Many of the top gay bars St Louis can boast are located in and around the city’s Grove district on Manchester Avenue, which runs between Forest Park, Missouri Botanical Garden, and Midtown. The go-to drinking spot for LGBT+ locals, the Just John Club manages to maintain the laid back feel of a small-town tavern. Though its sports bar-style interior may disappoint some for its ordinariness (at least until the lights go down and the dancing begins), JuJo’s has a large and enticing exterior terrace, alongside a nightly roster of drinks specials and live music events that continues to make it one of the leading gay St Louis nightspots. Another gently-ageing established Grove hand is Attitudes Nightclub, an everybody’s welcome kaleidoscope of carefree gay, straight, and trans beautiful people determined to have a great time and party until they drop or the lights get turned back up, whichever happens first. The main vibe of its dark and glitzy interior is of dance club with a thudding bass, though there are some plush leather sofas and a platform above the dance floor that act as chill-out spaces, and lively drag shows on the stage area most weekends.
The nearby Rehab Bar & Grill, on the corner of Manchester Avenue and South Sarah Street, is one of the first (or last) gay St Louis bars that comprise the Grove district, depending on your direction of travel. Though a little harsher on the wallet than some of the other gay bars in St Louis, Rehab is still worth dropping by thanks to the amical bunch of guys behind the bar and the surprisingly mixed crowd of drinkers in front of it given it’s known as a rainbow flag-waving gay bar. A few hundred metres back east towards Midtown, JJ’s Clubhouse & Bar dates back some twenty years and probably hasn’t changed its décor since, but don’t let that put you off this all-American bear and leather club. This traditional ‘man’s’ bar has a faithful multi-generational clientele that ensure the pool table is in constant use while the large ceiling-mounted televisions screen live sports. Come the weekend, there’s the added bonus of the backroom club, complete with strobe lighting and live DJs.