The gay scene in Kyoto is pretty low key and apart from the monthly “Diamonds are forever” drag night at Club Metro, not really advertised so you need to do some searching to find the gay venues as there is usually no indication on the outside that it’s not just another little Japanese-style bar.
Azure was the first Gay bar I managed to find in Kyoto and is still the one I go to most often. It’s on Kiyamachi, the main drinking street in Kyoto, though it’s located on the 3rd floor so you have to keep your eyes open for the sign and get up in the elevator located next to “Club Laid.” Ao is the bars owner and is really friendly! Most of the staff only speak a little English but they always make the effort to make you comfortable! There is a table charge equivalent to the price of a drink which includes some bar snacks.
Although Club Metro is not a gay venue, once a month they hold the “Diamonds are forever” drag queen night which is pretty much an unofficial gay night. The crowd is mixed which is great as the other gay bars in Kyoto tend to be men only. The drag queens are good fun and usually interact with the crowd after the show. Entry includes one free drink ticket, and drinks are reasonably priced after you’ve used those, with beer at around 500 yen.
The gay subculture in Tokyo