Toronto’s queer scene spans the city, but is concentrated in the Church-Wellesley village, which is home to the majority of the city’s gay bars. You can expect lots of dancing, nudity, drag-shows, and ‘90s music from these village institutions. Gay bars mostly cater to the queer male population — though some have lesbian nights — and all welcome lesbians and females. The central hub for lesbian parties is at Andy Poolhall’s regularly scheduled Cherry Bomb event in Little Italy.
Church on Church — 505 Church St.
The good: This trendy new bar features artisan beers, hip décor, and sexy music. No cover College Night is every Wednesday, and young people flock to the bar. Fridays are not officially a lesbian night, but you’ll find Church on Church mostly populated by ladies looking for ladies.
The bad: For a such a dance-oriented bar, space is limited for those who wish to practice more elaborate moves — but others might see this as a benefit, as you can get nice and cozy with fellow patrons.
Who you’ll meet: Young, college-aged students looking to dance to familiar remixes, and scream the lyrics, while proclaiming their love for just about every song that plays.
Crews & Tangos – 508 Church St.
The good: Crews & Tangos is a large bar/club hybrid that fills up every weekend. The front room on the first floor is home to some of the best drag shows in the city, with stand-out performances of Nicki Minaj and Beyoncé on weekends. The back room and top floor are dedicated to dancing, blasting top-40, and the very best of the ‘90s all night.
The bad: The stairs to the bathrooms are potentially lethal, with a steep drop filled with drunk female vocalist enthusiasts more concerned with harmonizing than not falling. Beware of drag queens stealing your drinks as tips if you stand too close to the stage.
Who you’ll meet: Men, women, and trans people from across the queer community, and their straight friends. Everyone is welcome — and wasted — at Crews and Tangos.
Fly — 8 Gloucester St.
The good: Possibly the gayest of Toronto gay bars, Fly is the Toronto equivalent of the bar in which Hannah Horvath of Girls famously did cocaine and exchanged her top for a yellow mesh tank. Fly is home to sexy go-go dancers, endless grinding, and electronic music pulsing throughout the club all night. Fulfill your 80s dreams and make out under the disco ball.
The bad: Cover and drinks are very expensive. Steer clear if you’re anything close to sober — Fly has the potential to be terrifying without the proper party mindset.
Who you’ll meet: A fit gentleman sporting nothing but spandex underpants gyrating to the sounds of trippy house music under purple-tinted lights.
Woody’s and Sailor —467 Church St.
The good: Cover is always free at Woody’s. The bar is a low-key option for those who are more interested in chatting over a variety of cheap beer in a normally dance-free setting. Woody’s is also a Toronto staple, established in 1989, and claims to be the hottest gay bar in the city.
Who you’ll meet: Some of the best bods and bums in the city at the Best Chest competition every Thursday night, and the Best Ass competition every Friday and Saturday.