There's not a sequin, pair of fishnets, or feather boa worth its salt that's not dying to shine under the lights of Madrid's hotly anticipated summer festival: Gay Pride 2014. From July 2 to 6, the capital is filled with rainbow flags and impossibly high heels to celebrate the rights of the LGBT community. And in Madrid that means plenty of things to do with a large dose of culture and fun.
As every year, the opening speech in the Plaza de Chueca on Wednesday, July 2, acts as the starting signal for the celebrations. Giving the speech this year is the winner of Eurovision 2014, Conchita Wurst, and the song contest's Spanish representative, Ruth Lorenzo. Local favourite drag queen and performer Plexy (to whom we pledge ourselves loyal fans) will also be on hand and will present 'the pride of Chueca'. There will also be film screenings, theatre performances, the classic high heel race, and above all, a really great party.
Get your rainbow flags and tiaras ready and don't miss these highlights of the festivities.
Nightlife & going out
While some nights come and go with alarming frequency, Trip Family's Ohm is one that's here for the duration. Strictly speaking it's a gay night, but it's too much fun (and too central) for the straight crowd to stay away. The result is a friendly party atmosphere with soulful, vocal-driven house tracks mixed to perfection by residents Kike Boy and Tetsu. It offers all the ingredients of a great disco: plenty of space, people eager to dance and multicoloured lights.
The large window lets you see from the street that good vibes abound in this small and cosy lesbian bar where all the details are very carefully taken care of. The music dished up by the resident DJs sets the public dancing on the two floors of this small and colourful bar. There’s also live entertainment some nights. If you're more culture-oriented than a party animal, make sure you catch one of the monologues or plays performed here. There are usually special celebrations scheduled at Halloween, for the Gay Pride parade, and during Carnival time.
In Delirio you'll find coloured lights, commercial pop music and tracks that have been massive hits on the gay scene from all decades, and really muscular men, all of which helps the bar live up to its name. Both the upper and the lower rooms are small (the lower has a bit of the basement air about it), making them perfect if you like to rub up against strangers, but a big claustrophobic if you're susceptible. Spectacular performances, shows and drag queens fill up many of the nights in this gay bar with a mixed, open and fun crowd. It's open ever day until late, so it's a great spot to go for a pick-me-up if you're feeling a bit beaten down by the workday or you simply have to get to a bar on any given Wednesday.
One of the pioneer bars in the local gay neighbourhood of Chueca, the Black & White has been around more than 30 years and is one of the most legendary bars of Madrid's nightlife, which is really saying something. It's open every day from 10pm, so if you're in the mood for an early drink on, say, a Tuesday, you know where to go. Another thing the Black & White has going for it is that it hosts shows and performances such as the 'Hoscars' and the popular competition for who will be crowned 'El chicho del verano'. There's a younger crowd at weekends.
This small and cosy gay bar is located on the street with the highest concentration of gay joints per square metre in Madrid. Its soft lighting and wide, well-stocked bar make for the ideal spot for a friendly chat with some of the handsome young men who gather here. It’s a place for talking rather than dancing, and a great bet for the first drinks of the night before going on to dance till dawn at one of the many other clubs in the area.
Located on a corner very near Chueca metro station, Truco is a small bar that’s often very crowded and usually with extremely young and loud party people. No matter: this high-octane corner joint remains the place for gals who are looking for gals in the earlier part of the evening. It’s also a stone's throw from the very popular girl bar Escape. The music here is varied, with hits of the ’80s and ’90s alongside contemporary sounds. You can drink beer, tall drinks and more sophisticated cocktails. It’s popular with lesbians, though you’ll also find gay men and straight customers here.
Rising up from the ashes of the old Medea, this lesbian venue promises a lot with its thematic party nights and afternoon cultural activities. The music here is varied, ranging from indie and revival sounds to electropop and DJ sessions. The owners are original thinkers and are constantly renewing the programme and trying to surprise their customers. Check out their Facebook page and Twitter account to find out about concerts and live performances.
This is one of the legendary spots in Madrid's LGBT community. You know you're in Why Not as soon as you cross the threshold thanks to the baroque decor and black-and-white photos of great actresses hanging on the walls. They usually play pop, disco and house music to get the party started in the always-fun surroundings. They also welcome a growing straight clientele.