Boston is the capital of the first state to allow gay marriage in America! The main gay areas of Boston are centered around the neighborhoods of the South End and Jamaica Plains. Since the 1980’s the gays have been gentrifying these areas and opening up shops and restaurants. You will find plenty of gay bars and clubs along Columbus Avenue and Tremont Street.
Gay Boston is absolutely drenched with history, as many of early-America’s important events took place in and around the area including the Boston Massacre, Boston Tea Party, and the Battle of Bunker Hill. Make time to check out 50-acre Boston Common—the country’s oldest city park. It has hosted a range of idiosyncratic historic events such as a speech by Martin Luther King Jr., public hangings in the 1800s, and even British soldiers camped there during the American Revolution. It’s also the starting location of the Freedom Trail which will take you around the city to even more historic locations. Boston is lousy with history; just try to appreciate it. It’s also a thriving hotbed of intellectualism. There are several fantastic museums in the city and of course, Harvard University and MIT are both in Boston’s backyard as well as other institutions of higher learning such as Boston University. Try to avoid sticking out as the dullest crayon in the box by calling anyone “wicked smaht” while you’re there though as Bostonians aren’t well-known for being the friendliest of people. Boston’s pleasant to visit any time of the year, but winter is probably not for the faint of heart. Summer is gaytravel.com's favorite season; don't forget Boston Gay Pride held in June!
This New England city attracts both men and women, and the gay scene is largely visible. The gay bars and clubs are scattered around the city, but the South End is the gay scene’s true home. One of America’s most politically liberal cities, Boston has a very visible gay population. There are gay bars and clubs scattered around the city, but they are concentrated in the neighborhoods of South End and Jamaica Plain. While the lesbians tend to hang around Jamaica Plain, or even Cambridge, there’s no obvious visible division between the neighborhoods that lesbians or gays hang out in to worry about it.
Dancing the Night Away
You don’t need us to tell you that Boston has an incredible restaurant scene. There are gay-friendly and gay-owned restaurants all over.
Sometimes you need to go out and just dance before the drama of the week begins. There aren’t a ton of options for gay nightlife in the Boston area. Located directly below Caprice Restaurant and Lounge Underbar has a gay night on Sundays. This isn’t unusual for most clubs and bars in the Boston area to have one night dedicated to gay life. Underbar sets itself apart from the rest because it’s a true night club with as little drama as possible. There is always a short performance usually drag and then it’s dancing nonstop. Although the area is small with two bars, one dance floor, and a coat check it’s one of the most chic nightclubs in the area. Beautifully decorated from floor to ceiling even the bathroom looks better than an apartment designed by Ikea. The dance floor is small, but if you need to rest or want to embarrass your friend by giving them a hilarious lapdance the double sided couch is center of the room. Tired of dancing, sit down in the blush setting along the wall. It feels like you’re in the finished basement of a house…which is a great thing. Whether you have the entire week off or just Monday stop by Underbar. Well I guess you could stop by even if you work on Monday. Just be sure to leave to give yourself enough time to sleep. I don’t want to be responsible for you dragging yourself in the A.M!
Want to have “balls to the walls” fun? Head to Paradise Cambridge. Not to be confused with Paradise Rock Club! :) Paradise Cambridge is host to Boston’s only Gay Club featuring male dancers. Ever seen the US Version of “Queer As Folk?” Picture that on multilevels. You walk in to the standard ticket taking and wristbands into either the bathroom, the “dance room” where sexy men dance on stage with adult films playing overhead, or go downstairs to the dance club spinning the latest beats for Top 40, House, Trance, & Techno. Paradise Cambridge isn’t meant to be serious or cater to anything but a memorable night and maybe a gaze at a fantasy guy or six.
One of Boston’s most visible hidden treasure located in the South End district, it remains a stable in the gay nightlife for over 25 years. In addition to the bustling music with a number of guest dj’s in the past it sets itself apart as being the one place gay men can not only enjoy the nightlife at, but get there early and the front part of the bar called 209 can serve you a great meal. It’s Bistro and Dinner menus won Open Table’s Diner’s Choice for 2012. Having been a patron since 2005 I’ve seen it evolve from traditional gay bar to a full night out on the town to what it has become: a local hang out. Renovated in 2010 209’s warm colored walls and art-deco style seating is set off by the elegant Piano Bar. The Napoleon room features the privacy to host your birthday party, anniversary party, or even business meeting. To ensure your utmost enjoyable experience either one of the owners or the Assistant Manager is the host. The Servers/Bartenders are warm, friendly, and personable. They genuinely smile and talk to you as if you’re a friend coming over to their home for dinner. Menus change seasonally. Not only was my birthday hosted there and my best friend’s 30th but to celebrate my first month moving to Boston my roommate and I dined on 4 Jumbo Pan Seared Scallops, riscotto, and asparagus. They recently introduced a 2-4-1 special where from dinner time till 10pm Sunday-Thursday you can buy one meal and for equal or lesser value get a second free. On top of that they have an All-You-Can-Eat Sunday Brunch to end the weekend with your friends in the true gay version of “Sex and the City.” Another added feature they introduced is the Club Member Yellow card. For a nominal cost The VIP Annual Membership associated with this card include such benefits as: Free Admission on Club Nights & New Year’s Eve, Head of the line privileges (a separate line for Club Members), Reduced coat check price, and a 20% discount on food purchases, for you and up to 3 additional guests in your party. Tired yet? Well it doesn’t stop there. They are open 7 days a week. Their normal nights of Friday & Saturday host the Club Cafe nightlife, but also they have Wednesday Karaoke. They also host drag performances, stage performances, and have been host to some celebrities such as contestants from RuPaul’s Drag Race. And there have been times I’ve turned around to bump into Tyler Duckworth from MTV’s Real World. You just never know what celebrity will pop in! Visit Club Cafe I promise it will be the first of many times you stop by.
Eating and Drinking in Boston Gay Style
Boston has a lively gay nightlife with plenty of gay bars and nightclubs. Boston has multiple colleges in and around the city so the scene can get wild if it needs to. You’ll find local gay bars and restaurants along Columbus Avenue and Tremont Street. Boston is famously compact and walkable too, but there are taxi services available to avoid those chilly walks home. Club Café is a popular video bar in the South End, as well as Roxy, and The Eagle.
There’s no shortage of great restaurants in Boston’s gayborhood the South End. What is lacking in puritanical Beantown, though, are late night spots. Stella serves delicious Italian food in a sleek but cozy atmosphere as late as 3 a.m. from Thursday through Saturday. In Boston, that’s unheard of. It’s not cheap, but the mussels are divine.
After graduation recently, I took a party of five to The Beehive for Saturday jazz brunch. Excellent food, good music and a cool, hip vibe makes this place a winner in my book. You enter this place, and you're led downstairs usually to an elegant and comfortable space comprised mostly of brick and wood. The space is interestingly designed and can accomodate small and large groups. Immediately you feel like you're in someone's gorgeous and simply decorated open-air living/dining room. With an attractive staff who are stylish and competent, The Beehive stings….in a very good way.
Although there are many choices for Chinese and Japanese cuisine in Quincy, my favorite is Great Chow. They have another location in Abington, but having lived in Quincy for 4 years this was obviously my favorite.Located off the main road in Quincy called Hancock St, Great Chow lives up to it’s name. When I first started going there it was a small restaurant with lots of charm. The success of the restaurant grew so much that when a neighboring business left it expanded it’s location. Literally blocks from the Wollaston T you can sit down and enjoy a great meal with extremely affordable prices with an identical menu for eat-in or take-out.It’s not the beat-your-head-with-culture decor. The brown/beige/stone tones and textures hint at the Asian influences. The water and paneling are lush and calming. And the exposed kitchen gives you a bird’s eye view of the goings on with preparation.The great part is if you are in the Abington area you get the same quality and ambiance as the Quincy location. At the time I worked in Weymouth which is down the street from the Abington location and from the decor to the service I had identical experiences. It’s my traditional New Year’s Eve dinner. In fact it’s many as they have special menu for both Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.Great Chow? More like Great Dining experience.
Where can I go on a first date? What about when my parents come to town? 28 Degrees is the answer.Welcome to 28 Degrees. With valet parking and an almost hidden location in the South End district of Boston it’s almost like finding an oasis in the desert. The ever-changing menu will feature anything from french fries and a burger to dollar oysters or Pan Seared Flank Steak. The prices are reasonable, and the service is top notch.After a name change and redesign it not only offers the standard restaurant feel, but the look of an ultramodern upscale restaurant. It’s an architect’s dream and will make the average person say “Wow.” The stark white textured wall contrasts the Mahogany floors. Even the bar has a canopy overhead giving you the feel of elegance. Want to host a private event? The back of the restaurant has not only a door to the outside patio but white privacy curtains.Sheer elegance is what 28 Degrees represents. Your date and your parents will be impressed.
Scup’s in the Harbor
Scup’s in the Harbor is an amazing restaurant inside a marina in East Boston. It sits across the harbor from Boston with amazing views of the city nearby. The menu changes often and is homemade and fresh. It is a family-run business and you sit with other customers at a large table inside or outside at picnic tables. They recently received a beer and wine license and started serving dinner. I highly recommend Scup’s for delicious, fresh food, great ambiance and terrific service.