LGBTQ+

Caroline Whatley is on the left and is holding Erin McGrady's hand. Erin's left hand is around her eye in a ricle. They are both smiling at the camera. The background is a colorful mural and a portion of a bicycle.
Welcome to Asheville!

We’re two queer women who are always on the lookout for LGBTQ+ safe spaces. We’ve shared our experiences on other platforms but have recently created a space on our own site for people to use as a resource when they’re visiting Asheville, North Carolina or when they’re on the road.

Asheville, North Carolina

Unlike some other cities, there aren’t too many spaces or places in Asheville that cater specifically to the queer community – o.henry’s may be the exception. Instead, there’s a saying in the southeast, “y’all means all” that gets used around a lot. And in a lot of instances, it’s true. But the reality is that there’s still a legitimate need (not just desire) for members of the queer community to seek out queer-friendly spaces. The list below of breweries, bars, cafés, and shops in large part is, in our opinion, open to everyone in a kind of come one, come all kind of vibe.

While no experience can be absolutely guaranteed and while this list is completely objective, the places listed below are places that we have been, know, feel good about, and where we feel comfortable going and being ourselves. We hope that they bring you some peace and a sense of community in your travels.

a photo of the outside patio of o.henry's in Asheville. There are two gay flags, one older version of the LGBTQ pride flag and another that represents the transgender community hanging from the building.
o.henry’s, North Carolina’s oldest gay bar.

Breweries and Bars

12 Bones Brewing
Asheville Rooftop Bar Tours
Banks Ave.
Bottle Riot
Burial Beer Co.
Eurisko Beer Co.
Funkatorium
Highland Brewing
Leo’s House of Thirst
Marked Tree Vineyard Tasting Room
New Belgium Brewing
o.henry’s
One World Brewing
Oyster House Brewing Company
The Odditorium
The Whale
Wedge Brewing Co.
Wicked Weed Brewing
Zillicoah Beer Company

Coffee Shops

BattleCat Coffee Bar
Firestorm Books and Coffee
High Five Coffee
Grind Coffee
Odd’s Cafe
Summit Coffee Co.

Restaurants

12 Bones Smokehouse
All Souls Pizza
Baba Nahm
Benne On Eagle
Carmel’s
Cucina 24
Cultura
Cúrate
District 42
French Broad Chocolate Lounge
Grey Eagle Taqueria
Hole Doughnuts
Isis Restaurant and Music Hall
Nine Mile
OWL Bakery
PIE.ZAA
Rosetta’s Kitchen
Smoky Park Supper Club
Sovereign Remedies
Sunny Point Café
The Admiral
The Hop Handcrafted Ice Cream
The W.A.L.K
Universal Joint
West End Bakery and Café
White Labs Kitchen and Tap
Wild Ginger Noodle Bar
Zia’s Taqueria

Shops

Asheville Bee Charmer
Battery Park Book Exchange
Blue Spiral 1
Downtown Books and News
Emote
Flora
Garden Party
Malaprop’s Bookstore
Palm and Pine
Pink Dog Creative
Regeneration Station
Screen Door
Second Gear
Villagers
Ware

Health, Wellness, and Personal Care

Asheville Community Yoga
Beauty Parade
Shoji Spa

Farmer’s Market Vendors

Buggy Pops
Chef J Chong
Fermenti
Roots Hummus

Lodging

Princess Anne Hotel
Sweet Biscuit Inn

Wedding and Event Vendors

Amelia Fletcher Photography
All The Things Ceremonies
Carolina Love Events
Chelsea Lane Photography
Cicely Florals
Haiku I Do
Layered Custom Cakes by Lex
Rising Fern Events

Asheville LGBTQ resources

Blue Ridge Pride Center
Campaign For Southern Equality
Equality NC
LGBTQ friendly businesses
Trans in the South: A Directory of Trans-Affirming Health and Legal Service Providers
Youth OUTright

LGBTQ Events in Asheville

In addition to the places mentioned above, Asheville also is home to a handful of LGBTQ events that are scattered throughout the year. Click on the links below to learn more and find out how you can participate.

Asheville Instameet

In 2016, we started a free photography event called the Asheville Instameet. We learned about the concept from two Texas-based creators, @mjvc.rocks and @victoriaglafira. The idea is to gather a group of people together with the very loose goals of making new friends and making new pictures. No special photography equipment is needed and the event is open to all skill levels. We did not hold the event during Covid but have hopes to resume it as soon as possible, so stay tuned by following us on Instagram at @authenticasheville and/or following the hashtag #AshevilleInstameet.

Blue Ridge Pride Festival

The annual Blue Ridge Pride Festival is a family-friendly event for all of Western North Carolina. Allies are welcome. You can expect music, entertainment, food, lots of vendors, floats, a parade, and an all-out celebration of the LGBTQ community. Volunteers are always needed, click here for more info. This event typically occurs in the fall.

Chow Chow’s Pride Brunch

Chow Chow is a weekend full of food and fun that celebrates the food culture in the region. It’s full of both locally and nationally known chefs. It also happens to have an event that specifically celebrates the LGBTQ community in Asheville with a Pride Brunch. 2022’s event is already sold out and will feature our friend J Chong as well as Silver Cousler and Ashleigh Shanti.

Krewe de Pride

Though we’re a ten-hour drive from New Orleans, not to worry! Asheville has it’s own little Mardi Gras celebration and members of the LGBTQ community can participate by joining the Krewe de Pride team (aka Blue Ridge Pride) and being part of the parade downtown. For more information, click here. This event occurs in the winter.

Miss and Mister Gay Latina Asheville

Once a year a pageant occurs in downtown Asheville at the Diana Wortham Center for the Performing Arts. But this isn’t just any pageant. This one is called the Miss and Mister Gay Latina Asheville and it highlights members of the LGBTQ community who perform in front of a live audience.

There are four categories:
For the Miss: Interview, National costume, Talent, and Evening gown.
For the Mister: Interview, swimsuit, talent, and formal wear.

You can join in on the fun and watch contestants vie for the title of Miss and Mister Gay Latina by purchasing a ticket (either regular or VIP). Learn more about this event on their Facebook page.

LGBTQ City Guides

In addition to sharing about LGBTQ+ businesses in Asheville, we’ve also spent the last couple of years creating LGBTQ+ city guides. Our guides help fellow queer travelers find safe spaces and community. Plus they give you a head start on some of our favorite fun things to see, do, and eat.

Southeast

Amelia Island, Florida
Athens, Georgia
Crystal River, Florida
Durham, North Carolina
Greenville, South Carolina
Macon, Georgia (coming soon)
Savannah, Georgia
St. Augustine, Florida
The Florida Keys

West Coast

Lake Tahoe, California
Road Trip in the Pacific Northwest, Part I: Oregon!
Road Trip in the Pacific Northwest, Part II: Washington!

Midwest

24 Hours in Cleveland, Ohio

Southwest

Flagstaff, Arizona
Phoenix, Arizona

Mid-Atlantic

Baltimore, Maryland
Pittsburgh + Pittsburgh PRIDE
Rehoboth Beach, Delaware

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