No city does queer culture like Los Angeles. From the bars to brunches to the parties—not to mention some legendary drag stages—L.A. is one of the world’s most diverse, progressive, and LGBTQIA+-friendly cities.
To create your ultimate guide to all things LGBTQIA+ across the city, we enlisted the help of four fiercely fabulous Los Angeles-based drag performers: Alaska Thunderfuck, Manila Luzon, Eureka O’Hara and Kerri Colby.
Who: RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 5 runner-up, RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 2 winner, recording artist, published author, and activist.
When: Alaska’s Red 4 Filth tour lands at The Regent on December 3.
Where: Akbar, Silverlake
“The perfect, low-key, intimate queer bar, Akbar has great drinks, a fierce and diverse clientele, and tons of drag or drag-adjacent events. Learn the Words Bitch!, hosted by Tony Soto on the first Monday of every month is one of the craziest, most enjoyable shows I’ve ever been to. Go, sign up, and lip-sync a song. It’s open to everyone.
One of my favorite bars on the planet. The staff and crew have created such a safe space and a home that welcomes everyone in our community. Hot gogos, sickening drag performances, and tons of dance parties and events make this the number-one queer hangout in downtown L.A.
Hot Dog at El Cid, Silverlake
This is one of my favorite ways to spend a Sunday night in L.A. Taking place every week at El Cid in Silverlake, it’s run by my dear friend, Mario Diaz. Dancers, an eclectic crowd, a huge outdoor space, and sweaty dancing indoors—this is fun as hell!
Who: RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 3 runner-up, RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 4 contestant, artist, pop diva, television host
When: Manila’s brand-new TV show, Drag Den Philippines, premieres globally on Amazon Prime Video on December 8.
Where: Tom of Finland House, Echo Park
The former house of gay artist Tom of Finland is more than a museum, it’s a time capsule of a major piece of gay history. A regular-looking house from the outside, it’s filled with Tom of Finland’s homoerotic art, leather & hyper-masculine pornographic kitsch. A recognized landmark, the Tom of Finland House is a haven that preserves queer art and history.
Kitchen24, West Hollywood
With its bright pink decor, this West Hollywood restaurant has something on its menu for everyone. Set on the main strip, it’s the perfect spot to grab a bite before heading down Santa Monica Blvd to all the iconic bars.
Green Qween Dispensary, DTLA
A gay-owned business that’s all about supporting up-and-coming LGBTQIA+ brands in a space that’s queer all year. This dispensary is a colorful and welcoming retail space that serves as a launching pad for inspiration and is dedicated to giving back to the local community.
Who: RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 9 contestant, season 10 runner-up, RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars season 6 runner-up, co-host of HBO’s We’re Here, and recording artist.
When: Live at Heart WeHo on November 19 and on Season 3 of We’re Here, premiering November 25.
Where: Rocco’s WeHo, West Hollywood
Ever since it opened, this WeHo bar has done nothing but provide for the community, drag queens, and queer people, working towards equality. During the pandemic and the BLM movement, the manager asked me what they could do to help. Together, we organized protests and painted art and BLM-positive signs on the building. They also have the best honey BBQ boneless wings on—period.
The Plus Bus, Highland Park
Owned by allies—and specifically, allies to the plus-size community—this clothing store provides a space for plus-size individuals of all genders, sexualities, and identities to feel safe enough to find fashions to make them feel sexy.
Beaches WeHo, West Hollywood
I’m recommending this, not only for the authentic Cuban cuisine but also because everyone partnered in this family-owned restaurant is queer. Shout out to managing partner, Matt Flinn, for his continued work keeping queer nightlife, drag, inclusivity, and acceptance at the forefront of their business principles.
Who: RuPaul’s Drag Race season 14 contestant, model, trans rights activist
When: A new talk show, Kerri Kares, is coming to WOW Presents Plus in early 2023
Where: Harriet’s Rooftop, West Hollywood
If you want something that’s a space for everyone, and one that’s very friendly to queer people, I suggest Harriet’s Rooftop at the 1 Hotel. As a trans woman, I like to flirt with straight boys, honey, so I’m looking for places where they’re comfortable, but where I also feel welcome and respected.
Casita del Campo, Silverlake
This bar has been around since the 1960s and it’s really gorgeous, with indoor and outdoor space and a lot of vibrant colors. It feels nostalgic to be there. It’s a Mexican-themed LGBTQ+ bar and restaurant that also has the Cavern Club Theater specializing in queer and queer-adjacent comedy shows and performances downstairs.
Jagger Party at Doheny Room, West Hollywood
What’s really fun about this party is that it’s new, it’s fresh, it’s very nightlife-y but a more elevated experience than your everyday West Hollywood bar. So many LGBTQIA+ people work here that you’ll always run into someone you know, and you’re guaranteed a good time. It’s a queer party in a normally straight club space.
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