Whether you’re gay, lesbian, bi, or transgendered, the fourth most populated city in the nation has something for you. The best gay and lesbian bars in Houston are located on the Pacific Strip and range from laid back bar and grills to one of the best dance clubs in the city. — Amber Hilton

JR’s Bar & Grill Houston

808 Pacific Street
Houston, TX 77006
(713) 521-2519

Commonly considered the best and busiest gay bar in H-Town, JR’s Bar & Grill attracts a young, trendy, professional (sometimes borderline pretentious) crowd for Happy Hour and evenings out on the town. Expect a crowd on Friday and Saturday nights, at least by Houston’s standards. There are three indoor bars, male dancers, cute bartenders, karaoke, good music and an outdoor patio. If you’re gay and aged 21-35, this is the place to go to drink, dance and mingle, but expect somewhat high drink prices and few places to sit. JR’s is open seven days a week . See their website or call for hours and special events.

South Beach

810 Pacific
Houston, TX 77006
Info Line: (713) 529-SoBe (7623)
Business Line: (713) 521-0107

If your idea of a fun night out includes a packed dance floor, undulating to throbbing beats and a pulsating light show, then South Beach is the perfect destination for you in Houston. Among the attractions here are a full-color laser light show, state-of-the-art sound system, live DJs, and a unique liquid ice jet system that can cool the dance floor to a chilly 20 degrees in seconds flat. This final feature makes South Beach the best place to heat things up while keeping your cool, and it is commonly considered the most popular dance club in Houston whether you’re gay or straight. Stop by on Friday and Saturday nights for great music and a fun crowd. Hours: Friday and Saturday, 9 p.m. to 4 a.m.; Closed Sunday through Thursday, with the exception of special events.

(credit: Montrose Mining Company/MySpace)

Montrose Mining Company

805 Pacific Highway
Houston, TX 77006
(713) 529-7488

Situated in Houston’s “gayborhood” along the Pacific strip, the Montrose Mining Company is easily one of the best gay and lesbian bars in the city; in fact, it was voted the city’s Best Gay Bar by The Houston Press in 2009. It has that dark and seedy feel, but not so much that you’ll feel uncomfortable. This is not the hip dance club scene – expect wood floors, barrels, leather and Levis, which combine to create a modern-country vibe. If you like your drinks strong and cheap (who doesn’t?); your dancers muscular, male, and nearly naked; and your service fast and unpretentious, this is the best gay bar in Houston for you. This bar is open seven days a week at 4 p.m. See their MySpace page for drink specials and upcoming events.

George’s Your Country Sports Bar

617 Fairview Street
Houston, TX 77006
(713) 528-8102

If you’re looking for an ultra casual, laid-back gay/lesbian bar in Houston, George’s Your Country Sports Bar should be at the top of your list. The vibe here is pure country, miles away from the nightclub scene (think Brokeback Mountain men). This place is small and attracts a more mature crowd, but they pour stiff drinks and offer a nice patio. Expect country music on the jukebox and friendly service. There are also weekly pool and dart tournaments, as well as plenty of HD TV’s broadcasting sporting events. Hours: Sunday through Saturday, 7 a.m. to 2 a.m. Happy Hour is offered daily from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.