Not only is Barcelona’s thriving nightlife scene a huge draw for those looking for a vacation destination in a city that never sleeps, but it’s also renowned for having one of the largest gay and lesbian contingencies in the Mediterranean. In particular, the ‘Gayeixample’ (left Eixample neighborhood, nicknamed ‘Gayeixample’) is full of cool and trendy places to grab a beer, a cocktail or to dance the night away to cheesy top 40 music.
However, you don’t have to be in the Gayeixample in order to find fun gay and lesbian hangouts, as they’re fairly scattered around the city, you just have to know where to look. Although there is still a disproportionate number of gay to lesbian bars (this is slowly changing), most of the clubs are gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and straight friendly; ie: you won’t be turned away at the door based on your sexual orientation. And with regards to Lesbians, to make up for the slight lack of girl only locales, there are usually ‘ladies evenings’ held every so often by a few event companies. My Lova Cindy is one of the more popular lesbian parties, featuring a slightly posher girl crowd and it’s usually thrown 3-4 times a year at varying venues each time. Mondo club, by the port, also hosts lesbian evenings throughout the year and caters to a younger more hipster crew.
If you’re looking for a crazy night on the town in one of Barcelona’s hippest gay clubs, then Dboy’s the place to go. This trendy locale boasts a modern and very stylish decor and is full of beautiful men all looking to have a ‘good time’. It’s situated in Plaza Urquinaona, only a stone’s throw from the ‘Gayeixample’ neighborhood. Drinks are a bit pricey so be sure to bring cash or pre-drink beforehand and just enjoy the music which plays until the sun comes up. This is the best place to be if you want to network and be in the center of the gay scene.
Recommended for Gay Clubs because: One of Barcelona’s best male bars, DBoy is the place to go if you’re looking to make new ‘friends’.
Sam’s expert tip: The club frequently hosts special evenings, so be sure to check out their website for upcoming events and put your name on the list
The Arena group is one of Barcelona’s largest and most prominent chains of gay and lesbian nightclubs with several locations throughout the city. Depending on which Arena club you hit up will determine the crowd, the music and the overall vibe; however regardless of which one you end up at, you’re in for a lively and very late evening! Arena Madre, on Balmes street is one of the biggest and most electric of the group. Arena Classic, on Diputacio street, is a little more low key although it’s still open daily until 5am and if you’re looking for hits from the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s then check out Arena Dandy on Gran Via.
Recommended for Gay Clubs because: A Barcelona classic dance club, Arena has several locations and is always busy and always a good laugh
Sam’s expert tip: Arena VIP can be found inside the Arena Dandy club and plays the most recent international tunes
Looking for hard core fun surrounded by ‘gay bears’ then Butch (Bear) Bar is your scene. This club caters to gay bears and those who aren’t afraid to leave their comfort zones for an evening, as things can often become ‘intense’ especially if you venture into the one of the dark rooms. It’s a small, locale featuring live music and is only open from Thursday-Saturday. This is a fun night out for bears and straights and gays alike, as long as you’re aware that it won’t be any ordinary evening on the town. Anything goes at Butch Bar, so be prepared.
Recommended for Gay Clubs because: A specialized bear bar on the edge of the gay district, with a very particular clientele
Sam’s expert tip: They also host private parties, so if you’re looking for a venue be sure to inquire.
A nice way to start the evening in stylish bar covered in red. Sweet Cafe is one of several gay bars on Casanova street in the Eixample neighborhood and is a frequent hot-spot for hipsters (gay and straight) to have a couple of drinks before checking out one of the gay clubs down the street or right around the corner. If you’re looking for a great way to start the evening, Sweet Cafe is slightly more upscale, yet not pretentious and ideal for intimate chats amongst friends or a first date. This is a fun bar with tasty drinks and a warm vibe.
Recommended for Gay Clubs because: An unassuming cocktail bar in the nicer part of the gay neighborhood, ideal for dates
Sam’s expert tip: It’s a small bar so if you want a seat show up before 12am.
A cozy little lesbian bar nestled in the Gothic Quarter behind the Correos (post office), Canfly is hard to find if you don’t know where to go. Once you stumble upon it however, you’ll find a strong lesbian crowd mingling both in the bar and outside on the patio. Don’t let this hole in the wall deceive you, as it’s more than just a dive bar. Canfly has a fairly extensive, tasty tapas menu and a nice selection of wines. It also has a gorgeous terrace, surrounded by the old Roman Walls. It’s very romantic in the evenings whether you’re looking to date or meet new people.
Recommended for Gay Clubs because: A super lesbian dive bar in the heart of the Old City, with one of the best outdoor terraces
Sam’s expert tip: Their patio is an ideal summer hang out, but be sure to go before 8pm as the few tables are usually full by then.
Although it’s slightly less busy than it was in its ‘heyday’, Dietrich is still one of the most well-known Barcelona Gay bars and a hot spot for locals and expats. It’s a charming space with exposed brick lining the walls and a few places to sit in the back right beside the small stage which often showcases go-go dancers, cabaret shows and live performances. Drinks are slightly pricey but they’re well worth it! Deitrich is a Barcelona Classic that will never go out of style. It attracts those who want to be seen in the gay community and has a very loyal following.
Recommended for Gay Clubs because: One of the gay scene’s classic bars with cabaret shows and go-go dancers galore
Sam’s expert tip: They have a great variety of resident dj’s, so check out the line up in advance to see who’s playing and then be sure to get there early.
A trendy gay bar in the Eixample neighborhood, G-Cafe is known for its serene, lounge-like atmosphere and its live jazz shows which usually take place at the beginning of the night. Once the clock strikes 12 however, the bar turns into more of a club with popular dj’s playing a mix of top 40, dance and house beats. G-Cafe also features cabaret shows, depending on the night. This is a fun, unassuming club where you can be whoever and whatever you want, any day of the week. G-Cafe attracts an eclectic clientele, all of whom are looking for a good time.
Recommended for Gay Clubs because: An excellent bar turn club in the gay district, G-Cafe is both calm and vibrant depending on the hour
Sam’s expert tip: Check out happy hour Wednesday – Friday from 7pm-9pm.
A relaxed and stylie, primarily girl cocktail bar and pub, amBar is still equally welcoming to gays and straights. They have comfy couches, low-key music and a free pool table, providing for an inviting atmosphere and a nice way to kick off the evening in the heart of the Eixample neighborhood. amBar, although it’s usually known for its cocktails and pool playing, is fast becoming a gay hangout for girls and guys alike. It’s ideally situated on Rambla Del Raval close to other great clubs such as the Cangrejo. So you can start the night here and stumble a few streets down to another electric bar or club.
Recommended for Gay Clubs because: A low key, intimate gay bar on the most happening street in the Raval neighborhood
Sam’s expert tip: Be sure to try their signature cocktails (on the menu)
One of the best places in Barcelona where you can go crazy to a mix of top 40 hits and oldies from the 80’s. Although many think of the Cangrejo as a gay bar, its clientele is always very diverse and the club welcomes anyone looking for a vibrant and exciting night on the town in one of Barcelona’s most rustic and lively neighborhoods. Located on the edge of the Raval, this small club is always happening and always fun. On Friday nights there’s the epic drag queen show so be sure to get there early as the seats fill up quite early.
Recommended for Gay Clubs because: The best place in the Old City to dance all night long to 80’s and 90’s with drag queens and transvestites.
Sam’s expert tip: Even though it’s a club it closes at 3am (early for Barcelona standards) so get there early.
A cool and trendy new lesbian club in the heart of the ‘Gay-Eixample neighborhood, Le Marlene is an excellent choice for an exciting night out, especially on the weekends and particularly for women wanting to meet good looking women. Featuring a mix of top 40 hits and golden oldies, the club has a fresh and electric vibe in a fun and very ‘girlie’ atmosphere. If you’re looking for more of the ‘femme variety’ of lesbian this is an excellent choice. Located in the gay district, the club is surrounded by great bars to start the evening and perfect after hours locales to finish it off.
Recommended for Gay Clubs because: A trendy and more upscale lesbian club with plenty of lipstick lesbians
Sam’s expert tip: You don’t have to be a lesbian to come on Friday evenings – Friday’s are ‘bring a friend night’.