For a fun-filled night of dancing, boozing and entertainment, head on over to the strip on Main Avenue. Located just north of Downtown, San Antonio's "gayborhood" is currently "on the rise" with new additions to the neighborhood (check out Ouch Underwear and the soon-to-open Boxer Bar) and recent renovations and expansions to many of its long-standing businesses. From the trendy Heat nightclub to Club Essence (where almost anything goes), the strip on Main Avenue is sure to have something for all tastes and personalities.
Heat • Located on the corner of East Evergreen and North Main, the Heat nightclub is a towering figure in the city's gay nightlife. Don't forget your dancing boots if you're headed here, as the club's website claims it to be one of the city's "premiere dance clubs." Along with the main room and bar, the club includes a video lounge and recently renovated outdoor patio. Not only does Heat have a reputation for dancing, the club is also known for its infamous drag performances. Heat, once the stomping ground of the late Erica Andrews and recently retired Shady Lady, is now home to Rey Lopez Entertainment, who brings many of the nationally recognized drag performers from RuPaul's Drag Race to the Alamo City. On Sunday nights, Heat becomes "Club Sin," with no cover all night and plenty of drink specials. 1500 N. Main Ave., (210) 227-2600, heatsa.com.
Luther's Cafe • Serving up Texas-style burgers and a variety of homemade stews since 1949, Luther's Cafe has been a staple in the community even before the arrival of the gay nightlife on Main Ave. Located on the first floor of the Tobin Lofts at San Antonio College, this ever-evolving restaurant and bar has grown by leaps and bounds (literally moving across the street and back) and is now the strip's go-to place for dining and people-watching. On game night, come here and catch a football game on one of the many flat screen TVs. 1503 N. Main Ave., (210) 223-7727, lutherscafe.com.
Sparky's Pub • Sparky's is the strip's "Old-English-style" pub, located smack in the middle of all the excitement on Main. The well-lit bar and casual atmosphere is perfect for meeting friends both gay and straight. Head out to the back patio for conversation with friends, or enjoy a game of pool or darts in the game room. Open daily at 3 p.m., the Café at Sparky's features an extensive list of wines, and a variety of sandwiches and coffee selections. Get there early for happy hour specials every day from 3 to 9 p.m. 1416 N. Main Ave., (210) 320-5111, sparkyspub.com.
Pegasus Nightclub • As one of the oldest bars on the strip (established in 1994), the Pegasus Nightclub retains some if its older "charm" while pushing forward with recent renovations. The outdoor patio and stage, located at the front of the bar, was once the drinking hole's parking lot. Inside, you'll find a variety of themed bars, from the "country bar" to the main "video room," where the DJs happily take requests. With a reputation as one of the most welcoming bars on the strip, here you'll find everyone from shirtless twinks, to bears and grandpas. Known for its nightly karaoke performances, the Pegasus has also established itself as one of the best places to catch a drag show (as the recent Layla LaRue birthday bash demonstrated). Think of this place as the "Cinderella" of the strip — it's one of the few bars under separate ownership from the mini-monopoly of bars located within the block. 1402 N. Main Ave. (210) 299-4222, pegasussanantonio.com.
Club Essence • Just a short walk down the road from the main hub is Club Essence. Come here to catch male dancers working a pole or dancing on top of the bar. The usual clientele here range from drag queens, gay to straight girlfriends, and the occasional creep who can't stop staring. The action here centers on a large, rectangular bar located near the center of the room, where patrons gather to watch the weekly parade of dancers and amateur male strip-off contests. Can't take the heat inside? Head to the outdoor patio for a break from the scenery and start a conversation with some of the regulars. Afterward, walk on over to Lulu's Bakery and Café, located next door, for some late night treats and eats. 1010 N. Main Ave., (210) 223-5418, facebook.com/clubessencesa.
Silver Dollar Saloon • The Silver Dollar is supposed to be SA's country bar, but really, it's just another gay bar with plenty of dancing, karaoke and drag performances. And that's OK. As one of the largest gay bars on the strip, the Silver Dollar is divided into several rooms for drinking, dancing, drag performances and competition shows. Come here for a wide variety of music, from country to Tejano to all the latest trends. Afterward, stop for tacos at the truck located out front. 1812 N. Main Ave., (210) 227-2623.
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