Hipper by far than you might expect, Houston is a welcoming place where it's virtually impossible to remain a stranger for long. The small-town feeling contrasts with this big city's soaring skyline, world-class arts, and cuisine that's as sophisticated and varied as you'll find anywhere. The bar scene is varied too, from clubs catering to cowboys, leather guys, bears, and Latinos, to upscale lounges in the style of New York or LA, plus retro-music and alternative/arts venues. The Pride Houston Festival Day takes place the last week of June each year in the Montrose neighborhood, with lots of food, music and festivities. Q-Fest is the annual July LGBT film festival. There's a night-time Pride Parade too. See our listings for more events.
Houston's George Bush Intercontinental Airport has METRO Bus 102 serving the airport and surrounding vicinity with multiple stops en route to the METRO station downtown. The fare is $1.25 (pay the driver - cash only). From there Metro rail trains connect 44 stations on three lines.
A car is a must for getting around Houston's sprawl. But if driving, observe the posted speed limits. Police here are vigilant. Metro has a fleet of buses and a rail network of three lines, red, green and purple, with 44 stations for getting around the city.
Bike sharing in Houston is called B-cycle. For short trips in and around downtown Houston and surrounding urban areas, members can pick up a bike at any B-station and return it to any other station when finished at no charge up to a 60 minute limit - after which additional fees kick in. See details at their website.
What to do
If you're in the mood for some world class theatre, check out the Alley Theatre with ActOUT events and productions for Houston’s LGBT theater fans and friends. The Hobby Center presents uniquely Houston performing arts productions. And of course the place for hitting a high-C is the Houston Grand Opera, a must for opera buffs.
Montrose. Houston's gay community is located largely in the Montrose area. Here you'll find many shopping, dining and cruising opportunities. The Galleria on the West Side, minutes from Montrose, is a great one-stop shopping destination, with 375 stores, restaurants, and entertainment.
Media & Resources
Pride Houston sponsors annual charity events, LGBT-support and -counseling networks. The Pride Celebration is typically held the last Saturday in June to commemorate Stonewall, with a parade that evening after sunset.
The Houston Bears, along with Leather Bear Productions, sponsor events throughout the year, including picnics, charity fundraisers, Bear Watch, Bear Tubing, Bear Games, monthly Bear Busts and other social gatherings - see their calendar.
The Houston Press and the Free Press Houston are mainstream sources of news, local intormation, music, arts, restaurants and events around town. Visit Houston is another useful site for out-of-towners.
For map locations and website links to the businesses below, and more, see our gay Houston listings pages.
Hotel Derek + Revolve Kitchen & Bar 2525 W Loop S; 866 292-4100), 314-rooms and suites, adult-only, gay-friendly boutique hotel; Southern Classic with a Texas twist restaurant, bar/lounge, pool and terrace.
Hotel Sorella (800 W Sam Houston Pkwy N; 866 842-0100) gay friendly, luxurious but affordable hotel in City Center development, a few miles from the energy corridor.
Modern B&B (4003 Hazard St; 800-462-4014) four-story alternative bed and breakfast just west of Montrose scene, artwork, exercise, shady veranda, panoramic views, healthy organic breakfast.
Robin's Nest (4104 Greeley St; 800-622-8343) gay-friendly Montrose area guesthouse, deep whirlpool & soaking tub optional rooms, suites, apartments for extended stays, weekend getaways.
Bars and clubs
Barbarella (2404 San Jacinto), video dance mixed crowd dive bar import from Austin, with soul, rock, '80s, disco nights, New Noise Fridays.
Bayou City Bar & Grill (2409 Grant St), change of pace DJ music mix, Latin vibe, hip-hop nights, bingo, patio, happy hour specials, burgers to prime ribs hot food, 7-9am breakfast, Sunday Supper & Stiletto Show.
Blur (710 Pacific, at Crocker) nightly young crowd dance parties, multi-level complex, hip-hop to reggaeton, wide range of music each night, amateur dance contests.
Club 2020 (2020 Leeland St), large dance and party club, young 18+ hip-hop music loving crowd of men and women, live music, drag shows, guest performers, sexy dancers.
Crocker Bar (2312 Crocker), Montrose sports hangout, mostly men, amateur talent contests, strong drinks at good prices, internet jukebox, karaoke, pool games, darts, big patio, free WiFi.
Crystal (6680 Southwest Fwy), Latino video and dance club in Bellaire, Wednesday and Saturday male dancers, live entertainment and talent shows, drag shows. Miss Gay Texas pageants.
Eagle Houston (611 Hyde Park), men's leather bar/club night, 4pm-2am, big-screen TV sports, garden patio, leather/fetish shop, special holiday parties. At old 611 Club site.
Etro Lounge (1424 Westheimer Rd), retro '80s music lounge, true fans of the music DJs, 2 floors, covered patio seating.
F Bar (202 Tuam St) mostly guys dancing, no cover cocktail lounge, huge outdoor patio, drag shows.
George (617 Fairview), gay sports bar, country & western music, internet jukebox, pool tables, drink specials, down-home feel.
JR's Bar and Grill (808 Pacific St) very popular, hot young professional crowd, heart of gay Houston, karaoke, martinis, drag shows, amateur strippers and go-go boys.
Michael's Outpost (1419 Richmond), sing-along piano bar, popular early evenings with somewhat older crowd, pool tournaments.
Montrose Mining Company (805 Pacific), bears, leathermen and friends, Friday/Saturday after-hours, hot strippers nightly 9pm-2am, big outdoor patio, pool games.
Neon Boots Dancehall & Saloon (11410 Hempstead Hwy), Country & Western music club, line dancing lessons, live bands comedy and performers, bingo, steak nights, men.
Rich's (2401 San Jacinto), gay dance club and video lounge; Wednesday Latin Heat, 18+ Thursday College Nights, Friday and Saturday 21+ nights, go-gos and shows. Sunday Hot Tea dancing, plus drag shows in the Video Lounge/ Show Bar. Re-opened summer 2016.
Ripcord (715 Fairview) famous Levi/leather/uniform amd bear events, home of the LUEY contest, long-time Montrose favorite of over 25 years, pool tables, patio, cruisy crowd lingers weekend after- hours.
South Beach (810 Pacific), two-level dance club at the center of gay Montrose, 18+ nights, Latin nights, drag shows, underwear blackout parties, wet-boxer strip-offs, Stripper Circus. Open Thursdays through Saturdays 9pm to 4am.
TC's Show Bar (817 Fairview St), small unpretentious club known for good drag shows, karaoke, striptease; open nightly.
Tony's Corner Pocket (817 West Dallas), downtown patio bar with a view, Houston Area Bears' home bar, weekend amateur strippers, shows, pool games, darts, Diva Bingo.
Viviana's (4624 Dacoma St), weekend Latin dance club with afterhours unil 5am; Friday/Saturday drag shows and Sunday male strippers.
Spring, in the Northside of Houston, has two gay clubs: Ranch Hill Saloon (24704 I-45 North) with games, pool tables, karaoke, drag shows and theme parties; and The Room (4915 FM 2920 Rd) bar and video lounge with periodic drag shows and drag bingo, male dancers, Sunday karaoke and DJ music.
In College Station/ Bryan Texas, the hometown of Texas A&M, 90 minutes NW of Houston, the gay/ straight-friendly club: Halo (121 N Main St) with young crowd, dancing, drag shows, karaoke, and visiting DJs, CLOSED after a fire last year - may or may not reopen.
CLOSED: EJ's (2517 Ralph St), amateur strippers, dancing, pool games; Meteor (2306 Genesee), 18+ mixed crowd, male dancers, shower shows, wet underwear, jello wrestling, drag.
Baba Yega (2607 Grant St) burgers and seafood to veggie fare, Sunday brunch, central Montrose location
Baby Barnaby's and Barnaby's Cafe (602 & 604 Fairview St), side-by-side Montrose restaurants; lunch, dinner and big hearty breakfasts in Montrose with vegetarian options. Also with locations in Museum District, The Heights, River Oaks, Woodway, Midtown and Downtown.
Empire Cafe (1732 Westheimer Rd) European style, indoor or patio, early breakfast, weekend brunch. Pizza, paninis, pasta, coffee, cakes and deserts, wine, cocktails and coffee cordials, open weekends until 11pm.
Hollywood Vietnamese Restaurant (2409 Montrose Blvd) Asian cuisine, American favorites, tasty deserts and take-out at central Montrose location, open late.
House of Pies (3112 Kirby ) classic diner fare, 24-hour breakfast, dinner, burgers, BLTs, lots of fresh desert pies and cheesecakes, after-the-bars favorite.
Hugo's (1602 Westheimer Rd) big popular Montrose Sunday brunch buffet, quality out-of-the-rut Mexican lunch and dinner, cocktails, wine, tequila, live music.
Little Big's (2703 Montrose Blvd) juicy burgers, fresh-baked buns, hand-cut fries, and shakes -made Bon Appetit's Top 10 Burger list for the whole USA.
Mockingbird (1985 Welch St) delicious gourmet Texas-Provence cuisine, award-winning chef, casual setting.
Moveable Feast (Echo Lane Shopping Center off I-10) Mediterranean and South-of-the-Border specialties, beef & bison burgers, vegan/vegetarian, shrimp & fish, sandwiches, salads, smoothies, good desserts. Also a natural foods store.
Club Houston (2205 Fannin St), gym with free weights, machines, personal trainers, steam room, dry sauna, whirlpool, outdoor heated pool, sundeck, maze/video area.
Midtowne Spa (3100 Fannin St), cruising pleasures, patio, steamy caverns, dry sauna, large indoor pool, workout facility, garden patio, rooms. As the Midtowne group has broken up, and Midtowne Austin closed July 2016, the future looks uncertain for the Houston, Dallas and Milwaukee locations. See Seedmyhole blog for updates by a Houston local.