By: Jonathan Bigall, Renzo Pocasangre and Anthony Ngo
East Broadway Street during the day is well known in Long Beach for its rainbow-painted crosswalks and businesses along the street displaying rainbow and other specific LGBTQ+ flags by their front doors.
When the sun goes down though, Broadway also has its own nightlife scene at the gay and gay-friendly bars on the street, all within walking distance of each other.
The Brit, Mineshaft, The Falcon, Sweetwater Saloon and Broadway Cocktail Lounge have a few things in common. Omitting the Falcon, they all have at least one or two pool tables and most drinks are priced reasonably between $4 to $8.
The Mineshaft, right next-door to The Brit, was where friendly bar patrons Kevin Wood and Garrett Gomez spend their time relaxing with a game of billiards and well-made cocktails.
Kevin Wood is a musician in Long Beach who made his way from Wyoming to pursue his passion in singing and piano.
Whenever Wood is not busy performing at local wine bars The Winery and District Wine, he loves spending time with his partner Gomez, enjoying the vibrance of LGBTQ+ nightlife in Long Beach.
These establishments are great local dive-bar options and a great way to engage with the LGBTQ+ community.
The Broadway Cocktail Lounge hosts Thirsty Thursdays for even cheaper priced drinks and live karaoke on Fridays and Saturdays every week.
Andrew Kent, one of the bartenders at The Broadway Cocktail Lounge, said he loves to connect and serve the community.
The neighboring bar, Sweetwater Saloon, provides a rich and casual environment to play pool and lounge. Well-Fare Wednesdays, at Sweetwater Saloon, have drinks priced as low as $2.50, even offering free pool to bar patrons.
Terry Watts, 12-year bartender and 2-year manager at the Sweetwater Saloon, said that the bars historically accept cash only because credit card statements left too much of a paper trail when it was looked down upon to go to LGBTQ+ bars.
“[People who live near Broadway] all walk here, so usually when all their jobs are done or their days are done, especially service and bar workers, they’ll come to Broadway,” Watts said. “These [bars] are the bread and butter of the community.”
The Brit has English-themed decorum and art and patrons can relax in booths and watch tv or play pool.
Local drag queens also visit the bar periodically, like Madame Ozma, a Long Beach native nightlife entertainer, who did tarot readings at The Brit during the night of Oct. 6.
The Falcon, generally described as a place most people end their nights on Broadway, has no pool tables but has a large dance floor next to the bar. While it is smaller than the other bars, it has its own charm with fast-paced music and lights.
Despite being LGBTQ-friendly bars specifically, the bars on East Broadway are welcoming environments for anybody. Long Beach residents should consider putting these on the list for their next night out.