Best Of Tucson®

Best Gay Bar


616 N. Fourth Ave.

READERS' PICK: For as long as anyone can remember (which is at least since 1980), inconspicuous IBTs has been just a slip of a door in the windowless building between La Indita Restaurant and Markley's Beauty Salon on Fourth Avenue's northeast stretch. But venture inside on any weekend night, and you'll find one of Tucson's hottest dance clubs gay or straight (hint: this is evidenced by an abundance of people who are actually dancing for the sheer fun of it, without apology or affectation). Darling bartenders sling drinks to the masses, and the best-looking women here are always the men, invariably dressed to the nines and ruling the roost with an infectious joie de vivre. The best thing about IBT's bar culture is its friendly acceptance of all who enter, gay or straight. This, of course, is because only people who appreciate its charms frequent its packed dance floor and cool outdoor patio. For drag queens, college students, musicians and cognoscenti of the hip underground, it's also the place to see and be seen; and for those who want to gaze at the beautiful people, IBTs has the best array of well-dressed men with beautiful bodies you'll find gathered in any one place at one time.

READERS' POLL RUNNER-UP: Stars, 536 N. Fourth Ave. "It's only a paper moon, sailing over a cardboard sea. But it wouldn't be make believe, if you'd believe in me." Another star rises on the North Fourth horizon, and this time it's a piano bar. Its space has a den-like, protected sensibility -- comforting rather than stifling, sort of like an upscale basement. Of a Thursday night, Frasier was showing on one television, closed-captioned for true viewing pleasure, while Dow-Jones averages engaged the other. Candles flickered in the low-lit lounge, and a mirror ball beckoned from above the dance floor. A varied jukebox fills in between acts (there are three revolving acts, weekly). By press time, the management expected to have a full-service kitchen up and running.