Queer Gathering Places in KW

Post by Kassandra, Information Services staff

Whether you are new to KW, or looking to connect with the 2SLGBTQIA+ community, finding a gathering place can be hard in a tri-city without explicit 2SLGBTQIA+ spaces, unless you are in the know. But never fear, QueerKPL is here! And in this blog post I have done the work for you so you don’t have to! 

Check out this list of cinemas, bars, eateries, and businesses that I have organized into the following designations: Pretty Queer, Sorta Queer, and Queer Adjacent community spaces.  

A gif of Spongebob Square Pants creating a rainbow with his hands.

Disclaimer: This list is by no means exhaustive! It is meant as a starting point to the 2SLGBTQIA+ community spaces in the tri-cities. Feel free to comment with any spaces I may have missed or you think deserve a shoutout!

In addition: services may vary for these establishments! Check their websites and social media for insight into how they are operating during COVID-19. 

Pretty Queer Spaces

A gif of a graphic style giraffe infront of a blue background. The Giraffe is wearing heart shaped sunglasses that have a rainbow pattern moving on the lenses.

Though none of theses spaces have been dubbed explicitly 2SLGBTQIA+ establishments, all of them are fit to be placed in the “Pretty Queer” designation. These spaces host 2SLGBTQIA+ events, have vegan/vegetarian menus, or simply have that Queer vibe. 

Jane Bond

  • Uptown Waterloo
  • Vegetarian/Vegan cuisine
  • Sweet decor and all gender restrooms
  • Queer Dance Parties, Queer Comedy Nights, and live music
  • Facebook, Instagram, Twitter

Cafe Pyrus

  • DTK
  • Fresh local and organic Vegan/Vegetarian/Gluten Free menu
  • Hosts 2SLGBTQIA+ events, supports local 2SLGBTQIA+ organizations
  • Cutest interior seating, all gender restrooms, board games to play, little animals as table markers
  • Facebook, Instagram, Twitter

Patent Social

  • Uptown Waterloo
  • Play some retro games, catch some live music, grab some ice cream (vegan options available) and enjoy their bar
  • Hosts a plethora of 2SLGBTQIA+ events
  • A very Queer vibe location, and an establishment that stands with systemically oppressed communities!
  • Facebook, Twitter, Instagram 

Queen St Commons

  • DTK
  • Very affordable homemade style vegetarian snacks and meals
  • Organized and run by volunteers!
  • All gender restrooms
  • Live music, 2SLGBTQIA+ events, movie nights, and a very open and inclusive space

Seven Shores

  • Uptown Waterloo
  • Locally sourced ingredients are used in their menus
  • Many community events such as clothing swaps, pop-up shops, workshops, and dance parties
  • All gender restrooms
  • Twitter, Instagram, Facebook

Darlise Cafe

  • DTK
  • Open for breakfast and brunch; with fresh and affordable menus – try their muffins!
  • Aim to be an accessible and inclusive space, all are welcome
  • Definitely has big Queer vibes
  • Facebook, Twitter

Sorta Queer Spaces

A gif or a paint spatula moving across paper. As it moves, it smears oil paint in the colours and pattern of the rainbow flag behind it.

These spaces have the ability to transform into Queer spaces when the time calls for it! Many of these establishments are not shy to host drag shows, viewing parties, trivia, burlesque nights, or queer cinema.

Princess Cafe and Princess Cinema

Grand Trunk Saloon

  • DTK
  • Delicious Soul food, fancy cocktails, intimate vibes
  • Have hosted both live Burlesque and Drag performances
  • Try the buttermilk chicken and waffles with the Habanero Cane Syrup
  • Facebook, Twitter, Instagram

Rich Uncle Tavern

  • DTK
  • Craft beer and cocktails and locally sourced ingredients
  • Became a Queer hotspot through their weekly RPDR viewing parties and drag performances
  • An open and inviting space; brunch, lunch, dinner
  • Facebook, Twitter, Instagram

Yeti Cafe

  • DTK
  • Brunch, Lunch, and fine coffee. Vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options are available!
  • A cozy cafe with a queer vibe and aesthetic
  • Facebook, Instagram, Twitter

Jazz Room

  • Uptown Waterloo
  • An open and welcoming music venue
  • Often hosts live Burlesque shows!
  • Stands with and for systemically oppressed peoples
  • Facebook, Instagram, Twitter

Queer Adjacent Spaces

a gif of a cartoon rainbow flag waving in the wind

These spaces tend to be a meeting place for Queer folks, occasionally partner for 2SLGBTQIA+ events, or just have that Queer vibe!

Ethels Lounge

  • Uptown Waterloo
  • If you are looking for a brew, BBQ, and a fantastic patio experience, Ethel’s is for you!
  • Tends to draw in Queer folx and have that Queer vibe!
  • Facebook, Instagram, Twitter

Lady Glaze

  • Belmont Village (Waterloo)
  • Handcrafted , homemade, locally sourced when possible, and all natural doughnuts!
  • Ice cream, doughnuts (Vegan assortments available), and liquor
  • Did I mention they have Lady Balls? 
  • Instagram

The Round Table

  • Waterloo
  • A board game cafe with an amazing menu
  • A haven for pop culture lovers, tabletop gamers, and 2SLGBTQIA+ folks
  • Occasionally hosts 2SLGBTQIA+ Bingo, Drag Shows, and Karaoke
  • Facebook, Instagram, Twitter

Queen St Yoga

  • DTK
  • An inclusive and open Yoga studio
  • Inclusivity, body positivity, and queer and trans+ positivity!
  • Instagram, Twitter, Facebook 

Apollo Cinema

Aroma Cafe

  • Uptown Waterloo
  • A cafe and roastery, with a fresh menu!
  • Fair trade organic coffee and a menu that offers vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, and raw vegan options
  • Instagram, Twitter, Facebook

Looking for more 2SLGBTQIA+ events and spaces? Want to be in the know? Check out these community organizations and grassroots initiatives: 

Queer Night Out Waterloo Region
Tri-Pride
Dyke Bar Takeover KW
Spectrum 

Feeling nostalgia for the good old days when Kitchener had its own long running 2SLGBTQIA+ bar, Club Renaissance? Read all the juiciest Club Ren Confessions, and even share some of your own on the fun new Instagram account @clubrenconfessions

Disclaimer: Kitchener Public Library welcomes all members of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community. We actively seek to include trans and gender non-binary folks, BIPOC, queer folks with disabilities, and those experiencing homelessness in our Queer programming, content and collections. We respect and aim to promote the intersectional identities of all individuals, but understand that our list of gender and sexual identities may not be fully comprehensive. Our goal is to create positive, welcoming, diverse, and inclusive content for all.

*Note: This blog post uses 2SLGBTQIA+ as an umbrella term for clarity and consistency.

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