A List Known Gay Bars

Ottawa/Gatineau has had a large and thriving queer bar culture until very recently. Bars became an important place for our community to socialize, meet romantic/sexual partners and friends, and mobilize politically.

When spaces that were queer-friendly closed or changed policies to shun gays, such as the Honeydew beside Union Station or the Lord Elgin, new places opened specifically for the LGBT community, such as Shades and the 166B.

This list showcases all the known gay bars in the nearly 50 years of LGBT liberation. Only three bars remain: The Lookout (41 York); Swizzles (246B Queen—bias-free); and T's Pub (323 Somerset W).

Le Bop

A: 9, rue Aubry, Gatineau (QC)  J8X 2H1. If you know more details about this place, please email info@bankstreet.ca to share dates, facts, images or more.

Bottom's Up

The current Book Bazaar had quite a queer history. The basement held a bar called Bottom's Up for many years, with the upstairs having, at least for a time, a Latin restaurant. Bottom's Up closed in 2002 and eventually the entire building was taken…

Bytown Inn

A: 73-75 O'Connor Street, Ottawa, ON K1P 1A4. If you know more details about this place, please email info@bankstreet.ca to share dates, facts, images or more.

Le Castor

A: 419 Sussex Drive, Ottawa, ON  K1N 9M6. If you know more details about this place, please email info@bankstreet.ca to share dates, facts, images or more.

Caviart

A: rue Wellington, Gatineau (QC). If you know more details about this place, please email info@bankstreet.ca to share dates, facts, images or more.

Centretown Pub - Central Park - Zippers - Overdraft

Whether you loved it or loathed it, CP was definitely an institution. As the longest running gay bar in Ottawa, when it closed in early 2017, the community was reeling from the news. Rumours that it was in trouble had been circulating for some time,…

Charlot

A: 94, promenade du Portage, Gatineau (QC)  J8X 2K1. If you know more details about this place, please email info@bankstreet.ca to share dates, facts, images or more.

Chez Henri

The Chez Henri was perhaps the original gay bar before there were gay bars. Located in Hull (now Gatineau), in the 1950s and 60s, the space was a rough hangout for both straights and gays and was well known for their drag acts, especially Peaches…

Chez Michel - Chuck's Bar - Studio M

A: 1208 Wellington Street West, Ottawa, ON  K1Y 2Z7. If you know more details about this place, please email info@bankstreet.ca to share dates, facts, images or more.

Le Club - Lockers - Le Clubhouse

When the bars closed at 2am in Ottawa, Le Club was one of the most popular places to go as they remained open for an extra hour. Lockers was a men's cruising bar in the same facility. It went out with a bang... literally... as the bar exploded and…

Club Aquarius

A: Unknown at time of launch. If you know more details about this place, please email info@bankstreet.ca to share dates, facts, images or more.

Club Frisco - Le Chum

A: 78, promenade du Portage, Gatineau (QC)  J8X 2K1. If you know more details about this place, please email info@bankstreet.ca to share dates, facts, images or more.

Club Polo

Club Polo was a popular bar in the 1990s and 2000s on Bank near Sparks Street before it closed down, allegedly because the owners were busted for selling drugs in the premises. It offered a relaxed atmosphere with a wooden dance floor on its first…

Club Private

There's not much to see now, but around the space where an underground parking lot entrance now exists, Club Private was on the top floor of the former Rideau Winter Club building at 227 Laurier. A bathhouse on most nights, on Friday and Saturday…

Club Soda

Club Soda was a small, but chic dance and cocktail bar open for a few years in the early 2000s. The décor was primarily white and black with wood accents such as cut log high-top tables. The bar lined one wall and the small DJ booth faced it on the…

Club 33 - Le Terrace du Portage

A: 66, rue Notre-Dame-de-l'île, Gatineau (QC)  J8X 4E9. If you know more details about this place, please email info@bankstreet.ca to share dates, facts, images or more.

Club 363 - Pride Disco - Camp B - Q - Wet Lounge

This space on the NE corner of Bank and Gilmour Streets was at one time a tough biker bar, and the neighbourhood was quite dangerous. When the bar turned into a gay space, it helped transform the area and helped anchor the area as an unofficial Gay…

Club Zinc

A: 191, promenade du Portage, Gatineau (QC)  J8X 2K2. If you know more details about this place, please email info@bankstreet.ca to share dates, facts, images or more.

Coral Reef - Cellar Club

The Coral Reef, aka, the 'Oral Grief' opens in 1968 in the parking lot of what is now the Rideau Centre. The bar was originally a Caribbean dance club, with lesbian and gay nights on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday. However, the Caribbean/Latin crowd left…

Detours

A: 281 Dalhousie Street, Ottawa, ON  K1N 7E5. If you know more details about this place, please email info@bankstreet.ca to share dates, facts, images or more.

Disco Reflections

A: 1400 Carling Avenue, Ottawa, ON  K1Z 7L8. If you know more details about this place, please email info@bankstreet.ca to share dates, facts, images or more.

Le Domino

A: 200, boulevard Sacré-cœur, Gatineau (QC)  J8X 4C6. If you know more details about this place, please email info@bankstreet.ca to share dates, facts, images or more.

Edge Club and Lounge - Club AWOL

The Edge was known as the largest dance bar in the 2000s and was generally popular with a younger crowd. Before it was a gay bar, it was known as the Cave for many years, and when you look at the interior, with the dark stone nooks and crannies, you…

Flamingo

In the vacant location underneath Morning Owl Coffeehouse, Flamingo was a high-end nightclub that opened with much fanfare in early 2011. Though the drinks were well-made and they offered impressive performance acts and featured world-class DJs in an…

Le Flirt

A: chemin des Érables, Gatineau (QC). If you know more details about this place, please email info@bankstreet.ca to share dates, facts, images or more.

Franky's on Frank - Chez Nous

Now converted back into a residential home, 303 Frank was home to first Chez Nous, owned by the owners of Icon and CP, then purchased by Karldon Okruta and renamed Franky's on Frank. The bar's main claim to fame was its male strippers, which was a…

Groove

Groove was a beautiful, massive dance bar that was open for a few years in the Market during the early 2000s. It featured exposed stone walls and a large wooden dance floor.After its closure, it remained empty for a while then turned into a…

Icon - Top Drawer - Shadows

Icon was THE hot spot in town during the 1990s and early 2000s. Owned by Wayne Cave and Ed St Jean of CP, Steamworks and Franky's, The bar offered a multi-level lounge and dance experience for the whole community. The basement bar was frequently the…

L'Intendant

A: 42, avenue Gatineau, Gatineau (QC)  J8T 4J3. If you know more details about this place, please email info@bankstreet.ca to share dates, facts, images or more.

Klub 100 - Teo

A gay bar, called Klub 100 and Teo at different times, used to occupy this spot now dominated by a high-rise tower.If you know more details about this place, please email info@bankstreet.ca to share dates, facts, images or more.

Kontact

A: 125-127, rue Wellington, Gatineau (QC)  J8X 2J1. If you know more details about this place, please email info@bankstreet.ca to share dates, facts, images or more.

The Lookout

In the heart of Ottawa’s historic Byward Market, the Lookout is popular with the after-work crowd, having the only licensed balcony in Ottawa which offers a picturesque view of Parliament Hill and the Market. In business for over 20 years, the…

VIDEO: 'Lord Organ' and the Persecution of Queers

The Lord Elgin's queer history is legendary, and starts virtually at its opening in 1941. Located near the drill hall, it became a natural space for closeted gay and bisexual men, especially those working the government, to meet here. In the 50s and…

Lulu

A: unknown at time of launch. If you know more details about this place, please email info@bankstreet.ca to share dates, facts, images or more.

Market Station - The Well - Helsinki

Market Station was a relaxed lounge space offering quality mixed drinks in an initmate setting around the early 2000s. It tended to cater to civil servants for cinq et sept after work, due to its convenient location in the Market near Parliament.The…

Au Maximum

A: 26, rue Eddy, Gatineau (QC)  J8X 2V6. If you know more details about this place, please email info@bankstreet.ca to share dates, facts, images or more.

Le Mazot

A: 195, promenade du Portage, Gatineau (QC)  J8X 2E6. If you know more details about this place, please email info@bankstreet.ca to share dates, facts, images or more.

Micheline Vylmaire

A: 25, rue Eddy,Gatineau (QC)  J8X 4B5If you know more details about this place, please email info@bankstreet.ca to share dates, facts, images or more.

Minsky's

A: 1071½ Bank Street, Ottawa, ON  K1S 0R4. If you know more details about this place, please email info@bankstreet.ca to share dates, facts, images or more.

166B - The B - La Réception

The B, as it was often called by regulars, was just around the corner from the Lord Elgin Hotel, which had just unceremoniously abandoned the queer clientele it had for years in the basement bar and 1st floor 'library' tavern in about 1981. Some of…

Ottawa House

A: 35, promenade du Portage, Gatineau (QC)  J8X 2V6. If you know more details about this place, please email info@bankstreet.ca to share dates, facts, images or more.

Pink

Pink was a short-lived bar in an inconvenient location on Rideau in the early 2000s. Its challenge as a queer space was that it was very large and always felt empty even if there were a fair amount of people there. It was divided into several large…

Pips

A: 47 Clarence Street, Ottawa, ON  K1N 5P4. If you know more details about this place, please email info@bankstreet.ca to share dates, facts, images or more.

Le Pub - Le Studio 175 - Chez Farouche

Le Pub was one of many Hull hotspots when the bars were open until 3am. When it opened in the late 1970s, the space was a huge draw with lineups outside the door to get in. Over the years, the popularly dropped, and the bar suffered considerably in…

Ray's Discotheque

A: 202 Rochester Street, Ottawa, ON  K1R 7M6. If you know more details about this place, please email info@bankstreet.ca to share dates, facts, images or more.

SACS - Le Bifcoteck

A: 117, promenade du Portage, Gatineau (QC)  J8X 2K2. If you know more details about this place, please email info@bankstreet.ca to share dates, facts, images or more.

Shades - The Vault

Shades was on the second floor of a building that was torn down, so what you'll see now the Laurier House, which occupies a much larger section of the block. Opened in Jan or Feb of 1982 by Les McAfee and Bill McBurney, it became Ottawa's first…

Shanty Town Tavern

A: 33 York Street, Ottawa, ON  K1N 5S7. If you know more details about this place, please email info@bankstreet.ca to share dates, facts, images or more.

Le Sophistiqué

A: rue Laurier, Gatineau (QC). If you know more details about this place, please email info@bankstreet.ca to share dates, facts, images or more.

Spotlight

A: 1, rue Victoria, Gatineau (QC)  J8X 1Z6. If you know more details about this place, please email info@bankstreet.ca to share dates, facts, images or more.

Swizzles

Swizzles is a bias-free bar with a relaxed atmosphere that welcomes all. The crowd can include anyone from retired civil servants, trans youth, straight couples making out, or a table of college-aged lesbians, and everyone gets along just fine. The…

T's Pub

T 's Pub is the newest LGBT-friendly space in the Ottawa/Gatineau region. Opening in spring 2017, it fills the void left by the sudden closure of Centretown Pub just steps away. It is one of only three LGBT or bias-free bars left in Ottawa. Located…

Taktiks - Briefs - Lipstick

Taktiks was a hugely popular dance club in the 1990s. When it first opened, it had one main level and remained that way for its first 3½ years. As the popularity of the bar grew, it was decided to expend on a second level witch included a huge…

Texas Tavern

The Texas was a rough and dirty bar for lesbians in the early 70s. In order to get access, you had to enter the straight bar below, described as a biker bar by some, then go up a flight of stairs to a door with one of those sliding peep holes built…

TJ's

A: 12, rue Eddy, Gatineau (QC)  J8X 2V6. If you know more details about this place, please email info@bankstreet.ca to share dates, facts, images or more.

Trou de Diable

A: 200, rue Victoria, Gatineau (QC)  J8X 2A2. If you know more details about this place, please email info@bankstreet.ca to share dates, facts, images or more.

Le Twist

A: 86½, rue Montcalm, Gatineau (QC)  J8X 2L7. If you know more details about this place, please email info@bankstreet.ca to share dates, facts, images or more.

Valentino's

A: 106, rue Montcalm, Gatineau (QC)  J8X 2L8. If you know more details about this place, please email info@bankstreet.ca to share dates, facts, images or more.

Village Inn Pub

The Village Inn Pub was a casual drinking and dining pub on Bank Street. It hosted a popular karaoke night for many years. It changed ownership and was rebranded as Connor's Pub, turning into a more mainstream space. However, with the closing of CP…

Willy's

Willy's was one of two bars opened and operated by Willy Wilgress, who was a popular bartender at Shades for many years. Her other location, called Willy's Upstairs, was in the Byward Market at 87 George Street. In recent years, this location has…

Willy's Upstairs

A: 87 George Street, Ottawa, ON  K1N 6Z9. If you know more details about this place, please email info@bankstreet.ca to share dates, facts, images or more.

Windsor House

A: 134 Queen Street, Ottawa, ON  K1P 5C5. If you know more details about this place, please email info@bankstreet.ca to share dates, facts, images or more.
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