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Gay Adelaide's best festivals,bars, events and culture

Note: This page was originally created in October 2010, and last updated in September 2014.

The capital of South Australia, Adelaide was named after a queen, and there’s plenty for contemporary queens to get up to in the city – if you know where to look.

This warm and welcoming city boasts several cultural festivals including the forward-thinking Fringe Festival (the largest arts fest in the southern hemisphere!) and the annual queer-themed FEAST Festival. There’s also gay-friendly venues along with Adelaide’s own gay nightclub Mars Bar.

Adelaide is close to several long beachfronts. Take the Glenelg tram from the centre of the city and in 20 minutes you’ll be on the sand. Head 40km south of the city for Maslins nudist beach.

Foodies will enjoy a wide range of tastes on offer in the city, which even has its own Chinatown. Locals recommend the Art Gallery Restaurant, fancy cupcakes at the Just Tickled Pink café, and drinks at the Wheatsheaf Hotel.

Central Market is a must-do. Find the freshest and tastiest array of items from growers around the state, with amazing displays and friendly faces. Find details here.

Here’s our guide to what’s hot and happening in the capital of South Australia.

The Mars Bar

Open Wednesday-Saturday nights, Mars Bar is Adelaide’s dedicated gay nightclub and your one-stop-shop for drinks, drag shows, dancing and hooking up. Expect commercial europop and retro danceables. Entry costs up to $10 at the weekend, with live shows and DJs. Find Mars Bar at 120 Gouger Street, or on the web here.

The Colonel Light Hotel

This newly-renovated bar in Light Square hosts regular gay nights and shows, as well as live music concerts. Find out more on its Facebook page.

Adelaideans also recommend Sugar and Garage clubs for your big nights out – both attract gay-friendly, mixed crowds.


InTheDark events bring their Swagger party to Adelaide each month at Apple Bar at Synagogue Place. It’s a hip-hop/R’n’B themed gay and lesbian night, with special guest drag queen shows and surprises after midnight. See when the next one’s happening here.

FEAST Festival

Held in November each year, Adelaide’s FEAST Festival is a showcase of all that’s good and queer in the city, including parties, cabaret, films, sports meets and community events.

The festival always opens with a colourful Pride March through the city’s streets, and concludes with a family Picnic in the Park. Don’t miss the erotic and exotic Sleaze Ball too, and enjoy some of FEAST’s many theatre, music and comedy shows.

Find the latest FEAST Festival news on its official website.

Bearstock Festival

Celebrating the city’s bear population, Bearstock is an annual four days and nights of fun, including parties, picnics, arts, pub meets and much more. See Bearstock’s website here.

The Honey party crew also regularly visit Adelaide too. Find out more here.

Adelaide Fringe Festival

Happening over almost a month of summer nights, the largest arts festival in the southern hemisphere is on each February/March, including comedy, music, dance, culture, and a parade through the streets of the city aiming to showcase the wide diversity of South Australia’s citizens. Find out more on the Festival’s website.

Word Adelaide

If you love poetry, short stories, the raw energy of soapbox and the tradition of yarn spinning, competitive Scrabble, indigenous dreaming and language, then Word Adelaide is the place to be. Happening in August, Word Adelaide is a chance for people of all persuasions to be inspired and let their literary imaginations run wild. Find out more on the festival’s website here.


Each March there’s a popular outdoor festival of unique and extraordinary music. Taking place on seven stages in Botanic Park, musicians from across the world come to play at the family-friendly WOMADelaide. See more details here.

All-male venues

Adelaide has two all-male sex-on-premises venue options. Pulteney 431 Sauna (431 Pulteney Street) includes a spa, sauna, steam room, TV lounge, maze and snack bar. Ram Lounge (348A King William Street) is popular with the bear crowd and features a sauna, cruising area and darkroom. Play safe boys!

Legal rights

As far back as 1975, South Australia was the first state in the country to allow legal sexual conduct between men. These days, the state defends its LGBTI citizens with anti-discrimination legislation, but adoptions of children by same-sex couples are currently banned. Currently no gay marriage or civil unions are legal, but it is relatively easy for same-sex couples to prove they are in a defacto relationship and receive many of the same rights opposite-sex couples do.


This local glossy magazine is free to pick up every month from gay and gay-friendly venues across the city. Find Blaze on Facebook here.

Community groups and support

ManTag is Adelaide’s gay and bi men’s network. There are regular pub meet-ups, so head along and enjoy dinner and drinks with the guys. Find details here.

The AIDS Council of South Australia closed in July 2013. Find out what happened here.

Singers unite regularly at rehearsals for the Adelaide Gay and Lesbian Qwire group, a loud and proud flamboyant choir which welcomes new members. Get in touch here.

The Bear Men of Adelaide group plans fun social events for cuddly gay male Adelaideans. Join them here.

Worried about coming out, having relationship issues, or simply needing information about Adelaide’s local LGBTI community? Talk to Gay & Lesbian Community Services, on (08) 8422 8400 for free, confidential and non-judgemental support 7pm-10pm every night. See the GLCS SA website here.

Enjoy your stay in Adelaide and South Australia! Let us know your city tips by leaving a comment below.

Comments arrow left

badamj2000 said on the 26th Oct, 2010

Typo : The sauna 431 'Pultney' St.
A fair article . Bless


AvZ1987 said on the 26th Oct, 2010

Hey Matt...

Typo: Under the LEGAL RIGHTS paragraph - Currently now gay marriage or civil unions are legal...

Should be: Currently no gay marriage...

Matt Akersten

Matt Akersten said on the 26th Oct, 2010

Fixed. Thank-you to both our lovely proof-reading fairies! xx


Light-Bearer said on the 26th Oct, 2010

Hey Matt.

I don't think your full stops are round enough.

fix it thanks

poolboy jackson

poolboy jackson said on the 26th Oct, 2010

I think Matt does a wonderful job


Light-Bearer said on the 26th Oct, 2010

You say that to everyone.

poolboy jackson

poolboy jackson said on the 26th Oct, 2010

Yes, I'm trying hard to break the cliche of 'bitter old queen'


Light-Bearer said on the 26th Oct, 2010

Embrace it.

Who you trying to impress.
You only live once.


jimjazz said on the 26th Oct, 2010

check out
fabulous wine in the adelaide hills!


jimjazz said on the 27th Oct, 2010

Day trips away from Adelaide are also fabulous - especially Goolwa and Victor Harbor at the mouth of the Murray River and on Encounter Bay respectively. You can drive via McLaren Vale which is another superb SA wine district. But one of the most magical parts of SA is Kangaroo Island. You can drive over using the car ferry and it is utterly spectacular.

poolboy jackson

poolboy jackson said on the 27th Oct, 2010

I hear it's all closed up. :o


Light-Bearer said on the 27th Oct, 2010

You can get that Puffin Billy steam train to Victor Harbour.

Does that still work?
I use to love that train


Lazzarus said on the 2nd Apr, 2012

We get around don't we?


jonny_b said on the 30th Jul, 2013

No mention of Bearstock.

Matt Akersten

Matt Akersten said on the 30th Jul, 2013

Ta Jonny, I'll pop it in now :-)