While West Michigan’s LGBTQ nightlife hot spots are not as plentiful as they once were, the raging clubs and quiet bars you can find in our region are legendary. Whether you’re intent on cruising the night away, showing off your pipes at karaoke or workin’ it in a pageant, here are some Michigan fixtures.
A Grand Rapids mainstay, tucked in an unassuming corner of downtown, The Apartment Lounge has been a favorite among loyal regulars for over 40 years and boasts the title of being Michigan’s oldest, continuously operating gay bar. The low-key atmosphere offers a cozy and welcoming space and the original co-owners and longtime life partners Ed Ladner and Milt Lennox prided themselves on knowing everyone’s name. The community mourns Lennox’s recent passing as he was beloved by all who knew him. 33 Sheldon Ave, NE, Grand Rapids. (616) 451-0815.
Home to numerous drag pageants and performances, like Grand Rapids Drag Race and amateur cabaret, along with karaoke nights and wild dance events featuring fun themes like foam parties, Rumors Nightclub is a place where you can strut your stuff and catch a show. The spacious dance floor and mirrored walls make for perfect evenings of bumping and grinding or offer ample visibility while watching your favorite queens dominate the scene. 69 Division Ave S, Grand Rapids. (616) 454-8720.
Metro Nightclub recently reopened this year after a short hiatus and is currently the only official gay bar in Kalamazoo. With evening hours only, Metro is a dance party destination. Dance nights, themed parties and weekly karaoke paired with nightly drink specials offer action every night of the week. 411 N Westnedge Ave., Kalamazoo. (269) 276-9240.
The Dunes Resort
Perfect for a weekend getaway or a night of partying, the Dunes Resort is heralded as the LGBTQ getaway destination in the Midwest. Nestled in the gay-friendly Saugatuck/Douglas community, The Dunes has offered endless entertainment options for 34 years and counting. From the poolside bar and live cabaret at the show bar, to the outdoor patio bar and relaxing Vinyl Lounge with billiards and video games, there is something for everyone. If you’re opting for an overnight visit, you can choose from cottages, motel rooms and suites. Or enjoy the duplex that comes with a fully stocked kitchen and a private outdoor jacuzzi. Regular theme nights keep the party fresh and special weekends are held to accommodate every persuasion. 333 Blue Star Hwy, Douglas. (269) 857-1401.
Partner’s Battle Creek
Live entertainment is the name of the game at Partner’s Battle Creek. With regular drag shows and events like The Men of Manwatch and The Bad Girls Club, you can almost always catch a show. And if cabaret isn’t for you, live DJs keep the party pumping on the dance floor. 910 North Avenue, Battle Creek. (269) 964-7276.
Spiral Dance Bar
Spiral Dance Bar features fancy décor like brushed metal detailing and lounge areas replete with velveteen seating. But, more than a just pretty place to enjoy nightlife, Spiral is home to an eclectic array of events from drag shows and pageants, to burlesque and variety shows like the bi-monthly event Glitter Disco. With a focus on entertainment and regular themed parties, on any given night you can find go-go dancers on the bar, aerialists suspended from the ceiling and outrageous performances on stage. 1247 Center St., Lansing. (517)371-3221.
Gay-friendly and a little fancy, Esquire offers a welcoming spot to imbibe cheap drinks with pals. Weekly specials include frequent, hearty drink discounts and free pool, plus bingo and Euchre nights. Not to mention the requisite karaoke and DJ nights for you singing and dance-aholics out there. 1250 Turner St., Lansing. (517) 487-533.
Mo’z offers a large dance floor and live entertainment like drag shows, karaoke and stripper nights. With two bars under one roof, patrons can enjoy a quieter time in the lounge or get wild in the dance bar. 80 South Seaway Drive, Muskegon Heights. (231) 830-0190.