Pretty boys, punishing sun, and a happening gay scene – they don’t call it Hotlanta for nothing!
Everybody meet Jamel! Jamel is a member of the Atlanta Rainbow Trout gay water polo team. After talking online for a little while Jamel invited me down to learn how to join the team for practice and learn how to play water polo. Handsome athletes in tight Speedos with swimmers’ bodies and charming Georgia accents? Yes please!
Unfortunately when I got there the pool the team normally practices in was closed for a swim meet. My hotel ended up having its own pool so, while I didn’t get to live out my gay waterpolo team fantasy, I did get some nice footage of Jamel and I playing in the water (complete with thirst trap shower scenes). To make it up to me, the team invited me out a house party before taking me on a tour of some of Atlanta’s many gay bars. Jamel was also kind enough to take me to the World of Coca-Cola, a 20-acre museum dedicated to all things Coke.
Watch the video to see clips of Jamel and my weekend in Atlanta (and to check out the insane sunburn I manage to get on the FIRST DAY).
BTW, Jamel runs the Atlanta Rainbow Trout website, so go check that out.
Gay Bars in Atlanta
Atlanta has a lot of gay bars. Sixteen to be exact! The bars are spread across the city, but the team mainly showed me around gay neighborhood of Midtown. so that’s what I’m covering here. For some reason 5 of them are in the Ansley shopping complex in the neighborhood called Piedmont, right at the top of the Atlanta Botanical Gardens.
Blake’s is a 30 year old institution in the heart of Midtown. They serve a full lunch menu during the daytime and at night is a popular bar with dancers and special guests like Alex Mecum and Michael Roman. Blake’s is located at 227 10th St NE and opens at 3pm on weekdays and 1 pm on weekends.
Ten is a restaurant during the day and gay club at night. Ten is one block away from Blake’s and patrons tend to bounce between the two. Ten is open Wednesday-Friday 5pm – 3am, Saturday 4 pm – 3 pm, and Sunday 1 pm – 12 am. Tean Atlanta is located at 990 Piedmont Ave NE.
The Eagle is your gay leather bar with pool tables, a patio deck, and all sorts of debaucherous leather events. It is also home to many leather and kink clubs, including the southeast chapter of Onyx, the leather fraternity for gay and bisexual men of color. Atlanta Eagle is located at 6 Ponce De Leon Ave NE.
Black Gay Pride is a weekend long celebration for the black LGBT community in Atlanta. Black Gay Pride takes place on Labor Day Weekend and is spread across the city. There are mixed gender events as well as events that cater specifically to men or women. Events include day and night parties, live performances, community festivals, workshops and seminars, and the closing Annual White Party.
Pride is held in October on the weekend closest to National Coming Out Day. It isn’t in June like everywhere else, because the average temperature in Atlanta is 86 degrees. There’s a long list of events during Pride so plan your weekend and book your stay the at official Pride hotels on their website here.
Every year in July Joining Hearts throws a giant gay pool party to raise funds to support its mission of providing care and housing assistance for people with Atlantans with HIV. Joining Hearts has raised over $1.3 million over the last two decades. The yearly pool party is at the Piedmont Park Aquatic Center and features drag queens and DJs, fabulous boys and fireworks.
Out on Film is an 11 day LGBT film festival that takes places at the end of September. They showcase films from around the world and just celebrated their 30th year!
This annual fundraiser is put on by 6 major Atlanta banks: Bank of America, BB&T, Chase, Regions Bank, SunTrust and Wells Fargo with proceeds benefiting different LGBT charities every year. Banker Pride has raised thousands for charities like The Trevor Project, Georgia Equality, Pride School Atlanta and Voices of Note. The event doesn’t appear to have a set schedule, but is usually at Blake’s or Ten and features live entertainment, drinks, and a silent auction.