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 and resources. 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 and Banks Ave are the exceptions. 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 come one, come all kind of vibe. Want to know more? (Check out our guest contributor, Camille Nevarez-Hernandez’s post on 7 Queer-Owned Businesses in Asheville).

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

7 Clans Brewing (Biltmore Village-ish)
12 Bones Brewing (Arden)
Asheville Rooftop Bar Tours (Downtown)
Banks Ave. (South Slope)
Bottle Riot (River Arts District)
Burial Beer Co. (South Slope)
Catawba Brewing (Biltmore Village + South Slope)
Different Wrld (West Asheville)
Eurisko Beer Co. (South Slope)
Funkatorium (South Slope)
Highland Brewing (East Asheville)
Hi-Wire Brewing (River Arts District + Biltmore Village)
Leo’s House of Thirst (West Asheville)
Leveller Brewing Co. (Weaverville)
Marked Tree Vineyard Tasting Room (Downtown)
Marked Tree Vineyard (Flat Rock)
New Belgium Brewing (River Arts District)
o.henry’s (Downtown)
Olde London Road (River Arts District)
One World Brewing (West Asheville + Downtown)
Outsider Brewing (Woodfin)
Oyster House Brewing Company (West Asheville)
Roll Up Herbal Bar (Various Locations)
Sweeten Creek Brewing (Biltmore Forest-ish)
The Odd (formerly known as The Odditorium) (West Asheville)
The Whale (West Asheville)
Wedge Brewing Co. (River Arts District)
Wicked Weed Brewing (Downtown)
Zillicoah Beer Company (North Asheville-ish)

Coffee Shops and Tea Shops

BattleCat Coffee Bar (West Asheville)
Dobra Tea (Downtown, West Asheville, East Asheville)
Firestorm Books and Coffee (West Asheville)
High Five Coffee (Downtown and Woodfin)
Grind Coffee (River Arts District)
Liberty House Coffee and Cafe (North Asheville)
Odd’s Cafe (West Asheville)
Pennycup Coffee Co. (River Arts District)
Summit Coffee Co. (Downtown + River Arts District)
Ultra Coffeebar (River Arts District)
Yellow Mug Coffee Lounge (Weaverville)


12 Bones Smokehouse (River Arts District + Arden)
The Admiral (West Asheville)
All Souls Pizza (River Arts District)
Baba Nahm (Downtown)
Baby Bull (River Arts District)
Benne On Eagle (Downtown)
Carmel’s (Downtown)
Chai Pani (Downtown)
Cucina 24 (Downtown)
Cultura (South Slope)
Cúrate (Downtown)
District 42 (Downtown)
ELDR (North Asheville)
French Broad Chocolate Lounge (Downtown)
Gemelli (West Asheville)
Grey Eagle Taqueria (River Arts District)
Hole Doughnuts (West Asheville)
The Hop Ice Cream Café (North Asheville, West Asheville, Downtown, Black Mountain)
La Bodega by Cúrate (Downtown)
Nine Mile (West Asheville + Montford)
OWL Bakery (West Asheville)
PIE.ZAA (River Arts District)
Pop Bubble Tea (North Asheville)
Posana (Downtown)
Rosetta’s Kitchen (Downtown)
Smoky Park Supper Club (River Arts District)
Sovereign Remedies (Downtown)
Sunny Point Café (West Asheville)
Taco Billy (West Asheville)
The Admiral (West Asheville)
The W.A.L.K (West Asheville)
Trashy Vegan (West Asheville)
Universal Joint (West Asheville)
West End Bakery and Café (West Asheville)
White Labs Kitchen and Tap (Downtown)
Wild Ginger Noodle Bar (Arden)

Shops and Makers

Asheville Bee Charmer (Downtown)
Battery Park Book Exchange (Downtown)
Blue Spiral 1 (Downtown)
Downtown Books and News (Downtown)
Emote (West Asheville)
Firestorm (West Asheville)
Flora (West Asheville)
Garden Party (West Asheville)
Homebody Art Collective (Downtown)
Horse + Hero (Downtown)
Jus’ Running (North Asheville)
Malaprop’s Bookstore and Café (Downtown)
More To Love Plus-Size Consignment (West Asheville)
Mtn Merch (South Asheville)
Noir Collective (Downtown)
Over the Selvage (South Slope)
Palm and Pine (West Asheville)
Patton Avenue Pet Company (West Asheville, South Asheville, Downtown)
Pink Dog Creative (River Arts District)
Playdate (West Asheville)
Purl’s Yarn Emporium (Arden)
Reciprocity (West Asheville)
Regeneration Station (South Asheville)
Revolve (West Asheville)
Screen Door (South Asheville)
Second Gear (River Arts District)
So Stoked Pottery (River Arts District)
Torched (Weaverville)
Twin Denim (West Asheville + Pop Ups)
Villagers (West Asheville)
Voltage Records (Downtown)
Ware (West Asheville)

Health, Wellness, and Personal Care

Asheville Community Yoga (North Asheville)
Be The Change Piercing & Tattoo (Candler)
Beauty Parade (West Asheville)
Cultivate Climbing (West Asheville)
Espacio Por Ti (West Asheville)
Fusion Day Spa (West Asheville)
Get Banged Salon & Boutique (West Asheville)
Riveter (Mills River)
Shoji Spa (South Asheville)
Union Hill Salon (West Asheville)

Farmer’s Market Vendors and Pop-Ups

aThoke Lay
Beth Bakes
Buggy Pops
Gospel Ice Cream
Olivette Farm
Lane in the Woods
Roots Hummus
Southside Community Farm


Gold River Camp and Cabins (Marion)
Princess Anne Hotel (Downtown-ish)
Sweet Biscuit Inn (Kenilworth neighborhood)

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
LGBTQ Wedding DJ’s
Rising Fern Events

Real Estate Agents and Related Services

Holly Aracich of French Broad Real Estate
Tralala Interiors – Home Staging and Design

Asheville LGBTQ Resources and Groups

Asheville Gay Men’s Chorus
Asheville Lesbian Social Club
Blue Ridge Pride Center
Campaign For Southern Equality
Equality NC
Hendersonville’s LGBTQ+ Social Group
LGBTQ friendly businesses
Trans in the South: A Directory of Trans-Affirming Health and Legal Service Providers
Tranzmission Project
PFLAG Asheville
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.

BIPOC + LGBTQIA2S + Ally Run Crew aka the Asheville Run Crew

Erin started a safe space run club in June 2022, @ashevilleruncrew. The group grew to about 10 people who met each Friday morning at a different location around Asheville. Over time, it became to good of a thing to keep to ourselves so we opened it up to the community. The first one took place on February 25th and included runners and walkers. Since then we’ve also had another Asheville Run Crew pop up event at Southside Community Farm. The next one is June 17, 2023 at the YWCA.

The event is FREE and all paces are welcome – a WAIVER IS REQUIRED.

Click here for a waiver.

For more info on these runs, follow @ashevilleruncrew, @authenticasheville and @e.mcgrady on Instagram.

Asheville City Soccer Club Pride Night

Each year in June the Asheville City Soccer Club hosts a Pride Night. It’s typically a doubleheader match with the women’s and men’s team each playing on the same night. In 2022 there was a Pre-Match Party and then a March scheduled for before the games.

Asheville Instameet

In 2016, we started a free photography event called the Asheville Instameet. We learned about the concept from two Texas-based creators, 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.

Asheville Drag Brunch

The incredibly talented, funny, and entertaining DIVINE, the Bearded Lady, and her friends frequently team up to put on one of THE best drag shows in the Asheville area. You can catch this ever-changing show at several venues around town. Proceeds from the Asheville Drag Brunch shows goes to a non-profit, often an LGBTQ non-profit. As always, bring your dollar bills so you can tip away!

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 three weekends 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. Some of our favorite chefs including Chef Michelle Bailey of Smoky Park Supper Club, have participated in the past.

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.

Lizard Bookclub

The Lizard Bookclub, a part of Youth OUTright, is a space that aims to connect young queer people with literature that reflects and expresses their communities and selves. The club meets online on the last Sunday, every other month. Completing the book is not required to join the space.

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.

Youth OUTright Queer Prom

This is not the kind of prom that most have heard of or even attended when you were in high school. This is a queer prom and all LGBTQ+ youth ages 14-20 are invited to join in on an affirming evening in a safe space that not only accepts you but celebrates you. Tickets are offered on a sliding scale and no one is turned away due to lack of funds.

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.


Amelia Island, Florida
Athens, Georgia
Crystal River, Florida
Durham, North Carolina
Greenville, South Carolina
Knoxville, Tennessee
Macon, Georgia
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!


24 Hours in Cleveland, Ohio


Flagstaff, Arizona
Phoenix, Arizona


Baltimore, Maryland
Pittsburgh + Pittsburgh PRIDE
Rehoboth Beach, Delaware

LGBTQ Books We Love

Want to see what we’re filling our heads with these days? Hop on over to our Best LGBTQ Books by Queer Authors piece. Each of the titles on our list is written by Queer authors and are books that we think others might enjoy and also learn from. If you’ve got a title you think we should check out, please let us know in the comments or via e-mail.

Erin McGrady and Caroline Whatley filmmakers, photographers, writers, content creators, and the authors of Authentic Asheville.

Connect: Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | YouTube

Follow by Email
Skip to content