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

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

rainbow over brisbane city australia

Brisbane — or “Brissy” as it’s affectionately known — is the capital of Queensland and has a small, but active, gay scene.

What it lacks in dedicated gay cruise clubs, gay bars, gay cafes or gay restaurants it makes up for in a packed calendar of LGBTQ events and festivals and a host of gay social clubs that mean you’ll never be far from your rainbow family.

Where is the gay scene in Brisbane?

Everywhere in Brisbane is gay-friendly and welcoming, but head to the bars and clubs in Fortitude Valley, Teneriffe and New Farm for the best queer-friendly atmosphere.

Is Brisbane gay-friendly?

Absolutely. While there isn’t a huge amount of gay-specific venues, LGBTQ people are welcome everywhere, and one look at the cultural calendar suggests this city is nothing but supportive of the queer community.

Where to drink – gay bars in Brisbane

Sporties (The Sportsman Hotel)

Gay-owned and operated for the past 30 years, The Sportsman Hotel or Sporties as it’s known, is an iconic queer venue in Brisbane. You can eat, drink, play and stay here with a regular series of events including quizzes, cabarets and parties.

drag queens performing on stage at sporties brisbane

The Wickham

Although not officially a Brisbane gay bar since 2014 when it rebranded to appeal to a wider audience, The Wickham is still a welcoming and inclusive place and a go-to on the Brisbane gay scene. Expect live entertainment, cocktails and a seriously cool vibe.

The Beat Megaclub

Founded almost 40 years ago in 1983 and located in Fortitude Valley, The Beat Megaclub, features drag performances every single night, DJ sets and drinks that just keep on flowing. It’s the ideal place to kick on to after a bevvy or two at Sporties or The Wickham. There are five club rooms, seven bars and six beer gardens, so even if you don’t fancy a dance, you’ll still find a place to call home for the night.

outside the beat megaclub brisbane

Where to eat – gay cafes and restaurants in Brisbane

Queensland Art Gallery Café

Not specifically a gay café, but with such a thriving queer arts and cultural scene, grabbing a bite to eat at the Queensland Art Gallery Café seems fitting. Plus, you’ll get the chance to combine delicious food and organic coffee with a browse of the latest exhibitions at QAG and QAGOMA. Alongside the café, there’s a bistro and restaurant serving local produce.

Eat Street Northshore

Open every Friday and Saturday, Eat Street Northshore is a street food extravaganza bound to keep even the fussiest foodies happy. There’s also live music and social one-off parties and events, turning dinner into a night to remember.

South Bank

Touted as “Brisbane’s premier lifestyle and cultural destination”, South Bank is a bustling hub of bars, cafés, restaurants, art, culture, festivals and more! While there’s no dedicated LGBTQ spaces, it pulls a diverse crowd and is a great place to see and be seen!

people under rainbow umbrella brisbane australia

Where to play – things to do in Brisbane

No matter what kind of entertainment you’re looking for, there’s something for everyone in Brisbane’s gay scene:

Gay club nights in Brisbane

In the Dark Events

Regularly bringing some of the country’s hottest queer events and club nights to Brisbane, is ITDEvents. Upcoming events include Trixie’s Solid Pink Disco Tour, set to be a raucous night of minxy mayhem. Be sure to check out the Legends tour starring Jinkx Monsoon, Trinity The Tuck & Monét X Change from RuPaul’s Drag Race.

Fluffy

Brisbane’s campest club night, Fluffy, is an institution of the Australian gay club scene. It takes place every Sunday night at Cloudland and welcomes some of the biggest and best drag acts internationally as well as music acts and epic, themed club nights. Fluffy is some of the best nightlife in Brisbane.

performers on stage at fluffy brisbane

Gay cruise clubs in Brisbane

Gay saunas and gay cruise clubs aren’t as prevalent in Brisbane as they are in some other Australian cities. Fans of Club 29 may be dismayed to know that after 20 years, the venue closed its doors in July 2022.

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.

Wet Sauna & Spa

Wet Sauna & Spa gives you everything you want from a cruise club, plus more. There’s a swimming pool, video lounge, sling room, maze area, glory holes, and private rooms. Let the cruising commence.

The Den Men’s Club

The Den Men’s Club is a men’s cruising space located in Fortitude Valley as part of The Den adult store. Spread across two floors, you’ll find a space equipped with a sauna, private cabins and a dark room, glory holes, slings and more!

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 Brisbane 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 Brisbane.

Gay theatre in Brisbane

Melt: Festival Of Queer Arts And Culture

Held annually at Brisbane Powerhouse, Melt is a two-week celebration of the Brisbane rainbow community through a flamboyant and diverse festival of burlesque, circus, music, theatre, comedy and much, much more.

brisbane powerhouse arts venue lit up at night

Gay festivals in Brisbane

Melt isn’t the only LGBTQ+ festival in Brisbane. In fact, Brissy has an impressive array of events and festivals throughout the year. Why not time your gay-vacay with one of them?

Big Gay Day

Brisbane’s biggest and best gay festival celebrates its 23rd year this year. Grab some tickets to Big Gay Day and enjoy musical acts, drag extravaganzas and endless rainbow-filled activities all in support of local LGBTQI+ charities.

Brisbane Pride Festival

A month-long celebration held every September, Brisbane Pride Festival is a celebration of all things LGBTQI+. Expect club nights, drag shows, talks, queer cinema and theatre, family-friendly events and more. It’s one big gay love fest.

If you can’t make it to town for the festival check Brisbane Pride’s website for other events — there are plenty throughout the year, all aimed at celebrating Brissy’s diverse queer community. The Queer Formal and Queer Ball is definitely worth a ticket.

story bridge lit up in rainbow lights brisbane australia

Gay meeting places in Brisbane

As well as gay bars and nightclubs, some of the best gay meeting places in Brisbane are community-run events and clubs.

Brisbears

According to their website, ‘Brisbears is a social club promoting a brotherhood of gay men who openly challenge the stereotypical image of the male ideal’. Now, that’s a mission we can get behind. Brisbears can be found at the Bunker Bar, downstairs at the Sportsman Hotel, Spring Hill every 3rd Saturday of the month.

Tropical Fruits

An LGBTIQ community group in NSW’s Northern Rivers, Tropical Fruits hosts a tonne of gay events including Sunday Socials, an NYE spectacular, and Fruitopia Fair Day. Fruitopia Fair Day is the Tropical Fruits’ annual family fun day and takes place in Lismore — OK, it’s 200km south of Brissy, but popular and worth the trip! Friends, families, pooches and more take part to raise funds and bring the community together.

Where to stay – gay-friendly accommodation in Brisbane

In Brisbane, the spotlight of the gay scene can be found in Fortitude Valley, New Farm and Teneriffe. You can find a range of accommodations in and around the CBD, from hotels to hostels or a cosy Airbnb.

As with Sydney and Melbourne, accommodation gets cheaper the further you are from the CBD. Staying 10-15 minutes away from the Brisbane CBD won’t close you off from all the action.

If you’re set on staying in the CBD and surrounding suburbs, you’ll save a tonne by booking an Airbnb. South Brisbane, Kangaroo Point, Bowen Hills, New Farm, Fortitude Valley and Teneriffe are popular areas to consider. Check out the popular misterb&b for a range of LGBTQ-friendly accommodation options across Brisbane too.

If you’re on a tighter budget, there are a range of other options available to you around Brisbane’s CBD. Hostels are concentrated in the CBD, Fortitude Valley, Petrie Terrace and West End. There are, however, some options in Toowong and Hamilton.

Well, that’s a wrap on the total guide of where to eat, drink, play and stay in Brisbane for gay men. Whether you’re visiting Brisbane for the first time or just having a staycation, this is just the start; with such a vibrant LGBTQ+ community it’s impossible to fit it all into one trip.

If you’re looking for other destinations to visit in Queensland, check out our guide to a gay-friendly trip on the Gold Coast.

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