Gay Adelaide: Where to eat, drink, play and sleep

By Emen8, updated 6 months ago in Travel and party / In Australia

glenelg giant ferris wheel by night at moseley square adelaide

With its happening arts and culture scene, some seriously good food and wine, and more gay bars and meet-ups than you might think, Adelaide could just be the gay-vacay you’ve been waiting for.

When compared to its more famous neighbours Sydney and Melbourne, Adelaide might not be the obvious first choice for a queer weekend away in Australia.

But, as a vibrant and bustling city lined by golden beaches and located just a stone’s throw away from famous wine regions like McLaren Vale, the Barossa, and Clare Valley, Adelaide easily gives the big metropolitans a run for their money.

Welcome to our essential travel guide for gay Adelaide.

Where is the gay community in Adelaide?

The whole of Adelaide is gay-friendly, but there are certain suburbs and areas where you’re more likely to meet your fellow LGBTQ+ community. The city centre and bustling downtown areas are a magnet for the rainbow family and a must-visit for a night out.

If you’re staying longer-term, North Adelaide, and the beachside suburb of Semaphore, is where many LGBTQ+ community members call home.

Gay meeting places in Adelaide

When it comes to gay meeting places in Adelaide, you’re spoilt for choice. As well as being a gay-friendly city with gay-friendly bars and spots to choose from, there’s also a range of gay meet-up groups to make meeting people even easier.

From a gay hiking club to a monthly gay supper club, there are plenty of diverse options for meeting gays in Adelaide.

Visit during the Adelaide Fringe Festival (mid February to mid-March) and hit up some of the queer shows and events, and you’re sure to find some good company.

Where to drink — best gay bars in Adelaide

My Lover Cindi

Located in the East End, My Lover Cindi is an LGBTQ+ venue that prides itself on accessibility and celebrating the diverse culture of the queer community and our allies. With an envious selection of cocktails, a dance floor ready for your best moves, and a packed series of weekly events, My Lover Cindy is one of the best gay bars in Adelaide.

Mary’s Poppin

Open every Friday and Saturday night from 9 pm, Mary’s Poppin is the self-proclaimed jewel in South Australia’s LGBTQ+ crown. With themed nights and special events, there’s never a dull moment in this glitter-filled safe space. According to their website, unless your name is Lady Gaga, there’s no free entry or guestlist. There are VIP booths, though, which will let you skip the queue before 10 pm.

drag queen alyssa edwards performing at marys poppin adelaide
Image credit: Mary’s Poppin

Sugar

Sadly, Adelaide’s only gay club closed its doors in 2017, but Sugar is no consolation prize. Although it’s not a dedicated gay club, Sugar offers some of the best nightlife in Adelaide. It’s a gay-friendly nightclub with excellent cocktails, a diverse lineup of electronic music artists from the US, the UK, Europe and Japan, and a welcoming and inclusive atmosphere.

Diverse-City

It’s a café, it’s a bar, it’s an event space! More importantly, Diverse-City is queer-owned and operated. Meet a friend, grab a drink, or lunch and dinner… enjoy a show, drink a cocktail, watch a band, or simply revel in the diversity of community events and folks you’ll find in the heart of the city.

Also check out: Three great rooftop bars in Adelaide

Where to eat — gay cafés in Adelaide

Mother Vine

Alright, this one could have been under the ‘Where to drink’ section, given its extensive selection of local, national and international wines. But Mother Vine also offers a delicious food menu, including smaller tasting plates, larger plates, and cheese plates for sharing.

Mylk Bar

There are two Mylk Bars to choose from, one on Flinders Street and one in North Adelaide. Whether you’re after breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner, there’s plenty to choose from, including healthy salads and bowls and Aussie classics like schnittys and burgers. Visit Flinders Street Mylk Bar on a Sunday for Gay Bingo.

Where to play — things to do in gay Adelaide

Gay theatre Adelaide

Adelaide Queer Arts & Culture Festival

Taking place throughout November (or Pridevember as Feast says), Feast is the Adelaide Queer Arts & Culture Festival. Feast began in 1997 and is now the third-largest LGBTIQ+ festival in Australia — find out about other festivals here. As well as gay theatre, live music, drag, comedy, kink and more, Feast has welcomed international queer acts, including Eurovision winner Conchita Wurst, adult film star and trans activist Buck Angel, 90’s dance icon Dannii Minogue, Real Housewives of Melbourne star Gamble Breaux, and many more.

people enjoying a picnic at adelaide feast festival
Image credit: Weekendnotes.com

Gay cruise clubs Adelaide

There’s not a huge sauna scene in Adelaide, but there are still a couple of venues worth a visit if you’re looking to meet other guys for the night (or day). Check out our guide on how to up your chances of picking up at a gay venue! Find our complete guide to sex venues across the country in Australia’s best gay saunas and sex-on-premises venues.

Club X Adelaide

Located on King William St in the CBD, Club X isn’t a gay-only venue but does offer a solid range of adult entertainment including two blue class cinemas, a male-only RAM lounge, and internet booths with glory holes. As an adult store, there’s also a huge range of sex toys for purchase.

Gay saunas in Adelaide

Pulteney 431

Adelaide’s first and only gay sauna, Pulteney 431 is often referred to as ‘The Club’ or ‘431’. It’s been a must-visit gay cruise club in Adelaide for over 40 years. The venue offers a pool, spa, dry sauna, TV lounge, and a low-lighting cruise area with a large group room, 14 private rooms, and massage room and sling room. Open every day from noon, if you’re looking to cruise, this is the place to visit.

the spa at pulteney 431 gay sauna adelaide
Image credit: Pulteney 431

Remember that enjoying a fulfilling sex life also comes with the need to look after your sexual health — for your sake and your partners’. If you’re in Adelaide and need to get a test or access treatment, sexual health services are available. Check out our interactive map to find services near you. For other LGBTQ+ friendly health services, check out this article.

If you’ve had a possible exposure to HIV, accessing PEP within 72 hours can help you stay HIV negative. Here’s how to access PEP in Adelaide.

Where to stay — gay-friendly and gay hotels in Adelaide

Stay in the Adelaide CBD to be close to the action, or the beachside Semaphore for a quieter atmosphere. You can find a variety of hotel accommodations in these suburbs, as well as in Adelaide’s other beachfront areas. Glenelg and Henley Beach offer small concentrations of hotel accommodation.

There’s no shortage of Airbnb’s in Adelaide. Airbnb accommodation is similarly concentrated in the Adelaide CBD, inner and beachside suburbs. Comparing hotel and Airbnb prices may land you a more competitive price on a booking in your desired location. You can also check out misterb&b for LGBTQ-friendly accommodation options across Adelaide.

For the budget traveller, there are plenty of hostels and lodges spread across Adelaide’s CBD. You’ll be in a central location with the gay scene on your doorstep at a highly affordable rate. Be prepared to share bathroom and cooking amenities with other travellers. Some hostels can also be found around Port Adelaide.

Well, that’s it. Our complete guide to where to eat, drink, play and stay in Adelaide for gay men. So, next time you’re planning a weekend away, why not consider Adelaide and go and show some support for this community-led, ever-growing gay scene.

Want to visit other locations in Australia on your trip? Take a look at our gay-friendly travel guides to these Australian cities: