Places with pride: 10 LGBTQIA+ hotspots across Arizona

Places With Pride: 10 LGBTQIA+ Hotspots Across Arizona

(Shutterstock Photo)

By Dorothy Scott

May 6, 2024

Arizona’s queer sphere is bigger than many non-Arizonans believe, and it spans the entire state. Of course, Phoenix has many gay bars and a sprawling nightlife scene, but our beautiful Grand Canyon State has long celebrated queer life and joy.

In fact, Arizona legalized same-sex marriage the year before the United States Supreme Court legalized it for the entire nation. And Arizona’s Democratic Gov. Katie Hobbs pushes back against harmful bills aimed at transgender folks, especially those pointed at transgender students.

Finding safe spaces among political cacophony is key, and thankfully, Arizona has many to choose from, including queer-centered bars, clubs, coffee shops, restaurants, and more. We’ve sifted through them to find the best options across the state so you can have time to let loose and be free, no matter your age, gender, or background.

 

1. IBT’s Bar + Food (Tucson)

Address: 616 N 4th Ave, Tucson, AZ 85705

Open seven days a week, IBT’s Bar + Food is one of Tucson’s premier gay bars. It features drag shows, inspired cocktails, karaoke, trivia, and more, so there’s truly something for everyone here. Some of its events are even hosted by “RuPaul’s Drag Race” alumni.

For example, a late April 2024 event was helmed by Tempest DuJour, a contestant from the seventh season of the competition reality series. “It’s was truly an experience; the vibe was right, the music & people were really welcoming,” one club-goer wrote in a Google review, while another added, “definitely the best in Tucson.”

 

2. Brick Road Coffee (Tempe)

Address: 4415 S Rural Rd #10, Tempe, AZ 85282

Brick Road Coffee’s home page declares that it’s “Tempe’s favorite LGBTQ owned neighborhood coffee shop,” and based on its aesthetic, menu, and reviews, it’s clear to see why.

Inspired by “The Wizard of Oz” — its tagline is “there’s no place like foam” — this coffee shop’s menu and merch are bold and colorful, including flying monkeys adorning its logo and menu. Its drinks, too, are playful — just take a look at the shop’s Honey Lavender Latte, Prickly Pear Lemonade, or Blackberry Matcha to get a sense of its whimsy.

But what are customers saying? Glad you asked. “Coffee amazing. People are super nice. Space is very welcoming,” one guest wrote in a Yelp review. That’s all you can ask for!

Places With Pride: 10 LGBTQIA+ Hotspots Across Arizona

Photo courtesy of Brick Road Coffee via Instagram.

 

3. The Rock (Phoenix)

Address: 4129 N 7th Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85013

A friendly neighborhood bar, The Rock is open all week long and brings good drinks, better vibes, and excellent entertainment to the Melrose District of Phoenix. Drag shows and karaoke are staples here, and you can also find dart-throwing events, leather nights, bear bingo, and more, meaning you can’t really go wrong on a fun night out at The Rock.

This bar’s website even says that its “staff strive[s] to make everyone feel welcome,” so if you’re queer and looking for a good-time escape in Phoenix, The Rock might be for you.

This is a real cute dive,” one Yelp reviewer wrote of The Rock. “… Service is fantastic and my bartender was exceptionally nice.”

 

4. Phoenix Coqui (Phoenix)

Address: 4041 N 15th Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85015

Queer-owned Phoenix Coqui describes itself as “AZ’s #1 Puerto Rican restaurant,” and the drool-worthy pictures on its Instagram show exactly why it’s earned this title. The restaurant’s two owners, couple Alexis and Juan, met in Puerto Rico in 2013, but their restaurant wasn’t born until 2022 (though they operated a food truck for several years leading up to its opening — and still use it for catering).

Ultimately, you can’t go wrong with the food or atmosphere here, as Alexis and Juan ensure that everyone feels welcome and loved. “I felt like I was in Puerto Rico enjoying this meal on the island,” one Google reviewer noted of their time at Phoenix Coqui. “The service and food was authentic and delicious.”

Places With Pride: 10 LGBTQIA+ Hotspots Across Arizona

Photo courtesy of Phoenix Coqui via Instagram.

5. Gay 90’s Bar (Naco)

Address: 3856 S Towner Ave Naco, AZ 85620

Interestingly, Naco’s Gay 90’s Bar isn’t specifically a gay bar, but its Yelp bio states that it’s an LGBTQIA+-friendly establishment despite not being queer-owned (and having “gay” in its name).

If you’re curious like we were, you should know that this on-the-border bar — it’s less than 100 feet from Mexico — first opened in the 1800s, though its current incarnation opened in 1931 and remains a small-town dive that people come to time and time again to catch up with friends, shoot some pool, and have amazing drinks. This historic bar even has karaoke — how modern!

Yelp reviewers rave about this bar’s drinks and staff, with one reviewer writing, “While this seems to be a locals bar, they are all very nice and accepting of new people coming in.” Another added that you should ask the staff “about the photo of a drunk Nancy Reagan.” Consider our interests piqued!

 

6. Antigone Books (Tucson)

Address: 411 N 4th Ave, Tucson, AZ 85705

Named after the character of the same name from Greek mythology, Antigone Books is one of the oldest independent bookstores in Arizona, and it’s undoubtedly a safe space for LGBTQIA+ folks. After all, it’s lesbian-owned, promotes feminist and queer books, and even includes employees’ pronouns on its website’s book recommendation page.

Bibliophiles can also catch in-person readings at Antigone Books, making this a truly immersive third space. “Best bookstore in Tucson by a long shot. Awesome staff, great vibe, play area for kids, and excellent selection of books,” one Google reviewer said of the bookstore.

Places With Pride: 10 LGBTQIA+ Hotspots Across Arizona

Photo courtesy of Antigone Books via Instagram.

7. Kobalt (Phoenix)

Address: 3110 N Central Ave #175, Phoenix, AZ 85012

For the best drag shows in Phoenix, look no further than Kobalt. Open since 2006, this bar hosts many “RuPaul’s Drag Race” contestants, including featuring Season 16 winner Nymphia Wind mere days after her taking home the crown (and scepter).

But even outside of “Drag Race,” bar patrons can expect a good show from the local drag scene — so much so that the bar even hosts a monthly drag competition. Oh, and it hosts the Miss Trans Legend USA pageant, further proving that it celebrates and uplifts everyone.

But what do the patrons say? “[B]artenders was outstanding, atmosphere was more than jovial!!! Everyone was there to support their friends and have a good time,” one Google reviewer wrote, with another adding that they love Kobalt’s policy regarding allowing outside food.

 

8. Brodies Dark Horse Tavern (Tucson)

Address: 2449 N Stone Ave, Tucson, AZ 85705

Arizona experiences outdoor sitting weather practically all year, and Brodies Dark Horse Tavern knows it. Featuring hand-crafted drinks and a small but mighty food menu, Brodies delights guests with its offerings as well as its two patios, which can help patrons get some fresh air from time to time while still enjoying their night out.

Brodies offers happy hours Monday through Friday to help folks unwind after a long day, and it has an internet jukebox so you can dance in style to your favorite songs. Oh, and the list goes on — karaoke, dart-throwing events, trivia, and more can all be found here.

Great dive bar. Awesome jams. Amazing drinks,” one patron wrote in their Google review. “… Always a great time. Never a dull moment.”

 

9. Boycott Bar (Phoenix)

Address: 4301 N 7th Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85013

If you’re ready to dance the night away like Barbie (or rather all the Barbies), look no further than Boycott Bar. This lesbian bar is a safe space for all members of the LGBTQ+ community and is only closed on Mondays, so nearly any day can be a disco day. Boycott Bar even calls itself the “hottest club in the Melrose District.” This bar hosts drag shows, live music, and themed nights (who would want to miss Beyoncé night?), but it seems to prioritize dancing and more crowd interactivity compared to others in Phoenix.

I LOVE this bar! It has been the best experience since moving to the melrose area,” one Yelp reviewer wrote of Boycott Bar. “I have experienced the best events here and it’s always a blast, no matter what time of day it is.” Reviews from gay men also note that they have always felt welcome and loved despite this being a lesbian-owned bar. All in all, this is one establishment everyone should check out at least once.

Places With Pride: 10 LGBTQIA+ Hotspots Across Arizona

Photo courtesy of Boycott Bar via Facebook.

10. OZ Bar (Phoenix)

Address: 1804 W Bethany Home Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85015

OZ Bar is the ultimately laidback dive. Queer folks can come here to play pool, throw darts, and mingle, all while supporting queer entrepreneurs and taking a load off with quality drinks. This might not be the number-one spot to dance the night away, but if you’re looking for community, this one’s for you. OZ Bar also holds karaoke, poker, and bingo nights if those are more your speed.

This hole in the wall feels like one of Phoenix’s original gay bars,” one Yelp reviewer wrote of OZ Bar. “It has a happy mood, and is chill. I can see why it’s been around for so long!”

This article first appeared on Good Info News Wire and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.Places with pride: 10 LGBTQIA+ hotspots across ArizonaPlaces with pride: 10 LGBTQIA+ hotspots across Arizona

 

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