It’s finally here: the week of the year when Madrid is decked in rainbow flags and the whole city lets loose. There’s an endless array of ways to celebrate Gay Pride (from today until Sunday July 7, www.madridorgullo.com) – and a full course menu of sizzling summer festivities that everyone can enjoy.
Opening Ceremony with Paloma
The Spanish singer, who is best known for her roles on stage in Evita, My Fair Lady, and Man of La Mancha, is in town. Last night, Paloma San Basilio kicked off this year’s LGBT pride festivities with a special inaugural ceremony in the heart of Cheuca. Afterwards, the Grammy award-winning songstress gave a small concert featuring work from her new album.
David Bowie Tribute
Dozens of hopefuls pulled out their best King of Glam impressions in a contest sponsored by the Los Geme Dos dance group. What’s the prize at stake? A million euros and the chance to sing the Ziggy Stardust theme in front of an enthusiastic audience donning Hunky Dory slacks and metallic bodysuits.
Spain’s Sexiest Gay Man
The search for Spain’s hottest gay guy continues, now in its sixth edition. The final will be held in the Madrid city center with the pièce de résistance - a swimsuit contest. The winner will represent Spain in the Mr Gay-Europe and Mr Gay-World competitions. The contest will also feature guest performances by Spanish singer Natalia and Belgian performer Kate Ryan.
Friday at 10pm, Plaza de Callao.
Gay Pride March
Half-political protest, half-street party, organizers hope that this year’s national demonstration will attract more than a million attendees. This year, the march is following a new route. It will begin in Atocha, continue along the Paseo del Prado and end at the Puerta de Alcalá with a reading of a collective manifesto. This year’s theme is “Youth without closets,” since 2013 has been declared the year of Affective-Sexual Diversity and Gender in Youth.
Saturday at 6pm, Atocha, Paseo del Prado, Puerta de Alcalá.
Rocky Horror Live Show
Film fans gather in an outdoor tribute to the 1975 classic. Expect lots of wigs, heels, shouting and live music. If you’ve got time, stop by the Callao cinema beforehand, where there will be a 6pm screening of Greece. From a musical standpoint, this will bring you full circle.
Sunday at 9.30pm, Plaza del Rey.
Pool and Wet T-Shirt Bash
It’s an old-school pool party with a twist. And it’ll be the highlight of the week for fans of electronic music and wet t-shirts (or lack thereof). The We Pool Party is doing it big, with pools, water jets, seating areas to chill out, and free barbecue and paella at noon.
Friday from 12pm to 10pm, AKUA Terrace (Casa de Campo). Price: 35 euros).
La Leche Party
When you leave the pool at the We Pool Party, keep the celebratory MOJO going. Change your shirt (or put one on) and stop by a soirée that’s guaranteed to be La Leche! (i.e. really cool). More electronic sounds that are sure to attract an international crowd.
Friday from 11pm to 5.30am, La Leche! de Matinée. Sala But (C/ Barceló 11. Price: 35 euros).
Since 2004, the girls-only bash with a mixed lesbian and straight crowd has set the standard for good times with commercial music and a DJ.
Friday at 11pm, Fulanita de Tal (Conde de Xiquena 2).
Rita and Friends
It promises to be one of the 'kitschest' parties of Pride Week. The special event 'Que Trabaje Rita' offers the perfect dose of drag, live performances, and fun music to top off your weekend of partying.
Sunday at 8pm, Charada Club de Baile (C/ De la Bola 13).
New in Malasaña
Opened just two months ago by owners Osama and Enrique, Cazador draws a gay crowd and Malasaña hipsters alike. The café/bar has a refurbished, retro interior and a sleek façade that faces the street. It’s an ideal place to grab a coffee or mixed drink, unwind, and people-watch. Cazador (C/ Pozas 7).
La Carmencita 2.0
Madrid’s second-oldest tavern has now reopened, showcasing its revamped menu. Go there to get your fill of Generacion of ’27-style vermouth – just like poetry heavyweights Rafael Alberti, Luis Cernuda and Federico Garcia Lorca would have drunk. The neighborhood favorite has also extended its hours; open from 9am till 2am.
La Carmencita (C/ Libertad 16; phone: 915 31 09 11).
For the past year, it’s been one of Chueca’s best bets for delicious dining. Owners claim the secret to the restaurant’s success is its ample wine selection and so-called “sexy” recipes. Order the signature dish – the perrito faldero caliente (which translates to “hot lapdog”). Eat in the restaurant or take your grub to go.
Perrito Faldero (C/ San Lorenzo 9; phone: 913 19 06 97).
Delirium 'on the rocks'
It’s the hot hangout spot for young gays and lesbians. Downstairs, you’ll find live entertainment and a spacious dance floor. Upstairs, there’s a quieter seating area to grab a drink, unwind, and chat with fellow party people. DLRO Live (C/ Pelayo, 59).
A Date with Barbra
Stop by if you want to surround yourself with the iconic music of Barbra Streisand, Liza Minnelli or Andrew Lloyd Webber. The décor is, of course, retro and very velvety.
Bambalinas Bar (C/ Pelayo 74).
More than 33
It’s the updated version of the lesbian classic disco. The club formerly known as Medea is now drawing a younger crowd. The latest club craze among lesbians has revamped its image with live music from recognized DJs.
Club 33 (C/ Cabeza 33; phone: 91 369 33 02; Metro: Antón Martín).
Between a Bar and a Tavern
La Berenjena (whose name translates to “the eggplant”) offers a mixed vibe. But on any given day, there are tons of women enjoying a wide assortment of tapas, carefully selected wines and refreshing brews. It’s about halfway between a classic bar and an upscale tavern.
La Berenjena (C/ Marqués de Toca 7; Metro Antón Martín).
Fulanita’s Little Sister
Fulanita VIP Club is an extension of Fulanita de Tal (a Chueca classic for almost a decade). This new club brings together good-looking ladies of all ages, their gay friends and a ton of straight men, as well.
Fulanita VIP Club (C/ Pelayo 82; Metro: Chueca) and Fulanita de Tal (Conde de Xiquena 2; Metro: Chueca).
Unusual and a Bit 'Destroyer'
A nightclub just as classic as the iconic Medea, Escape attracts an eclectic mix of women of all ages, styles, and backgrounds who all have one thing in common: they’re all lesbian. The locale has a grungy, “destroyer” vibe.
Escape (C/ Gravina 12; Metro: Chueca)
ART AND THEATER
You’re guaranteed laughs with these lesbian-themed monologues, written by young but established actresses in a theater series organized by Fulanita de Tal.
Friday at 10.30pm. Teatro del Arte (C/ San Cosme y San Damián 3; Phone: 91 702 26 07).
Visiting Hidden Desire
It’s one of this week’s most entertaining and highly anticipated theatrical montages. ‘Guided tour of a darkroom’ tells the story of Juana, an expert in the world of lust and hidden desire.
Thursday and Friday from 10pm to 11pm, (C/ Espíritu Santo, 23).
Things of Love
Azarte, one of Chueca’s most captivating live theater spaces, is presenting A Perfect Life, a love story about a gay couple from different socioeconomic classes. The play will feature Nicolás Gaude and David Mora, both veterans of Madrid’s alternative theater scene.
Until July 21. Sala Azarte (C/ San Marcos, 19; Phone 91 522 67 68).
Africa’s Gay, Too
Produced by Triangle Foundation, it’s one of Pride Week’s most interesting photography exhibitions. “Africa LGBT” portrays the social reality of homosexuals and transsexuals in Africa, with an emphasis on human rights violations.
Until July 7, DLRO Live (C/ Pelayo 59).
WHERE TO STAY
Views of Gran Vía
It’s the hotel of a million photo ops located right in Madrid’s city center. With a rooftop terrace, four-euro breakfasts, and modern–yet-cozy bedrooms, you can’t go wrong.
Hotel Praktik Metropol (C/ Montera 47; Phone: 915 21 29 35).
Colors, to Taste
It’s a Chueca neighborhood classic. In this carefully maintained hostel, every room is a different color – minimalist décor with attentive and friendly service. The biggest bonuses are the price, the location and the natural lighting that brightens up your visit.
Hostal Colors (C/ Fuencarral, 39; Phone: 91 521 46 46).
Design and Cocktails
It’s become one of the most frequented sites for gay tourism. It’s got charm galore, with a terrace, cocktails, natural breakfasts, designer bedrooms, lobby with Ron Arad seats, and tons of parties. Indeed, this iconic establishment of the Quique Sarasola chain is famous for lots of reasons – not just its location.
Room Mate Óscar (Plaza Vázquez de Mella 12; Phone: 91 701 11 73).
In this hostel, you won’t just sleep. In fact, you might even check out with a new friend or two. Run by a gay couple, the establishment has 14 bedrooms, each with a full bathroom. They also have apartments available for rent.
La Zona (C/ Velarde 7; phone: 915 21 99 04).
Liquid (C/ Barbieri 7) Commercial music and a younger crowd. The well-known locale has lots of style - as seen on TV.
Strong (C/ Trujillos 7). This place is said to have the biggest darkroom in Spain. These days, they says there’s not a gay man in Spain who hasn’t passed by this discoteca.
Gris (C/ San Marcos 29). Mixed ambiance and cheap drinks in a double-story bar. Clientèle tends to be young with a surfer or mod style.
Stardust (C/ Isabel la Católica 6). Two floors with good-looking men and an afterparty to keep the festivities going. Commercial music upstairs; techno tunes downstairs.
Boite (C/ Tetuán 27). Next to the Plaza del Carmen, this locale offers commercial techno music and spectacles. It’s a posh gay ambiance with a polo-and-chino-pants style.
Truco (C/ Gravina 10). A local legend located in the heart of Chueca that caters to young lesbians and their posses of gay and straight friends.
Club 33 (C/ Cabeza 33) The new locale formerly known as Medea is the updated version of the classic lesbian dance club.
Fulanita de Tal (Conde de Xiquena 2). A classic. A popular hangout spot for lesbians and their friends.
Escape (Gravina 12). Caters primarily to a female clientèle and offers a mixed environment.
Diamante Club (Sala Pirandello. C/ Ventura Rodríguez 7). It’s one of the hippest, youngest, and most fun parties in the Madrid nightlife scene.
Enfrente (C/ Infantas 12). Bear bar with commercial music and tempting drink deals.
Hot (C/ Zurita 39). Madrid’s internationally famous bears’ bar. It has a relaxed and fun vibe.
Mad-Ness (C/ Tres Peces 30). Nudist bar, inspired by the myth of Bangalá. The environment is very relaxed – right up to the style of dress.
Bears Bar (C/ Pelayo 4). Video-bar for bears with special drink deals and an international clientèle.
Black & White (C/ Libertad 34). Legendary party place for gay get-togethers in Madrid. Two floors of live performances and entertainment.
LL (C/ Pelayo 11). Refurbished a few years ago, this bar’s striptease shows and commercial music continue to attract crowds.
Copper (C/ San Vicente Ferrer 34). Either naked or in your underwear, you decide how to make your entrance at this legendary Malasaña bar.
The Paso (Costanilla de los Capuchinos 1). Smack bang in the middle of Vázquez de Mella plaza, this bears’ bar offers a mixed ambiance and lots of music videos.
Rick’s (C/ Clavel 8) A Madrid nightlife legend, with a mixed vibe and celebrity regulars.
Odarko (Loreto y Chicote 7). A fetish bar with electronic music and lots of lust.
Why not? (C/ San Bartolomé 7). If you’re not sure where to go out during the week, why not turn up here for a guaranteed good time?
Polyester (Travesía de San Mateo 10). A musical mashup – new wave, indie, 80s and 90s — for the hipster/gay crowd.
El 51 (C/ Hortaleza 51). Cocktails with commercial music, a mixed ambiance and good-looking guys... some of whom you might recognize from TV or movies.