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A guide to gay Madrid

April 12, 2011

LGBT Madrid

LGBT Madrid (Source: Flickr)

Madrid has always been one of Europe’s most gay-friendly cities. The city’s gay community is credited with reinvigorating the once down-at-heel inner-city barrio of Chueca, where Madrid didn’t just come out of the closet, it ripped the doors off in the process. Today the barrio is one of Madrid’s most vibrant and it’s very much the heart and soul of gay Madrid. Restaurants, cafés and bars clearly oriented to a gay clientele abound, and new book, video and adult-toy shops aimed at gay people continue to spring up in and around Chueca, as well as gay-friendly hostels. But there’s nothing ghetto-like about Chueca. Its extravagantly gay and lesbian personality is anything but exclusive and the crowd is almost always mixed gay-straight. As gay and lesbian residents like to say, Chueca isn’t gay-friendly, it’s hetero-friendly.

Spain approved same-sex marriages back in 2005 and since then the LGBT tourism has been booming in the country. Here are some clubs and places in Madrid for our LGBT users.

The barrio of Chueca is uberly and extravagantly gay, although one may see a lot of heterosexual crowd as well. It is one of the most lively barrios in Madrid with an abundance of gay-friendly bars, restaurants and shops.

Cafés

Mamá Inés
Website: www.mamaines.com (Spanish)
Address: Calle de Hortaleza 22
Hours: 10am-2pm Sun-Thu, 10am-3.30am Fri & Sat
This café will tell you a lot of gossip on which one is tonight’s hot spot.

Café Acuarela
Address: Calle de Gravina 10
Hours: 11am-2am Sun-Thu, 11am-3am Fri & Sat
You can easily find this café right on Plaza de Chueca. Look for the dimly-lit place with a huge statue of a nude male angel guarding the doorway.

Antik Café
Address: Calle de Hortaleza 4 & 6
Hours: 10am-3am
Looking for something low-key and ‘upscale’ cafe? This is where the dark interior is all about intimacy and discretion.

Clubs

Why Not?
Address: Calle de San Bartolomé 7
Hours: 10.30pm-late
Pop and top-40s music.

Ohm
Address: Plaza del Callao 4
Hours: midnight-6am Fri & Sat

Cool
Address: Calle de Isabel la Católica 6

Suite
Address: Calle de la Virgen de los Peligros 4
Hours: 9pm-2am Mon-Thu, 9pm-3am Fri & Sat
One of the trendiest retro bars in Madrid.

Bookshops

A Different Life
Address: Calle de Pelayo 30
This is a bookshop for gays and lesbians.

Berkana
Address: Calle de Hortaleza 64
Local guides, ads, or Mapa Gaya de Madrid? Check out this place known as the unofficial information centre for gay Madrid.

Hotels

Most Madrid hotels won’t bat an eyelid if you’re a same-sex couples asking for a double bed. One place that goes out of its way to make gay couples welcome is Hotel Óscar, which also applies to other Room Mate hotels.

Hostal La Zona
Range: $$
Tel: 91 521 9904
Website: www.hostallazona.com
Address: Calle de Valverde 7
Prices: double €50-65
Catering primarily to gay clientele

Cat’s Hostel
Range: $
Tel: 902 889 192, 91 369 2807
Website: www.catshostel.com
Address: Calle de Cañizares 6
Prices: dorm €16, double €18-20
Features: Internet, Air-conditioning
Super clean dorms and bathrooms.

Petit Palace Posada del Peine
Range: $$
Tel: 91 523 8151
Website: www.hthotels.com
Address: Calle de Postas 17
Prices: double from €100
Friendly staff, spacious rooms, clean bathrooms, walking distance from Plaza Mayor.

Quo
Range: $$
Tel: 91 532 9049
Website: www.hotelesquo.com
Address: Calle de Sevilla 4
Prices: single from €110-160, double from €160

Hotel Puerta América
Range: $$$
Tel: 91 744 5400
Website: www.hotelpuertaamerica.com
Address: Avenida de América 41
Prices: double from €225-300

Chueca Pensión
Tel: 91 523 1473
Website: www.chuecapension.com
Address: Calle de Gravina 4
Price: single €40; double €60; triple €85
Metro: Gran Vía
There are few better Chueca bases than this lovely pensión. Features include hardwood floors, free wi-fi and large rooms, while the bright bedspreads add a splash of colour lacking in many hostales in this price range. Best of all, Beni Uria, the owner, is a welcoming host. There’s no lift.

Casa Chueca
Tel: 91 523 8127
Website: www.casachueca.com
Address: Calle de San Bartolomé 4
Price: single €40; double €50; triple €70
Metro: Gran Vía
If you don’t mind lugging your suitcase up to the 2nd floor, Casa Chueca is outstanding. The rooms are modern, colourful and a cut above your average hostal; in keeping with the barrio that it calls home, Casa Chueca places a premium on style. Add casual, friendly service and you’d be hard pressed to find a better price-to-quality ratio anywhere in central Madrid.



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