Plenty to do in gay-friendly Palm Springs

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by Ed Walsh


Arenas Road is the Castro Street of Palm Springs. It is in the heart of downtown, just east of Palm Canyon and Indian Canyon drives. In a one-block stretch, you will find the gay bars Hunters, Streetbar, Spurline, and Score as well as the gay stores Bear Wear and Gay Mart.

Hunters video bar is the largest gay bar on Arenas. The main video bar is open all the time and the adjoining dance space is open mostly on the weekends. There are no full-time lesbian bars in Palm Springs but Hunters throws the Pink Girls Night Out party on the last Saturday of the month at 7 p.m. By the way, for more information on the lesbian scene in Palm Springs visit The site organizes a monthly mixer party.

Streetbar is Palm Springs’ perennial neighborhood bar. When the weather is warm, its patio is jammed for some of the best people watching on Arenas.

Spurline is a video bar best known for its wildly popular show tunes nights on Mondays, Fridays, and Saturdays.

For early risers or very late nighters, Score opens at 6 a.m. and offers pool, darts, and video games.

The after hours club Confession is on Palm Canyon Drive, south of the Arenas area. The owners promised to reopen soon after a fire that damaged the club in October but no word on when that will happen. Efforts to contact the owners were not successful.

Toucans Tiki Lounge is on the north end of Palm Canyon Drive. Toucans and Hunters are the largest gay clubs in town. Besides weekends, the most popular nights are Tuesdays and Thursdays when it offers two-drinks-for-one. It’s the place to go for dancing seven nights a week. Although predominately gay men, the bar attracts a lot of lesbians and heterosexual women.

The Toolshed (600 East Sunny Dunes Road) is Palm Springs’ only leather and Levi cruise bar. It is conveniently located in the gay Warm Sands neighborhood. Happy hour is daily until 8 p.m.

While you are in the area, be sure to check out the Palm Springs area’s best gay bookstore and giftshop, the Q Trading Company (606 East Sunny Dunes Road).

Gay life in the Palm Springs area used to be concentrated in the neighboring Cathedral City, just southeast of Palm Springs. There are still a couple of popular gay clubs in Cathedral City. The newest, which opened over a year ago, is Studio One 11. It is part of a shopping center on 67-555 East Palm Canyon Drive in the space once occupied by the lesbian bar, Delilah’s. The new owners completely renovated the space. It is primarily a piano lounge bar that features karaoke and nightly specials.

Club W (36-737 Cathedral Canyon Drive) draws a friendly neighborhood crowd in Cathedral City. It recently changed ownership but it hasn’t changed the atmosphere that brings it a loyal clientele. Karaoke nights are popular as are country western dance lessons on Tuesdays and country western dancing on Saturdays.

The Barracks (67-625 East Palm Canyon Drive) bills itself as "your leather, boot, uniform, bear, fetish and cruise destination." It is famous for its Sunday beer busts.

There are no bathhouses in the Palm Springs area, but the biggest gay resort in town, the 44-unit Cathedral City Boys Club (CCBC), operates as a de facto bathhouse with day and night passes 24 hours a day. If you show your key from another gay hotel, the admission is $12. Otherwise it’s $20.


  • Ed Jones, 2010-02-25 10:56:05

    Other Palm Springs nightlife not to miss includes Thorny Theater, the area’s only GLBT theater company. Located on 2500 N. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs. The local Palm Canyon Theatre presents a season of musicals and comedies. Located on 538 North Palm Canyon Drive in Palm Springs. The McCallum Theatre in nearby Palm Desert offers a variety of performing arts: touring shows, concerts, classical music, etc.

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