Soccer kings of Spain and Europe, passions flare amongst red-blooded males as OutUK’s Adrian Gillan takes the bulls by the horn in Valencia, Spain’s third biggest city, which is a stunning mixture of the old and the new.
I arrived precisely as Valencia’s triumphant EUFA-cup winning team were returning to be feted by hoards of young mucho machos and as testosterone was freely and frantically coursing through the throbbing heart of the old Barrio Carmen with its gay district. Delirious with joy and bursting with pride, you sensed that even the finest straight specimen was up for anything on this most special of nights. Valencia's stunning Museum of Sciences
Smaller than Madrid or Barcelona, Valencia is also more liberal. Indeed, as the temporary republican capital that lost out to brutal fascist Franco in the Spanish Civil War, it has paid in blood for its lofty, lefty ideals. There are a couple of dozen gay venues in town, mostly clustered along the cute old town’s Quart road and on squares nearby.
Note: If you speak standard Spanish you’ll get by but most here speak Valenciano, markedly different. Also: Spaniards are probably the latest-starters of all Mediterranean revellers. They rarely eat before 11pm, then hit bars at 12.30am and will scarce touch a club before 2.30am. You really will need your early evening disco nap if you’re to keep up with these horned-up nocturnal party animals! The Dome in the Central Market

FOOD

There are some truly superb gay-run restaurants in Valencia, all offering great-value fixed-price menus at all hours, with wine aplenty. Just to the east of the old centre, Rincón 33 offers creative, modern Spanish-continental cuisine in a cosy, friendly corner grubbery with excellent service. A ten minute stroll west, into the old town itself, Sant Miquel Café on Pza Sant Miquel offers less interesting dishes, but is certainly the place to grab an outside table, to see and be seen.

For something really quirky, indulge yourself at Pekado on the adjoining Pza Vicente Iborra. ‘Pekado’ means ‘sin’ and the dishes are all imaginatively named after deadly vices, served up by shirtless hunks in white wings or red horns who often also participate in a rolling cabaret nightly come weekends.

CAFE CULTURE

Back opposite San Miguel, modern and cosy yet airy Trapezzio Café is a perfect place to chill out with a coffee or beer, either in the loft lounge or out on the square itself, day or night. Q Art! Café over on the Guillén de Castro a short walk away is a fine place to get your bearings off the friendly barmen as things really queer up in the evening - not bad fodder either, and so cheap!

The warm-up for the night ahead, definitely happens in Café Deseo opposite Pekado. It has a small dance floor which, although cliquey, is most surely where the young, hip crowd muster to hang and swing.

CLUBBING

And so onto the main throbbing vein of Gay Valencia: on a road around the corner called Quart. There are several venues that lure in the Deseo dance crowd with the coolest music in town. The really chic will stay here until around 3am and then find a café or some strange bed for the night. If it's a weekend then there's the former sauna Nuncadigono a sexbar with backrooms, cruising area, videos rooms, slings, showers, and more.

But perhaps the most distinctive gay feature in Valencia is La Guerra back on Quart. Behind its brightly-coloured, elegant, colonial townhouse façade rears up one of the word’s truly great dark-room multiplexes, spread over four floors: bar on the ground; pop videos above; plush porn cinema yet further up and then dark-as-night loft pinnacle - but with coal-black corners and alcoves woven subtly throughout. It’s free entry at all times - you don’t even need to buy a drink! And - open until after 3am - it’s the perfect place to flit to and fro between bars or clubs as the evening progresses.

Our hotel partners Bookings have an excellent range of gay-friendly hotels which can be booked online at special discount rates here

THE LITTLE BLACK BOOK

Rincón 33 (Corretgería 33; T: 0034 963 924 161)
Sant Miquel Café (Pza Sant Miquel 13; T: 0034 963 924 596)
Pekado (Pza Vicente Iborra 9; T: 0034 963 924 139)
Trapezzio Café (Pza Músico Lopez Chavarri 2;T: 0034 963 915 027)
Q Art! Café (Guillén de Castro 80; T: 0034 963 916 115)
Nuncadigono (Turia 22) Website
Café Deseo (Pza Vicente Iborra 2; no phone)
La Guerra (Quart 47; T: 0034 963 913 675)

Revised August 2016.

 

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