You're going to want to be on Capitol Hill. Though Seattle is a pretty gay city, Capitol Hill is where you'll find almost all of Seattle's gay bars, its only lesbian bar, and its crosswalks painted the colors of the rainbow. That said, West Seattle and Wallingford each have one gay bar, too.
The only gay bar in Seattle with an outdoor fire pit also has fantastic bartenders, clever DJs, and vintage gay porn (i.e., huge dicks) wheat-pasted to the walls. Plus, there's a photo booth. Plus, a gloryhole in the bathroom. What more do you want? Go-go dancers? They have go-go dancers on weekends. A tea dance? Sundays at 4 p.m. Karaoke? They have karaoke on Tuesday nights. Once I showed up on a Tuesday, and the entire cast of a touring production of The Book of Mormon was there, singing their hearts out. A word to the wise: The later you show up to Pony, the more crowded it will be.
A sports bar for men who like men. They have TVs, darts, pool, video games, and pull tabs. It's popular, crowded, and unpretentious.
Just steps away from Madison Pub and Pony, this bar caters to bears and the cubs who love them.
The only bar in the city for women who date women has a screaming deal on tacos on Tuesdays—$1 for beef or bean tacos, $2 for chicken tacos, and $2 Tecates. On Wednesday night, there is karaoke at 9 p.m., and on Thursdays, well drinks are only $3.
This is where the dancing happens. Raised platforms, disco lights, etc. Once a stalwart testament to enduring gayness, Neighbours these days welcomes more and more bachelorette parties. But with more than 30 years under its belt—the place is older than most of its clientele—Neighbours still hosts plenty of queer nights, and you'll find a range of sexual expression and orientation on the dance floor. Plus: talent competitions on Tuesdays, go-go boys Wednesday and Thursdays, house and EDM on Fridays and Saturdays, and Seattle's longest running Latino dance night on Sundays.
Three floors of gay bar with dancing up top, R Place also hosts live drag shows, RuPaul's Drag Race viewing parties, and karaoke (on Sundays, Mondays, and Tuesdays at 9 p.m.). Other nights, the dancing starts at 10 p.m., and on Wednesdays and Thursdays, there's no cover.
A leather bar that's frequently crowded with kinksters, jocks, pups, poz socials, and subs willing to shine your shoes, it also has a large outdoor patio. Seattle Men in Leather meet at the Cuff, and lots of gay sports teams have their social functions there. There are several different areas to hang out in, which makes hiding from your ex much easier. Plus: darts, pool, and a mirrored dance floor.
The leather bar with the best music, hands-down. They also have underwear parties on Saturdays, a urinal trough, video projections, an outdoor patio, and screamingly fun parties.
Kremwerk, located downstairs, is like a Berlin techno club, which, in addition to hosting actual DJs from Berlin, also has queer parties, such as Kings, a drag king show. Upstairs is the tiny, fun Timbre Room, with a small bar and small dance floor that plays host to popular house music parties and drag events.
The best night to visit this gay bar is the first Saturday of the month—kink night. Guys dress up in the most amazing stuff (or sometimes almost nothing at all). On other nights, go for the slide show of naked men on the TVs, the pool tables, darts, and inexpensive bar food.
With men in shiny shirts, pink neon lights, and Madonna on the sound system, this bar will make you feel like it's the '80s again.
This is North Seattle's gay bar—the closest gay bar to the University of Washington, the Ballard Locks, or Northgate. They have pool, darts, Seahawks parties, and karaoke on Wednesdays.
West Seattle is where gay folks go to retire, and this laid-back bar epitomizes the neighborhood's laid-back spirit. Monday is trivia night, Wednesday is lesbian night, Thursday is karaoke, Friday and Saturday there are DJs, and Sunday is oriented around whatever game is on TV.
Vibrators on display, classes on everything from rope bondage to strap-ons to erotic massage, and a friendly staff, Babeland is perfectly suited to women who date women—but gay guys, straight couples, and folks across the spectrum are welcome too. They have display tubes of lube for testing before you buy. What other stores have that?
A must-stop shop for kinky guys, this place recently expanded to twice its square footage. They have handmade leather apparel, pup supplies, bondage toys galore, dirty magazines, and a sexy staff.
PUBLIC SEX AND BATHHOUSES
It used to be that Volunteer Park was overrun with bush bunnies, but the truth is, times have changed: Most people who want sex right now just get it through their smartphone. Nevertheless, if you want to tromp around an outdoor setting making eye contact with strangers for old time's sake, Volunteer Park is your best bet. (Forewarned is forearmed: Being naked in Seattle is not illegal, but "lewd conduct"—touching yourself or someone else who is naked—is.) For sanctioned public indoor sex, there are two bathhouses in town: Steamworks caters to a slightly younger crowd than Club Z, but both are for filthy men and the filthy men who love them.