The Best LGBTQ Tourist Destinations in the St. Pete/Clearwater Area
St. Pete/Clearwater is known for its picturesque sunsets, award-winning beaches, delicacies specific to Florida’s western coast and a blossoming network of tourists. Over the past few years, the St. Pete/Clearwater area solidified its stature as a tourist destination with ample options for LGBTQ tourists to explore. Here are some of the top establishments to check out.
Cocktail St. Pete
Cocktail opened just over a year and a half ago on May 7, 2021, on Central Avenue in St. Petersburg. The bar and nightclub introduced St. Pete to a unique chandelier composed of multicolored slinkies and toys. The centerpiece attracts thousands of tourists, and locals, to stop by for a drink or two and share a chat while the resident DJs shuffle the poppiest tunes on the radio.
Each night at Cocktail has a theme. Put your cowboy boots on and boot, scoot and boogie over to Monday Night Hoedown, where you can live out your dreams as a line dancer. If country music isn’t the vibe you seek, stop by on Wednesdays for Fresh Start Drag Showcase. Anyone interested in performing can sign up starting at 9:30 p.m. Looking for more acapella-style fun? The Big Gay singalong takes place every Thursday at 7 p.m. A pianist keys popular show tunes and classic songs for Cocktail’s patrons to shout and sing along.
The Saint Speakeasy
Located through a secret passageway in Cocktail, this speakeasy presents a religious-themed space, but one appealing to sinners. For admittance into The Saint, patrons must confess their sins to the nun waiting at the door. If you fail to comply, you will not be granted admission into the speakeasy. However, if you follow the rules and choose to confess your sins, you will step into the quite literal red room.
As Cocktail themes its drinks around sexual innuendos and puns, The Saint takes a religious approach. The bartenders here are not bartenders but rather Resident Mischief Makers in charge of mixing libations for the sinners. Name one of the seven deadly sins and indulge in an accompanying cocktail. Hungry? Gloss over the Small Bite menu, complete with options like Skewers of Sacrament or Unorthodox Olives.
For LGBTQ entertainment, The Saint hosts a burlesque show every Wednesday, Burlesque By the Beautiful Ladies of Femmes and Follies.
Marketed as “the sexiest, all-welcoming, Gay/LGBTQ bar in the St. Pete/Clearwater area,” this Largo bar hosts many parties, events and drink specials daily. Most events begin after 9 p.m., like Undie Sunday, which features $3 well drinks, pool access and bartenders and patrons clad in skivvies.
Are you a bingo connoisseur? Beginning at 8 p.m. on Thursdays, Drag Queen Alexis De La Mer hosts Drag Bingo. Yearning for feisty fun? Get your diva on with Diva Saturdays. Every Saturday at 10:30 p.m. and midnight, Quench hosts diva drag shows.
If you want to test your trivia skills, stop by on Thursdays for Big Gay Trivia. Starting at 8 p.m. Miranda Marie Sugarbaker hosts Big Gay Trivia night with gift cards and discounted drinks for prizes.
You’re not in Florida without access to lovely beaches, and you’re not in St. Pete/Clearwater without a vast selection of gay beaches. Sunset is the official gay beach of the Southeast region, for withstanding historical purposes. Sunset Beach lies on the southernmost point of Treasure Island and many years ago, the beach housed the gay bar, Bedrox, making the beach a must-see for LGBTQ visitors and residents. Although the bar is long gone, the beach continues to attract LGBTQ patrons daily.
Tiki huts and restaurants dot Sunset Beach, so visitors will never run out of scenery or activities. Stop by Sunset Beach to catch a glimpse of a mesmerizing crimson sunset specific to St. Pete/Clearwater, or spend the day in the cool water, looking for shells or other sea creatures.
Another LGBTQ-friendly beach that sticks out is Pass-a-Grille beach. The neighboring communities surrounding Pass-a-Grille beach have large populations of LGBTQ residents, making this beach a safe space and a great attraction for LGBTQ visitors or locals looking for a less crowded, laid-back beach. To get to Pass-a-Grille beach, you have to drive out of the St. Pete Beach and into the residential beach town, Pass-a-Grille, which makes this beach less popular than other larger ones like Sunset Beach. But, since Pass-a-Grille beach is a drive away from the mainland, fewer tourists find themselves exploring this charming destination.
The sand is soft, the water is clear, and the view is fantastic. While strolling down the silky sand of Pass-a-grille beach, you will notice one-of-a-kind houses erected a bit behind the beach entrance and a gargantuan pink building, otherwise known as the famous Don CeSar.
Daddies Donuts and Delites
Debuting a few months after Cocktail’s grand opening, the LGBTQ-owned Daddies Donuts launched. Daddies Donuts and Delites started as a vision birthed during the COVID lockdown. The four men in charge of the establishment met weekly during COVID and brainstormed ideas for dessert shops. Flash forward two years, and their donut shop offers the most delectable donuts in the St. Pete/Clearwater Area.
St. Pete/Clearwater is home to several LGBTQ destinations, and while we couldn’t list them all, you can visit FloridasLargestPride.com for more information.