Orlando has a vibrant and proud gay community with plenty of places to hang out with like-minded people from all walks of life. There are bars and clubs well known as liberal haunts where you can mix and mingle, as well as all-day establishments like restaurants and cafes that are known to attract the pink dollar. There are even annual gay days at some Disney parks during the early summer. Even though the LGBT scene in Orlando isn’t as prominent as in cities such as San Francisco or New York, you will nevertheless find an incredible array of things to see and do for the kings and queens of Florida.

    The arts scene is particularly prominent in Orlando, helped in no small part by the thousands of performers who ply their trade in the theme parks and live shows in and around the city. This has spurned such acts as drag shows in burger joints to topless male go-go dancers… and everything (and anything) in between.

    1

    Parliament House

    As one of the largest and most popular gay clubs in Orlando, Parliament House is considered one of the premier entertainment destinations in the city. Home to the Rainbow Café, Footlight Theater and 7 different bars, the club itself is known for its locally produced plays and musicals, as well as its daily drink specials. A large dance floor occupies center stage, complete with laser lights and fog effects. The Rainbow Café is open daily and serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. An even more impressive feature of Parliament House is the 112-room motel attached to the entertainment complex. The motel features single and double rooms surrounding a large courtyard pool. The whole complex is gay-friendly.

    Location: 410 N Orange Blossom Trail, Orlando, FL 32805, USA

    Phone: +1 407-425-7571

    Map

    photo by Jeff Kern (CC BY 2.0) modified

    2

    Hamburger Mary’s

    Popularly billed as ‘an open-air bar for open-minded people’, Hamburger Mary’s provides a flamboyant dining experience complete with drag shows and trivia nights. A menu of burgers, soups and salads is offered alongside an extensive bar menu of craft beers and cocktails. The nightly ‘Dining with the Divas’ drag shows incorporate singing, dancing and improv as the ladies put on a performance while you dine. Charity trivia nights, bingo and karaoke are also held here regularly.

    Location: Church Street Station, 110 W Church St, Orlando, FL 32801, USA

    Open: Mondays from 11 am to 3 pm, Tuesday–Thursday from 11 am to 10.30 pm, Friday–Saturday from 11 am to 11.30 pm, Sundays from 11 am to 10 pm

    Phone: +1 321-319-0600

    Map

    photo by Steam Pipe Trunk Distribution Venue (CC BY 2.0) modified

    3

    Barcodes Orlando

    This College Park gay bar is widely recognized for its lodge-like appearance on the outside. Complete with a koi pond and backyard deck area, Barcodes radiates an extremely relaxed and laid-back atmosphere. This gay-friendly bar in Orlando is great if you fancy grabbing a few drinks with friends. There’s a billiards area alongside a novelty shop selling adult toys and movies. Thursday Latin nights are by far the most popular nights at Barcodes. The bar is also known for its biweekly ‘underwear nights’, where entry is not permitted if you’re wearing anything over your undies.

    Location: 4453 Edgewater Dr, Orlando, FL 32804, USA

    Open: Daily from 12 pm to 2 am

    Phone: +1 407-412-6917

    Map
    4

    White Wolf Café & Bar

    White Wolf Café & Bar is a gay-friendly eatery and nightspot in Orlando’s Ivanhoe Village District – a colorful bohemian community. This award-winning bistro serves breakfast, lunch and dinner and is renowned for its locally-sourced crab cake eggs benedict. Weekend brunch is an extremely popular event at White Wolf, featuring specially priced dishes and mimosas. Named one of Orlando’s top gems, this eclectic restaurant is family-owned and decorated with a large assortment of antiques.

    Location: 1829 N Orange Ave, Orlando, FL 32804, USA

    Open: Sunday–Tuesday from 8 am to 3 pm, Wednesday–Thursday from 8 am to 9 pm, Friday–Saturday from 8 am to 10 pm

    Phone: +1 407-895-9911

    Map
    5

    Southern Nights

    As one of Orlando’s oldest LGBT clubs, Southern Nights has been welcoming partygoers for over 35 years. The club closed for major renovations in 2014 and reopened bigger, better and more colorful than ever. Southern Nights is known for welcoming popular local DJs and hosting various live events. Weekdays usually include a number of different drag shows. Happy hour is between 4pm and 9pm, and there’s no cover before 11pm.

    Location: 375 S Bumby Ave, Orlando, FL 32803, USA

    Open: Tuesdays from 12 pm to 3.30 am, Wednesdays from 9.30 pm to 2 am, Thursdays from 8.45 pm to 2.30 am, Friday–Saturday from 9 pm to 2.30 am (closed on Sundays and Mondays)

    Phone: +1 407-412-5039

    Map
    6

    Hank’s Bar

    This popular bar has been part of the Orlando gay scene for over 30 years and is known for holding various pool tournaments and trivia nights. The friendly atmosphere at Hank’s is due in part to their antique jukebox and the large private patio behind the bar. Though an understated building on the outside, Hank’s is popular among locals for its great drink specials. Beers are always around $2 and college students get their first draught free.

    Location: 5026 Edgewater Dr, Orlando, FL 32810, USA

    Open: Daily from 12 pm to 2 am

    Phone: +1 407-291-2399

    Map
    7

    Savoy Orlando

    A gay nightclub with entertainment dancers and LED lights, Savoy Orlando is made up of 2 separate bars – Savoy and Tattoo Lounge. Both include a premium liquor selection and over 30 imported and domestic beers. Located on Orange Avenue, about 10 minutes from downtown Orlando, Savoy is renowned for its modern atmosphere. Pool tables, electronic darts and flat-screen TVs are dotted around the large outdoor patio. Savoy is also home to The Men of Savoy – shirtless go-go dancers, who perform every day from 6pm to 2am.

    Location: 1913 N Orange Ave, Orlando, FL 32804, USA

    Open: Monday–Thursday from 5 pm to 2 am, Friday–Saturday from 4 pm to 2 am, Sundays from 3 pm to 2 am

    Map
    8

    Stonewall Bar

    As the only gay bar in Downtown Orlando, Stonewall is an industrial-chic establishment with multiple levels and a state-of-the-art sound system. The main bar hosts different themes throughout the week, while the patio bar provides a tropical-themed seating area. Sky Bar is an open-air bar located on the second floor of Stonewall, with a stunning view of the downtown Orlando skyline. Various TVs line the bar, where you can order your favorite bar food.

    Location: 741 W Church St, Orlando, FL 32805, USA

    Open: Monday–Friday from 4 pm to 2 am, Saturday–Sunday from 12 pm to 2 am

    Phone: +1 407-373-0888

    Map
    9

    Gay Days at Walt Disney World

    From humble origins of just a few hundred people, Disney's de facto day of gay celebration has turned into one of the world’s most popular gay and lesbian celebration, taking place in Orlando every summer. The festivity attracts more than 150,000 travelers from all over the world. Though not affiliated with Disney itself, Gay Days is an extremely popular event celebrating the LGBT community. It’s usually scheduled for the first week of June, starting in Magic Kingdom.

    Paul Smith | Compulsive Traveler

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