Easily one of the biggest events to hit the streets of Manhattan, Gay Pride Day is quickly approaching, and it's time to solidify plans for what bars everyone will be hitting up on the big day.
Needless to say, where you end up really sets the tone for your festivities.
After the massive Pride Parade marches down to Christopher Street on Sunday, June 26th, it's a veritable free-for-all with where you and your crew will end up spending the evening dancing and drinking.
There are a number of iconic and fabulous bars to hit up after the main event.
So whether you're looking for a bar to hunker down in and make merry or you want to hop around to different spots, here are a few of the bars you might want to pop into, even if it's only for one celebratory drink.
1. Stonewall Inn (53 Christopher Street)
Perhaps the most historic and significant bar on the NYC gay scene, Stonewall is where the modern Gay Rights movement was born, as well as the infamous riots that tipped that scale.
The show-stopping Ari Kiki will be hosting a party that is sure to be nothing short of a hot mess, in the best possible way.
For the month of June, they're having a photo contest where if you snap a pic of yourself either outside or inside the bar using the hashtag #stonewallselfie and tag their Instagram, @thestonewallinn, you could win a bunch of Stonewall swag, from hats and t-shirts to bar tabs for free drinks! So start snapping!
2. The Eagle (554 West 28th Street)
Known mostly for their scandalous leather and fetish parties, The Eagle is one of those "anything goes" places, and is a sublime addition to your Pride barhopping roster. This judgement-free three-level hotspot attracts a crowd of all types on Gay Pride and isn't shy about, well, most anything.
From scantily clad "bears" in leather harnesses to boys dancing in jockstraps, this is definitely a place to see and be seen. From their spacious rooftop terrace to the down in the dark dance floor, this spot is for those who are seeking a bit of adventure for their day. Be prepared to expect the unexpected.
3. Flaming Saddles Saloon (793 9th Avenue)
Perhaps the most one-of-a-kind bar in Hell's Kitchen, Flaming Saddles brings some classic country to the big city. Decked out in cowboy and ranch decor, stepping in instantly takes you on a mental trip way outside of NYC. Think of it as an all-male version of Coyote Ugly.
True to its inspiration's form, the bartenders here are all decked out in form-fitting jeans and, yup, cowboy boots. While you probably come for the drinks, you stay to see the bartenders hop on top of the rustic bar to gyrate and dance to choreographed country classics like "Wild Wild West."
4. The West End (955 West End Avenue)
For those looking to get out of the Midtown mess and find some space to breathe, head over to the Upper West Side to The West End, quickly becoming a heavy hitter in the NYC gay scene. From their chill speakeasy feel to the impressive bar food and stiff drinks, it's definitely not a spot to be ignored.
Hosted by drag darlings Bella Noche and Gina Tonic, their Pride Parade Afterparty is slated to bring a mixed crowd of local faithfuls to Hell's Kitchen and Chelsea expats looking for a change of scenery. The music is good, the cocktails are cold and the wrap-around patio is perfect to chat up a new friend.
5. Marie's Crisis (59 Grove Street)
Good times, live music and show tunes are what you'll find at this legendary West Village haunt, equipped with a center stage piano where a skilled pianist belts out the songs from hits like Rent and Les Miserables, with the rest of the bar singing along more often than not.
For decades, Marie's Crisis has been a prime sport for musical theater performers and non-professional enthusiasts alike to warm up their pipes. Cheap drinks aside, the bar itself is practically a work of art, sitting on the site where Common Sense author Thomas Paine died in 1809.
6. The Ritz Bar & Lounge (369 West 46th Street)
One of Hell's Kitchen's most popular watering holes, The Ritz is a multi-level cavern that holds inside much more than you'd think. Walk down the front ramp through the brick-encased front bar to their sprawling outdoor patio, which always holds a post-parade barbecue on Pride Sunday at 4 p.m.
Up on the second level is another full service bar steps away from the laser-lit dance floor with a live DJ spinning tracks right alongside of it.
A number of queens pop into this party too, such as Ritz favorite Mimi Carey, who will happily rope you into doing Fireball shots with her, whether you're willing to or not.
7. Vodka Soda/Bottoms Up (315 West 46th Street)
Just down the block from The Ritz is one of the neighborhood's newest additions, Vodka Soda/Bottoms Up, two unique bars packaged in one bi-level behemoth. The lower level, Bottoms Up, combines the casual feel of a NYC dive bar with the aura and setup of a West Hollywood dance club.
Up top at Vodka Soda, you can hang out in a more chill lounge-y scene with comfy couches and a great view of 46th Street. No matter which you're at, you'll be sure to catch the likes of the indomitable Chaka Khanvict, the hysterical Marti Gould Cummings and the fabulous Lady Sinagaga starting at 10 p.m.
8. Rise (859 9th Avenue)
Another new bar making waves in the NYC scene is Rise, a flashy newcomer who's more sophisticated aura is full of diversity as well as fun. Usually drawing a crowd of 30-somethings and up, their impressive repertoire of events and specialty nights makes them a notable pick to check out on Pride Sunday.
Their massive wooden doors are really cool just to open up, so from the get go you're swept up in the flow of the venue. Happy hour runs from 4 to 9 p.m., offering $3 beers and $5 well drinks. Later on, guests seem to gravitate to $12 Grey-Goose-and-sodas and cucumber chile margaritas.[Feature Image Courtesy Instagram]