El Paso Sun City Pride is one of the largest such events in the Southwest, attracting thousands of people to its parade, festival and other events. Much of the action centers around the Pride District and Pride Square — a group of LGBT-friendly nightclubs and patio bars that are conveniently located near the El Paso Museum of Art and San Jacinto Plaza.
Here are some essential LGBT-owned or -friendly bars, music venues and other spots to visit during Sun City Pride Week or any time you visit El Paso. Most of these locations are easily accessible from the Hotel Indigo El Paso Downtown, one of Sun City Pride’s sponsors.
Food and Drink
At the heart of Pride Square is a collection of pubs and bars, including Briar Patch/Hyde Patio Bar, The Tool Box and Chiquita’s Bar, featuring a regular rotation of game nights, DJs and themed parties.
For a hip gastropub experience, check out downtown’s Happy Monk, which features clever twists on comfort food, like pineapple upside-down pancakes, and unusual eats like rabbit tacos. For a fine dining experience, reserve a table at Cafe Central, which is nationally recognized for its upscale Southwestern-style cuisine.
Outside the Pride District, Tanya’s Gridiron is a sports bar located near Fort Bliss with a gay-friendly neighborhood vibe. It’s the place to go for wings and pub food staples, as well as a wide selection of draft and bottled beers.
The stage at EPIC boasts some of the hottest drag performances in town, and the club scene is known as one of the best in El Paso. Home to PrideFest’s KINK Fetish Lounge, EPIC hosts firmly tongue-in-cheek events like Sausage Sunday cookouts.
Around the corner, go underground at The Speak Easy. The entrance is street level, but you’ll go down a flight of stairs to enter this upscale jazz club. The old-school ambiance features pool tables and a mixologist who preps custom cocktails at the bar.
Touch Bar & Nightclub has bragging rights when it comes to size, as it’s the largest gay entertainment spot in El Paso. It’s known for its over-the-top drag shows and Sunday drag brunch.
Love Buzz in the city’s Five Points neighborhood is part live music venue, part liquor store and all-in when it comes to local art. In 2016, the venue started weekly LGBT-focused gallery events.
The University of Texas at El Paso’s Centennial Museum and Desert Gardens hosts a permanent exhibit, Engendering Community, that explores the history of the LGBT community in El Paso, Juarez and the surrounding area.
El Paso native and the first openly gay luchador, Cassandro, has been called “the Liberace of Lucha Libre.” Two documentaries have been made about his life, and he is immortalized locally in a mural at 1301 E. Missouri Ave. Worth a visit and a selfie or two.
Looking for cutting-edge design? First stop: the Stanlee and Gerald Rubin Center for the Visual Arts. Described as a laboratory for emerging and innovative artists across the Americas, the venue offers exhibitions by internationally known contemporary artists and other related programming.
On the local level, artist Martha Arzabala launched Agave Rosa to give established artists in the region a place to exhibit their ceramics, sculpture, jewelry and other pieces.
The Purple Pop-Up Gallery was founded by one of the people who brought the popular Chalk the Block sidewalk chalk art event to El Paso. Follow its Facebook page for the latest location.