1. Julius' Bar
Opened in 1864, Julius’ Bar is one of the oldest bars in Manhattan. Historically, Julius’ was the spot of the 1966 “sip-ins” that protested regulations prohibiting bars from serving the gay community. The sip-ins predated the Stonewall riots and remained a significant moment in LGBTQ+ history. Julius’ Bar was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2016.
Today, Julius celebrated its 55th Anniversary of the sip-in. Support this iconic business and try their drinks and bar menu, including the Julius Burger.
Opened in 2015, Kopitiam is a Malaysian café that offers Nyonya cuisine. Run by chef and owner Kyo Pang, Kopitiam boasts a menu that offers everything from breakfast to classic Malay dishes and snacks in a casual cafe-esque setting perfect for any occasion. Start your mornings off with Malaysian Style Milo French Toast filled with rich chocolate flavor and finished in sweet condensed milk. Maybe come down for lunch and try their Nasi Lemak, the national dish of Malaysia, for its sudden rush of flavors: from the coconut rice to the sweet and spicy anchovies.
Fun fact! The name “Kopitiam” refers to the traditional coffee shops that are often found in Southern Asia, including Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore.
3. Big Gay Ice Cream
Starting as a food truck in 2009, Big Gay Ice Cream was founded by Douglas Quint and Bryan Petroff. Bright rainbows and unicorns shine from the storefront, unabashed and proud in the streets. With multiple locations across New York City, their menu of frozen treats could be described as an ice cream haven. Their soft-serve cones and sundaes might take center stage, but with ice cream floats, milkshakes, and ice cream sandwiches, there’s no end to satisfy our sweet tooth. Show off your support for Pride, maybe even as a friend of “Dorthy,” their golden vanilla ice cream cone with dulce de leche and Nila wafer crumble. Going for a more colorful snack? Pick up a Trucker, an ice cream sandwich painted with sprinkles and other toppings!
If there’s any more reason to stop by, Big Gay Ice Cream supports numerous charitable causes, including LGBTQ+ organizations, hunger initiatives, and education.
4. Via Carota
Since 2014, Via Carota serves beautiful Italian dishes from Chefs Jody Williams and Rita Sodi. Settle in at this comfortable, rustic restaurant and go for their classic pasta dishes, like the tonnarelli in a cacio pepe style (translated as “cheese and pepper”) or the pappardelle in a wild boar ragu. Or try their pollo alla griglia, grilled chicken in salmoriglio (a lemon-based sauce). Maybe go for something a little more adventurous, like the polipo, a grilled octopus in a green olive pesto.
Like what you see at Via Carota? Continue your LGBTQ+ food adventures in New York City! Chef Williams and Sodi both have their own restaurants, Buvette and I Sodi, respectively.
Opened in 2009, Fonda is a contemporary Mexican restaurant run by chef and owner Roberto Santibanez, with one location in Manhattan and one in Brooklyn. If you ever find yourself in the warm, red gleam of Fonda, experience their Mexican cuisine with a wide variety of margaritas or cocktails to start, then go into the night with their enchiladas filled with braised chicken, queso fresco, and stone-ground Oaxacan mole.
It’s hard to highlight only a few dishes from this menu full of gems, but the zarape de pato, tortillas filled with braised duck, and roasted tomato-habanero cream sauce, shines the most to me.
6. Baz Bagel
In 2015, Baz Bagel was opened by Bari Musacchio, selling their hand-rolled bagels and other Jewish dishes like latkes, blintzes, and matzo ball soup. Have a seat at the smooth, white counter and order one of their hand-rolled bagels, baked in-house, with toppings that spread a smile on your face. Maybe smoked salmon or whitefish is the key to your morning. Or maybe something simple like cream cheese will do? If you’re feeling a little extra, order their custom-color tie-dye bagels to brighten up your carbs.
If this Pride month, you want your spreads to pop with color without the hassle of choice, Baz has PRIDE bagels and cookies available to you!
7. Elmo Restaurant
Built in 2001 from the abandoned Club El Morocco in Manhattan, Elmo Restaurant revitalized the space and, as the Official Guide to New York City put it, “is there a gayer restaurant on earth?” Fashionable as it is delicious, Elmo Restaurant is a popular LGBTQ+ spot that serves American comfort food from brunch to dinner, surrounded by an upscale art deco atmosphere.
Morning brunches might be for mimosas and avocado toast, but by dinner, come back for New York strips with parmesan truffle fries and signature cocktails like the blood orange cosmo and the pamplemousse old-fashioned.
8. Stonewall Inn
Historic and iconic, the Stonewall Inn opened in 1930, but it is best known as the site of the Stonewall riots in 1969. The protests would mark one of the pivotal points in the LGBTQ+ rights movement, and Pride month is celebrated in June to commemorate this event. Now more than 50 years later, the Stonewall Inn still stands, under new management since 2006.
With their signature Stonewall Inn IPA (Indian pale ale), the citrus-flavored drink benefits the Stonewall Inn Gives Back Initiative. This charity focuses on raising awareness and education on LGBTQ+ rights.
9. Foster Sundry
In 2016, Aaron Foster opened Foster Sundry, a grocery/butcher shop/restaurant. Everything you could ever want with food! The corner store is a complete experience, set up with a quaint deli counter and stocked with products from LGBTQ+ owned businesses. While browsing through an impressive cheese selection for free samples or watching butchers break down meats before your eyes, treat yourself to one of their signature sandwiches.
How about the Marcel Jambon? Smoked ham with gruyere, radicchio, and Dijon mustard on sourdough. Or the Wifey? Smoked whitefish salad, Yukon Gold potato confit, and a green herb salad on ciabatta.
Hailed on its site as “the ultimate drag show and dining experience,” Lips has been running for over 25 years in a venue reminiscent of Moulin Rouge, bursting with explosive colors and chandeliers. With a hoot and a song, don’t miss these drag queen divas, and make sure to have a bite during the show!
While the drag cabaret is known for its dinner menu and shows, Lips shows off their best with a Sunday Broadway Brunch, hosted by Ginger Snap, with unlimited mimosas and Bloody Marys for an additional $6. Try out their “Miss Saigon” chicken and waffles or their “Mama Mia” mozzarella and potato omelet.