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If you're looking for a smoky gay bar in which to wile the night away, the Soulard Bastille may be your new favorite hang. The owner closed the kitchen in order to skirt the 2011 smoking ban, and has since hung giant cigarette sculptures outside the bar that read "This house is a'smokin." The walls are covered in flair, from a buffalo head on the wall to Rocky Horror light-up signs and rainbow-colored icicle lights adorning the ceiling. The bartenders are extremely friendly; don't be surprised if they ask you -- no, make that, order you -- to belly up to the bar for mandatory shots.
CLOSED AS OF JUNE 2011. At the Complex, St. Louis' largest gay dance club, hooking up is a high priority. But even that takes a back seat during the over-the-top weekly drag shows. The mood and music can vary from room to room, but no matter which bar you choose, the all-you-can-drink specials are hard to beat.
Erney's 32 is the only gay bar on the Manchester strip that actually feels like a dance club. Laser lights dance on the white, low-slung leather banquettes, music videos blare from a number of flat-screen TVs and there's even a dais in the back with a stripper pole. This bar, the brainchild of owner Mark Erney, snapped up RFT's nod for Best Gay Bar in 2009. The club draws its theme from the ice-cold vodka drinks served both at the bar and inside the club's VodBox - a walk-in cooler with the temp just above freezing, where patrons can enjoy vodka in its natural environment (think Moscow in January).
Just John is one of the friendlier gay spots in town. The bar itself is massive, located in the Forest Park area with two expansive patios, an outdoor bar and a stage for karaoke, drag shows and special events. We're not heterophobic by any means, but we're ready to swear off karaoke at straight bars forever after witnessing the Thursday night frivolity at Just John's. Make sure to look closely at the guy sitting next to you: He just might be a well-known drag queen, undercover on his night off in jeans and a baseball cap.
Situated on the western edge of The Grove, Meyer's is a classy gay bar with a killer martini menu and a beautiful stage for its weekly drag shows. When the queens aren't on stage, crazy happy pop music fills the well-appointed bar, acting as an instant mood lifter. Meyer's knows its audience-Wednesdays are reserved for drag, on Mondays the place crowds with immaculately coiffed beauty industry-types taking advantage of drink specials for those in the 'biz, and Fridays are an all-out dance party. Grab a seat, take a load off and, good gravy, order a Nana Split martini if you know what's good for you.
The staff at Rehab may not know your name, but honey, they're about to. The medium-sized bar is staffed by some of the friendliest gays around; even on your first visit, it's immediately clear that this is a place you're going to come back to. They have a massive patio for whiling away summer days and nights, and they host fundraisers and parties regularly -- Sundays are Show Your Support Sundays, and proceeds go to local charities. Their drink specials almost sound like some sort of sick joke: from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. (or, basically whenever the bar is open) there's $10 all-you-can-drink beer, $20 all-you-can-drink wells, $30 all-you-can-drink you-call-its and $40 all-you-can-drink top shelf. Yeah, we don't know what you were about to do either.
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