Travelers heading to Phoenix will discover a world-class city filled with outstanding museums and galleries, some of the best resorts in the entire world, and award-winning restaurants to please even the most discerning palates. These exceptional culinary offerings include nine phenomenal LGBTQ establishments serving up delectable food and drinks in the Valley of the Sun. Join us as we explore the exciting dining scene in one of the most gay-friendly cities in the USA.
Bliss ReBAR is a unique concept. It’s part gay bar and part restaurant. Yes, you can come for drag shows at night, but you can also come for some excellent meals. In fact, ReBAR is even open for lunch and has an incredibly popular outdoor patio that provides some great views of the downtown buildings.
Casual plates include burgers, tacos, and even nachos made with their homemade pickled jalapenos. For weekend brunch, diners can enjoy classic omelets and sinful treats like chicken and waffles and the “Ooh La La French Toast” which is made using pretzel bread and topped with cream cheese icing and real maple syrup.
Charlie’s is one of Pheonix’s most popular gay bars. But Charlie’s also operates an incredibly popular taco truck called Charlie’s Tacos. Their classic taco comes with all the fixings, like guac, cabbage, and salsa. But the food truck is churning out more than just tacos. They’re also serving up some outstanding burritos and quesadillas. Even better, patrons can quench their thirst with a glass of freshly made horchata or Agua de Jamaica (hibiscus), providing a sweet and refreshing way to beat the heat. Best of all, unlike most food trucks that require foodies to locate them in various locations around town, Charlie’s Tacos is always parked right next to the nightclub, making it easy to find (and a great way to refuel after a long night of dancing).
FEZ is an awesome queer-owned establishment that’s rocking out one hell of a drink menu, as well as some of the best meals in Phoenix. Their drink menu consists of a wide variety of vodka drinks, as well as an exotic martini menu consisting of concoctions like the Cherry Bomb, made using cherry vodka, lemon juice, cherry puree, and lemonade. FEZ even has a large non-alcoholic cocktail menu, with standout hits like the Mediterranean Fizz, made with berry puree, grapefruit juice, and fresh rosemary.
For their meals, FEZ is (like many other restaurants in Arizona) inspired by their proximity to the Mexican border. So, tacos are on the menu! But so is a wide-ranging burger menu, and even Italian-style pasta. The only thing wilder than FEZ’s menu combination is how well they’re able to do it all (FEZ has a 4.5-star rating on TripAdvisor). And be sure not to miss their weekend brunch, which is just as varied as their weekday menu, complete with curried eggs and spiced-pear pancakes.
Out and proud Chef Silvana Esparza uses her restaurants, such as Barrio Cafe, to honor Mexican cooking. Her food has been called “delicious”, “exceptional”, “spectacular”, and more. Chef Esparza only uses the freshest and most authentic ingredients in her food. Diners can enjoy dishes like pollo en mole, where spice-rubbed chicken is served with mole, corn tortillas, pickled red onion, Yucatan style pico de gallo, chili oil, and more.
But Chef Silvana Esparza’s mission goes beyond food. She’s an avid fighter for equality and fights for LGBTQ and immigration rights. In the past, she’s shuttered her restaurants as a form of protest during the Day Without Immigrants in 2017, and she even served free meals to federal employees during the government shutdown. A dining experience at Barrio Cafe goes far beyond food. It’s a journey into culture, advocacy, and the personal story of Chef Esparza.
In the mood for some Southern cooking that’s been transplanted to the Southwest? Chef Jason Peterson at Switch Restaurant and Wine Bar is doing just that, and he’s doing it to rave reviews. Diners can expect some staple dishes like collard greens, cheesy grits, and even catfish po’boys. But they can also enjoy some new takes on the well-established cuisine.
Take the “South Bound Drump Truck” sandwich for example (which, at Switch, are pronounced as “sammiches”). Chef Peterson tops a hearty pretzel bun with crispy fried chicken, onion jam, bacon, tomatoes, lettuce, tabasco maple mayo, and crispy onion. Like all other popular restaurants in Phoenix, Switch also does a phenomenal brunch, offering up hefty portions of chilaquiles, shrimp and grits, and even house-baked quiche.
The Coronado is a vegetarian take on a classic cafe. They serve the staples like sandwiches, salads, and soups – but all with a vegan and vegetarian twist. The cobb salad replaces the bacon with roasted chickpeas, the burger is made from beet and quinoa, and the chili doesn’t get its hearty flavor from beef, but instead, coffee!
The restaurant also has a fully stocked bar that specializes in local beers and wines, as well as house-made cocktails. From 10 A.M. – 2 P.M. every weekend, The Coronado also features a rotating brunch special, which is an awesome culinary adventure for any vegan or vegetarian who is looking to try something new.
Juan Alberto Ayala and his partner Alexis Carbajal founded Phoenix Coqui in 2017. Alexis used his business knowledge to take over the business aspect of the truck, and Juan brought his 15 years of restaurant experience and love of Puerto Rican food to become the truck’s head cook. Together, the couple has started serving what many say is the best Puerto Rican food in all of Arizona.
Visitors to the truck can try empanadillas (filled dough pockets, fried to perfection), tostones (fried plantains), quesitos (puff pastry dessert), and more. When ordering something to drink, make sure to try their delicious jugo de parcha (passionfruit juice). For a taste of the Puerto Rico in the middle of this beautiful desert city, head to the Phoenix Coqui food truck.
Counter seating, high-top tables, concrete walls, and industrial lighting make Original Gravity a restaurant that looks part-diner and part-biker garage. The menu is equally as wild and varied. Diner staples are turned on their heads with dishes like polenta fries and fried buffalo cauliflower. And then there are some truly unique dishes you wouldn’t expect to find, like jackfruit burgers, charred edamame, and even beignets for dessert.
For drinks, diners can order staples like Manhattans and Bloody Marys, or try one of the restaurant’s own creations, like the Blackberry Lemonade Margarita, made with tequila, lemonade, and smashed Berries, all poured into a glass that’s lined with a lemon sugar rim.
Industry PHX doesn’t consider itself a gay bar, instead, they call themselves a “queer space” that’s open and welcoming of everyone. They host popular weekend events like drag brunch, air episodes of Drag Race, and best of all, serve phenomenal food
Appetizers range from pub-inspired delights like fried zucchini bites (served with house-made ranch sauce) to new inventions like fries covered with BBQ pork, coleslaw, and house-made root beer BBQ sauce. Their true specialty, however, is their burgers. Try the delicious Ruben Burger, or have a little fun with their TMNT Pizza Burger (fans of the franchise will surely get that reference.) They even have the Reverse Cowgirl Burger, which is just your average cheeseburger…that’s also loaded with bacon and onion rings.
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