26 Millbury Street, Worcester, MA
Electric Haze showcases a monthly Sexy Drag Bingo, featuring games and drag performances with music by DJ Patrick Allen. Hosted by Anne Hedonia, guests are welcomed into the hookah bar and live music lounge with a color-coded bracelet, indicating either consent for the performers to interact with them physically or not, a trend seen as the new norm in today’s social climate. Plus, be sure to head down to this longtime queer-friendly spot for trivia and karaoke nights with Mal E. Fishn’t.
Redemption Rock Brewing Company
333 Shrewsbury Street, Worcester, MA
A popular casual queer hangout, their taproom has been home to popular Drag Queen Story Time, for queer families and allies alike. Enjoy a cold IPA with a charcuterie board while you listen to local artists live, like queer singer-songwriter Giuliano D’Orazio. Plus, they’ve even created a beer called “Yass, Honey!” brewed specially for Worcester’s Pride month of September.
72 Shrewsbury Street, Worcester, MA
This past fall, the taproom hosted Be You Be Proud Be Hoppy, a Pride event raising funds for MassEquality. Hosted by DJ Joslyn Fox, the day also celebrated the premiere of ‘Keep It Fox-Tea’ a craft hard seltzer created by the local drag queen, with a portion of proceeds benefitting the LGBT rights group.
New England Botanic Garden at Tower Hill
11 French Drive, Boylston, MA
Although a gorgeous gem to visit year-round, Pride at Tower Hill is an annual sell-out event that truly amps up the enthusiasm of Pride Week in Worcester, leading up to a weekend full of events. An Instagram selfie must? Strike a fierce pose in front of the rainbow wall of flowers.
100 Madison Street, Worcester, MA
At arguably the most exciting queer-positive destination in Central Mass., The WooSox certainly pride themselves on being abundantly inclusive of everyone in the community, even changing their logo to rainbow for the month of June, as well as offering special ticket packages during September’s Pride Weekend in Worcester. Be sure to visit the Team Store to pick up your WooSox Pride gear before a game this season!
148 Grove Street, Worcester, MA
Another local landmark live music hall playing host to queer events is Ralph’s Diner—spotlighting Harley’s Funhouse, a monthly drag show hosted by Harley Queen, plus a wildly popular LGBTQIA+ Prom held this past fall. This is truly the place to let your proverbial freak flag fly.
All Systems Go
225 Shrewsbury Street, Worcester, MA
Central Massachusetts’ newest queer-friendly hangout is an Esports Bar, bringing in LGBT gamers from all over the state. Featuring PC and video games, cocktails and dancing with DJ Patrick Allen, this bi-weekly “gaymer night” is a fresh, innovative escape for the community and its allies. “We are always thinking of new ideas for events,” said owner Devin LaPlume. “We like to scope around the Worcester area for different groups to see what events would be possible for our venue.”
70 James Street, Worcester, MA
Coming off a series of sold-out drag shows here in 2021, Joslyn Fox returned to the country line dancing and live music hall for Pawsitively4Pink’s Drag Queen Meat Raffle, a follow-up to the massively successful event held in 2020, benefitting women with breast cancer living in medically under-served and low-income communities.
Bowlero Bowling Alley
405 Boston Turnpike, Shrewsbury, MA
A weekly gathering at this entertainment center, featuring bowling, arcade games, and a sports bar, has been a hit with a rotating group of old and new friends in the community. The Pride Drop-in League requires no commitment, just show up when you can and be ready for a fun time.
Alongside the aforementioned bustling activity in Central Mass., remains the following queer-owned businesses catering to the community loud and proud:
40 Grafton Street, Worcester, MA
Don’t let the title of Worcester’s oldest gay bar mislead you. This longstanding go-to for the queer community and allies alike is constantly offering new and exciting opportunities for a night out with friends while meeting new faces.
The Woo Bar & Grill
Shrewsbury Street, Worcester, MA
Owned by husbands Jon Pittsley and Eddie Rocco, one of the area’s newest restaurants fabulously welcomes and celebrates the LGBTQ+ community with a diverse menu and inventive cocktails, perfectly capping off all our queer-positive spots found on “Restaurant Row.”
Photo by Erika Chick
Creative Hub Worcester
653 Main Street, Worcester, MA
Co-founded by wives Laura Marotta and Stacy Lord, this hot spot for queer youth is home to Threads: Woven Together, a program for high school-age youth where students use fashion design as a lens to discuss personal expression, gender, and sexuality with the goal of helping youth on their journey of self-discovery.