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Best Gay Bars In OC

Gay Pride Flag
(credit: David McNew/Getty Images)

Gay and lesbian bars have been a part of the subculture for decades, but places like Orange County have helped push these establishments to the forefront. Some cater strictly to their particular sexual orientation while others are open to any and all patrons, so a quick review of the general welcoming atmosphere is important before you scramble to find parking or, even worse, pay a cover charge. Whether you are looking to meet a potential mate or taking someone out on a date, these bars, clubs and eateries will make you feel comfortable in your own skin without fear of judgment. Give any of these places a go when taking on the town!

Club Ripples LB
(credit: Club Ripples)

Club Ripples
5101 E. Ocean Blvd.
Long Beach, CA 90803
(562) 433-0357

The lesbian-focused club Unzipped within Club Ripples is the perfect place to let loose with its go-go dancers upstairs and raucous atmosphere. There is a cover, usually less than $10, so it will only keep those willing to pay to party inside the club. Karaoke can be had downstairs during most nights and the go-go dancers will interact with you for some cash, as well. This place was given a total makeover by Tabatha Coffey and was featured on her television show, so any rumors of its prior demise have been greatly exaggerated and the upgrades have paid off in terms of style and substance.

tin lizzie saloon
(credit: Tin Lizzie Saloon)

Tin Lizzie Saloon
752 St Clair St.
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
(714) 966-2029

The Tin Lizzie Saloon is welcoming to all creeds and orientations, but the smallish nature of the interior might make it slightly awkward if you're not geared toward the catered crowd. The drinks are good and inexpensive, however there is no kitchen, so do not come hungry unless you want a liquid dinner. The staff is friendly and helpful, and the crowd can usually be too, but don't expect this place to be the swinging nightclub meat market like others tend to be. Keep it classy, keep it cool and Tin Lizzie will end up being one of your favorite gay bars in all of Orange County.

paradise bar
(credit: Robin Z./Yelp)

Paradise Bar
1800 E. Broadway
Long Beach, CA 90802
(562) 590-8773

Sometimes you want to head to a gay-friendly establishment, but aren't really looking to dance or be bothered, and that is where the Paradise Bar comes in. This place is run like a restaurant and bar, offering excellent wine selections and a casual and intimate atmosphere for you and yours. No cover means more cash for drinks and the staff is focused on giving you the best experience whether you're looking to mingle or are on a serious date. The food is delicious and it's the kind of gay bar and restaurant you could take your parents to.

Related :Best Singles Bars In Orange County

bounce bar
(credit: CBS)

1460 S. Coast Highway
Laguna Beach, CA 92651
(949) 494-0056

Who said that all gay bars have to be fabulous? This dive in Laguna Beach is not worried about appearances (just taking a look at the cottage from the outside will tell you that) and is more focused on making sure your drink is as stiff as possible. The staff welcomes any and all to the fold, including those straight friends looking to have a fun night out with their lesbian or gay buddies. No cover is a plus, the karaoke gets out of control and there is enough to do and see to ensure your eyes never get bored. Bounce helps adjust various stereotypes about gay bars in general, leaving the drag queens and drama at the door and maintaining a fun and fresh atmosphere all night long.

Velvet Lounge
(credit: Velvet Lounge)

Velvet Lounge
416 W. 4th St.
Santa Ana, CA 92701
(714) 232-8727

By far the newest gay bar in the area, the Velvet Lounge has taken Orange County by storm with its hot entertainment, live music and great location. Plopped right by the excellent revamped downtown Santa Ana area, this large club is perfect for any and all gay drinkers, especially the 18-and-over crowd as some events have an age cut-off. You cannot beat a "build your own" bloody mary bar, especially when you know exactly what it takes to cure your hangover (or start a new one). There is a drag queen show from time to time, complete with a runway and everything, so stop by for a show with some friends and be sure to bring somebody on their birthday, as the party gets turned up really high during celebrations.

Related: Best Bars With History In OrangeCounty

Jesse Seilhan is a writer, editor and photographer from the California Bay Area. After moving to Long Beach, Jesse continues his passion for writing and music by covering concerts, interviewing top artists, and giving a dose of wisdom in a crazy, mixed-up musical world. His work can be found at

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