First Visit to a Transgender Bar: How to Navigate Your Way


First transgender bar visit?


a Transgender Bar





A crossdresser walks into a bar and asks the host quietly, “Is it a trans-friendly bar?” The host nods, smiling, and asks: “Table for two?”


Oh, how I wish finding a trans bar was that easy!


We have a fun article today! The topic is all about our transgender friends looking for a place to hang out and mingle with others.


Bars have always been great hangout spots. They are the melting pot of everything and everyone.


You get to know just about every kind of people and try many things.


But for us, crossdressers and transgenders alike, it’s best to be extra cautious.


Transgender bars are excellent for fishing new friends and allies.


If you’re a newbie collecting all the info you can before stepping into your local trans bar – welcome!


This article is all about helping you have a great first trans bar experience.


My First Trans Bar Experience…


a Transgender Bar 


To give you an idea (and hopefully not scare you away), let me share my fond first transgender bar experience.


Remember my MtF transwoman friend Marilyn? We’ve visited a number of transgender bars back before the 2019 pandemic.


She was also my “tour guide” when I was a transgender bar virgin.


My first time went something like this: Her in a cutesy cocktail dress and me in high-waisted black skinny jeans and a chemise blouse.


I can’t tell you the exact name of the bar (keeping it on the down low as it’s not an in-your-face trans bar), but I can say that it’s not that different from a regular bar.


It had the usual warm ambient lighting, with specs of cerulean and violets and polished wooden tables and chairs.


Marilyn and I sat by the bar counter on two sturdy high stools and ordered our drinks.


Every so often, we looked back behind us to the chatting people around each table.


Some would get up to greet Marilyn, as she was a regular and had been on her transition journey for years, and she would introduce me to them.


My first visit to a trans bar went swimmingly. Marilyn knew a lot of people there, so we got a lot of free drinks.


The best part? No one questioned my gender. No one even stared at me disrespectfully.


That’s the kind of Transgender Bar you should look for — inclusive, with a hell of a lot of booze!


What Exactly is a Transgender Bar?


transgender individuals 


Transgender bars, just like what its name implies, are establishments where transgender individuals can let their hair down.


Unlike gay or lesbian bars that exclusively cater to our LG friends, there are only very few transgender bars that are exclusive to the trans community.


There are a few reasons for this — one, there are not enough transgender folks in one area.


I’m looking at this from a business perspective since I also dreamed of opening my own resto and bar.


If my target market is the transgender community only, I won’t have much business.


Though there was a boom in recent years of those who identify as trans, not all of them are in one place.


Plus, the hindrances presented by the ever-evolving magic of technology can’t be understated.


With our busy lives, most prefer to just meet online and take it offline every now and then.


Two — legalities and social backlash. Not every state is accepting, and not every neighborhood is an ally.


It’s more realistic to look for trans-friendly bars than “for-transgenders-only” bars.


Where do I find these trans-friendly bars, you ask? Within the bigger ally communities like gay bars!


History of LGBTQ+ Bars


transgender individuals 


Establishments that service a clientele that doesn’t follow the norm then already existed long before.


Of course, you won’t find any record — official or not — because they are hidden and unspoken of.


The closest I can think of this type of hub is London’s White Swan in Vere Street, which existed in 1810.


Quite brave to even exist in a century that made homosexuality illegal, eh?


Plus, it offered secret gay marriage ceremonies (officiated by a real reverend!), private bedrooms, and crossdressing facilities — fascinating, right?


England kept at it, though, with various locations where Queer men met during the 18th and 19th centuries.


Molly houses was the term used for these places. In France, they have Zanzibar in Cannes on the French Riviera.


How romantic! It operated for 125 years.


There are many more, of course — the Queers have existed long before!


We were just forced to hide and blend in with what the crowd deemed “normal.”


Transgender Bars Today


LGBT+ bars Transgender bars 


Let’s jump back to the 21st century, where society is more open to the Rainbow Community.


From my experience, trans-friendly or transgender bars are wrapped over something else.


Often, they are hidden under the guise of regular bars, with “passcodes” exchanged through regulars.


This has something to do with safety and security.


See, it goes like this: You enter a “regular” bar, give the “passcode,” and you will be directed to a specific section or booth dedicated to transgender individuals.


It’s easier to find trans-friendly bars, though, where you don’t need any passcode, and you get to meet people other than those in the trans community.


In trans-friendly bars, all identities can intermix with no problem.


In these establishments, patrons, and servers, no matter their sexuality, are expected to act respectfully to everyone.


Now, there are also “out” transgender bars. But they are scarce.


For instance, the Divas Nightclub & Bar in Polk Street, San Francisco, was a three-level club that openly embraced its transgender bar status.


Sadly, it was forced to close permanently in 2019 because of a lack of business and increased expenses.


It operated for 31 years and was a big loss to the trans community.



Transwoman Maria Konner shared her experience in Divas: “Divas was a place where worlds met.


Where a lot of chance encounters fueled not only a great different kind of fun, but also life-changing events and relationships.


” She also took a jab at the generation’s preference for virtual meetings, saying: “No online technology has the ability to replicate community—that requires people meeting in person.”


Patrons remember it as a club with many mirrors and lots of fun.


During the weekends, folks from other communities — bikers, gay men, lesbians, drag queens, etc. — join in on the fun.


Another is trans-owned The Las Vegas Lounge — “the only trans-friendly bar/nighclub in Nevada.”


It also closed in May 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.


Common Misconceptions about Transgender Bars


LGBT+ bars Transgender bars


There are many things I’ve heard from other people about transgender bars. Some are downright silly, so I won’t include those.


However, these are the ones that are the most common:


 Transgender bars are only for transgenders


Transgender bars that are exclusively for transgender people may exist, but I haven’t seen one yet.


To be honest, it’s impractical, and most transgender folks attend bars to widen their network.


How can you meet many people from all walks of life if the clientele is limited to just transgenders?


Most transgender bars are open to other queer populations and even straight allies and curious straight admirers.


All transgender bars are just for sexual activities


Is Kink shaming much? In all seriousness, though, there are bars with strippers and maybe even private bedrooms — but definitely not all!


Personally, I’ve only visited transgender bars to chill and relax. If enjoying wine and talking with friends is considered immoral, then consider me a sinner!


Transgender bars; trans dating


Transgender bars are dwindling and will soon be extinct


Sorry to burst your assuming bubble, but these spaces are not going anywhere.


Despite some closures due to the pandemic (RIP Divas Nightclub & Bar and Las Vegas Lounge), the community is very resilient — and always has been!


There’s always a way to keep the trans spirit alive, and although the establishments may not be as grand, they will always exist.


There are misconceptions because there’s a lack of information going around.


Sure, there will be those stubborn ones who will hold on to their biases, but if you did your part to dispel these misconceptions, then you already did your best.


Preparation for Your First Visit


Transgender bars; trans dating


I know, I know — you’re itching for the meat of the article.


But you have to understand that understanding what transgender bars are, especially in regard to their relation to other communities, is crucial.


Take it as the first step of your transgender bar preparation — don’t walk in with no knowledge.


This — what you’re doing right now, reading this article — is research. You’re opening your mind to what you can expect and what’s expected of you.


I’ll share with you my personal tips:


  • Dress with decorum. Oh, did you plan to wear that super short mini skirt and cropped top that shows off your tummy? Sorry, maybe some other time. On your first visit, aim to be there to observe and learn. You can make a grand entrance when you already know what you’re doing. If not, you may end up embarrassing yourself.


  • Let them know you’re a first-time visitor. But don’t constantly remind the people around you. A simple “Yeah, it’s my first time,” will suffice. While some bars may give you special treatment to make you feel comfortable, it shouldn’t be an expectation on your part.


  • Be respectful – this is the golden rule of any place, especially in transgender bars. Respect goes both ways, though, so if anyone makes you feel uncomfortable or offends you, let the host/hostess know. It’s best not to act on just your own unless you want to risk being banned. And I’m telling you, in a community where we have only a few safe spaces, you don’t want to let go of a transgender bar.


Don’t worry too much about your first visit. If you end up going alone and you’re nervous, go straight to the host and let them know.


They can guide you on how to enjoy the establishment.


Arriving at the Transgender Bar


crossdresser night life 


If you have a local transgender group, ask around or read the community posts.


Transgender bars usually follow what’s “in” for a specific location. So it will do you well to know what awaits you.


My local trans-friendly bar has a sophisticated pub-like feel to it.


It’s very casual, and because it’s a tight space, it’s common to bump against a person or two.


It will serve you well if you have a smiley face, an expression that invites others to come up and talk to you.


I have Marilyn for that — but I also do not run out of people to converse with once they join our table.


Being uncomfortable or nervous is normal. If it becomes too overwhelming, you are free to get out anytime.


There’s always a next time!


Interacting at the Transgender Bar


crossdresser night life


The conversations in a transgender bar aren’t far from the usual subjects of bar talks.


Expect to hear casual talks about transition and presentation.


Surgery, hormone pills, and others are discussion points for friends.


Product recommendations, such as “Where to buy high-quality breast forms?” or “Are there any ongoing deals?” are common, too.


If you’re with a set of new people, only reply to sensitive topics when they start it (and if you’re comfortable speaking about it).


Always be wary of personal boundaries, whether physical or emotional, and don’t forget about consent.


Closing Out Your First Night 


Well, the night has to come to an end at some point, right?


So, how do you make your exit as graceful as your entrance?


Here’s my usual game plan: Set the bill, part on a high note, soak it all in.


crossdresser night life


Set the bill


Once you order, make sure you’ve kept tabs and give proper tips.


Especially if you plan to return, tipping your server will immediately put you on their good side.


If you’re a part of a bigger group, you can discuss the division of the bill beforehand.


Just note that it’s not nice to fight because of the bill in the bar!


Part on a high note



Don’t just sneak out the back! It’s polite to say goodbye to the people you’ve connected with.


A simple “It was nice to meet you, hope to see you again!” goes a long way in building future friendships.


Everyone adores a person with good manners.


crossdresser night life


Soak it all in


Once you’re back home, take a moment to reflect on your night. Was it what you expected?


Did anything surprise you? Your first visit to a transgender bar could potentially shift your perspective on the transgender community.


Best Tips for Newbies


crossdresser night life trans bars 


Think you’re ready for your first transgender bar visit?


To be fair, I was giddy and excited when it was my time, too.


Over the years, I’ve also brought new friends with me who are new to the scene.


They are also not limited to those in the transgender community.


I have tried bringing straight, gay, crossdressers, and bicurious friends.


Of course, since I was the one who brought them, they were my responsibility, and I made sure they earned the right to be there.


That brings me to my best tip for a newbie like you. Like I said in the intro, it’s best if you have a guide.


Or at least come with a few friends. There are many reasons why I don’t like newbies showing up alone in transgender bars.


First is safety; second is safety — you get my point, right?


The trans community is very accommodating, but you can’t expect anyone in the bars to babysit you.


Plus, you’ll also be more comfortable with a familiar face who knows how things work in these scenes.


Be friendly — but not too much. Always set clear boundaries and demonstrate you’re someone respectable.


Also, it’s nice to take home a playmate, sure, but I wouldn’t recommend it for your first visit.


Most folks can tell if you’re a new face in the bar and might take advantage of your inexperience and naivete.


Of course, most transgender bars are safe. But you always have to look out for yourself most.


Those are the most important tips. Some additional ones are:


  • Try your best to engage with others. You’re there to mingle, so mingle!
  • When someone says something you don’t like (or you feel offended by), be the bigger person and de-escalate the situation. Better, just ignore and move on. If they persist or what they say border something creepy or harmful, report them immediately.
  • Never drink more than what you can handle. You don’t want to be too embarrassed to come back next time, yeah?


When you think about it, transgender bars are not really that different from regular bars.


There are just more regulations for everyone’s safety and, of course, a more inclusive and diverse clientele.




crossdresser night life


Did you take notes and learn from my long babble about transgender bars? I sure hope you do!


Although there are few transgender bars littered across the country, their mere existence signifies one thing: progress.


Gone are the days when we have to live in the shadows and feel like we’re doing something wrong when we are just trying to have fun and meet like-minded people.


If you’re one of the lucky ones with a close transgender bar (or at least a trans-friendly bar), take full advantage of it!


Not many of us have one in our community. Not all of us have a safe haven to turn to when the pressure of everyday living becomes too much.


Learn everything you can from your first visit, savor the fact that you’re living here today, free to present as you like, and be your authentic self.


FAQs – Transgender Bar


crossdresser night life


What should I wear to a transgender bar?


Go with something that matches your personal aesthetic and, of course, is comfortable.


For your first visit, the best outfit is something easygoing and relaxed.


It’s the time to show off your runway looks. Not when you’re not familiar with the runway yet, at least.


The same goes for your make-up. Go with something simple, not over the top. You can do all those next time!


Is it okay to ask about someone’s transition?


Oh, hunny, no. Especially not if the topic is so far off and you suddenly veer into the “transitioning” queries.


You may be curious, sure, but it doesn’t mean anyone owes you an answer.


This becomes more inappropriate if you’re not close to that someone.


It’s just plain intrusive and can even give you a bad reputation when you have a small trans community in your area.


The best way is to wait for that person to start the topic themselves.


For example, they can share about their future medical procedures concerning transitioning.


Can I bring a non-transgender friend with me?


Unless it’s a strictly “for-transgender folks only” bar, yes, most establishments even urge it.


Aside from the added business, transgender folks get to meet all kinds of people.


Your friend will be educated about the transgender community firsthand.


Just be sure they are not someone rude or hold prejudiced views of the community — that’s just waiting for a disaster to happen.


Also, why would you be friends with someone prejudiced in the first place?


What are some common etiquette rules at a transgender bar?


Just like any respectable bar, transgender bars require respect for each and everyone in the establishment.


Other common etiquette rules rely on this basic rule:


  • Do not be too loud/unruly that you’re disturbing other customers
  • Do not instigate a fight.
  • Report any suspicious activity/person.
  • Settle your tab and only order what you can pay.
  • Enjoy and have fun!


Are all people at transgender bars trans?


No. Mind you, there are not many transgender bartenders.


There are only a few transgender folks in one area at a time, so it’s impossible to have a strict transgender clientele.


Is it offensive to ask someone their pronouns?


Most people from the community will include their pronouns the first time they introduce themselves.


But in case they don’t, it’s perfectly okay to ask for their pronouns.


If you’re uncomfortable being upfront about it, you can use their name until you learn their pronoun.


If you’re the first one to introduce yourself, you can also include your pronoun/s to prompt them to do the same.


Say: “Hi! I’m (Your Chosen Name); I go by him or him.”


How do I handle any discomfort or nervousness I might feel?


Handle it with grace and elegance. Most importantly, handle it with honesty.


Don’t force yourself and voice out what you feel. If you’re with a friend, let that friend know, and they can assist you in leaving.


If you come alone, make sure you pay first to not leave a bad impression and quietly make your way out.


What should I expect on my first visit to a transgender bar?


Oh, you can expect a lot of things!


Generally, first-time transgender bar visitors enjoy good booze, good company, and lots of talk and new people.


If it’s a small bar and you’re in a place with a small trans community, there might not be that many people, but expect it to be a tight-knit hangout spot.


What can I do if I accidentally say something offensive or insensitive?


Apologize immediately! Be sincere and relay that you did not mean any disrespect.


Most reasonable people, upon seeing your genuine remorse, will let it go.


There may be unreasonable ones — unfortunately, the trans community is not free of those — but you already did the right thing.


In this case, you will be blameless.


What you shouldn’t do, though, is to downplay it or ignore it completely.


Even if the person did not react negatively, you still hurt them. It’s not right to hurt anyone’s feelings.


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