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There’s Life Way Beyond Barcelona’s Gayxample

While Madrid’s gay epicentre is based on Chueca, Barcelona’s equivalent is the so-called Gayxample. In other words, the rectangle in the Eixample Esquerra district bounded by the streets Balmes, Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes, Comte d’Urgell and Aragó. And, the supply of bars and clubs mutates with the force of a tsunami each season. A prominent example are the discos at Club Arena, open from Monday to Sunday, a readily available resource for tourists and locals who can afford to stay the night. Sited in the same area is the Hotel Axel. When it opened in 2003, it became the first hetero-friendly hotel both in Barcelona and the world. The penthouse terrace is a classic place of pilgrimage where summer trippers can show off the muscles they have been working on all year around. No wonder it is one of the most popular stopovers during the Circuit Festival, which this year takes place from 2 to 14 August.

While Gayxample is a major hub of activity, the action also goes beyond its limits. One identity trait of Barcelona is its cosmopolitan ethos and the fact that all gays can find both bars and parties tailored to their needs in other districts. For instance, despite the closure of the iconic La Penúltima, in El Raval district, modern clientele have such alternatives as Zelig where, apart from the gin tonic de rigueur, you can also eat a good dish of pasta or some Dutch delicacy. Also on hand is La Casa de la Pradera (c/ Carretes, 57), a bar with a dance floor which would be perfect for those likely to migrate to the Sala Apolo later on, or, with their foot off the pedal, have enough with making the most of weekends until three in the morning. Another of the bars which has become all the rage is La Federica, (c/ de Salvà, 3), strategically located in Poble Sec. It has become one of the fetish spots of the city’s hipster crowd in record time. If you’re not one to dance through the night and prefer to just chill out on a drink, this is one of your best options.

Metro, which also opens every day of the week, is still one of the city’s classic clubs. However, if anything typifies current hedonism it is the monthly parties – held practically every week at some venue – which draw hundreds of souls eager to paint the town red. One of the most veteran such raves is Pop Air, which is usually hosted on the first Friday of the month in the Sala Tango (c/ Diputació, 94) and pulls the bears and followers of fur in the pop-lovers city. Similarly, once a month also sees the Sala Apolo (c/ Nou de la Rambla, 113) staging Somoslas for enthusiasts of burning calories to the rhythm of electronic music, and Under (c/ Tarragona, 141), featuring one of the youngest parties on the circuit. Then there is Tanga Party, which has a house section and an even larger area given over to enlightened rave-ups. An upshot of the meteoritic success of the Tanga (which is even celebrated in Madrid), this coming Sunday, 17 July, its creators will be launching La Piscini (en La Carpa Barcelona, Avenida Manuel Azaña 21-23), a new event which, over and above just music, has as its main attraction a giant tub to douse in. It is shaping up to be a great way to beat the heat.

Also on Sunday, the classic Churros con Chocolate, to be held in the Sala Apolo, is by far one of the most crowded parties. Just like La Ká (at the Sala Plataforma, c/ Nou de la Rambla, 145), it is admission-free, so we recommend you don’t delay your arrival too much at either venue if you want to avoid getting stuck in endless queues – don’t say we didn’t warn you! Check out our flights and come and discover them for yourself.

Text by Sergio del Amo for Los Viajes de ISABELYLUIS

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