Quantcast

The 10 Most Fab Gay Dance Parties (with Actual Good Music) in North America

From coast to coast, this is where pride meets the party.

THUMP Staff

THUMP Staff

Even though it was gay people who invented house music and pioneered disco, gay parties haven't always been the best places to hear good music. After the early days of house, sometime in the 90s, good DJing was supplanted by good club promoting and suddenly you were far more likely to hear 15 different Deborah Cox extended vocal mixes in a gay club than a Frankie Knuckles-inspired set. Wither good gay music no more. Thanks to sites like GaysHateTechno there's more awareness than ever about the contributions gay people are currently making to quality dance music. Thanks to the parties on this list, there are more places than ever to hear those sounds and bask in the beauty and openness of queer culture. No matter where you identify on the orientation or gender spectrums, these are the best places to hear what's now, what's next, and to let your pride flag fly on the dancefloor. Larry Levan would be jealous.

1) A Club Called Rhonda

The Scene: Since 2009 Rhonda has been the dance spot where rainbow-tinted bacchanalia meets top notch house music programming. Sure, things have gotten a little less queer in recent years as Rhonda has grown into one of LA's dominant party brands, but it's still the best place in the city for polysexual hard partying.

The Regulars: cool gays, regular gays, cool straight people, and three dudes in bomber jackets who showed up to Los Globos thinking it was trap night. (Oh, it's trap night, my pretty—just a different kind.)

Your +1: Phyllis Navidad, duh. The drag icon is ever-present and ever-perfect.

Monthly, roving locations, Los Angeles, more info here.

2) Honcho

The Scene: Taking place at the city's monthly Hot Mass party, and with a tagline like "Pittsburgh's dance music rager for homos and friends," you can expect 150-300 mostly male, revelers with (or probably without) towels precariously wrapped around their waists. Technically sex is allowed on the dancefloor... along with some of the best techno this side of Berlin.

The Regulars: Bears galore, and DJs like founder Aaron Clark, Pittsburgh Track Authority, and Osgut Ton royalty, Prosumer.

Your +1: Spandex, a bath robe, and maybe a rubber ducky.

Monthly, Hot Mass (at Club Pittsburgh), Pittsburgh. more info here.

3) Ladyfag Presents: Holy Mountain

The scene: Club kids in DIY costumes packed elbow-to-elbow across a three-floor club in the armpit of Midtown. Each room has its own set of hosts—so really, it's like four dance parties in one. With lots of spandex.

The regulars: The theatrical nightlife personality Ladyfag and her coterie of skinny fashion gays.

Your +1: Alexander Wang's intern (AKA Miley Cyrus).

Monthly, Slake, New York City, more info here.

4) The Carry Nation

The scene: Tough drag queens and circuit party regulars rubbing chests to tribal house and techno in a ramshackle Brooklyn loft with subtle sex dungeon vibes. Stay past 7AM, and you'll understand what pure freedom tastes like.

The regulars: Will Automagic, Nita Aviance

Your +1: Your Fetlife date

Whenever they fucking feel like it, location TBA, New York City, more info here.

5) Horse Meat Disco

The scene: Sweat, sleaze, disco. Inspired by the gay scenes of yesteryear and its own pulsing disco/house soundtrack, this is London's most famous gay night, transplanted to the states.

The regulars: Residents James Hillard, Jim Stanton, Luke Howard, and Severino and guests like Lindstrøm and Hercules & Love Affair.

Your +1: Chest hair and something shiny.

Semi-frequently, New York City: Cielo, Output. London: XOYO, more info here.

6) Queen!

The scene: Drag queens, club kids, speaker freakers, and the spirit of Frankie Knuckles haunt this anything-goes party at the institution of Chicago house, Smart Bar.

The regulars: Michael Serafini, Derrick Carter, Garrett David, and hosts Sissy Spastik & Jojo Baby

Your +1: Glitter, and lots of it.

Every Sunday, Chicago, Smart Bar, more info here.

7) Susanne Bartsch's On Top

The scene: If all the party queens from RuPaul's Drag Race decided to throw an indoor pool party fueled by champagne and lots of double-sided tape.

The regulars: Longtime club queen Susanne Bartsch and her downtown glamazons.

Your +1: Michael Alig. No... wait. Macaulay Culkin dressed as Michael Alig.

Weekly, The Standard Hotel, New York City, more info here.

8) Full Frontal Disco

The scene: This wasn't always a gay party but thanks to Mario Diaz, it is now. Local Silver Lake bar Akbar turns hedonistic bacchanal with obscure dance hits, fishnet, glitter boots, and a no-frills vibe.

The regulars: Resident DJs Slash Fiction, hirsute muscled boys, eastside hip kids, and 1970s revival left and right.

Your +1: Your dad? No really, bring your dad.

First Saturday of every month, Akbar, Los Angeles, more info here.

9) Electric Sheep

The scene: Inspired by the lack of club kid culture outside of seasonal events like Basel, Electric Sheep spices up Sunday nights for South Beach's party people via pop-up drag shows and heavily painted go-go dancers... all for a ridiculous $1 cover charge.

The regulars: Founder Dustin Reffca and a cast of Miami's most colorful characters.

Your +1: A very confused Philip K. Dick sci-fi nerd.

Sundays, Score, Miami, more info here.

10) Honey Soundsystem

The Scene: Queers and heads snack on pot brownies before scuffing up the dancefloor to Chicago house at this legendary party thrown by one of the Bay Area's most beloved DJ collectives.

The Regulars: Jason Kendig, DJ P-Play AKA Jackie House, Josh Cheon, and Robot Hustle AKA Beziér.

Your +1: Your Paradise Garage T-shirt

Monthly, San Francisco, more info here