FAVES & RAVES 2017: Nightlife

From the tourist draws of Broadway to the dive bars that dot our neighborhoods, there are now any number of LGBT friendly options for enjoying Nashville’s nightlife. If you’re looking for the best LGBT establishments in town, your options are more limited but still delightful. Church Street’s Gayborhood, which hosts Tribe, Play, and Canvas, the 2nd/4th Avenue Corridor sports Stirrup and Traxx, and East Nashville boasts our staple Lipstick Lounge. Peckers, which only opened recently, adds something new to the mix.

Nashville’s LGBT nightlife is constantly changing, as Blue Gene’s closing and Stirrup’s change of ownership subtly altered the landscape. With Peckers establishing itself as a place to go and setting up new events, things will continue to move in new directions. Nevertheless, like Tribe’s hold on our happy hour hearts, there is little doubt that a lot of what we love most will remain the same.


Bartender Joey Newkirk, Play Dance Bar

This year, O&AN readers again voted a familiar face as their favorite bartender: Play Dance Bar’s own Joey Newkirk again takes top prize, as he did in 2014 when he was featured on the magazine’s cover. Those who know Joey, and almost everyone who’s been to Play a few times has at least met him, know that he’s way more than a bartender with eclectic interests. He’s been everything from an entrepreneur to a musician, but so far nothing in the last eight years has been able to pry him away from slinging drinks at Nashville’s favorite please to dance. Here’s to eight more, Joey!


Bartender Finalists Timmy Harkum, Peckers & Jamie Bussell, Canvas

People feel strongly about their bartenders, and goodness knows we got a LOT of nominations, so we definitely want to give a shout out to this year’s finalists. One is a perennial favorite, Timmy Harkum, formerly owner of Stirrup and now a manager at Nashville’s newest gay bar, Peckers! Canvas’ own Jamie Bussell also raked in the votes this year, so congratulations guys!


Karaoke Lipstick Lounge

Take it from our readers: Lipstick Lounge’s karaoke nights are legendary, and year after year they come in at or near the top of this category. The drinks are amazing, the crowd is high-energy, and bar owner Jonda Valentine will usually take the stage to wow her regulars, and fans. Check them out on Facebook and head down to join the show!


Place to Dance — Play Dance Bar

If you talk to most of our readers, you’d begin to think there might not be ANYWHERE ELSE to dance in Nashville! Year after year, O&AN readers continue to vote Play Dance Bar as the best place to dance.

The venue has a great bar staff (again congrats to Joey!), top notch drag entertainers, including both the Playmates (another congrats to Brooke Lynn Heights as well!) as well as regular high-profile guest appearances, and a group of DJs and VJs that know exactly what the crowd wants. And there aren’t a whole lot of 18-and-up dance bars that are close to major campuses. Special guests, including nearly every cast member of RuPaul’s Drag Race, often leave lines down the block, and special events, like Student Bodies competitions and post-Pride foam parties, keep Play near the top of the list of places to party.


Disk Jockey — Deejay Phil

This twenty-six year veteran disk jockey is a Nashville staple, and has won favorite in this category more often than not in the last few years. Phil’s career has carried him from 176 Underground in the 1990s to The Chute and, after a short break, to Tribe and Play. His career in music also included a long stint at Tower Records. And after three decades in the clubs, Nashville audiences still can’t get enough of him.


Drag Queen — Brooke Lynn Heights

Brooke Lynn Heights took this year’s top spot, and anyone who’s seen the Playmate perform can see deserves it! O&AN has covered this queen a number of times over the years, including her interview in Paige Turner’s regular column, as well as a recent feature as she competed for Miss Gay America.

Heights is an amazing performer, with a background in professional ballet, and she is also a former Miss Continental. If you aren’t familiar with her, check her out at O&AN’s website, and head down to Play Dance Bar to see her perform.


Drag King — Sunny St James

This year’s favorite drag king is a relative newcomer, Sunny St. James. Check this performer out on Facebook: he’s one to watch.


Happy Hour — Tribe

Year in and year out, Tribe remains our favorite happy hour. This year, Tribe remains the place to go for drink specials—and especially drink specials and show tunes—whether it’s after work on Wednesday or Sunday after church, on Church.


Overall Bar — Play Dance Bar

This year, Play took top overall LGBT bar, after a two-year run by Lipstick Lounge. Again, everything that makes it our favorite place to dance nudges it over the top. And now while you’re waiting in line to get in, you can even get a late-night hotdog.


LGBT Friendly Bar — Beyond the Edge

Beyond the Edge is one of Nashville’s favorite LGBT-friendly places to hang out. Many of the LGBT inclusive teams and leagues hold events there, and it’s a great place to get together and hang out with your friends, especially if you’re into sports. Don’t let that last part turn you off, though. As one reviewer assures us, “I know this place is billed as a sports bar, but they actually have decent food also.




See also:

FAVES & RAVES 2017: Nightlife

FAVES & RAVES 2017: Dining

FAVES & RAVES 2017: Look Good, Feel Good

FAVES & RAVES 2017: Places

FAVES & RAVES 2017: Community

FAVES & RAVES 2017: Professional & Business Services

FAVES & RAVES 2017: Weddings

FAVES & RAVES 2017: From bartender to the bar association, Loy Carney is our readers' pick for top lawyer





Photo by Kenny Eliason on Unsplash

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