If you're looking for a vibrant bar with great food and music dating back to the 70s, then Ratz is definitely the place to go. Known for being famously gay-friendly, you can expect superb table service, takeaways, parties and everything awesome. And there are different specials and events lined up on different nights of the week. On Tuesdays, it's buy-one-get-one-free on select shots, Wednesdays are karaoke nights, Thursdays is buy-one-get-one-free on select beers and on Fridays and Saturdays, they host Decades of Hits parties.
If Beefcakes isn't one of the first names that comes to mind when you think of gay bars, then you are certainly not going out enough! Rectify that as soon as possible by checking out this dazzling bar located in Illovo. You can also look forward to fun drag shows and camp cabaret – definitely something worth sussing out. And not only that, they have some of the best burgers in the city!
Babylon – The Bar
For a small cover charge, you'll be experiencing a colourful explosion of culture and fascinating people. Gay, lesbian, straight or trans – everyone is welcome at Babylon for a night of dancing, trance music, hot barmen and delicious drinks! If you're looking for a more exclusive affair, you can even book out the VIP section for a private event.
Priscilla's is the relative new kid on the block at Illovo Muse, where both Beefcakes and Babylon are located. Inspired by the film Priscilla, Queen of the Dessert, this cocktail bar and restaurant offers weekly themed evenings. Come through for Choice Tuesday, Winning Wednesday, Tequila Thursday, FriGay, Cocktail Saturday and Drunch Sundays! This is definitely worth a visit on your next trip to the pink neighbourhood.
Are you in the mood for some trouble? Not the bad kind, but just the fun? Then Trouble Bar is most certainly the place you need to go. Known as the 'back to basics' gay bar, Trouble is located in Randburg. Here, you can look forward to awesome music, handsome men and great drinks! What more could you possibly ask for?
Xai Xai Lounge
If you feel like some Portuguese or Mozambican cuisine while mingling in a gay-friendly setting, then Xai Xai Lounge in Melville on 7th Avenue is a definite must-visit. Also known as a Mozambican Shebeen, the lounge is very cosy, comfortable and welcoming. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, pop in any time of the day!
The Gay Club SA
Finding a safe and welcoming space to enjoy yourself on a Saturday evening can be tricky when you live in the East of Johannesburg. Thankfully, there is a haven on Northrand Road in Boksburg, which is strictly hate-free and welcomes one and all to have a good time. The Gay Club SA hums on Friday and Saturday nights, as the LGBT+ community streams in to let go of their worries and dance the night away. You'll want to dress to impress to fit in here, so get out those cha cha heels and false eyelashes!
People Like Us
Our final feature on this list of the best gay bars in Jozi is the People Like Us Pub. Also located in the East Rand, this LGBT+ friendly venue offers Thursday karaoke nights, as well as drag entertainment. Open seven days a week, this is a definite must-visit for midweek drinks with friends or Friday night shooters.
Details: People Like Us Pub | 082 571 6266 | 343 Kingfisher Ave, Sunward park, Sunward Palms Shopping Centre, Boksburg, Gauteng.
Do you know of any other fabulous gay bars not mentioned above? Let us know about them below! And, while you're at it, check out our article on LGBT+ friendly restaurants in Joburg.