Take the freeway south from downtown LA for the coastal community of Long Beach. With their own distinct gay scenes of mostly small neighborhood bars, restaurants and shops, Long Beach and Orange County towns to the southeast offer visitors a more laid-back Southern Californian experience from that of trendy West Hollywood and Downtown LA.
Long Beach Pride takes place each year in mid-May, with a Sunday parade along Ocean Blvd, concerts in Bixby Park, an amateur drag show, a tea dance and a Pink Party festival at Promenade Sq. Park. See their website for 2010 photos and videos, and for updates on 2011.
From both Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and the John Wayne Airport (SNA), you can grab a shuttle. Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) bus numbers 76 and 212 serve the John Wayne from the lower arrival level outside Terminal B.
Because the everything is so spread out, getting around in Southern California almost requires a car. Within Long Beach LBT buses service Long Beach, Lakewood and Signal Hill with 38 routes. They also have connections with Metro light rail service to Los Angeles, and to other regional bus companies connecting to cities in Orange County.
Info & Resources
The OC Weekly is a good source for coverage of social issues, politics, arts, culture, lifestyle and entertainment listings in Long Beach and Orange County towns; gay as well as general.
Long Beach Accomodations
Beachrunners' Inn (231 Kennebec Ave; 866-221-0001) is the premier bed and breakfast in Bluff Heights at the heart of the Broadway Corridor of boutiques, galleries and fine restaurants. Just three blocks from the shore they have comfortable amenities from a living room fireplace and computer access, to a garden hot tub.
Varden Hotel (335 Pacific Ave; 877-382-7336) stylish and affordable downtown 35 room boutique hotel. Close to beaches, Aquarium and Convention Center and other attractions; just a block from Pine Avenue restaurants.
Long Beach Bars
The Brit (1744 E Broadway), a neighborhood bar and grill with patio, attracts bears among their general mix.
Club Ripples (5101 E Ocean Blvd) called "the bar with the motion that rocks the ocean," two levels, dance floor, outdoor patio, monthly events for bears, Latin nights (first Saturdays), women's events.
The Crest (5935 Cherry Ave) men's bar, open daily, has pool games, bingo, Undies Sundays with Barbecue, and buzz cuts or backrubs, Fridays, alternate weeks.
Executive Suite (3428 E Pacific Coast Hwy) popular upscale dance bar, mostly women except Thurdays' mixed Latin Nights, and Fridays Boys Nites, when it's full of guys, many from surrounding Orange County.
Falcon (1435 E Broadway) is a small but busy neighborhood bar, typically on weekends, with a patio bar to escape the crush.
Flux (17817 Lakewood Blvd) is a neigborhood gay dance club just off 91 Freeway in Bellflower just north of Long Beach, easy parking, good drinks prices, no cover charge.
Hamburger Mary's (740 E Broadway), full-service restaurant, dance and show club, 18+ most nights (21+ Tuesday, most Saturdays, Sundays). Daily happy hours 4-8pm; Monday drag and dancing; Wednesday go-go boys and open Talent Night drag shows; Thursdays for women; Friday BoyBar for young guys with go-gos. Saturday nights alternate between women (1st, 3rd), and bears (2nd, 4th). Saturday country music line dancing, and lessons the early half; Sunday from 9pm, hip hop and urban beats.
Mineshaft (1720 E Broadway) is a longtime men's cruise bar with pool, games and patio.
Paradise Bar & Restaurant (1800 E Broadway), women, men, karaoke, drag; special menus nightly including 2 for 1 budget Mondays, Baja Tuesdays Mexican, wide selection of weekend brunch choices, 10am to 2pm.
Pistons (2020 E Artesia Blvd) leather/bear/cruise men's "wild-life refuge," full events calendar includes third Friday Bad Boy nights for "hot daddies and willing boys."
John Schinnerer's Silver Fox (411 Redondo Ave), easygoing video bar of many years, sociable locals of all ages. Popular Wednesday karaoke (singers get half-price drinks); Friday hors d'oeuvres. piano entertainment; outdoor smokers' patio, special theme parties, shows, holidays events.
Sweetwater Saloon (1201 East Broadway), early opening neighborhood gay men's drinking establishment has more of a mix than most, plus patio, jukebox and sports on TV.
Long Beach Restaurants
212 Degrees Bistro (2708 E 4th St), outdoor patio, latin menu with Puerto Rican flair, friendly gay staff.
Hamburger Mary's (740 E Broadway), full-service restaurant/dance bar, burgers, salads, sandwiches, deserts, every day lunch and brunch specials. All-you-can-eat Sunday buffet brunch features drag entertainment from the Brunchettes.
Open Sesame (5215 E 2nd St), Middle-East-Mediterranean grill to wake up the taste buds, with good beer selection, lunch, dinner and take-out.
Two Umbrellas Cafe (1538 E Broadway) Tom and Manny's gay-friendly place with hearty breakfasts. Friday and Saturday dinners include their notable BBQ ribs.
Utopia (445 E First St) good restaurant in East Village arts district, California eclectic cuisine. Reserve online for special evening four course wine tasting dinners.
Long Beach Shopping
ConRev Store (3316 E Broadway), Condom Revolution, wide variety of condoms, lubrication and sex toys.
The sex retail store Crypt , (1712 E Broadway) has adult DVD sales and rentals, club and casual wear, fetish and leather gear, toys and accessories, plus cards, books, magazines and books.
Moss & Rock (2752 E Broadway) specializes in modern apparel and accessories for men and women, local and international designers.
Club Bravo (1490 S Anaheim Blvd, Anaheim), gay Latin Saturday night with hot dancers and Mexican buffet.
Club Lucky at House of Blues (Downtown Disney, 1530 S Disneyland Dr, Anaheim), monthly & holiday dance event, sexy crew of go-go boys, terrace.
Frat House (8112 Garden Grove Blvd, Garden Grove), for 25 years a GLTB neighborhood bar in the County.
The Proof Bar (215 N Broadway, Santa Ana) young, hip and casual mixed crowd, popular daily cocktail hours 4-8pm, Sunday live bands and local DJs.
The Tin Lizzie (752 St. Clair, Costa Mesa) gay bar dating back to the '50s, with a lively atmosphere, pool games and a fine wine selection.
Velvet Lounge (416 W 4th St, Santa Ana), Sunday brunch, beer bust and Club Lucky 18+ gay boys dance, Friday 21+ men's night, Thursday Latin nights, Wednesday women's night, karaoke, drag, Taco Tuesdays.
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