Best Gay Bar

Bonham Exchange

Readers' Choice

Winner: Bonham Exchange

411 Bonham

(210) 224-9219

Superlatives like "legendary" and "iconic" get tossed around far too often these days to describe people, places and things that arguably fall short of extraordinary. The Bonham Exchange, however, undeniably deserves those terms. For starters, the downtown landmark is housed in a late 19th-century structure first used as a German athletic club. Ninety years after opening its doors, it transformed into a wildly different type of club at the hands of visionary San Antonio developer and gay nightlife instigator Arthur "Happy" Veltman. Within LGBTQ+ circles of a certain age, everyone has a legendary story set in the iconic locale — whether it's dipping into a fishbowl of complimentary ecstasy (which was legal until 1985) or catching a live performance by one of the many acts that have graced the Bonham stage, from punk pioneers the Ramones to the Queen of Drag herself, RuPaul. While old-schoolers may whine that the Bonham doesn't feel as gay as it once did, the club's open-door policy has undoubtedly contributed to its remarkable staying power as a safe space for all to enjoy. Recently renovated during a 16-month COVID closure, the beloved melting pot is back on the scene and ready to serve up budget cocktails, trash disco, go-go dancers, drag divas and plenty more in between.

2. Pegasus

1402 N. Main Ave.

(210) 299-4222

3. Sparky's Pub

1416 N. Main Ave.

(210) 320-5111

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