As Soho is to London, Chueca is to gay Madrid. While the LGBT presence is felt throughout many "barrios", the Chueca district in downtown Madrid really is the pulsing heart of Madrid gay community....
As Soho is to London, Chueca is to gay Madrid. While the LGBT presence is felt throughout many "barrios", the Chueca district in downtown Madrid really is the pulsing heart of Madrid gay community. This central gay neighborhood, just off Gran Via, is packed full of gay bars, restaurants, shops, clubs and businesses.
The center of Chueca life is Plaza de Chueca, named after Spanish composer and author Federico Chueca. The Chueca metro station is right by the square. It’s a typical meeting point for friends before heading off for an afternoon coffee or evening cerveza.
Chueca, like many central neighborhoods of Madrid, underwent quite a gentrification process, having previously been one of the more unkempt areas of the city. But nowadays, Chueca is the main gay area of Madrid and one of the largest gay districts in Europe. It's an LGBT hub, full of life, especially during weekends and warmer months. The queer community rub shoulders happily with the rest of the residents, which makes it a great neighborhood to live in.
Gay nightlife in Chueca is primarily situated around Plaza de Pedro Zerolo, which hosts local faves such as El Paso bar and Bearbie nightclub. Just south, on Calle de las Infantas, you’ll find both Hot and Infrente bars, popular watering holes of Madrid’s booming bear community.
North of Chueca plaza, Calle de San Bartolomé holds a few gems as well, such as the 80s-themed Barbanarama, Bulldog bar and You & Me. Venture over to nearby Calle Pelayo and you'll find laKama Baranoa, LL Bar, Bear’s Bar and a few other gay cruising bars. During the day, this street is also home to many of Chueca’s gay fetish and lifestyle stores, including Boxer, SR and XXX2.
If there's a celebration that’s really made Chueca famous, it's got to be Madrid Gay Pride, which attracts millions to the cobbled calles every early July. For the whole week, Chueca becomes the center of LGBT life, with thousands of rainbow flags hanging from every shop and every building. You can drink and dance in the streets, party in bars and clubs all over the neighborhood. Tip for party people: Chueca is where you will want to finish the night after the insane annual gay pride parade!
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