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by Matthew Payne
No matter how welcomed the LGBT community feels in mainstream bars around the world, it’s always great to try out the gay scene wherever you’re travelling. Whether you’re cruising for a vibrant night out, a quiet drink or looking for someone special, LGBT-friendly bars provide a great night out for everyone. We’ve looked at some of the best gay bars around the world for you to visit, so cake on the body glitter and have a totally fabulous time!
Pieces, New York
Just a short walk from the bohemian Union Square, Pieces is the perfect bar for those wanting a lively atmosphere, with the added bonus of happy hour running until 8pm every night. The décor is camper than Christmas, with tinsel, fairy lights and disco balls everywhere; it’s like a pride celebration every night of the week! The liquid brunches on weekend afternoons are ideal for tourists passing through this eclectic downtown neighbourhood who want to join the daytime party. Tuesday nights at Pieces go one step further with karaoke night (cue the ‘jazz hands’). So, get up on that stage and belt out those Judy, Madge, Cher and Whitney classics.
Aries Disco Bar, Palma Majorca
The Aries Disco Bar is only a fifteen minute walk from the Dique del Oeste, a LGBT-friendly beach, and is perfectly situated within the gay district of Palma city. This basement bar is great for those who are fans of funky house music, but also appreciate some cheesy pop tunes too. With dark red walls and leather chairs, the bar certainly takes you away from your typical summer holiday atmosphere and will remind you of the drinking spots in Soho or Canal Street. The Aries hotel, which is connected to the bar, means that there’s a great balance of locals and tourists of all ages, making it one of the most popular gay hangouts on the Balearic island of Majorca. Unwind on the terrace and enjoy the warm evenings or stay on the dance floor all night long – the music doesn’t stop until six in the morning!
El Rio, San Francisco
This lesbian-owned venue can be found in the Mission district of San Francisco, towards the eastern side of this exceptionally gay-friendly city. The bar attracts a wide range of clientele, and is certainly aimed at hip, bohemian characters. The heated patio out the back is where the main party is at; this area is beautifully decorated with plants and shrubs, creating a trendy rustic atmosphere. While the music is pumping inside, the patio area hosts open air music sets, salsa nights and, of course, more karaoke! On Fridays and Sundays punters can enjoy a free BBQ, as well as an array of complimentary shellfish such as crab and oysters. For those of you looking for an evening of raunchiness, be sure to visit on Fridays to catch the saucy Burlesque show.
Buddies Bar, Gran Canaria
Buddies bar is one of the longest running establishments at the famous Yumbo Centre in the Playa del Inglés resort of Gran Canaria. The bar is perfect for those who perhaps enjoy the more subtle side of the LGBT scene…well, at least during the day. Every Friday the bar plays retro music from the 80s, with screens showing the original videos on the wall, so no excuses if you forget the dance routine. The bar also runs a comical beauty competition during the week, where your average Matt and Will are transformed into Matilda and Wilhemina before your very eyes. The bar’s motto of “welcome stranger, goodbye friend” is renowned in Playa del Ingles, with Buddies having the reputation of being the friendliest bar in the resort.
Out Bar, Benidorm
Found in the Old Town area of Benidorm, Out Bar is a relatively new LGBT establishment, which opened in 2012. However what it lacks in age, it makes up for in style, and is already one of the most talked about gay bars in southern Spain. With a flamboyant boudoir interior, the bar is open seven nights a week and is popular because of its variety of music, ranging from those all-important camp classics to impressive dance anthems. Topless Tuesdays is the greatest night, particularly for the male customers, who can enjoy staring at the attractive bartenders. The bar has also invented its own irresistible cocktail names, with the Ladette-to-Lady Ice Tea, the Carry on Colada and the Pussy Pink Glitter all proving very popular with the punters.
It’s worth mentioning that a lot of these bars are very welcoming to straight partygoers, too, so by all means bring a mixed crowd. This sets an example to countries which are less accepting towards LGBT communities. In the bars mentioned above, you’re totally free to act and be who you are, which is what it’s all about.
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