Gay Bars Toronto: From The Village to Queer West

Looking to visit the best gay bars in Toronto?

Our comprehensive guide to Toronto gay bars is an excellent resource for LGBT nightlife lovers. Our list of Toronto gay bars features a diversity of entertaining venues: from drag clubs to queer theatre, LGBT stand up comedy to gay sports bar, hipster hideaway to flashy nightclubs.

You’ll find everything you need to know about gay bars in Toronto, whether you’re a visiting Drag Queen fan or local gaggle of gays keen to dance to pop diva’s under glittering disco balls.

A History of Gay Bars in Toronto

Gay bars in Toronto as we know them didn’t really exist until the 1970s. Prior to that people were limited to public parks, washrooms, and “low-key” bars and clubs in which there was always the danger of being found out. Places like The Continental, Letros Nile Room, and the St. Charles Tavern (with the slogan “meet me under the clock” – the clock which can still be seen during renovations on Yonge St.)  offered spaces where gays and lesbians would meet in secret.

While many are familiar with the Stonewall Riot in the U.S., Toronto has also had its own historic moments, including the February 6th, 1981 demonstration at the corner of Yonge and Wellesley streets. There were many important locations in Toronto’s LGBTQ history scattered throughout the city – something that is reflected in the various options for eating, drinking, and socializing in Toronto today.

Gay Bars Toronto: The Village

When most people think about gay bars in Toronto, “The Village” is the first place that comes to mind. It is widely considered to be the centre of gay life in Toronto featuring a variety of bars, nightclubs, restaurants, cafes, and shops – all with a rainbow-coloured tint to them. Located close to Wellesley and College subway stations, Toronto’s Gay Village runs along Church Street from Carleton to Bloor Street. It’s Toronto’s best neighbourhood to go gay bar hopping. 

Gay Bars Toronto: The Black Eagle has the best rooftop patio in The Village.
Gay Bars Toronto: The Black Eagle has the best rooftop patio in The Village.

The Black Eagle Toronto

457 Church Street, 416-413-1219

The Black Eagle is a gay leather bar on Church Street featuring dark, industrial decor, dance floor, two bars and cruising-friendly dark rooms. The popular fetish bar also features the best rooftop patio in Toronto’s Gay Village. In the warm summer months The Black Eagle hosts popular weekly Sunday BBQs on their sun-soaked rooftop.  

Toronto’s favourite gay fetish bar offers a regular rotation of leather and denim loving events. Whether it’s Gaystation (a chance to play video games with other gay gamers), SIN (a party where anything goes) or Reagle Beagle Bingo (no cover!), The Black Eagle Toronto caters to the kinkier side of the LGBT community.

The drinks menu at The Black Eagle Toronto offers standard mixed cocktails, local craft beer and cider. On Mondays Tuesdays and Wednesdays the bar offers day prices all night. Wednesdays you’ll find $3 shooters.

Wheelchair Accessible: No

Gay Bars Toronto: Boutique Bar on Church Street serves the best cocktails in The Village.
Gay Bars Toronto: Boutique Bar on Church Street serves the best cocktails in The Village.

Boutique Bar

506 Church Street, 647-705-0006

Boutique Bar has an air of sophistication about it. Though one of the smaller Church Street venues, Boutique Bar offers one of the best patios in The Village. This street-facing patio offers an impressive perch for people watching.

Boutique Bar is known for serving some of The Village’s best craft cocktails. Highlights include the Frozen Razz Lemonade, Belvedere Truffle, and the Stiletto. With over 30 cocktails and martinis on the menu, you’ll be sure to find a new favourite tipple. If shaken and stirred drinks aren’t your style, Boutique Bar also has a selection of wines and beers available. Don’t just come for the drinks though, the intimate vibe, and stylish décor are reason enough to stay late and linger.

During the warmer months of the year Boutique Bar’s patio is the place to be. Once winter blows over the city don’t fret. Once the snow starts falling, a covered tent is pitched over the patio space, transforming the outdoor space into a magical space perfect for warming up with a Manhattan or glass of red wine.

Wheelchair Accessible: No

Gay Bars Toronto: Buddies in Bad Times is the world's largest and longest running queer theatre.
Gay Bars Toronto: Local drag darling Fay Slift performs at Buddies in Bad Times, the world’s largest and longest running queer theatre.

Buddies in Bad Times Theatre

122 Alexander Street, 416-975-8555

This long-standing Village staple provides the LGBT community with some of the city’s best alternative theatrical experiences and is considered a leader in promoting queer stories and voices. Originally a place for staged poetry, Buddies in Bad Times has transformed over the years into the space we know today, 40 years later, and boasts the title of “largest and longest-running queer theatre in the world”.

With three core values (Difference, Excellence, Community) that guide their activities and operations, Buddies in Bad Times is a multi-use event space that looks to provide an inclusive, educational, and unforgettable experience for those that visit. When theatrical shows aren’t running, the space offers a variety of workshops for various ages and, on weekends, turns into the only dance club in the village that offers Top 40 hits all night complete with a drag show.

Buddies in Bad Times has also become home to a few different parties including several AfterWerk events, Y2Gay, and the Messy Gala. It’s also a great place to dance and party during Toronto Pride with two separate dance floors and three bars. Buddies in Bad Times Theatre is also a favourite gathering spot for many of the gay sports leagues looking for a night out so if gay jocks are your thing, you might just bump into a few here.

Wheelchair Accessible: Yes

Gay Bars Toronto: The Churchmouse and Firkin is a popular British pub in The Village.
Gay Bars Toronto: The Churchmouse and Firkin is a popular British pub in The Village.

The Churchmouse and Firkin

475 Church Street, 416-927-1735

The Churchmouse and Firkin sits on the corner of Church and Maitland in The Village. Part of a larger chain of pubs, The Firkin (as it’s referred to by local gays), has been around for 15 years, with a major renovation in 2014 that gave it a trendy facelift. While this isn’t a night club or a bar, the Churchmouse and Firkin pub is a great place to go for a drink or date.

More than just a local hangout, The Firkin specializes in British pub fare so make sure you try out their Shepherd’s Pie or, my favourite, the Roast Beef Dip. Every day has a drink special and every night, late night drinks are on offer.

From 10pm until close grab yourself bar rail drinks, Jameson, Jose Cuervo, Jagger, and Fireball for $6. Tuesdays, the universally cheap movie night, is also a great night to hit up this pub as they offer classic menu items for $9 to with your night out at the theatre. Saturdays are known as Crafternoons where you can get Craft Tall Boy cans on special and join a friendly crafting group but if you’re craving a classic British meal, be sure to swing by on a Sunday for their prime rib roast dinner for only $18.

Wheelchair Accessible: Main floor is wheelchair accessible as is the patio in the summer


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Church St. Garage offers drag and karaoke nights in The Village.
Church St. Garage offers drag and karaoke nights in The Village.

Church St. Garage

477 Church Street, 647-352-5508

Church St. Garage Bar feels like one big patio even on the inside with its floor to ceiling windows and summer-time vibe. Church St Garage sits directly opposite The Churchmouse and Firkin on the corner of Church and Maitland.

Established March 20th, 2013, this family-run business offers plenty of seating and friendly staff making you feel right at home. Wag your finger down the menu and you’ll find Canadian pub classics like wings, burgers, Fish & Chips, pasta bolognese and poutine. 

Walk by anytime of day and you’ll find there always seems to be something going on along the Church Street side of the space. With drag or karaoke happening almost every night of the week, it’s very rare you’ll walk by and not see a prance or a dance. 

Tuesdays are Wig It with half-priced wings and $4 drinks specials. They also offer Drag Race viewing parties.

Wheelchair Accessible: Yes

Gay Bars Toronto: Big Primpin at Club 120 on Church Street.
Gay Bars Toronto: Big Primpin at Club 120 on Church Street. Photo: Mitchel Raphael

Club 120

120 Church Street, 416-792-7725

You might be more familiar with Club 120 under its original name, Goodhandys. It was the first place in Toronto to provide a sex-positive space for trans women and people who were sexually interested in them. Following that was a night for trans men, drag kings, burlesque, and a night for leather with Northbound Leather.

In 2012, Goodhandys became Club 120 as we now know it and continues to offer a sex-positive space for various promoters to organize parties. While Club 120 isn’t quite in The Village, this Toronto gay bar is a little further south but an easy walk or a quick cab ride away.

Dancing, drinking, darkrooms are the name of the game for Club 120. Kink is another focus there. With a focus on hosting regular parties like Boner, Fukd, and Wicked Wednesdays, it’s a night of fun (and often debauchery). For a place not in the traditional Toronto Gay Village boundaries, Club 120 is a place that will always make you feel welcome and included.

Wheelchair Accessible: No

Gay Bars Toronto: Crews & Tangos is an iconic drag bar on Church Street.
Gay Bars Toronto: Crews & Tangos is an iconic drag bar on Church Street.

Crews & Tangos

508 Church Street, 647-349-7469

When you hit up Church Street on a Friday or a Saturday evening, you’re pretty much guaranteed to see a lineup spilling out onto the street. This gay bar in Toronto is a must-see for drag queen fans as it’s Toronto’s #1 drag bar.

More than just a drag bar, Crews & Tangos also offers big screen karaoke as well and has a few events throughout the year that draw a big crowd. There are plenty of places to dance at Crews & Tangos with multiple dance floors across two floors, each offering different styles of music.

Each night of the week brings a different theme and a variety of different drag queens from pop princesses to the odd and intriguing. The bars DJs offer a variety of music as well so you can sample a little of each in between drag numbers. It’s also one of the best gay bars in The Village to watch RuPaul’s Drag Race as local queens act as hilarious MCs.

One secret you might not know about Crews & Tangos is that it is one of the only bars in the area that has an in-house party and event planner so you can celebrate special occasions with your friends. A bachelorette party hotspot, Crews & Tangos is LGBTQ-ally friendly

Wheelchair Accessible: No

The Drink on Church Street is a cafe by day and gay bar by night.
The Drink on Church Street is a cafe by day and gay bar by night.

The Drink

459 Church Street, 416-920-0101

Formerly the sex maze known as Urge, the space now known as The Drink is a newcomer to the Church Street Village scene. Keeping that sense of kink in their uniforms and brought to you by the same people as O’Gradys and the Men’s Room, The Drink functions as a multi-purpose space serving you coffee shop realness by day and gay bar by night.

The Drink’s coffee is Fair Trade and ethically produced, their snacks and baked goods are locally sourced and exclusively made with Ontario produce and grains and brews are all from local producers. The Drink’s pizzas are fully customizable and pretty quick to prepare so keep that in mind when you’re looking for somewhere to eat and be entertained.

The Drink has plenty of different things going on throughout the week starting with cheap drinks on Mondays. Catch a mix of drag, live music and DJs as the week goes on and, of course, you can watch RuPaul’s Drag Race but make sure you don’t miss their Sunday drag brunch from noon until 3pm. It’s a full spread of both food and drag sure to start your Sunday Funday off right.

Wheelchair Accessible: No

Flash on Church is the only gay strip club in The Village.
Flash on Church is the only gay strip club in The Village.

Flash on Church

463 Church Street, 416-925-8363

Looking to see a little skin? Does seeing men dance and swing around a pole excite you? Then Flash on Church is just the place for you. As Church Street’s only all-male exotic dance club featuring naked dancers, Flash offers a variety of attractive men, for whatever you’re into, who are willing to shake what their momma gave them either on stage or for a private show. It’s also the only place that offers daily afternoon Bingo from 2:30 to 5pm if you’re looking for some wholesome fun before your night begins.

As one of the few options for partying on a Monday night, Flash offers FML to extend your weekend by an extra day or to kick-off the week in style. You’ll get a decent crowd here as it’s considered an industry night for those who normally work the late hours. Thursday is also another fun night known as Jock Night with male dancers, jock giveaways, and other prizes. Various other special nights pop up so be sure to check their website out to see what’s on the schedule.

Flash is a private, members-only, men-only club catering to male members of Toronto’s gay community so buying a yearly membership for $50 can save you a few bucks at the door and get you priority entry.

Wheelchair Accessible: No

Gay Bars Toronto: Glad Day Bookshop is a cafe, queer bookstore and LGBT dance party wrapped into one.
Gay Bars Toronto: Glad Day Bookshop is a cafe, queer bookstore and LGBT dance party wrapped into one.

Glad Day Bookshop

499 Church Street, 416-901-6600

Glad Day is the oldest surviving LGBT bookstore on earth, and Toronto’s oldest bookstore. It was founded in 1970 to serve the gay and lesbian community and survived numerous homophobic attempts by law enforcement to force its closure. In 2016, it relocated from its Yonge Street location to its present spot in the heart of the city’s Gay Village, where, in addition to its mandate of inclusive and affirming queer literature, it also became a coffee shop, cocktail bar, event space, and dance club.

Glad Day Bookshop frequently gets described as “Church Street’s living room” because it functions as a community hub – a homey atmosphere, a menu of comfort foods and baked treats, a deep selection of teas and carefully selected coffees, and a rotating tap of local craft beers. In the evenings, they hold launches for the latest queer books and dance parties/events spotlighting marginalized and avant-garde communities. While it may not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of gay bars in Toronto, it has definitely carved out a space for itself in Toronto’s LGBT nightlife scene.

Beyond their book collection and various literary events and launches, Glad Day Bookstore also hosts dance parties every weekend (including Lavender, a monthly party catering to marginalized gender identities, and S&L, which centres on the queer black experience), as well as their infamous blockbuster Drag Brunch on Sundays and now, Saturday Queer Brunch, which range from Drag King acts to acoustic vocalists to live karaoke. Glad Day Bookstore is home to queer games nights, bingo, work groups of every sort, knitting circles, comedy nights, cabarets, and crafts! Every aspect of queer life has a home here.

Wheelchair Accessible: Yes

O'Gradys has the largest patio in The Village.
O’Gradys has the largest patio in The Village.

O’Gradys & The Lodge

518 Church Street, 416-323-2822

O’Grady’s on Church is the perfect spot to meet friends on a sunny, summer day. It features one of the largest patio’s in Toronto and is a staple in Toronto’s Gay Village. With craft beer on tap and delicious cocktails on the menu, it’s a great way to spend an afternoon laughing and people-watching.

O’Grady’s is a cornerstone of the Toronto gay village with its central location and community history. The owners invest heavily in the community and provide support to the various LGBTQ sports teams and activities in Toronto.

With various weekly activities like Trivia Tuesdays, Dirty Bingo on Wednesdays, Retro Night on Thursdays, and Ladies Night on Saturdays, you’ll also find $5 mimosas every day from 11am to 2:30pm and a $6 classic breakfast early bird special from 9am to 11am Monday to Friday. They make a great sangria and their Lodge Sandwich is a great breakfast choice and you can’t go wrong with their chicken tenders if you’re looking for something delicious at lunch or dinner.

Upstairs from the restaurant you’ll find The Lodge with more of a bar feel than restaurant. It’s often used to host birthdays and other private events. You can still get breakfast, lunch and dinner there but with a slightly different feel than its downstairs counterpart.

Open 365 days a year, even on major holidays, at O’Grady’s and The Lodge, you’ll always have a place to go with friendly staff that feel like friends and family.

Wheelchair Accessible: No

Toronto stand-up comic Andrew Johnston hosts Queer & Present Danger Open Mic at Pegasus on Church.
Toronto stand-up comic Andrew Johnston hosts Queer & Present Danger Open Mic at Pegasus on Church.

Pegasus on Church

489B Church Street, 416-927-8832

Celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2019, making it the second oldest bar on Church Street., Pegasus on Church is more than just a bar. This full-service establishment also offers a variety of weekly events, pool tables, darts, shuffleboard, ping pong, pinball, ‘Got Skill?’ machines, and an all-day, nationwide trivia competition. This sets the spacious second floor venue apart from the other businesses in The Village.

Pegasus on Church has become a hot spot for gay sports teams (hot gay rugby and volleyball teams for example) post-practice or game or even just to gather with a group of friends to have a drink and chat in a bit quieter setting. Even if you want to just people watch, Pegasus has a row of seating along the window that allows for a great view of the street.

Bingo is on Tuesdays, “Are You Smarter Than A Scottish Guy?” trivia with Pegasus bartender Simon is on Wednesdays, and every Monday night Queer & Present Danger Open Mic offers the city’s only LGBT stand up comedy showcase. During Drag Race season, you can catch their viewing parties, but make sure you get there early as it fills up quickly. Pegasus is a bring your own food establishment so feel free to bring a bite to eat with you and enjoy one of Pegasus on Church’s many beverage options.

Wheelchair Accessible: No

Striker Sports Bar is Toronto's only gay sports bar.
Striker Sports Bar is Toronto’s only gay sports bar.

Striker Sports Bar

31 St. Joseph Street, 416-929-9595

Striker was born out of frustration when the owners sought to find a place to watch a Stanley Cup final game. Realizing there wasn’t a proper gay bar in Toronto to watch sporting events, the idea of a sport bar that caters to the LGBT community was born. Striker takes pride in increasing awareness for gay sports and works closely with the community and various organizations to accomplish this. Striker sponsors gay teams and leagues & along with “You Can Play” and Baker & Mackenzie law firm, held the first ever CFL official sanctioned event at a LGBT establishment, with the century old Grey Cup physically visiting the bar.

Slightly Village adjacent, Striker is a little bit outside of the normal Gay Village boundaries as we know them today but was once the “it spot” of LGBT nightlife including Club 5, The Manatee, and nearby Carrington’s. It’s also the only place in Canada that features a frost rail (a strip of snow that condenses over the top of the bar to keep drinks cold). With 17 TVs, full surround sound, free games to play, and a pretty solid food menu (make sure to check out their famous wings), there’s definitely no place in Toronto like it. While focusing on sports, they also offer viewing parties for shows like RuPaul’s Drag Race, Star Trek Discovery, and Survivor so there’s a little something for everyone.

Wheelchair Accessible: Yes

Woody's and Sailor is Toronto's most famous gay bar, featured in Queer as Folk.
Woody’s and Sailor is Toronto’s most famous gay bar, featured in Queer as Folk.

Woody’s and Sailor

467 Church Street, 416-972-0887

In the heart of the Church and Wellesley corridor, you’ll find a long time familiar face at Woody’s and Sailor. Opening in 1989, this Toronto gay bar boasts five bars, nightly DJs, and three nights of men’s contests including Best Chest, Best Ass, and Best Legs.  With a recent interior renovation, Woody’s is a pretty safe bet if you’re looking to run into old friends and to make some new ones. There’s no cover here and plenty of on-tap or bottle options. For those familiar with the US version of Queer As Folk, you may even recognize the exterior of Woody’s as a stand-in the for the entrance of QAF’s Babylon. 

For Toronto’s local gay community, Woody’s is our local watering hole. From Thursday to Monday the place is always packed thanks to Thursdays Best Chest contest, Friday and Saturday Best Ass contest, Sunday back to back drag shows Old School and Five Smoking Hot Divas, and Monday’s when Gayball Society Dodgeball League come here to hangout after the game.

Wheelchair Accessible: No

Gay Bars Toronto: Queer West

In the late 80’s there was a shift away for the LGBT community from only partying in The Village. Pockets of the community began to spring up in other areas of Toronto moving both West and East. Queer West, as it’s sometimes referred to, offers a slightly different take on the LGBTQ experience than you’d find in other gay bars in Toronto.

Like the East End, Queer West is less defined by specific streets and more of an attitude but as you travel west of Spadina, you’ll start to see the change. It’s a different vibe than The Village but no less fun. The west end definitely has something to offer for those looking for a gay bar in Toronto to dance the night away in. It’s where we go to play with trendy, hipster queers. 

Gay Bars Toronto: The Beaver Cafe is a hipster queer icon on Queen Street West.
Gay Bars Toronto: The Beaver Cafe is a hipster queer icon on Queen Street West.

The Beaver Cafe

1192 Queen Street West, 416-537-2768

The Beaver Cafe is the grand dame of Toronto’s Queer West, a local watering hole in the heart of the city’s Queen West hipster hood.

Established in 2006 by Lynn McNeill and his then business partner Will Munro, The Beaver was ahead of the wave that has transformed the neighbourhood into a hub of dining and nightlife.

Today, The Beaver Cafe offers a daytime cafe and restaurant serving everything from burritos and burgers to pies and cakes. In the evenings, The Beaver transforms into a deliciously queer dancy destination. Regular events include Vyle Tuesdays with Selena Vyle, Drag Babies! Superstar! on Wednesdays and Karaoke Sundays. 

The Beaver Cafe is Queen West’s most popular gay party venue so check out their schedule online to see what parties are being promoted when you’re in town. And when you do visit The Beaver, be sure to skip behind the dance floor. You’ll spill outside to find an intimate al fresco patio decorated in festive fairy lights.

Wheelchair Accessible: No

Gay Bars Toronto: El Convento Rico puts on a popular drag show in Little Italy.
Gay Bars Toronto: El Convento Rico puts on a popular drag show in Little Italy.

El Convento Rico

750 College Street, 416-588-7800

El Convento Rico has been a safe haven for the LGBT community for over 20 years. This West End Toronto gay bar opened in 1992 and welcomes people from all walks of life. Here you’ll find spectacular drag shows, dance nights focused on Latino beats and Top 40 hits, as well as dance classes and male revues. 

El Convento Rico is located in the heart of Little Italy on College Street. The famous drag club is best known for hosting Toronto’s annual Miss El Convento Rico pageant, crowning the city’s most adored pageant queen. You’ll find a long line snaking down the street on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights when the club puts on its iconic drag shows.

One unconventional thing about El Convento Rico is that it has no stage. Giggling guests are told to clear out the space and form a circle in the centre of the nightclub to make way for the night’s dazzling drag queen performers. If you’re a drag fan El Convento Rico offers an amazing opportunity to get up close and personal.

Wheelchair Accessible: No

Gay Bars Toronto: East End

While gay life hasn’t travelled too far to the East yet, it won’t be too long before Queer East explodes with more LGBT spaces. As urban sprawl pushes its way out from Yonge Street and the local gay community looks for more affordable housing, we’re certain to see even more queer-friendly spaces pop up.  

WAYLA is Toronto's only East End gay bar.
WAYLA is Toronto’s only East End gay bar.

WAYLA

996 Queen Street East, 416-901-5570

WAYLA stands for What Are You Looking At and was inspired by the iconic nightlife scenes in Paris and NYC. Located in Leslieville, WAYLA opened in 2010, looking to give gay, lesbian, transgender, straight, and bisexual people of every age and race a safe space to party together. Offering regular theme nights, special events, and private parties, it’s also home to karaoke, live music, comedy, and more.

If you have dreams of musical stardom, head here on a Wednesday night for open mic night and live music. As the east end’s only gay bar, it’s also a go-to spot for your RuPaul’s Drag Race, complete with live drag performances. Make sure you hit up WAYLA on the first Saturday of every month for Deep & Disco, guaranteed to get you on the dance floor.

WAYLA is more than just a bar, it’s also an art gallery with a rotating selection of artwork from local artists. The layout lends itself to various uses both private and social. It’s a great space to gather with friends for whatever the reason and, during warmer months, you’ll definitely want to make use of their beautiful back patio. WAYLA can get pretty crowded on a weekend so make sure you get there early to avoid the line.

Wheelchair Accessible: No

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