Chasing Rainbows: Gay Bars Across West Michigan

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When you're looking for a safe space to hang out with likeminded people, gay bars are the place to be.

While West Michigan could certainly use more dedicated LGBTQ+ spaces, the spots we do have are excellent institutions that have persisted for a reason. Also, as judgment begins to fade and previous barriers erode, gay bars have become increasingly frequented by people of all sexualities—as long, of course, as you're respectful. As the TikTokers say, be mindful of why you were invited to the section.

That said, here's a quick rundown of the gay bars in the region!

Rumors Nightclub
69 S. Division Ave., Grand Rapids
An absolute cornerstone of the LGBTQ+ nightlife in Grand Rapids, Rumors Nightclub has been a staple since 1988. Located on South Division, Rumors is known for an energetic atmosphere and diverse crowd, providing one of the only true club experiences in the city. There's an event going on every night of the week (except for a well-earned day off on Mondays) at this hotspot, including themed nights, big drag shows, huge drink deals, karaoke and dance parties, making it a favorite for locals and visitors. In other words: It's a must-visit.

The Apartment Lounge
33 Sheldon Ave. NE, Grand Rapids
The Apartment Lounge, affectionately known as The Apartment, holds the title of the oldest gay bar in Grand Rapids—possibly in Michigan. You'll find it on Sheldon Avenue across from the Veterans Memorial Park, marked by the fabulous rainbow road out front. This cozy bar offers a squeaky clean, yet laid-back environment perfect for conversation and relaxation. The Apartment is known for its friendly staff, mature clientele, affordable drinks, a running stream of great music videos, and community-centric events like trivia nights and karaoke. It's an ideal spot for those seeking a more intimate and low-key setting to socialize and make new friends.

General Wood Shop
507 Bridge St., Grand Rapids
General Wood Shop joined the ranks of the ever-growing Bridge Street opened last year and has been lit ever since. This bar is glamorous and glitzorous, yet plenty casual and welcoming, with plenty of colorful cocktails alongside non-alcoholic "mock cocks." But they're not just a bar—they have a kitchen serving up tasty fusion food, including a variety of bao, a ramen burger and even sweet cheesecake wonton bites.

The Dunes Resort
333 Blue Star Hwy, Douglas
In Saugatuck, The Dunes Resort is known as one of the top American LGBTQ+ resorts. One of the largest LGBTQ+ resorts in the Midwest, The Dunes offers a wide variety of amenities including bars, a nightclub, a pool, and weekend events that draw crowds from all over the region. It's a popular getaway spot that combines relaxation with vibrant nightlife, making it a beloved destination for many in the Grand Rapids area.

Club Vortex
502 S. Burdick St., Kalamazoo
While Kalamazoo sadly doesn't have a dedicated gay bar, Club Vortex is a pop-up LGBTQ+ club hosted at Blue Dolphin once a week (typically Saturdays). Come here to dance, drink, and enjoy drag queens.

Written by REVUE Staff.

This article was originally published in REVUE West Michigan, a Serendipity Media publication.

Photo Courtesy of General Wood Shop. 


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