The Hornet Guide to Gay Denver
Denver may not be your typical gay destination, but you’d be surprised at what the Mile High City has to offer the LGBT traveler. If you enjoy outdoor activities, the Colorado capital boasts 300 days of sunshine each year, and plenty of ways to spend that time in the sun. For the culture enthusiast, Denver has a premier performing arts complex, and museums to entertain locals and visitors alike. Of interest to foodies, Denver boasts a burgeoning dining scene. With so much to do, gay Denver is definitely worth a visit.
Even though Denver’s day-to-day pace is mellow, the city has a thriving gay population that is both welcoming and fun-loving. Denver’s LGBTQ community is also quite active, showing up to support many outreach organizations as well as annual events — like the Rocky Mountain Gay Rodeo, which attracts tons of visitors each year.
Capitol Hill, a vibrant neighborhood located in East Denver, is also the city’s unofficial gayborhood. From Country/Western bars to dance clubs, there is a variety of nightlife options to discover here. X-Bar, one of the city’s favorite after-dark spots, attracts a diverse crowd. With themed nights like Wet Underwear and Sinful Sunday, X-Bar always packs itself with an eager crowd. Equally impressive is the bar’s spacious outdoor area, where you can chill with friends or enjoy a game of ping pong.
For more than 30 years, Charlie’s has been the only Country/Western bar in Denver hosting a weekly line-dancing party. It’s a rustic spot where you get to mingle with cowboys and socialize over drinks. Charlie’s also hosts different themed nights. From Monday Undie Night to the drag performances of Clock Your Weave Wednesdays, count on non-stop entertainment.
Denver may be known for its ruggedness, but it also offers a sophisticated gay nightlife scene with great restaurants and fun bars, particularly in this neighborhood. Tracks was one of the area’s first gay establishments. The bar offers different themed nights — Drag Nation, Circuit Saturday — in a multi-level space. Nina Flowers, star of RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 1 and the resident DJ here, has called Tracks her ‘home’ for years.
Wrangler is equally fun and worth checking out when you’re around the Uptown neighborhood. At this bear and leather-friendly bar, Wrangler has attracted an inclusive crowd for over 20 years, and it knows how to throw a great beer bust.
South Broadway is the artsy neighborhood of Denver that draws a diverse crowd. Compound Basix is the oldest gay bar still operating in Denver. It proudly hosts two different happy hours (one in the morning, one at night) and has drag shows regularly in its ‘neighborhood bar’ space. If whiskey is your go-to drink, Wednesday is the best day to be here for specials on a great selection.
Maybe you’re thirsty for hot go-go boys? Boyztown, Denver’s only male revue, hosts nightly parties with sexy dancers strutting their stuff through the crowd. This place regularly has amateur nights, where guys compete for cash prizes — and the audience’s attention.
Gay Denver Events
The Rocky Mountain Regional Rodeo is a huge LGBTQ event around July 4th weekend in Denver. At this annual gathering, cowboys come together to promote the sport of rodeo and the Country/Western lifestyle. This event is also a great social gathering for guys who live in smaller communities to experience what gay Denver is like.
Denver Pride Fest is another yearly LGBTQ celebration. More than 350,000 people from across Colorado and the Rocky Mountain region come to Denver around June for this event. The community takes a moment to celebrate the diversity of Colorado’s LGBTQ community as well as the spirit that makes the Mile High City a great place to work, live, party and play.
(Featured image by Art-Of-Photo via iStock)