Of course, as I said, I am lazy and therefore don't go to them. A gay bar in midtown on the east side? Next! I'll be here drinking vodka in my underwear on the couch. I am SO lazy that I'll sometimes not go to a bar just because it's on 53rd street (soooo far!)
So, naturally, to continue my new PRAISING THE (gay) BAR series, I had to go out-of-house and find someone to bring some locational diversity to Justin Plus One. And I did! His name is D. Kareem and he is the keeper of the kinky keys over at his awesome blog, The Blackout Blog (check it out naow!)
Kareem did me a solid and did an AWESOME write-up on the gay bar No Parking, which is a bar EVERYONE should check out. (Even I did, once, despite my laziness). It's fun! It's cool! The crowd is cute! I'll shut up now and let Kareem tell you more!
xo Justin Luke
NAME: No Parking
LOCATION: Broadway (between 176th and 177th), Washington Heights (That’s still Manhattan)
DAYS OF OPERATION: 7 days/week
No Parking opened in 2006 as the only gay bar in Manhattan north of 110th St (as far as I know). They have a solid rotation of DJs who play music in sets: a few pop songs; a few hip-hop; a few salsa/merengue/reggaeton. You’ll definitely never get bored.
While there’s no official dance floor, No Parking patrons are comfortable feeling the music wherever they are. Some will bob their heads at the bar while others will post up on the wall. You’ll even see some guys whining and grinding.
The light-up bar, surrounded by stools, sits in the center of a wide rectangle. There are benches along the walls (often used for dancing) and a recessed VIP area for private parties, too. It’s more of a flexible bar than a club.
Hands down, my favorite night is Wednesday for Cock Fight (hosted by So You Think You Can Drag winner Sir Honey Davenport). If you like go-goes, this is where you want to be. Hoards of friendly dancers on the bar and circling through the crowd (and available for private lap dances)! Slim, muscular, tall, short, thuggish, clean-cut. They love your tips, so bring your ones.
They also have karaoke on Mondays, a rotating theme on Tuesdays, a “search for local hot cuties” on Thursdays, and your normal ruckus with hot go-goes on Fri and Sat. And there’s never a cover.
The crowd is heavily Dominican with some black and white guys mixed in. You’ll see a few women, too. Most people are there with friends to have a good time, but there’s definitely a bit of cruising going on.
If you’re there to socialize with the crowd, don’t bother before 11:30 or Midnight. It’s the type of place that will be jumping until they turn the lights on at 4. If you’re going to tip the go-goes on a weekend, 11 is a good time to get there and get a stool at the bar.
There are usually drink specials. I make it a general habit anywhere I go to ask the bartender before I order my drink if they’re running any specials (as they’re always subject to change).
They take credit cards!
2-4-1 happy hour til 10 every night!
There’s usually a $3 tequila shot special, a $5-6 rum or vodka special, and there’s often a $6-$7 long island special (even on the weekends). It’s often announced on the Facebook page, but your best bet is to ask the bartender.
No Parking is a mixed bag. You have people that will come up from Brooklyn and the E.vil, down from Westchester and the Bronx and locals from just up the street. It helps that it’s literally a block from the A train (~20 minute ride from 42nd St express, 25 min. local or $20 cab fare) and not far from the 1. Plus, it couldn’t be more accessible from the West Side Highway, Harlem River Drive and the GW Bridge. If you’re looking for something totally different but still gay, this bar is highly recommended.
Oh, and definitely stop by Mambi across the street to pig out on rice and beans at 4am! The service is horrid, but their rotisserie chicken is amazing!