Discover Asheville’s LGBTQ+ Bar and Club Scene
Asheville, North Carolina, is a vibrant city that boasts a thriving LGBTQ community. From historic gay bars to inclusive craft breweries, the city offers something for everyone. In this guide, we’ll explore the best LGBTQ bars and clubs in Asheville, from dance parties to drag shows and everything in between.
O. Henry’s and The Underground
O. Henry’s has been a staple in the Asheville LGBTQ community for over 55 years. When Smokey’s Tavern closed its doors in 2015, O. Henry’s became the oldest gay bar in the city. The bar is housed in a lodge-style stone and wood building with plenty of seating inside, a pool table, and a karaoke night every Wednesday. On weekends, you can catch drag shows featuring local talent.
Attached to O. Henry’s is The Underground, an industrial dance bar that hosts a First Friday dance party and other themed dance nights and entertainment.
Find O. Henry’s on Instagram at (@ohenrysasheville).
Scandals and the Grove House Entertainment Complex
Scandals, a three-floor nightclub, opened in 1982 and is located in the Grove House Entertainment Complex, which also includes Club Eleven on Grove and Boiler Room Asheville. Each venue has its own unique vibe and dance floor. Scandals hosts drag shows every weekend featuring a house cast of queens and kings like Viktor Grimm, while visiting guests like DJs and go-go boy revue Studs of Steel fill out the events calendar.
Find Scandals on Instagram at @scandals_nightclub.
South Slope’s Craft Breweries and LGBTQ-Friendly Bars
The South Slope district is home to many of Asheville’s craft booze makers, most of which are extremely LGBTQ-friendly.
Wicked Weed Brewing Pub (@wickedweedbrewpub) and its sister sour beer-centric sibling, Wicked Weed Funkatorium, are great places to grab a drink and hang out with friends.
The gay-owned winery Marked Tree Vineyard (@markedtreevineyard) in Flat Rock, NC, also has a tasting room in South Slope.
The district’s Getaway River Bar (@getawayontheriver) is a former biker bar that now hosts a monthly “Sissy Sunday” drag show featuring local talents like Dixxie Normus Evans, Nova Jyna, and horror/goth queen Kashmir Kohl.
The all-inclusive Banks Ave. Bar hosts drag shows and karaoke on Sundays, dance parties, and freeroll Skee-ball on Wednesdays.
If you’re looking for some other options, check out my list of queer friendly bars and breweries in Asheville.
Ruby Red Avl, the Queer-Inclusive Lesbian Bar
Asheville is about to welcome a new queer-inclusive lesbian bar, Ruby Red Avl. Currently, they host pop-up parties at various venues, so be sure to check their Facebook for upcoming events.
Membership Requirements for Gay Bars in North Carolina
It’s important to note that North Carolina law requires memberships for bars that don’t serve food. These memberships can be easily purchased on-site for $5. Although it may seem like an arcane formality, it allows staff to refuse entry to obvious bad apples.
Asheville, North Carolina, is a welcoming city with a rich LGBTQ history and culture. Whether you’re looking for a night of dancing, a drag show, or a craft beer, the city’s LGBTQ bars and clubs have got you covered. From O. Henry’s and The Underground to Scandals and the Grove House Entertainment Complex, the options are endless. And with the upcoming opening of Ruby Red Avl, there’s even more to look forward to. So grab your friends and head out for a night on the town – you won’t be disappointed.