While there aren’t any definitive statistics, Long Beach is thought by many to have one of the largest concentrations of gay people of any city in America. The city is undeniably gay friendly (it boasts a gay vice mayor, Robert Garcia, who is running for mayor, and a lesbian councilmember, Gerrie Schipske.) According to South Florida Gay News, it ranks third among all American cities in the growth of its LGBT population. Those LGBT people live in neighborhoods such as Belmont Heights, Plaza / South of Conant and Eastside, all with especially large lesbian populations, and Signal Hill.
Like LGBT people everywhere, in Long Beach they also play. For that, you’ll want to head down what’s called the Broadway Corridor to the Alamitos Beach area. Yes, that Long Beach gayborhood has lost Hamburger Mary’s, which moved to 330 Pine Ave. in downtown Long Beach last year. But for gay men there’s still Paradise Piano Bar and Restaurant, Club Ripples, the Falcon and Mineshaft (where you’ll be as comfortable in a t-shirt and jeans than leather.) For lesbians there’s Debra’s, Doll House and Vixen Den. Out of the Alamitos neighborhood you’ll find Piston’s, a favorite of the leather crowd, the Crest, Dolphin Bar and Silver Fox. The best resource for bars and clubs and restaurants in Long Beach is GayCities.com.
You’ll notice that Alamitos Beach has a distinctly different feeling from West Hollywood’s Boystown. In Long Beach there’s more of a comfortable mix of gay and straight people. The vibe on any given evening is more likely to be neighborly than “party time.”
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