In a cultural mecca like New Orleans, people from all walks of life can show up as they are and feel not only welcomed, but celebrated. You can dress up in costume any night of the week. You can listen to music that feeds your soul as much as the cuisine. In New Orleans, you can embrace every part of yourself – the adventurous, the romantic, the bawdy – and even discover new parts. The city is already home to a vibrant culture for queer women, so whenever you’re ready, here’s our guide to get you started.

Year-Round Drinking Spots + Nightlife

QiQi

A cozy gay dive bar located Uptown, QiQi serves delicious craft beers and offers daily happy hour specials. With the bar's rustic, unique decor and friendly bartenders, the scene is perfect for striking up a conversation with a local or friend. One of the only gay bars outside of the French Quarter, QiQi is a great place to go if you want a drink in a chill setting.  

The Friendly Bar

The Friendly Bar is a Marigny hot spot that’s perfect for a casual weeknight hangout or kicking off a girl’s night out. The bar’s gritty yet timeless style is half the reason we love it. The other half is that you can enjoy well-priced domestic beers and Friendly’s famous pudding shots as you mingle with locals. 

Rebecca Todd
Swirl Wine Bar

Swirl Wine Bar

A queer-owned wine bar nestled in the beautiful neighborhood of Bayou St. John, Swirl offers a wonderful selection of wines including reds, whites, blends, and sparkling wines to satiate any palate. Swirl serves small plates including veggie and cheese boards, but you can also order off the nearby 1000 Figs menu, which has some of the best Mediterranean-inspired cuisine in town. Swirl is home to a weekly Friday Night Wine School that gives you the opportunity to taste and learn about four different wines from around the world.

GrrlSpot

What started as a casual meet up for queer women returning to the city after Hurricane Katrina has evolved into one of the city’s most popular queer-specific dance parties. Opting not to adopt a static location, GrrlSpot stages large-scale takeovers of popular bars and performance venues through the city. Their monthly dance parties feature local queer entertainers and large, eclectic crowds. GrrlSpot’s biggest events of the year take place during Pride Weekend and the Southern Decadence festival. You can always find the next spot via GrrlSpot’s Facebook and Instagram feeds.

Image Courtesy of Her Hau

Her Haus 

Her Haus typically hosts themed parties for queer women on the first Friday of the month in the upper part of The Bourbon Pub & Parade. Burlesque performers, go-go dancers, and DJs usually help get the party started. Expect additional events during Pride month with even more chances to party. Follow their Instagram for the latest. 

Ascen.dance 

Held at Cafe Istanbul, this zodiac-inspired dance party is an infusion of soulful music, visual art, spiritual practices, and communal affirmation. Ascen.dance centers a safe and inclusive experience, welcoming all ethnic, gender, and sexual identities while centering Black and Brown cultures. A night at Ascen.dance will leave you feeling euphoric, celebrated, and inspired.

Kelsey Campion
Blue Oak BBQ

Must-Try Local Eats 

Blue Oak BBQ

Blue Oak BBQ tops our list of inclusive eateries because of their efforts and outreach to the LGBTQ community. This Bayou St. John joint will satisfy your BBQ cravings with everything from ribs to smoked turkey. Early birds can head over for a brisket croissant sandwich before they’re gone, but a wide selection of specialty sandwiches and BBQ plates are served all day.

PieHXLE 

This queer and woman owned pop-up is simply a gathering with friends over wood-fired Neapolitan-style pizza. Typically operating on Monday and Tuesday nights, you can DM here for registration. Then, sit back and relax with natural wines and community vibes. 

Justen Williams, New Orleans & Co.

Alma

The queer and woman-owned Alma is a Honduran restaurant in the Bywater. Executive Chef and owner Melissa Araujo is a 2024 James Beard Award Semifinalist for Best Chef South. Chef Melissa Araujo's Honduran heritage takes each guest on a journey through food and culture. Stop in for breakfast from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily, with menu items baleadas, pollo chuco, and pupusas taking center stage.

Jack Rose

Floral chandeliers, wallpapered ceilings and a glittery Lil Wayne portrait make Jack Rose one of the most vibrant brunch places you’ll ever lay eyes on. This hidden gem, located inside the Pontchartrain Hotel, serves staples like chicken and waffles and delicacies like Poisson en Papillote. Of course, bottomless mimosas at brunch make dining here a truly unforgettable experience. Some may call it extra, but that’s part of the fun.

Fly in for These Events

Pride 

There’s no party quite like Pride in New Orleans. Typically the second weekend in June, several events pop up including the Pride parade in the French Quarter. Black Pride Weekend typically coincides with New Orleans Pride, giving you even more options to celebrate Pride Month. Check out our Ultimate Guide to Pride here to see what’s up. 

Tennessee Williams Literary Festival

Are you ready to yell “Stella!!” at the top of your lungs? Of course you are. But seriously, you can just that during the Stella and Stanley shouting contest at the Tennessee Williams Literary Festival. As one of the best literary fests in the country, you’ll connect with local artists, authors and musicians who share the same passion for creativity and the written word. The festival also features a spin off event, Saints and Sinners, which is a literary event dedicated to LGBTQ artists and LGBTQ literature.

White Linen Night

If you have a keen appreciation for the arts and the romantic, White Linen Night is for you. Held annually on the first Saturday of August, White Linen night invites you to dress in your best white clothing and stroll down Julia Street, where you can experience the local fine art galleries throughout the Arts District. This is the place to socialize, have a good time and find those must-have art pieces created by local talent.

Paul Broussard
Southern Decadence

Southern Decadence

For years, the Southern Decadence weekend dance card was almost entirely filled with events for queer men. In 2011, GrrlSpot and friends changed that by creating a separate calendar of events, which came to be known as Dykeadance. While the lineup and location of Dykeadance’s events may be as fluid as everything else in NOLA, GrrlSpot’s “Fleurt!” is always held on the Saturday of the festival weekend. Fleurt! combines beautiful venues and unique performances to create an experience that should be on everyone’s short list of must-sees for queer women in the South.

You can count on plenty of incredible DJs and crowds of travel-savvy girls from all over the world descending on New Orleans for the festival. If you’re looking for a few days of fun in the French Quarter or want to explore more of what New Orleans has to offer – we’re there for that, too! See our itinerary here.