Today, in part II of my Palm Springs blog post I’ll write about some highly frequented gay hot spots, e.g. the Hunters Nightclub. I’ll also recommend my favorite restaurants, e.g. Alibi and Azul’s.
Alibi and Azul
On the second floor of the convivial Mexican and tapas restaurant Azul, you’ll find Alibi to be a spacious, upbeat spot that is part video bar, part sports bar, and an excellent place for cocktails and people-watching early in the evening, as the balcony setting overlooks bustling Palm Canyon Drive below and the mountains to the west.
Barracks is the local hangout for guys into leather, uniforms, fetish, bears, boots, pierced and tattooed dudes, muscle worship, military gear, water sports, and hard-core cruising. Located in Cathedral City, a 10-minute drive from Palm Springs, the Barracks is in a not-so-obvious location, so look for the Arco gas station on East Palm Canyon Drive at the intersection of El Dorado and Canyon Plaza, then turn right at Canyon Plaza.
Conveniently located on Arenas Road next to Stacey’s bar, Bongo Johnny’s restaurant offers an affordable breakfast, lunch and dinner menu. Half of the venue’s seating is devoted to a lovely outdoor patio for casual al fresco dining and fascinating people-watching.
The largest and most popular of the gay bars along the Arenas Road strip in downtown Palm Springs, Hunters Nightclub is a spacious, well-decorated, upscale-looking gay bar that’s a mainstay of the region’s clubbing scene. Popular as much for watching videos and dancing as for watching hot go-go boys, Hunters fills to the rafters on weekends in high seasons and draws pretty good crowds year-round.
One of the hotspots in the Palm Springs Arenas Road gay nightlife district, Quadz is a friendly men’s bar drawing a mostly 30-and-up crowd of guys into karaoke, videos, and drag shows. The crowd varies a bit depending on the night, with sometimes a slightly younger crowd, and other times a mix of women and men. It’s a fun place on weekends.
If a quiet piano bar is your style, the newest offering in Palm Springs is Stacy’s, where you can enjoy a cocktail and friendly conversation with locals. Crystal chandeliers and regular pianists add to this sophisticated interior popular with locals and tourists alike.
The laid-back Streetbar is a mainly male, cash-only neighborhood hangout, generally drawing a 40-and-over crowd. It’s a popular stop on the Arenas Road gay bar circuit and is known for karaoke, cheap happy hours, and campy drag shows.
Since the mid-1990s, the rough-and-ready Tool Shed has been the premier leather-and-Levi’s bar in Palm Springs. It’s on a side street on the south side of downtown. Open from morning until 2 am, the Tool Shed offers cheap and potent drinks, hosts an Erotic Art Expo each February, and awards a Mr. Tool Shed Leather prize each year.
Toucan’s Tiki Lounge
This tropics-themed bar and dance club is one of the top gay hangouts in the desert region, catering to a primarily male (but female-welcoming), all-ages crowd. It’s known for such engaging theme nights as Sunday night drag revues, 2-for-1 drinks on Tuesdays, ‘80s flashback dancing on Wednesdays, and Jungle Boogie (with go-go dancers) on Fridays and Saturdays.
Tropicale Restaurant and Coral Seas Lounge
The Tropicale Restaurant & Coral Seas Lounge offers a chic and sophisticated décor that provides the setting for distinctive world cuisine, a provocative mix of zesty influences that creates a delightful dining experience. The adjacent Copa Nightclub is also a very popular upscale entertainment venue featuring musicians, singers, and comedic drag shows.
Formerly known as Diggs, Trunks is a friendly gay neighborhood bar, a casual little hangout in Cathedral City, about a 10-minute drive from Palm Springs. It features a pool table, Wii games, and gay country-western dancing on Tuesday and Saturday.
Wang’s in the Desert
Wang’s in the Desert is one of Palm Springs’ hot spots for contemporary Pan-Asian food. The restaurant is stylish and festive, and the sidebar, which hosts happy hour celebrations, is a fun venue for colorful cocktails and mingling with locals and tourists.
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