The Hornet Guide To Gay Madrid
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Spain’s capital is probably the gayest city in Europe, surpassing even London and Berlin. The local government estimates that the LGBTQ population is about 500,000, or 10% of Madrid’s population. Walking around gay Madrid, you’ll be sure to catch the eye of plenty of handsome Madrileños.
The city feels safe, friendly and chill. You’ll see gay couples kissing and holding hands in the street, as openly as any other couple. Even if you don’t speak Spanish, you’ll feel welcome.
Of course, such a big gay population means there’s a wild and diverse party scene — and one of the biggest pride celebrations in the world. Venga!
Madrid must-see attractions
Before you get down to partying, there’s a lot of awesome art, culture and history to see. Most of Madrid’s sights are in “El Centro,” the very walkable, compact, old part of the city. You can see the top attractions in a day or two.
Be sure to check out the Royal Palace, the official residence of the Spanish Royal Family, including the (really incredibly handsome) King of Spain, Felipe VI. It’s the largest royal palace in Europe, and parts of it are often open to the public, with an €11 entry fee.
Head to the Prado for the Surrealist masterpiece, The Garden of Earthly Delights by Hieronymus Bosch. There are also works by Caravaggio, Velazquez and Titian here.
Head to the Thyssen to see works by Dalí including Dream Caused by the Flight of a Bee Around a Pomegranate a Second Before Awakening, Cézanne’s Portrait of a Peasant and Hopper’s Hotel Room.
The sleek, modern Reina Sofia is home to contemporary art, including Picasso’s giant, breathtaking masterpiece, Guernica. There’s more by Picasso and Dalí here, with the giant glass elevators offering a unique view of Madrid.
If all this art has caused you to work up an appetite, the NuBel Cafe Restaurant is worth a try. They do a great brunch on Sundays.
Parks and pools
If you’re heading to Madrid in the summer, you’ll want to relax somewhere cool. The Piscina Lago is one of the city’s outdoor public pools — this one, however, gets taken over by the gay community, so it’s a great place to swim, sunbathe, drink and cruise.
The gorgeous Retiro Park is another must-see outdoor spot, with boating, cafes and a popular cruising area around the Fuente del Angel Caído statue. Try it in the late afternoon or early evening — though it’s best avoided after dark, when it can be unsafe.
Madrid’s gay village has the highest concentration of gay bars, clubs and shops in the city. You can’t miss it on the metro; the station walls are painted with the rainbow flag. It’s a great place for people watching, eating out and, of course, partying.
Lavapies and La Latina
These sister neighborhoods are home to the city’s artists and hipsters. There’s a growing gay community and some awesome places to eat, drink and party. NAP has delicious pizza and Hola Coffee has some of the best coffee in the city (and great wifi).
The El Rastro flea market on Sundays spans both neighborhoods. With vintage clothes, jewelry, art and furniture up for grabs, it’s a gleaming treasure-trove that’s well worth a rummage.
Gay Madrid bars
Madrid’s bar scene is concentrated around Chueca, and La Kama Cafe is a great place to start. With great cocktails and some of the hottest bar staff you’re likely to find — with their own unique uniform and ‘smart harnesses’ — this is a popular pre-club drinking spot with polished metal bars, comfy sofas and huge gin and tonics.
LL Showbar is a vibrant, always-packed drag bar with shows throughout the evening by gorgeous, fabulous and talented local drag queens. Chumina Power is a fabulous host — her show is not to be missed!
For more awesome drag shows, check out Black & White. It’s been a popular gay venue since the ’80s, and it’s still worth a visit.
El Bulldog is a unique find, full of sexy bears and daddies dancing the night away to campy Spanish music videos under blue light. The party is definitely getting started if you’ve made it this far.
Clubs in gay Madrid
Clubbing in Spain doesn’t really get going before 1am. Don’t even think about calling it before midnight. But if you can last that long, it’s well worth the wait — the gay Madrid club scene is one of the best you’ll find anywhere.
For something really special, super-fun and inclusive, check out Mordisko in hipster hotspot Lavapies. You’ll find the best electro, furry go-go dancers and a cool, sexy, frisky crowd.
If you like your men hairy, then Bearbie — Madrid’s no nonsense, attitude-free party — could be for you. It’s a great way to spend your Friday night. On the other hand, if you’re looking for glamorous drag queens, the cutest twinks and enough dance remixes of pop songs to stir you into a Rihanna-inspired frenzy, head to Ultrapop at the fabulous Boite nightclub.
WE parties are world-renowned for their high production value, international DJs and sexy performers and go-go boys. Well, gay Madrid is the home base for WE parties — and if you’re in town at the same time as one of their monthly extravaganzas, you’ll definitely want to go. And if you’re around for Pride, they have a festival full of different parties!
Barcelona’s queer party sensation Churros con Chocolate now have regular parties in Madrid, too. With shows, drag, live performances and a different theme each month, you’ll be in for a tasty treat.
Sugar Daddy, by legends Supermartxé, may be a relative newbie to the party scene, but the mix of sexy go-go boys, drag queens and live performances are making this a fast favorite with the city’s scenesters. Both Churros and Sugar Daddy are on Sunday nights — the weekend doesn’t stop in gay Madrid until most folks are already eating their sandwiches on Monday’s lunch hour.
Sex clubs and saunas in gay Madrid
With such a large gay population, there are plenty of horny guys about — so, naturally there’s some pretty awesome sex clubs and saunas in gay Madrid.
Friday nights at The Ring are infamous for their sexy naked party. Head downstairs to the subterranean maze full of alcoves, booths and even a boxing ring for lots of fun and games.
There are a ton of gay saunas in Madrid, but the best and busiest is undoubtedly Sauna Paraiso on a Saturday night (well, Sunday morning after the clubs wind down). There’s a huge cruising maze, swimming pool, jacuzzi, sauna and steam room. If you’re heading there at 6 a.m., be prepared for a raucous line. But it’s well worth it, once you’re inside…
Horny on Sundays? Attack’s naked party will sort you out. Friendly staff, friendly clientele. This is a great way to finish off your weekend if you’re still full of juice.
Annual events of gay Madrid
Madrid Pride is the biggest Pride celebration in the world. Pride weekend is one massive street party throughout the center of the city. We’ve never seen anything like it. The scale is phenomenal and the energy is something all our LGBTQ brothers and sisters should experience at least once in a lifetime.
It’s July, so it’s hot. Wear sunscreen and some undies — you won’t need much else.
For you fellas that like things a bit harder and sleazier, SleazyMadrid is a weekend to remember. The biggest fetish event in Southern Europe, there are parties to suit every kink. This year’s festival runs from April 26 to May 2.
For bears and their admirers, the MadBear festival in December is a ton of fun, with special parties at bars and clubs in gay venues throughout the city.