Gay El Paso
Emergency measures in the wake of Covid-19:
Effective March 20th, Texas Governor Greg Abbott had signed an executive order to ban gatherings of 10 or more, and dining-in restaurants. Gyms were closed, along with bars.
In May retail stores, restaurants, movie theaters, malls, museums, libraries and bars began to reopen - but on June 26th Abbott shut down bars to contain a state-wide Texas coronavirus spike, expressing regret about the reopening process he'd encouraged, allowing bars to open so quickly. Restaurant capacity was reduced back to 50%, and outdoor gatherings of over 100 people have again been banned, unless approved by local officials.
In a major reversal to take effect July 3rd, Abbot ordered face coverings to be worn in public across most of the state, in an effort to control rising numbers of newly confirmed cases of the Covid-19 virus hospitalizations. The order requires “all Texans to wear a face covering over the nose and mouth in public spaces in counties with 20 or more positive Covid-19 cases, with few exceptions.” Violators can be fined up to $250.
In 1659, Fray Garcia de San Francisco, established Our Lady of Guadalupe Mission of El Paso del Norte in the Chihuahuan Desert, around which a Spanish village grew into what is now the El Paso–Juárez region. Fort Bliss, part of a strong federal and military presence in the area, is one of the largest military complexes of the US Army and the county's largest training facility. About 80% of the local population is ethnically Hispanic or Latino.
Within driving distance from El Paso there are nine state parks, including the Carlsbad Caverns and Guadalupe Mountains national parks, the White Sands and Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks national monuments, the Chamizal National Memorial, and the Lincoln National Forest.
The El Paso Symphony Orchestra, established in the 1930s, and the El Paso City Ballet Theatre perform a variety of classical and contemporary works. Broadway in El Paso presents Broadway shows at the Plaza Theater, downtown, and the UTEP Dinner Theater has staged many musical productions over the past 33 years. See El Paso Live for upcoming shows around town.
Built in Bhutanese architectural style on hillsides overlooking the Rio Grande, the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) campus is the largest US university with a majority Mexican-American student population.
Hours away from the larger gay Texas city hotspots, El Paso is a regional center for LGBT goings-on, and the scene easily overlaps the border to include the Mexican city of Juarez, especially concerning bears' activities.
Getting Here, Getting Around
The El Paso International Airport is the gateway to West Texas, Southern New Mexico and Northern Mexico, with passenger services on six major airline carriers.
There are hotel shuttles, taxis and Sun Metro buses to and from the Airport 7 days a week between the terminal building and Downtown Plaza, with a stop at Bassett Center Shopping Center, 601 Santa Fe St. For getting around town, single trip fares are $1.50. Day passes can be bought for $3.50 at ticket offices, transfer center machines, and local libraries. A pass for a week of rides is $12. See the website for routes and schedules.
Distances are great in western Texas, so you’ll definitely need a car to get around in the later hours, or beyond the immediate city.
The majority of El Paso’s gay establishments are located within a few blocks of one another in downtown.
Media & Resources
The El Paso GLBT Community Center (216 S Ochoa) has information about the local scene. It also houses the De Ambiente Café, serving sandwiches, soups, and desserts (until 3am Friday and Saturday). Other community events here include special dances, plays, film nights, and parties, plus there's a drop-in lounge/TV area, internet access stations, and gay library resources.
For map locations and website links to the businesses below, and more, see our gay El Paso listings pages.
The Briar Patch (508 N Stanton St), mixed gay cocktail lounge, patio bar, karaoke, TV sports, Latin nights, holiday parties and special events.
Chiquita's Bar (310 E Missouri Ave), gay/mixed bar, men and women, pool table, dancing, Mexican beats on the juke box.
Epic Bar & Nightclub (510 N Standon St), gay/mixed party bar, live performances, drag, male stripper/go-go dancers, theme nights, Pride events.
OP Nightclub (301 S Ochoa St), 18+ LGBT+ dance club, two floors of EDM and Top 40 music, enclosed HipHop bar; drag and burlesque shows, male entertainers, guest DJs, male/female go-gos.
Tanya’s Gridiron (4620a Dyer St), gay-friendly mixed sports bar, a dozen draft beers, micro-brew bottles, snacks and BBQs, military, patio, pool games, WiFi.
Tool Box (506 N Stanton), mixed gay bar, DJs, patio, shows, TV sports, pool tournaments.
Touch Bar & Nightclub (800 E San Antonio Ave), El Paso's largest gay entertainment nightspot, drag shows, go-go dancers, theme parties, mostly Latin crowd. Shuttles from Pride Square.
CLOSED: 8 1/2 (504 N Stanton), gay/mixed neighborhood bar; Alive (610 N Mesa) "alternative night club" dancing, drag shows, patio; Club 101 (9515 Viscount Blvd), women/men mixed dance club, bands, comedy, patio.
The Camino Real Hotel (101 S El Paso St) downtown El Paso grand old style, European or Mexican manner not new and sterile; full services and good restaurant, the Dome.
Doubletree Hilton Hotel (600 N El Paso Street), large modern hotel just off I-10 downtown, full services, heated rooftop swimming pool, fitness & business centers, restaurant and bar.
The Wingate Hotel (6351 Gateway West), conveniently near airport; contemporary American-style, fitness center, hot breakfast, Wi-Fi.