Forget what Electric Six says on cult hit “Gay Bar,” LGBT clubgoers aren’t all that interested in starting a nuclear war on the dance floor. Nope. No mutually assured destruction here. Just plenty of good times. And if having a gay old time floats your dingy, then you just might be interested in checking out our list of the LGBT friendly bars in the Lowcountry.
Don’t bother showing up at Pantheon before midnight — you might be the only one there. But show up late night, and you’re in for a rollicking good time. Located on Upper King Street across from the Visitors Center, the biggest dance club in Charleston features DJs spinning thumping club anthems and top-40 hits, drag shows on Friday and Sunday at midnight, and plenty of eye candy for folks 18 and up.
Nightly, 4 p.m.-2 a.m.
42 Ann St.
Just up the street from wild-child Pantheon is Dudley’s, the club’s quieter sister (the bars are owned by the same folks) — but don’t think that makes her boring. This mellow bar, housed in a charming old French bistro with an elaborate ceiling fresco, draws a slightly older crowd looking for a laid-back place to socialize. It’s also the perfect place to grab an early cocktail before heading over to Pantheon for a night of dancing. Dudley’s features a pool room, karaoke on Wednesdays, trivia on Thursdays, and happy hour daily from 4-8 p.m.
Nightly, 6 p.m.-2 a.m.
1377 Ashley River Road
(843) 571-3435 www.patrickspub.net
Located west of the Ashley, Patrick’s draws more of a local crowd than the downtown gay bars. There’s something going on almost every day at this friendly pub: start off the week with movie night Monday, take in some of the best karaoke in town on Thursday, enjoy theme parties and drag shows on Fridays, see the Venus Cabaret on Saturday, and wear your cowboy boots on Sunday for the pool tournament. Happy hour is nightly from 6-8 p.m. with $1 beer and $2.50 rail drinks. Patrick’s draws a diverse crowd, but according to Frommers, “If you like your men in leather, chances are you’ll find Mr. Right here.”
Deja Vu II
Saturday, 9 p.m.-until
4628 Spruill Ave.
(843) 554-5959 www.dejavuii.com
Charleston’s only lesbian bar, located north of town in the up-and-coming Park Circle neighborhood, is temporarily closed every day but Saturday. The club opens at 9 p.m. and DJ E starts spinning the best in dance, hip-hop, r&b, and club music at 11, and a male/female impersonation show starts at midnight. (Check info)
Though Vickery’s isn’t technically a gay bar, it’s very popular with the gay community. The historically charming Beaufain Street location, right smack dab in the middle of the downtown shopping district, is in an old Goodyear tire store. The Mt. Pleasant location is located on Shem Creek, with water on three sides with a good view from every table. Both spots are friendly and casual with breezy patios and a good mix of regulars and tourists. Happy hour is from 4-8 p.m. all week, trivia is on Monday nights at 8, and they host one of the biggest Halloween bashes on the Peninsula. The Cuban/Latin flavored food isn’t bad either.
1034 E. Montague Ave.
(843) 554-2522 www.madraruapub.com
Madra Rua is another gay-friendly bar, in the gay-friendly suburb of North Charleston’s Park Circle neighborhood. It’s an authentic Irish pub, complete with dark woodwork, stained glass, and low ceilings. They’ve also got a patio out back with smoking and non-smoking sections. The grub is good, with specials like the chicken parmesan wrap and pepper tuna fillet, and happy hour is Monday through Friday from 4-7 p.m., with 50 cents off anything. If a warm, simple pub is all you’re looking for, this is the place.