Rochester is a pretty gay city, surprisingly enough. We’ve got the oldest continually-running gay newspaper in New York – The Empty Closet – and also a vibrant Pride Festival over the summer. There are active gay organizations at all of the local colleges, with the exception of Roberts-Wesleyan College out in LeRoy. It also has the second openly gay elected official in New York – Councilman Tim Mains, At-Large – and the ImageOut Film Festival.

A personal gay-day activity is seeing “Mommy Dearest” at the Dryden on Mother’s Day every year. Continuing this trend of gay activity are a number of gay clubs and bars in Rochester.

We’ve decided to let you in on the list of them as we find it – including the estimated average ages.

The obvious people who will be interested in this article are women who’re tired of being molested by straight men, gay men and the odd lesbian, as well as straight men who’re looking at molesting the girls who’re avoiding being molested.

If you don’t fit into these categories you might still find these places interesting for myriad reasons. The gay people in this town may be getting bored of what’s available to them, but there’s enough here that there is a bar or two you’ve not visited yet.

StarBar:average age: 17

Located in the illustrious space that has housed Marcella’s and more recently Tilt, StarBar is perhaps the most hip gay spot in Rochester. It is also known to attract the youngest crowd. Aesthetically, Star is not terribly different from Tilt, except it has a soundproof VIP room in the back that has its own bar.

I’m not sure how “very important” one has to be to gain access to this room – I’m told the answer is “not very.” An acquaintance of mine whom I didn’t find important at all – let alone very important – has entered this “posh” lair. If they’re going to have a VIP room, at least they should keep out the scrubs.

Another “feature” of this club is its larger than average population of heavily drugged former “rave kids.” So if that’s your scene or you just enjoy going to a bar with wireless Internet access, head to Star.

Star also offers drag on Fridays and Sundays. Saturdays offers intense dancing with a Big-Gay-DJ.

StarBar is located at 123 Liberty Pole Way – for more information visit

Muther’s:average age: 29

This once-fading bar is now one of the premier staging areas for drag and homosexual socialization in all of Rochester. Muther’s – as it’s ironically named – has a bar, sizeable dance floor and decent DJs.

This venue is open seven days a week and features drag three nights a week. Thursday night kicks off the weekend with an unlikely show – Drag Kings.

Muther’s is very lesbian-friendly – I should know – when a lesbian refused to believe I was a man, I allowed her to grab my crotch. So, Thursday is considered a night for lesbians to gather and watch the women flip the tables as Drag Kings.

With a slightly older clientele than StarBar but younger than the Avenue Pub, this is the best fit for most people who’ve discovered they are gay and gotten over it. Legendary queen Ambrosia Salad hosts the Salad Bar Review Fridays, which boasts performers Darienne Lake, Samantha Sulay and Aggy Dune. If you’re under 21, there’s a $7 cover and $4 if you’re over.

Saturdays, Samantha Sulay presents the Infusion dance party with music by DJ Lenn.

There’s another drag show on Sundays, hosted by Aggy Dune with $2 well drink specials.

Muther’s is located at 40 South Union Street – for information, visit

Pink Elephant:average age: 36

If you’re not the club-going type, but enjoy dinner out and a great cocktail, then check out the Pink Elephant. Or, stop by for a meal or a drink before going out dancing.

This gay-owned and operated restaurant has a fun and friendly atmosphere that attracts a gay and straight crowd of virtually all ages.

It is conveniently situated close to many other nighttime spots. Their casual, yet eclectic menu offers the usual soups, salads and appetizers – for entres they serve pan-seared scallops, pork tenderloin, chicken french, grilled cajun salmon, pasta and more. They also offer a “huge” brunch every Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. View their menu online at

The Pink Elephant is located at 581 East Main Street.

RJ’s:average age: 29

RJ’s is definitely another alternative to the typical dance and drag scene. RJ’s is like a neighborhood bar for gay people. One can play pool or hang out at the bar in a fairly well-lit and open atmosphere.

Wednesday nights bring us Paul Strowe singing requests and playing his guitar. It’s surprisingly good and a nice follow up to their horrible karaoke. With two pool tables they’ve got precisely double what the other gay establishments do. There is a dance floor upstairs too. It’s a bit heavily lesbian at times, but fun for everyone.

Their main detractors are the following – sometimes they serve draft beer in plastic cups and they are trying to change their name to “Nasty D’s.” That’s just foul and I have no intention of calling any bar that.

RJ’s is located at 140 Alexander Street.

The Bachelor Forum:average age: 32

The first thing to be clear about is that you shouldn’t go on Saturdays unless you’re into big men, leather and a whole lot of S&M.

The second is to not go into the basement unless you know why. Beyond that, this is primarily a male club with older gentleman and home bar of the Rochester Rams – but there are some younger guys.

The most diverse night as far as age goes is Tuesday, which is coincidentally 2-for-1 night. This is easily the best deal in Rochester. The Long Island Iced Teas are big, strong and a dirt-cheap. Always a good mix. If you want a relaxed atmosphere where people talk more than they bump and grind, this is a good spot.

The Bachelor Forum is located at 670 University Avenue.

TaraAverage Age: 40

Home to an older crowd, this bar is nominally a Piano Bar, but in general more time is spent at the bar than the piano. Somewhat classier and more intimate than its rivals, it’s a good place to start the night before wandering over the StarBar for the night’s conquest.

Average alcohol costs and friendly bartenders and patron, the only concern is protecting your ass. Some of these gentlemen are a bit sloshed and like to use their hands.

Tara is located at 53 Liberty Pole Way.

Anthony’s 522Average Age: 42

Anthony’s 522 has the world’s best Karaoke and some big ladies. This makes for quite a bit of fun at times. The stairs to the basement – and the bathroom – can be a bit difficult to navigate when drunk.

Parking is a bit problematic but everyone is nice and the vodka is kept very cold. A nice bar to experiment with when you’re bored with the rest and up for an adventure. Small town crap-bar style in a big city. I love it!

Anthony’s 522 is located at 522 Main St.

MotorAverage Age: ?

Neither of us have been here, however we’ve heard a bit about it and one of us drove by it but didn’t stop because it looked dead. The triumphs and tribulations of gay life can be so laborious.

Supposedly it has a comfortable atmosphere and nice bartenders. There are mixed messages, but it seems to be primarily lesbian clientele. If you’re adventurous and can find a parking spot on State Street, let us know what its like. To get the address we actually had to ask someone in

Motor is located at 113 State Street.

The Avenue PubAverage Age: 44

The Avenue Pub or “the Pub” as its locally known is a cozy bar with an outdoor patio and two pool tables, same as RJs. The big difference is the lack of women at the Pub and that the men tend to be a bit older. It’s a good place to grab a beer if you don’t want to be bothered, really want to visit somewhere new or run into your local Eastman professors and grad students.

The Avenue Pub is located at 522 Monroe

TiltAverage Age: 17

Tilt is the enigma of the group. It formerly was located at StarBar’s location but closed earlier this year, rumors continue to circulate about its impending revival. The typically quoted site is GQ’s old plot at the even older Spaghetti Warehouse near the Amtrak Station. If it doesn’t open before Thanksgiving I think people are going to give up.

Tilt is currently located in Purgatory. Don’t go looking too hard.

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