Detroit’s gay scene is vibrant, diverse and inclusive. Since the 1940s, the gay community in Detroit has shifted from convening in mostly underground spaces to out and proud ones welcoming all genders and sexual orientations. It’s been a long journey, but LGBTQ people have remained resilient. Cultivating spaces to let off steam and connect with the community has been an essential facet of progress.
From downtown Detroit to Royal Oak, Gay-Friendly nightlife reigns supreme. More diverse groups of people = more fun. These bars and nightclubs are filled with people who want to dance and let loose. Or just have a drink of their choice at the bar and chat. Or just sit quietly in the corner with friends and watch. It’s all okay and nobody cares – just do you. Try these LGBTQ bars and clubs for a guaranteed good time.
Gay-Friendly Bars & Clubs in Metro Detroit
Oh she’s understated and she’s fun! Adam’s Apple is a smaller space in Warrendale that is known for karaoke nights on Thursdays, so get those singing pipes tuned and ready to belt. It’s also more of a chatty bar where you can hold a nice conversation with your crew or a friendly stranger. Both owned and operated by trans women, Adam’s Apple is well-known as a welcoming space for trans folk. But of course, all are welcome at this quaint neighborhood bar.
Menjo’s Entertainment Complex
Madonna worshippers, this is where you want to be. Not only can you dance to a plethora of Madonna jams in one night here, but you can literally dance on the floor she danced on when she was 16 and unknown! WOW. As one of the oldest gay spaces in Detroit, this spot is true to its gay roots but is always open to anyone who wants to join the fun. Located in the former gay mecca of Detroit, Palmer Park, the complex includes the Menjo’s Bar, the Eagle Leather Bar and the Olympus Theater. It’s definitely the place for a night of gay-oriented entertainment — the best kind!
Another Palmer Park hot spot, Inuendo specializes in entertainment, food and drinks. People go wild for the chicken wings and at night the stage is packed with enthusiastic party-goers. As far as the music goes, Inuendo features mostly R&B and hip hop, so if that’s what gets you out of your chair, this place is for you.
One of the best gay and drag bars in the city, Gigi’s is optimal for drinks and a show. Enjoy the lively drag performances downstairs and keep the ball rolling by dancing the night away upstairs. It’s the perfect little dive for a night of outsized laughs and fun. Located in Dearborn off of Warren Avenue.
Woodward Bar and Grill
This is the oldest LGBTQ establishment in Detroit, serving the community since the 1960s. Photographs adorned on the walls chronicle the fascinating lives of members of the community during politically and socially hostile times. Located in the heart of Midtown, the restaurant serves simple and delicious food to all kinds of customers during the day, and becomes more an LGBTQ space after 5 p.m. It’s known for drawing a large black LGBTQ crowd and is welcoming to all walks of life.
Ferndale has been the center of gay life in Detroit since the 2000s and Soho is the classy yet casual spot for gay men, women and everyone in between right in the heart of the downtown area off West Nine Mile Road. The bar offers specialty cocktails and martinis, a lot of space for dancing, a pool table, and cool atmospheric lighting and decorations. The staff is friendly and the patrons are always there to have a great night. It’s perfect as your mainstay for the evening or as a nightcap. Look out for trivia nights and special events during the week as well.
Pronto! is a downtown Royal Oak bar that has been serving the LGBTQ community for decades. Open for lunch, the restaurant and bar offers patio seating and delicious, stacked deli sandwiches. At night the bar and back patio become lively and filled with gregarious night-goers. The dance floor is no joke on weekends, with LED lights cascading over the floor and the most iconic music videos playing all night long. From playing a classic Whitney to a dance heavy Rihanna or Beyonce track this place won’t shy away from letting you have your moment on the floor. There is seating and some billiards tables near the dance floor as well for the more reserved patrons or if you need to catch your breath a little.
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There’s nothing these bars and nightclubs love more than seeing a great turnout. Whether you’re gay, straight, bi, trans or queer, these are great establishments to make a night of and interact with a diverse community. Be sure to check out Detroit LGBTQ organizations like the Ruth Ellis Center and Affirmations as well, which are providing services for homeless and questioning LGBTQ youth in the Detroit area.
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3Inuendo, East Savannah Street, Detroit, MI, USA313-891-5798