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    Louisville Gay Bars: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly
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    Growing up gay in the Louisville area wasn’t the easiest, but I definitely had it better than others in smaller cities. Since I come from a small town about 45 minutes outside of Louisville I was the only gay man that I knew, for several years of my life. But before I knew it I made the move to the big city and found my way into my first gay bar, The Connection. Back in the day I was convinced it was the best thing since sliced bread. However as I’ve gotten older and seen more and more gay bars open around the city I’ve realized some things. Mostly I’ve noticed that the majority of the older bars in the city make me feel like I’m keeping my sexuality a secret. The lights are dim, the music is loud, and there are plenty of dark corners to hide out in.

    Before you go and get your feathers in a ruffle let me say that I realize that when these bars were opened all of the above things were a necessity, especially seeing as where we are from.  I’m simply advocating for change. If we want our community to see as us equals we’ve got to stop hiding. I’m incredibly happy to see more and more gay bars opening around the city, five in the last three years, four of which are still open to this day. These new bars cater to more than just a gay audience; still giving us a place to go and feel completely at home, which is something this city needs.

    Whether you’re new to town, recently joined the dark side, or just another curious Louisville.com reader, the seven gay bars in Louisville are detailed below.

    Play Louisville: 1101 E. Washington Street

    You’ve heard me sing the praises of Play Louisville in the past. Besides being a great place to dance the night away, they’re also home to the Playmates. These girls put on one of the best shows, hands down. Besides the regular cast, the team at Play is constantly bringing in talent from across the country, including many girls from RuPaul’s Drag Race. They are also now the host of “Hard Candy” a once a month event hosted by my friend Daniel Cole. If you’re looking for a place to dance the night away with some of the friendliest staff in town then look no further than Play.

    Nowhere: 1133 Bardstown Road

    Nowhere is not a “gay bar” (we won't tell if you don't), they would rather be labeled as an alternative bar. I’ve spent countless nights sweating it out on the dance floor to killer mixes from local DJ’s like Glitter Titz, Sleepy T, and more.

    Big Bar:  1202 Bardstown Road

    Don’t let the name fool you. The bar itself is anything but big, but the staff here makes it one of my favorite spots in town. It’s a great bet for drinking with friends on the patio, Sunday Funday, or as a pre-drinking spot (just be sure to use Uber if you're using it for this purpose, we don't endorse drinking and driving).  

    Chill: 1117 Bardstown Road

    This bar lives up to its name. The most laid back of its brother's Chill’s patio offers everything one could want when drinking outside on Bardstown Road. Their patio comes equipped with a fully stocked bar, plenty of seating, and the occasional outdoor concert.

    The Connection: 120 S. Floyd Street

    What many see as the original gay bar in Louisville, The Connection has definitely served our community in more ways than one since opening. This bar is not for the weak of heart. Upon entering be prepared to see half naked men in showers, more half naked men dancing on a bar, and one of the best drag shows in the nation.

    Tryangles: 209 S. Preston Street

    Tryangles, another laid back bar, typically caters to an older audience. They come fully equipped with pool tables, drink specials, and the occasional underwear night.

    Teddy Bears: 1148 Garvin Place

    Blink once, and you’ll miss it. Teddy Bears is tucked away in an unmarked building in Old Louisville. Staying true to its name it is the only “bear” bar we have in town. If you’re not sure what a “bear” in gay terms is, well that’s a lesson for another day.

    All Photos Courtesy Of The Respective Facebook Page

    Josh Johnson's picture

    About Josh Johnson

    I am the voice behind The Kentucky Gent, a men's life and style blog.

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