Gay Barcelona – The eccentric nightlife of Barcelona
City guides
2 November, 2017

By: Daniel S. Bahrami

Barcelona has everything the heart desires! Sunshine all year round, beautiful beaches within walking distance, an array of different cuisines at affordable prices, a rich and beautiful culture and history, and a pulsating and ever-evolving nightlife. It therefore comes as no surprise that the Catalan capital attracts millions of tourists every year and Gay Barcelona is a mecca for LGBTQ-travellers because of its accepting stance towards equality.

As a matter of fact, in this city, it is fairly common to see same-sex couples holding hands or kissing in public without anyone giving it a second thought. And, although there are designated gay clubs, even the straight clubs will almost always have a gay crowd, as well. Not to mention that one of Europe’s biggest gay destinations, Sitges, is only a brief hour away. One thing to have in mind is that the locals normally eat dinner at around 10pm, which means that the bars are usually empty until around midnight. Here’s a guide to some of the many gay spots in this beautiful city.

Gay Barcelona: Gayxample

In the northern part of the city center, you will find the big neighborhood of Eixample. This has cleverly been dubbed Gayxample, due to the majority of the gay bars, shops and restaurants situated in this area. Gayxample has a little something for everyone, no matter what you desire.


Carrer de Muntaner (Muntaner Street) is one of the main streets to find all the hot spots. Here, you will find classic hangouts like Punto BCN, which is part of the big Arena group that has several bars and clubs in the city. Punto is a big bar with lots of light that is a popular hangout for everyone from twinks to bears. On Wednesdays, they have happy hour in the afternoon.


Right next to Punto you’ll find La Chappelle (The Chapel) where the kitschy décor matches the name to a par. Opposite Punto, this bar is very small, narrow and dim, and caters to a more mature crowd, although it is still somewhat mixed.


Gay Barcelona - Botanic

The beautiful outside terrace of Botanic Bar.


Across the street from these you’ll find fan favorite Botanic Bar & Café – a small but very cozy bar with a botanical theme and an amazing back terrace to match, which is especially popular during the summer. Botanic has live DJs every weekend throughout the year, and also Thursdays and Sundays during the high season.


In the close proximity of these, you’ll also find the more niche bars like Bacon Bear Bar that (obviously) caters to bears, the lesbian bar La Sue and Night Bar, which is a cruise bar. Also make sure to head by the gay Axel Hotel for a drink at the Sky Bar, which has one of the best views in the city!


Towards the beginning of the street, when you are nearing the border of the Raval neighborhood, you’ll find the popular dance bar Moeem, which has a nice party every day of the week, as well as dance bar Museum, which especially attracts mainstream loving gym bunnies.


Near both these is the pillar of the gay nightlife of Barcelona; Metro Disco, which has been around for over almost 30 years. Metro is open every day of the week until the early mornings and has a moderate crowd on weekdays, but is often packed on weekends, where they have both dance floors open – the main one for house and electronic, and the back area for pop and mainstream.


Gay Barcelona

The funky neighborhood of Raval

Gay Barcelona: Raval & Poble Sec

Although the main gay area is located in Gayxample, over the last few years a lot of new LGBTQ bars have popped up in the popular “downtown” neighborhoods of Raval and Poble Sec. Whereas Gayxample is more structured and posh, you’ll find that these downtown neighborhoods are more laid back and diverse.


Only a few 100 meters from Metro Disco, you’ll find the diverse neighborhood bar Zelig. Although it is predominately a gay bay, you’ll find anything from young gay guys to older straight women side by side singing along to the mainstream hits while drinking cheap drinks at the bar. Not in a bad way, but in a very inclusive way – that is why Zelig has a lot of regulars coming, who have been coming here for several years. Besides the cheap prices in the bar, Zelig also has an all day food menu, and occasionally on weekends they bring in cool DJs.


A few minutes walk from Zelig, you’ll find the flamboyant bar Madame Jasmine. There are really no words to describe this inclusive late night bar that is packed all days of the week. This is not a gay bar, but the eclectic clientele incudes everyone from gays to straight to cis to transgender to gender non-binary people. The walls are covered with all sorts of kitsch décor and old photos of parties Madame Jasmine hosted, with some resembling a cast party of the Rocky Horror Picture show. Have a seat in the bar and use their on-hand make-up kit to do your nails while you talk to the chatty bartenders and pay your bill on the rhinestone-covered cash register. Madame Jasmine is a definite visit, if you like the unconventional and quirky bars.


On the other side of the Rambla you’ll find the hip restaurant La Monroe that oozes a classic and laid back down town-feel. Although not classified as gay (like most “gay” places in this area), most of the staff and visitors are gay, and with the exciting Catalan food menu, the relatively cheap drinks and their big outdoor seating section, this place is a popular hangout for dinner and the first drinks of the night before heading out.


Gay Barcelona

A cool hipster crowd at popular bar La Federica


On the other side of the big street of Paralel, you enter the buzzing neighborhood of Poble Sec. This area has in the last few years become the hippest area, with new bars and restaurants opening constantly. One favorite is La Federica, which since it’s opening in 2015 has become a crowded dance bar that attracts a more hipster and queer crowd than the mainstream bars of Gayxample. La Federica is a cool bar to start your evening, and even more so every other Saturday and festive holidays when they have themes parties and go all in with decorations and costumes and bring in cool queer DJs.


A stone throw from La Federica you will find another cool hipster bar, Bar Rufián. With its simple and down played décor and location in the heart of Poble Sec, this is a bar loved by regulars, and the friendly atmosphere is a perfect place to chat up strangers. Bar Rufián has DJs every Saturday and the atmosphere is so relaxed that you shouldn’t be surprised seeing guys sporting feather boas and heels. Rufián is just a small walk up from Apolo, which is one of the most popular dance clubs in Barcelona. Apolo is both extremely gay friendly on normal nights, but also the venue that hosts the incredibly popular monthly gay parties of Somos Las, Ventú and Churros con Chocolate.


Sitges and other areas

Only a quick train ride away (less than 1 hour) and you’ll be in the beautiful and picturesque city of Sitges – a place with an international reputation of being one of Europe, if not the world’s, most gay friendly destinations. With its perfect location near the waterfront, Sitges is a city with mile long beautiful beaches on one side, and rich and ancient culture on the other. The amount of gay bars and restaurant even rivals those of Barcelona, though the majority of people here tend to be tourists of the slightly older generation.


Most of the places are located in or near Carrer de Joan Tarrida, which makes a night out in the city very convenient. Busses and trains to Barcelona are almost on route 24/7, so going back to the city is an easy option. Annual events such as The Sitges Film Festival (one of the worlds leading in Fantasy and Horror), Sitges Bear Week and especially Sitges Carnival and Sitges Pride are events that attract people from near and far and definitely worth a visit, if it coincides with your travel plans.


Barcelona’s nightlife is ever-evolving, and new pop up parties and events occur all the time. There are lots of permanent places we didn’t cover in this guide, and also popular pop-up and weekly parties such as Ultrapop, Mordisko, Popair, Pervert, Black Room & La Ká – all with their own special niche, catering to different sub-groups in the LGBTQ environment. All of our hosts in Barcelona are familiar with the extensive party scene in the city, and you’ll be more than able to find a party that suits you with their help. Check out our offers in Barcelona here!


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