There’s something about gay bars that have always been intriguing to people. They’re not spoken about as often, and heterosexual people probably don’t visit them as frequently, but something about them sparks curiosity. If you happen to be a straight ally and are hoping to visit one just for fun, you may have to keep the following tips and preparations in mind.

1. Things to Expect

As you walk in, you’ll be hit with a wall of sound coming from the speakers placed around the room. Pop hits and party anthems will be blaring, getting you in the mood to dance the night away. Remember that you should be respectful when you are in a bar that is meant for the LGBTQ community. The Pride flag is a symbol of this community and, by extension, those who identify as part of it. You should not stare or judge the people in the bar, as they are not there for your entertainment.

The most important thing is to just be yourself and enjoy yourself while you’re there.

2. The People in the Bar

You’re welcome to come to the bar, whether straight or not. You don’t have to be looking for a romantic partner to enjoy yourself; you can make friends as well. Just be respectful to everyone; if you start to feel uncomfortable, you don’t need to get physical or defensive. You never know; the person you’re talking to could be a great friend. Have a pleasant conversation and enjoy your time.

It’s okay to bring your straight ally friends to the bar, as long as they are comfortable. You should respect the space of the LGBTQ community and avoid doing anything that might make them uncomfortable. Just like in any other bar, you should respect everyone and not stare at or touch anyone without their consent.

3. The Drinks in the Bar

In a gay bar, the atmosphere is usually more relaxed and subdued. People are there to socialize and have a good time without the need to get drunk. This is not to say that there is no alcohol served in gay bars, but it is not the main focus.

If you’re looking to drink in moderation and enjoy a simple cocktail, you’ll fit right in with the locals. However, if you’re looking to get wild and party hard, you might be disappointed as the culture here is relatively different. So, sticking with the local customs is best if you want to avoid awkward situations.

4. The Perception of People in the Bar

A gay bar is a place for people of all sexualities to come and express themselves. You may see people dressed in drag or people of different sexualities than your own. Embrace the diversity and don’t take photos of people without their permission.

As a straight ally, you may encounter people who are curious about your involvement in LGBTQ+ activism. It is important to respect their thoughts and opinions, even if they do not agree with your own. There is no need to pick a fight with them but rather to try and have a calm and respectful conversation.

5. The Familiarization with the Bar

Before going to a gay bar, do some research to make sure it is inclusive of everyone and that the atmosphere is one that you will feel comfortable in. Having at least one queer-identified person with you is also a good idea if you are not part of the LGBTQ community.

Researching the bar you’re planning to go to is always a good idea. This way, you can find out if there’s anything special going on that night and also get an idea of what the bar is usually like. You can ask your friends for their experiences at the bar and read online reviews so that you know what to expect when you walk in.


It is essential for a straight ally to be aware of the different social norms that may be present in a gay bar. For example, it is generally considered rude to hit on someone who is not interested, and it is also important to be respectful of personal space. Additionally, it is vital to be aware of the different types of music and dance that may be present in a gay bar, as well as the different dress codes that may be in place. By being aware of these different aspects of gay culture, a straight ally can show their support and solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community.

If you are looking for one of the best gay bars in Philadelphia, look no further than our diverse parties here at Level Up Bar & Lounge. We are the best gay bar and nightclub in Philly, hosting events and parties that are sure to heat up your weekend nights! Feel free to check out our schedules for more information about our upcoming events and bar menu.


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