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Arenas District Guide

arenas district hunters

This is home.

By Randy Garner

The Arenas District in Palm Springs and the Castro District in San Francisco are two neighborhoods that have a lot in common. While they share some similarities, they also have unique characteristics that make them stand out.

The Arenas District in Palm Springs is known for its vibrant nightlife scene. The district is home to several bars, retail stores, and great places to grab a bite to eat. The Arenas District also boasts a midcentury style in architecture, which adds to its charm.

Dean Lavine, owner of Blackbook and the Evening Citizen in the Arenas District notes, “This is home. We have thriving businesses that represent some of the best that Palm Springs has to offer. Our shops are for everyone under the rainbow.”

On the other hand, the Castro District in San Francisco is known for its rich history and culture. The neighborhood is considered the heart of the LGBTQ+ community in the city and is steeped in activism and progressive politics. The neighborhood is also known for its bustling commercial area that offers a wide range of shops and restaurants.

arenas district drag crossing

One of the biggest similarities between these two neighborhoods is the commitment to diversity and inclusivity. Both the Arenas District and the Castro District have a strong sense of community and are welcoming to people from all walks of life.

Whether you’re looking for nightlife, culture, or simply a great place to explore, the Palm Springs Arenas District s is well worth a visit.

Let’s explore the Arenas District.

Visit Palm Springs arenas district

Arenas District Gay Bars

Chill Bar

Chill Bar is decorated with an eclectic mix of retro and modern elements. The outdoor patio is the perfect spot to sip on your drink while taking in the stunning views of the surrounding mountains. And speaking of drinks, the bar offers a wide range of beer and cocktails to choose from.

But, Chill Bar isn’t just about the drinks and ambiance; it’s also a hub for events and entertainment. From bingo nights to drag shows to a Sunday brunch, there’s always something going on at this popular spot. And, let’s not forget about the music, which ranges from classic hits to the latest pop tunes, ensuring that everyone can dance the night away.

Arenas district chill bar

Hunters Palm Springs

Known for its atmosphere, friendly staff, and frequent events and parties, Hunters is a must visit when in the Arenas District. The venue features a huge dance floor, outdoor patio, multiple bars, and a stage for live entertainment. Hunters draws an eclectic mix throughout the week, like Fur Friday. It’s where bears gather for a cheap happy hour in the afternoon, but by nightfall, it transforms. Here you will find a mixed crowd. Certain nights you’ll also find drag queen bingo, trivia or karaoke.

arenas district hunters

Quadz

Quadz is part of the row of bars in the Arenas District, the center of Palm Springs nightlife. This musical theater video bar isn’t just a favorite place to grab a drink, it’s a local favorite for belting out show tunes. It’s a place where people come together for friendship, cocktails, and the most fun Broadway sing-along you’ll ever experience. You would think this was a ticked event. Even if Barbra Streisand belting “Don’t Rain On My Parade” or Jennifer Holliday’s 1982 Tony Awards performance are unknown songs to you, by the end of night, you’ll be a trained expert.

Streetbar

The Streetbar is a historic gay bar that has been in operation since the 1990s, when Palm Springs was a bit of a sleepy town. The bar quickly became popular for its lively atmosphere, friendly staff, and fun events.

Over the years, the Streetbar has played host to numerous drag shows, karaoke nights, live entertainment and other special events. It has also become one of the most popular destinations for locals and visitors alike, thanks in part to its prime location and reputation for inclusivity. It’s like the show Cheers where “everybody knows your name” (and bartenders know your drink).

arenas district streetbar

Blackbook

Blackbook blurs the lines between being a bar and a restaurant. The name is inspired by the Nevada Gaming Commission’s “black book” of excluded persons. Not here. This Blackbook is an inclusion bar. It also features the largest whiskey selection in Palm Springs.

Their food menu became an overnight hit. It’s a gay bar, but whenever you’re there, people are eating.  They accidentally became a restaurant because their food is so good. Everything is made fresh in-house. Amazing burgers, Nashville hot chicken, and their signature Palm Springs Style nachos. Try them all!

Outdoor dining at Blackbook

Dick’s on Arenas

Dick’s on Arenas is gay owned, gay operated, and for the gay community. They offer an atmosphere where pretentiousness and judgment are left behind. The theme is Leather and Levi, but all are welcome, so come as you are.  Open until 2 am nightly.

Evening Citizen

This speakeasy is more of a luxury lounge than a bar, hidden in the center of the Arenas District, waiting to be discovered. It’s unsigned and unadvertised, as you would expect from a speakeasy of the 1920’s. You will need to first make a reservation and then the location will be revealed. To get inside, you will need to locate the hidden entrance. Your GPS may not help you here. Phone use and photos are not permitted. You won’t be disappointed. Make that reservation.

Arenas District Restaurants

While many of the bars on Arenas serve food, Sonny’s Bar & Grill is the newest restaurant. They offer a Sunrise Menu served from 8 am – 2 pm with your favorite American style selections. The Grand Breakfast includes buttermilk pancakes or French toast, 2 eggs, maple smoked bacon or sausage, medallion fries (sliced potatoes), and a choice of bun. The Sunset Menu is served 4 – 9 pm. The Arenas District Surf & Turf includes a 12 oz ribeye steak and tiger shrimp served with mashed potatoes and veggies.

Sonny's Bar and Grill

Arenas District Retail

Division Menswear

Rev up your style and head to Division in the heart of the Arenas District, where you can shop and incredible mix of seasonal items and year-round essentials. Division’s clothing selection ranges from casual to dressy, with an emphasis on pieces that can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion. The store carries a mix of known brands as well as up-and-coming designers. In addition to clothing, Division also offers a wide selection of jewelry and accessories, including sunglasses, scarves, and hats.

GayMart USA

GayMart boasts a large selection of swimwear and undies. Gay brands include Andrew Christian, Sauvage, and Whittal & Shon. From poolside to clubbing, they have a great selection of fun and frisky attire that’s otherwise hard to find. You might find a few playthings there too.

clothes on racks at gaymart

Rough Trade Gear

Rough Trade Gear specializes in leather gear, fetish-wear, and adult toys. The store offers a wide selection of products including boots, harnesses, jockstraps, chaps, and more for men who enjoy the leather and fetish scene.

Bear Wear

Bear Wear is a boutique store nestled in the heart of Arenas District. They offer men’s fashion, jewelry, home accessories and gifts. The current owners, Philip and Bruce, took ownership in 2014 reenergizing the store and enlarging the customer base.  Since then they have been selecting unique items, taking pride in hand selecting products. Their purpose is to bring fashion and style to all in the community, recognizing that not all can have the “perfect body” and that some customers prefer a more mature and robust body type.

arenas district bear wear

Others in the Arenas District

Daddy’s Barbershop

Owner Arlen Lasater came to Palm Springs from San Francisco where he owned a nine-chair barbershop in the Castro District. He was also on the Board of Directors in charge of security for the Folsom Street Fair. Now in the Arenas District, he welcomes the LGBTQ+ community in a friendly and safe environment. Creating sexy cuts and striving to be the best community barbershop.

Daddys Barbershop

Johannes

Johannes is owned and operated by Chef Johannes Bacher, who has gained a reputation for his expertly crafted modern European cuisine. The menu at Johannes features a range of dishes influenced by Chef Bacher’s Austrian heritage, as well as his travels throughout Europe and the United States. Some of the standout dishes include the wiener schnitzel, beef stroganoff, and the roasted duck breast. The restaurant also offers an extensive wine list that complements the flavors of the food perfectly.

Arenas District Events

Halloween on Arenas

Palm Springs Halloween on Arenas is where you will find all the action.  It kicks off  with a tea dance in the afternoon. As the sun sets, the live music begins on the stage. There is also a much anticipated costume contest with cash prizes.

Greater Palm Springs Pride

The annual block party at the Arenas District during Palm Springs Pride events is the annual block party, which is always a lively and colorful affair.  There will be live music performances, drag shows, dance parties, and more throughout the weekend. Favorite LGBTQ bars and local businesses play host to the biggest free LGBTQ street party in Palm Springs. The streets will be packed with Pride revelers, dancers, and an open-air beverage lounge. Everyone is invited to celebrate in Arenas District. There will be dancing in the street all night.

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