Green’s Dictionary of Slang

watering hole n.

also water hole
[SE water-hole, a pool or reservoir, esp. as used by animals for drinking]

1. a restaurant, a bar, anywhere where alcoholic refreshment is available.

[US]E. Dundy Dud Avocado (1960) 86: His own preferred watering-hole, the Select in Montparnasse.
[US]H. Ellison Rockabilly (1963) 70: Stag – who had kept the lamps going all the night before in the watering-holes.
[Aus]D. O’Grady A Bottle of Sandwiches 205: This water-hole had extracted quite a few quid out of me in one way and another.
[US]J.D. Horan Blue Messiah 83: For Gus, who maintains the best watering hole in this lousy town.
[US]J. Charyn Marilyn The Wild (2003) 5: He knows all my resting places [...] Every water hole.
[US]Philadelphia Inquirer (PA) 6 Feb. 19/1: The Irish belters [...] who belly up at the watering hole [...] never thought they would see old Shoosh Novelli banging down a shot and a beer again.
[Aus]B. Humphries Traveller’s Tool 71: I don’t just collect books of matches from the various watering holes I frequent around the world.
[US](con. 1986) G. Pelecanos Sweet Forever 61: The Dutch Treat, a nondescript neighborhood watering hole near the National Archives.
[Aus](con. 1945–6) P. Doyle Devil’s Jump (2008) 175: We were mostly hitting water holes where I wasn’t known.
[US]J. Stahl I, Fatty 262: The opportunity came to open up my very own watering hole.
[Aus] A. Bergen ‘Dread Fellow Churls’ in Crime Factory: Hard Labour [ebook] Next stop watering hole — Ziggy’s gin mill.
Facebook 15 July [Internet] It was right next to the watering hole where old mate shit his daks when this daggy, yobbo bugger came at him with an axe.

2. (gay) an area where one can wander in search of sexual partners, usu. a park or a bar.

[US]B. Rodgers Queens’ Vernacular.