Navigating New York City's gay nightlife scene can become a part time job. Attitude, judgment, ease of getting a drink, and finding your Mr. Right—or Mr. Right Now!—are all factors that come into play when looking for a nice night out on the town.

I've been hitting the NYC bar scene since I was 17 years old, and though I had a fake ID at the time, I didn't order booze. It was a personal choice I made so that the places wouldn't lose their liquor license. Bottom line: I've been working hard at this research for most of my (almost) adult life.

Below, my reviews of some notable NYC gay bars. I visited as many places as I could by neighborhood and included options from all of the boroughs except the Bronx, which appears not to have a single gay bar. What's up with that?

Native New Yorker Eddie Going talks about some of his favorite gay bars in the city; be sure to leave yours in the comments.

MANHATTAN

Chelsea and East:

Boxers NYC: With a faux boxing ring in its center that doubles as a DJ booth, this is my go-to happy hour spot during any given day of the week. Its central location on 6th avenue and 20th Street below the former Limelight helps make it a nice meeting spot for post-work drinks. However, the layout is a little odd. There isn't lot of seating and a few of the walkways get easily crowded; if you stand in them, you'll be getting banged all night (and not in a good way). The pool tables are also awkwardly placed—if you're not careful you'll get hit in the ass with a pool stick.

The bar serves brick oven pizza, wings, guacamole and fries to go along with their "sports bar" theme, regardless of the fact that no one is watching any sports on the televisions. The bartenders will spend their time telling you how "straight" they are—it doesn't matter to me if you're gay or straight as long as you're interested in getting me a drink. On busy Fridays and Saturdays, be prepared to wait 10 - 15 minutes for a drink. While Boxers has three designated GENIUS "service only" areas, they are not enforced and are sometimes ignored by the bartenders. They also have a "VIP" area in the front of the bar but sometimes this space gets double booked and it can become a shit show.

Happy Hour: Yes
Food: Yes
Outdoor space: Yes, but VERY smoky!
Frozen drinks: Yes but the drink machines aren't usually turned on right away and so they're not frozen. And they're not BOGO during happy hour.
DJ: Sometimes as it hits 9/10PM.
Cruisy: Yes
Cruisy restrooms: Yes, with no dividers between the urinals which is a pet peeve of mine.
Crowd: Mixed ages, mostly young. Pretentious crowd.
Good for groups?: Yes

Boxers Flatiron is located at 37 West 20th Street, (212) 255-5082; boxersnyc.com

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XES Lounge (via Foursquare)

XES: A friend of mine named Kyle is at XES almost every night of the week and he's the one who first introduced me to this spot. I've always had a great time here; the bartenders are attentive and make a damn good cocktail. Plus, there's an outdoor area that's large enough to designate smoking versus non-smoking in case you just want to enjoy your drink on a nice breezy night without clouds of smoke in your face. The cocktail servers are fast and make the rounds throughout the inside and outside. My only gripe is that the restrooms are dark and cruisy and the place, overall, is small.

Happy Hour: Yes
Food: No
Outdoor space: Yes
Frozen drinks: No
DJ: Yes and they take requests.
Cruisy: Half and half
Cruisy restrooms: Yes
Crowd: Mixed ages. Relaxed.
Good for groups?: Yes

XES Lounge is located at 157 West 24th Street, (212) 604-0212; xesnyc.com

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Gym Sportsbar (via Facebook)

Gym Sportsbar: Gym Sportsbar's whole thing is being a relaxed, no attitude, no BS bar and they certainly deliver. The bartenders are personable, the space is cozy, and their frozen drinks are powerful; the others cocktails, not so much. Contrary to the name, the overall vibe of Gym Bar is very anti-Chelsea-gym-boy-with-sculpted-eyebrows-and-a-spray-tan—and sometimes that's not such a bad thing. But they've got items for the sportsman, including a pool table and those funny urinal soccer games. Speaking of the bathroom, it's only mildly private, so be prepared to prop your leg up against the door while using it or have a friend guard it for you if you're like me!

Happy Hour: Yes
Food: No
Outdoor space: Yes - the front of the bar is a small, crowded, smoky, gated patio space.
Frozen drinks: Yes
DJ: Yes
Cruisy: Moderate
Cruisy restrooms: Yes
Crowd: Mixed ages. Non-pretentious.
Good for groups?: No

Gym Sportsbar is located at 167 8th Avenue, (212) 337-2439; gymsportsbar.com

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G Lounge (via Foursquare)

G Lounge: G Lounge was one of my first regular hot spots when I started feeling out the gay scene about 10 years ago. It used to be the place to go on a Friday or Saturday night but I don't know what's happening here lately. The walls seem like they've been under construction for about two years now; I'm told it's some type of "art project" that has yet to be finished. They have excellent drinks but at not-so-excellent prices; try my favorite Rum Punch and request that it's shaken. The DJ is absent some of the time and occasionally you'll find go-go dancing on the bar. The bartenders are there to make money and aren't very friendly, sadly, with the exception of Achilles. I'm sorry G. I don't know what happened to you. My friend Gary suggested that they're closing down and just riding out the lease.

Happy Hour: Yes (you might have to remind the bartender though!)
Food: No
Outdoor space: No
Frozen drinks: No
DJ: Sometimes
Cruisy: Yes
Cruisy restrooms: No
Crowd: Mixed
Good for groups?: Yes

G Lounge is located at 225 West 19th Street, (212) 929-1085; glounge.com

West Village:

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Monster (via Foursquare)

Monster: The award for most eclectic crowd goes to this West Village staple. You can see anyone from 21- to 100-years-old having a drink here on any given night. The space features two levels of drinking area and a piano for when you feel like singing an old Broadway tune. Be forewarned: their frozen margarita will knock you on your ASS! The bartenders here are highly skilled, extremely attentive, and they take actual note of who's really next. The area around the bar is a congested squeeze but it opens up as you go to the back with some split level seating as well.

Happy Hour: Yes
Food: No
Outdoor space: No
Frozen drinks: Yes
DJ: Piano
Cruisy: Half and half
Cruisy restrooms: There is a random toilet sitting in the middle of the restroom, so if you're sitting there reading the newspaper, you'll have an audience.
Crowd: The most mixed I've ever seen.
Good for groups?: No

Monster is located at 80 Grove Street, (212) 924-3558; manhattan-monster.com

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Julius' (via Foursquare)

Julius': Deemed New York's oldest gay bar, as well as Greenwich Village's oldest bar, Julius' is another haunt that has it figured out. It's a bit of a dive bar with an older crowd, although youngsters do trickle in on varied evenings. They make one of the best bar burgers in NYC, their drinks are cheap, and they have a nice amount of seating in the back of the venue away from the crowds up front.

Happy Hour: Yes
Food: Yes
Outdoor space: No
Frozen drinks: No
DJ: Jukebox
Cruisy: Not really
Cruisy restrooms: No
Crowd: Mixed
Good for groups?: No

Julius' is located at 159 West 10th Street, (212) 243-1928; juliusbarnyc.com

The Hangar: For the most ethnically mixed crowd that I've seen at a gay bar, The Hangar takes the cake. Their bartenders make a wicked strong drink and on weekends you can find go-go boys who will take their whole ass out for the right amount of money. The bar area can be a little tight but as you walk to the back of the venue, it opens up for some breathing room.

Happy Hour: Yes
Food: No
Outdoor space: No
Frozen drinks: No
DJ: Yes
Cruisy: Half and half
Cruisy restrooms: Half and half.
Crowd: Mixed and extremely diverse
Good for groups?: No

The Hangar is located at 115 Christopher Street, (212) 627-2044

Hell's Kitchen:

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Therapy (via Foursquare)

Therapy: Therapy is the quintessential Hell's Kitchen hot spot and it has it all: comfort food, dancing, two levels and polite cocktail servers. Just avoid the nasty DJs, who DO NOT make any song requests! They feature seating and full bars both upstairs and down, as well as music videos projected onto a screen in the upstairs area. It's a spacious venue with an easy crowd; I'm always pleased to be invited there. My only quibble: what's with the teeny tiny ottoman-style seats on their upstairs level? I'm over 6'3" tall so getting down on one of those is a dance all its own.

Happy Hour: Yes
Food: Yes! MMM!
Outdoor space: No
Frozen drinks: No
DJ: Yes but NO requests!
Cruisy: Half and half
Cruisy restrooms: The front part of the restroom is all stalls. If you walk to the back to the urinals, it's cruisy.
Crowd: Mixed
Good for groups?: Yes

Therapy is located at 348 West 52nd Street, (212) 397-1700; therapy-nyc.com

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Industry (via Foursquare)

Industry: Industry is Therapy's across-the-street rival, and aside from the booze they sell, they are total opposites. Industry is dark, dank, and somewhat smoky even though there's no smoking allowed. Bouncers guard the main entrance and smoking area and will abrasively ask for your ID no matter how many times you've gone in and out bouncing between Therapy and Industry.

It's spacious for a one-level bar, features uninvolved bartenders, small glasses, and a stage area where you'll occasionally find a drunk guy dancing like Robyn in her "Call Your Girlfriend" music video. Take that how you will. Their layout is a little bit like a fort, with walls all around and pockets that break loose and allow for an easy flow, meaning it's relatively easy to lose someone you're not very interested in. Random couches make for good areas to have a small-large sized group of friends there for a happy hour or birthday get together. Careful with the sometimes-unattended coat check area; my friend Ed's coat was stolen here.

Happy Hour: Yes
Food: No
Outdoor space: No
Frozen drinks: No
DJ: Yes and he/she takes requests.
Cruisy: Yes
Cruisy restrooms: Yes. Very bright but very cruisy.
Crowd: Mixed
Good for groups?: Yes

Industry is located at 355 West 52nd Street, (646) 476-2747; industry-bar.com

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Boxers HK (via Foursquare)

Boxers HK: With the success of Boxers in Chelsea, I was very hopeful about their new Hell's Kitchen location, which opened this past summer. I'm sorry to report that it falls short. The bar is multi-leveled and while the summertime rooftop has its appeal, Boxers makes it very limited. You are assigned a seat, given plastic cups, and are not allowed to walk around.

The hostess is usually a very polite drag queen whose main talking point of the night centers around the phrase, "The roof is full." Boxers HK also has a front seating area and I have occasionally seen an orderly line for getting a drink at the bar, a sign of civility I think EVERY slammed bar should have. I've been there on more than one occasion when the downstairs bathroom has flooded and I've also seen my fair share of bar brawls at Boxers HK—don't take the boxing gloves literally!

Happy Hour: Yes
Food: Yes
Outdoor space: Exclusive rooftop
Frozen drinks: Yes
DJ: Yes
Cruisy: Very
Cruisy restrooms: Yes
Crowd: Young, mixed
Good for groups?: Yes

Boxers Hell's Kitchen is located at 742 9th Avenue, (212) 255-5082; boxersnyc.com

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9th Ave Saloon (via Foursquare)

9th Avenue Saloon: One of the only bars that serves fresh popcorn, the 9th Ave Saloon is a quaint, attitude-free dive bar in Hell's Kitchen with a very attentive staff. I've been invited here by people in their 20s as well as people in their 70s—it's a nicely mixed crowd with no pretense. Their resident bartender, Joey, makes a damn good Sex on the Beach. Treat yaself!

Happy Hour: Yes
Food: Free freshly popped popcorn
Outdoor space: No
Frozen drinks: No
DJ: Yes
Cruisy: Not really
Cruisy restrooms: No
Crowd: Mixed
Good for groups?: No

9th Avenue Saloon is located at 659 9th Avenue, (212) 307-1503; facebook.com/9thAveSaloon

Washington Heights:

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No Parking Bar (via Facebool)

No Parking Bar: No Parking is considered one of the most upscale bars in Washington Heights (or is it now Hudson Heights? Or Washington Hills?). My friends have described No Parking as having the hottest go-go dancers around who put on a mind-blowing, sexually-charged dances. Mainly mixed with a predominantly ethnic crowd, No Parking accepts all shades and ages. It has also been described as the new Splash Bar New York (now closed) but without the dance floor.

Happy Hour: Yes
Food: No
Outdoor space: No
Frozen drinks: No
DJ: Yes
Cruisy: Yes
Cruisy restrooms: Yes
Crowd: Mixed
Good for groups?: Yes

No Parking Bar is located at 4168 Broadway, (212) 923-8700; facebook.com/NoParkingBar

BROOKLYN

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Metropolitan (via Yelp)

Metropolitan: This hole-in-the-wall Hipster dumpster dive was NOT the place for me. I recently ranted about it after being invited there for a birthday party. Surrounded by ironic beards and Pabst Blue Ribbon beers, if you're in from Missouri, Wisconsin, Iowa, or Ohio, you'll find many NYC transplants using this bar as their local watering hole. The drinks were not-so-cheap (except the PBRs) and there were two fireplaces going while the heat was on. Ironic? I don't have time for that. They do have a sweet backyard area that was covered in snow that seems like it would be very nice during the summer.

Happy Hour: Yes
Food: No
Outdoor space: Yes
Frozen drinks: No
DJ: Yes
Cruisy: No
Cruisy restrooms: No
Crowd: Mixed, lots of women
Good for groups?: In the backyard area, yes. Otherwise no

Metropolitan is located at 559 Lorimer Street, 718-599-4444; metropolitanbarny.com

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Excelsior (via Foursquare)

Excelsior: ‎I first went to Excelsior back in my younger years but, as I said earlier, I never ordered any alcohol. When they discovered I was underage, I was thrown out, as it should be. It's a small bar with a jukebox and a very friendly staff. They also have an outdoor area that is mainly reserved for smoking. When in Park Slope, you take a trip to Excelsior. True story: I once ran into Atreyu from The Neverending Story outside. It changed my life.

Happy Hour: Yes
Food: No
Outdoor space: Yes, but mostly for smokers.
Frozen drinks: No
DJ: Jukebox
Cruisy: Half and half
Cruisy restrooms: No
Crowd: Mixed
Good for groups?: No

Excelsior is located at 390 5th Avenue, (718) 832-1599; excelsiorbrooklyn.com

QUEENS

Icon Bar: Even though it's got bar in the name, this Astoria hotspot is most certainly a club. It's filled with Queens locals who don't want to venture into Manhattan, but if you make the reverse commute up to Queens, you're in for a fun time. The decor is campy and the staff are friendly and attentive. It was established in 2013 and is open seven days a week.

Happy Hour: Yes
Food: No
Outdoor space: No
Frozen drinks: No
DJ: Yes
Cruisy: Yes
Cruisy restrooms: Half and half
Crowd: Mixed
Good for groups?: Yes

Icon Bar is located at 31-84 33rd Street, (347) 808-7592; iconastoria.com

STATEN ISLAND

Eve Ultra Lounge: Eve Ultra Lounge is filled with manicured eyebrows and a very Growing Up Gotti-like crowd. Though they don't operate full-time as a gay bar, lots of NJ gays drive over the bridge to hit up this Staten Island hotspot; as far as I know it's the only gay or gay-friendly bar on the Island. The soundtrack skews a little too techno for my taste—and it can get loud—but there's typically a mix of different styles. Best of all, the bar features an outdoor patio space, which is an added bonus during the warmer months. N.B.: check their calendar before getting on the ferry, as they only do LGBT events once a month. Also, they let in 18+ folks; take that how you will.

Happy Hour: Yes
Food: No
Outdoor space: Yes
Frozen drinks: No
DJ: Yes
Cruisy: Yes
Cruisy restrooms: Half and half
Crowd: Mixed, young
Good for groups?: Yes

Eve Ultra Lounge is located at 2354 Arthur Kill Road, (718) 605-1000; eveultralounge.com

Eddie Going is a native New Yorker, a media personality and a subway vigilante who loves scuba diving, bottomless brunching, and lip-synching to Richard Marx. Follow his adventures on Instagram.