Much of Madrid’s nightlife has a big gay input and gay men especially will feel at home in most of the listings in our “Discotecas” section. However, Plaza Chueca and the surrounding streets, especially c/Pelayo, harbour at least a dozen exclusively gay bars and clubs, as well as a café that’s traditionally gay – the Café Figueroa at c/Augusto Figueroa 17. Wandering about, be aware that the area just north of Gran Vía is a red-light and drug centre, so taxis are best late at night. The lesbian scene is more disparate.
The main gay organization in Madrid is Coordinadora Gay de Madrid, c/Puebla 9 (Mon–Fri 10am–2pm & 5–8pm; Aug from 7pm; t915 230 070, wcogam.org; mGran Vía), which can give information on health, leisure and gay rights. Feminist and lesbian groups are based at the Centro de la Mujer, c/Barquillo 44, 1° izda. t913 193 689. For a good one-stop shop with lots of info on the gay scene, try Berkana Bookshop, c/Hortaleza 64 (Mon–Sat 10.30am–9pm, Sun noon–2pm & 5–9pm; wlibreriaberkana.com; mChueca).
Bars and discotecas
Café Acuarela c/Gravina 10; mChueca. Comfortable café, with kitsch Baroque-style decor. The perfect place for a quiet drink, and popular with a mixed crowd. Daily from about 11am–2am.
Cool c/Isabel la Católica 6; mSanto Domingo. Futuristic, style-conscious mixed club with a large gay following. Expect to pay €10–15 entry fee, and don’t arrive until late. Thurs–Sat midnight–6am, Sun 9pm–2am.
La Lupe c/Torrecilla del Leal 12; mAntón Martín. A mixed gay, lesbian and alternative bar. Good music, cheap drinks and occasional cabaret.
Medea c/Cabeza 33; mTirso de Molina/Antón Martín. A women-only disco with a huge dancefloor and wide-ranging selection of music. Gets going from about 1am.
El Mojito c/Olmo 6; mTirso de Molina. Friendly Lavapiés cocktail bar with a mixed gay and lesbian clientele. Daily 9pm–2.30am.
Ricks c/Clavel 8; mGran Vía. A varied-clientele discobar that gets packed at weekends when every available space is used for dancing. Open and light, with a friendly atmosphere – but drinks are pricey. Daily 11.30pm–5.30am.
Stars Dance Café c/Marqués de Valdeiglesias 5; mGran Vía. Quiet and low-key during the day, gradually livening up as the night goes on. It’s a popular meeting point for the gay community but the clientele is mixed. Daily 10am–2am.
Truco c/Gravina 10; mChueca. A long-established women’s bar with a popular summer terraza that spills out onto Chueca’s main plaza. Mon–Thurs 5pm–3am, Fri & Sat noon–3am.