GLBT Travelers - Gay Life in Rome? Madrid?
Jul 6, 11, 12:21 pm
I'm heading to Rome & Madrid in August...wondering if anyone has some advice on bars, clubs, areas to visit, etc.
Let me know! =)
Jul 6, 11, 5:27 pm
Paging ThePointsGuy re: madrid . . .
Jul 6, 11, 5:36 pm
I think he's en route from MAD to BCN right about now . . .
I'm curious about MAD too. Heading there with the BF in the fall. There are a couple of old threads but maybe TPG can give us an update.
Jul 7, 11, 11:36 am
I was just in MAD with thepointsguy and it was, yet again, a blast. Admittedly it was Pride so it was crazy and loads to do, but it's a great city to visit any time of the year for a good gay scene.
I didn't hit "Why Not?" this time, but thepointsguy did. It's a small narrow bar that plays fun music and gets super crowded.
The gay scene, centred in Chueca, starts and end late. You don't go to bars until 12/1am, and clubs don't get going until 2/3am, but it seems almost every night of the week they are going.
I liked "By" bar which has music videos playing and friendly bar staff - with a bit more space than some of the other bars. The Eagle is a good space and a good place to start your night.
For clubbing, check the various online guides. I've been to Cool disco and it was a good space (but my friends weren't into the music), Club Strong is a darker club with strong drinks, a good dance space, and Europe's largest darkroom. :eek: Don't let that deter you, it's a fun place to hang out to dance as well, but again, this really gets going from 2am onwards Fri/Sat/Sun.
For accommodation, I would recommend www.room-matehotels.com. I've stayed at Oscar and Laura and both were great (Laura right next door to the Strong!). Rates can be cheapish (120 euro a night) compared to the Westin Palace that thepointsguy will recommend, which is great too but more $$$ ;)
All in all, MAD is highly recommended. ^ Restaurants, bars, clubs - there are tons to do.
Re: Rome - I went last summer and was disappointed. People seem to start their night in the summer at the bars opposite the (south?) side of the Coliseum. Great view, but not very social on the nights I went. There was some outdoor gay party every Sat night that my friends drove me to as well, but I'm not sure if it's running this year.
I didn't have the energy last time in Rome, but wanted to check a Friday-night club I heard about, Muccassassina (http://www.muccassassina.com/). Maybe someone else here has more info.
I went to Rome last August and met an American ex-pat who lives in Rome. He summarized the gay scene in Rome for me. In a nutshell, August or Summer in general is not a good time to visit Rome if you are a gay tourist. Because, almost everyone is out of town and on vacation.
Another potential downside of Rome is that there is not a specific gay area per say as venues are sort of all over the map and can be somewhat far from each other.
Culturally, Rome is still quite conservative when it comes to gay scene and gays in general. Perhaps the proximity to Vatican has to do with this, Italy is the only country in Western Europe that does not offer any recognition to gay couples, consequently, I feel a lot of men are still in the closet or sort of behave like the U.S. gays during the 1980's.
My guess is the contrast between Madrid and Rome would be like day and night.
Jul 9, 11, 1:53 am
I just came back from Madrid pride too , and OMG, it was one of the most fun prides I have been to (maybe part of it was the grass is greener on the other side effect...). The energy was really good, and there were lots of hot and friendly guys everywhere.
But the few times I have been to Madrid before, it was still very fun even though there were no special events going on.
My favorite clubs are the OHM club (I remember having lots of fun there on sat nights - there are two dance floors there with different music) and the Strong center (even if you are not in the dark room action, that place can still be a lot of fun).
As for hotels, I usually stay at the Siete Islas hotel on calle valverde - the location is excellent and the rates are usually great (i paid total of US $480 for four nights there last week - I did book four months ago). It is a good 4 star hotel. The only problem I had this time with the hotel was the unreliable Wifi connection in my room on the 5th floor.
As for sightseeing, I think the highlights of touring around Madrid are the several historical towns that are easy day trips from Madrid. Do not miss Segovia - my absolute favorite.
There are tons of great restaurants in Cheuca and all over Madrid - if you want restaurant suggestions, please let me know.
Have a great time in Madrid!
Jul 9, 11, 9:53 pm
Party at ODARKO in Madrid!
And if you don't mind roughing it for lodging, then stay at Hostal La Zona.
And let us know how you like it.
Jul 11, 11, 9:59 pm
One thing I will add about Madrid is that I've never seen so many "unlisted" gay places in a major city. First "gay" visit, we befriended locals who brought us to 4 or 5 bars/clubs that were listed absolutely nowhere (some close to Chueca, some not). Did the same thing two years later and discovered more "secret" places that weren't in any of the tourist rags or the local Spanish gay magazine.
Not sure why, but always found that interesting.
I always tell people to "befriend the locals" anywhere you go, but it was particularly helpful in Madrid.