Best Gay Club: Carousel II and Club XYZ (tie)

Runners Up: Kurt’s, Rainbow Club, Velvet

They tied. And why shouldn’t they? They both offer well-stocked bars and regular drag shows in interesting neighborhoods. The Carousel is much older, the grand dame of regional gay clubs (Tennessee Williams made at least one appearance here), and dates back to the days when a gay club had to operate a little bit underground—as the Carousel II is, literally. It may be a little dressier and tends to attract dancers; the XYZ’s more intimate. One thing they have in common is especially interesting micro-neighborhoods. The Carousel, located in a commercial cluster in Fort Sanders, is adjacent to a crepes-and-hookahs joint, with Asian and Arabic cuisine down the way, not to mention a major law school. The XYZ’s in Downtown North’s incomparable Happy Holler, near the Time Warp Tea Room, a tai-chi place, and Veg-O-Rama.

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