An Incomplete Compilation of the Gay Bars Austin Has Loved and Lost

Because sometimes you want to go where everybody knows you’re queer


Bernadette's reopening in 2013 (Photo by Jana Birchum)

In honor of the half century since the Stonewall riots, we've compiled an inexhaustive list of the gay, lesbian, and queer bars that have called Austin home in the last 50 years – and in some instances, even longer. Sources consulted include Eric Jason Ganther's thesis "From Closet to Crusade," previous Chronicle coverage, historical LGBTQ travel guides found on JD Doyle's Houston LGBT History website, and community members.

THE MANHATTAN CLUB 911 Congress (1958-early Seventies)

THE CABARET 3010 Guadalupe (1962-67)

THE NEW ORLEANS 1125 Red River (existed circa 1963)


FREDDIE'S CAFE NO. 2 East Sixth (existed circa 1964-69)

INSOMNIA CLUB (also recorded as Club Insomnia) 1101 Red River (existed circa 1967-69)

THE RED RIVER LOUNGE 900 Red River (1967-68)

THE PEARL STREET WAREHOUSE 17th & Lavaca (1967-78)

THE APARTMENT (later known as the New Apartment and Dirty Sally's) 29th & Rio Grande (1969-89)

THE HOLLYWOOD 304 W. Fourth (mid-Seventies to mid-Eighties)

FRIENDS & LOVERS 222 E. Sixth (1976-79)

RUSHES Fourth & Congress (1978-79)


AUSTIN COUNTRY 705 Red River (late Seventies to Eighties)

THE BOATHOUSE 407 Colorado (early to mid-Eighties)

CHANCES 900 Red River (1982-94)

CHAIN DRIVE 602 E. Seventh, then 504 Willow (1986-2014)

NEXUS 305 W. Fifth (mid-Eighties to mid-Nineties)


'BOUT TIME 9601 N. I-35 (mid/late-Eighties to 2012)

CHARLIE'S AUSTIN 1301 Lavaca (mid/late-Eighties to 2011)

OILCAN HARRY'S 211 W. Fourth (1990-present)

SISTER'S EDGE + Sister's Edge II 113 San Jacinto (closed 1997, open 2009-10)

RAINBOW CATTLE COMPANY 305 W. Fifth (mid-Nineties to 2009-ish)


PROTEUS East Sixth (mid-Nineties)

RAIN ON 4TH 217 W. Fourth (2004-present)

RUSTY SPURS 405 E. Seventh (2008-10. Reopened as Rusty's, 2011-13.)

KISS & FLY 404 Colorado (2009-12)

CHEER UP CHARLIES 1104 E. Sixth (2010-13), 900 Red River (2014-present)

LIPSTICK 24, 606 E. Seventh (2010-13)

BERNADETTE'S 2039 Airport (2011-13)

TOWN N COUNTRY 1502 W. Ben White (2011 to 2012-ish)

THE IRON BEAR 121 W. Eighth (2011-present)

'BOUT TIME II 6607 N. I-35 (2012-present)

CASTRO'S WAREHOUSE 213 W. Fourth (2013-15)

HIGHLAND LOUNGE 404 Colorado (2014-present)

SELLERS UNDERGROUND 213 W. Fourth (2016-present)

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

gay bars, Austin gay bars, 'Bout Time II, Oilcan Harry's, The Iron Bear, Cheer Up Charlies, Rain on 4th, Highland Lounge, Sellers Underground, Castro's Warehouse, Rusty Spurs, Lipstick 24, Rainbow Cattle Company, The Hollywood, Bernadette's, Austin Country, Freddie's Cafe No. 2, Insomnia Club, The Manhattan Club

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