Q: Where can I stay to be close to the LGBT scene?
A: As you would expect, Hard Rock Hotel & Casino is popular among LGBT visitors because of its proximity to the Fruit Loop. Alexis Park and Rumor Boutique Resort, which has a chic white and purple color scheme, are good choices for the same reason.
Likewise, Luxor is perfect if you plan to attend Temptation Sundays this summer, and The Cosmopolitan makes for a good pick if you're interested in going to Confidential, a weekly LGBT party presented by Eduardo Cordova and held Wednesday nights in the resort's funky Bond bar.
Tropicana Las Vegas, which is launching the above-mentioned Xposed! pool party this spring, has gone to great strides to welcome the LGBT community. This resort has even had a presence at several national Pride events.
In addition, Wynn Las Vegas and Encore are dedicated to providing LGBT travelers with special attention and amenities. These properties have even set up a dedicated “Pride Concierge” to answer any questions about Vegas you may have.
Q: What are the best LGBT clubs?
A: There are at least three nightclubs in Las Vegas that cater to the LGBT crowd: Piranha in the Fruit Loop, Krave on the Strip across from Monte Carlo, and Share, which is located a few blocks west of Las Vegas Boulevard on Wynn Road.
The building that houses Piranha doesn't look remarkable from the outside, but inside are all the ingredients for an evening you'll never forget. Spread across two stories, there's a patio with fireplaces, a stylish lounge, a pool table and a fish tank. The nightclub also has two dance floors complemented by a state-of-the-art sound system. A wonderful array of theme nights with DJs and live entertainment are offered each week at Piranha. This includes Thrash Thursdays with drag queen bingo, F*ck It Fridays with a drag show hosted by Coca Vega, and Piranha 54 Saturdays with the “India Ferrah Goddess Show.” You can take advantage of killer specials like two-for-one well drinks on Hot Mess Mondays and Wild Wednesdays. And what's more, Piranha now boasts having no cover charge.
No matter what your persuasion, you won't want to miss getting your groove on at Krave. Occupying the former Empire Ballroom, this live-and-let-dance nightclub is only open on weekends. In addition to its huge dance floor, Krave's multilevel space includes a balcony, a patio and several bars. There are hot go-go dancers, and VIP bottle service is offered as well. DJs like Morningstar, Lightknife and Michael Graves are usually at the helm of themed events on Friday and Saturday nights. Also, be sure to check out Krave's new afterhours party, fittingly called “After,” which runs on Saturday nights (or rather Sunday mornings) between 3:30 and 8 a.m.
When you enter Share, you'll hit upon a chic bar, ultra lounge and nightclub that spans two levels. Often packed with sweaty bodies (including muscle-bound go-go dancers and hot shot boys), the dance floor is on the bottom level while private tables are on the upper level offering a full view of all the action. Among Share's sexy weekly events are Foreplay Thursdays and Stripper Circus Fridays.
Q: What are the best bars?
A: There's a lot great LGBT bars in Las Vegas, but rather than give you a list, we thought we'd break it down by theme.
A sports bar: Winning over locals and visitors alike, The Garage at 1487 E. Flamingo Road, just a block east of Maryland Parkway, has an attitude-free aura. Open 24/7, you can watch sports on one of several flat-screen TVs or play pool, darts, shuffleboard and video poker. The friendly bartenders are dressed as mechanics. Nibble on free pretzels with your drinks. Swing in for The Garage's popular beer busts every Monday and Wednesday from 9 p.m. – midnight and Sunday from 5 – 9 p.m., where you can guzzle Bud Light and Miller Lite for $5 or Sam Adams, Stella Artois, Blue Moon and Newcastle for $8.
A country bar: Located a few minutes west of the Strip at 5012 Arville St. between Tropicana and Reno avenues, Charlie's Las Vegas is a trailblazer as the only gay country bar in Sin City. There's no better place to corral yourself a cowboy – or at least let one pour you a strong and affordable drink. Every Thursday Charlie's holds free line dance lessons from 7:30 – 9:30 p.m. There's other entertainment as well. On Monday nights enjoy karaoke, on Tuesday nights join in bingo (and get a free shot every time the bingo calling drag queen screws up), and on Sunday nights watch “Charlie's Amazing Drag Revue” with JewDi Vine and Michelle Holliday.
Dive bars: Funhog Ranch is a small leather and Levis bar. Situated about two blocks east of the Strip at 495 Twain Ave., the crowd consists of a mix of tourists and locals. The bartenders are friendly, the atmosphere is laid back, and the drinks are inexpensive. Open 24 hours, you're guaranteed never to hear the words “Last call!” The party will be hopping for as long as you can keep going.
Snick's Place is the only gay bar in downtown as well as the oldest gay bar in Las Vegas. It's been around since 1976. Located on Third Street and open 24 hours, in this little joint you can play video poker and partake of happy hour specials every Monday – Friday from 2 – 4 p.m. and 2 – 4 a.m.
Outlying/neighborhood bars: A leather and Levis bar, Las Vegas Eagle is found at 3420 E. Tropicana Ave. and open 24 hours. Famous for its “underwear parties” on Wednesday and Saturday nights, you can also partake in karaoke contests on Tuesday or Thursday evenings or indulge in bagels, bloody Marys, mimosas and other treats on Saturday and Sunday afternoons.
The 24-hour Goodtimes Bar & Nightclub is also located on Tropicana Avenue, in the same plaza that formerly housed the Liberace Museum. Under new ownership now, it boasts a neighborhood atmosphere in the afternoons and a club vibe on weekends, with DJs regularly spinning on Friday and Saturday nights. For buy-one-get-one-free drinks, don't miss happy hour at Goodtimes, which runs daily from 3 – 7 p.m.
In the above-mentioned Commercial Center on East Sahara Avenue, check out the Spotlight Lounge and Badlands Saloon. Both places are open 24 hours. The Spotlight Lounge is one of the friendliest gay bars in town. Make the most of its extended happy hours (stretching from 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.) to knock back buy-one-get-one-free bottled beers and well drinks. Badlands Saloon is another bar with a great happy hour promotion: two-for-one well drinks or domestic beers from 2 – 7 p.m. nightly. Plus, Badlands Saloon presents an amusing drag show on Friday nights and sizzling go-go boys on Saturday nights.
Q: What shows/attractions should I see while I'm here?
A: There is entertainment in Las Vegas to suit all persuasions and occasions.
If you're a lover of musicals, you'll be pleased to know that there are permanent productions of “Jersey Boys” at Paris Las Vegas and “Rock of Ages” at The Venetian. The hit musical “Mamma Mia!” will return to Sin City for an indefinite engagement at the Tropicana Theater on May 8. Thanks to its Caberet Jazz room and Broadway Las Vegas series, The Smith Center for the Performing Arts tends to be a big draw for the LGBT crowd as well.
More interested in checking out some hot bods? Men, due to its “gentlemen welcome” policy, you can have a gander at the good-looking Chippendales troupe at Rio. Ladies, you too can see a bevy of topless beauties in “Crazy Girls”at Riviera, “X Burlesque” at Flamingo and “Fantasy” at Luxor.
And when it comes to drag, no one does it better than Frank Marino and his talented cast of female impersonators in “Divas” at The Quad.
Q: Can I get married in Vegas?
A: There are several wedding chapels in Las Vegas that will perform commitment ceremonies for LGBT couples. Although not legally recognized as a marriage in Nevada, LGBT partners can still enjoy a ceremony with the same amenities that many traditional wedding services offer. In lieu of a marriage license, most chapels will provide gay and lesbian couples with a certificate commemorating the event.
The Gay Chapel of Las Vegas is the city's only gay-owned-and-operated ceremony chapel. The chapel can accommodate up to 100 guests. Couples can choose from many themed wedding packages including beach party, disco, Egyptian, Gothic or Elvis Blue Hawaii wedding. Services are available including limousines, flowers, photography and video services.
Chapels offering LGBT wedding ceremonies include Cupid's Wedding Chapel, Silver Bell Wedding Chapel, Gay Chapel of Las Vegas, Eternal Hope Ministry. For more information on these chapels, visit the VEGAS.com guide to wedding chapels.