring Pride events. Last year the restaurant sold Pride shirts and donated proceeds from the sales to charity. 

FEZ is open from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday and from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Fridays, closing for three hours between lunch and dinner. It’s open from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturdays and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays.

Brick Road Coffee

4415 S. Rural Road #10, Tempe

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Brick Road Coffee is proud of how welcoming it is to the LGBTQ+ community. It doesn’t stop at serving coffee and being polite to people—they host and sponsor events specifically for the queer community.

The shop hosts drag queen story hours, queer meetups, book clubs, and even games of “Dungeons & Dragons.” 

“[Our customers are] fiercely loyal. They’re fiercely protective of us because of how we have in such a short amount of time just shown that we will stand with our community and use our voice as a business,” co-owner Gabe Hagen told The Copper Courier.

Brick Road Coffee is open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.

READ: How This Couple Made a Tempe Coffee Shop a Haven for LGBTQ Arizonans

The Coronado PHX

2245 N. 12th St., Phoenix

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The Coronado PHX is a purely vegan restaurant. All of their menu is plant-based. Their menu offers up items like chia pudding, biscuits and gravy, and a beet and quinoa burger. 

If it isn’t immediately apparent that The Coronado PHX is a safe spot for the LGBTQ+ community, just check out their Instagram.

“It’s difficult to see the news and feel helpless most days,” a recent caption said. “We don’t have the answers, but we will always do our best to be a voice, a safe space, and an ally. No one should feel unsafe because of who they are. You are safe here.”

The Coronado PHX is open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturdays, and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays. It is closed on Mondays. 

Original Gravity

4700 N. 12th St. #101, Phoenix

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Original Gravity is a scratch kitchen and bar that specializes in their drink menu. With craft beers on draft, a curated wine selection, and signature cocktail list, there is something for everyone in search of a good drink.

The food menu features steak frites, carnitas tacos, and a mushroom poboy. 

Original Gravity has also hosted LGBTQ+ takeover happy hour events.

“We recognize the importance of celebrating Pride and creating a space that is welcoming and inclusive to everyone who enters our doors,” the restaurant said on Instagram. “That is why we are taking this moment to remind you that you are always celebrated here at Original Gravity. Happy Pride!”

Original Gravity is open from noon to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, noon to 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and noon to 9 p.m. on Sundays. It is closed on Mondays.

Author

  • Robert Gundran

    Robert Gundran grew up in the Southwest, spending equal time in the Valley and Southern California throughout his life. He graduated from Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism in 2018 and wrote for The Arizona Republic and The Orange County Register.

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