Passions flare amongst the red-blooded males of this city as OutUK’s
Adrian Gillan takes the bulls by the horn in Valencia, Spain’s third biggest city,
finding out it's a stunning mixture of the old and the new.
The port city of Valencia lies on Spain's southeastern coast, where the Turia River meets the Mediterranean.
It's known for its City of Arts and Sciences, with futuristic structures including a planetarium, an oceanarium
and an interactive museum. Valencia also has several beaches, some within nearby Albufera Park, a wetlands
reserve with a lake and walking trails.
It's a city also famous for it's football and I arrived precisely as the club's players were returning from a victorious match
to be greeted 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. You sensed that even the finest straight specimen might be up for anything if their
much adored team continued with its winning streak.
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
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.
Valencia is a friendly and open-minded city, where everyone feels welcome, regardless of their
sexuality. For many years the city has had a thriving gay scene with many bars and clubs proudly
displaying the rainbow flag. The annual LGBT Pride celebration has become a huge event where
everyone, locals and visitors alike, take part in the celebrations throughout the month of June.
The city plays host to an LGBT film festival, concerts, book launches, special theater performances and exhibitions.
On the day of the Pride Parade the streets of Valencia fill with thousands of people and loads of color.
You can expect drag queens in their best outfits and lots of noise and multicolored flags, but above all there's a joyous atmosphere
as the parade moves through the city centre. The parade starts at 7.30pm in Puerta de la Mar and ends with a great after-party.
Gay Pride Parade in Valencia |
Photo: Gustavo Muñoz Soriano
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.
BUBU on Carrer del Botànic attracts a bears and friends masculine crowd with lots of locals. They serve
bottled beer and neat liquor with a sort of Berlin-light kind of vibe. If you don't like this place, you're probably
just a bit too camp. It has friendly and happy bartenders and is very clean and well run. They play good music and most importantly
there is air-conditioning inside.
Other places worth a mention include
The Muse Valencia which is a bar full of good music and a great atmosphere;
Nyara which despite being billed as a nightclub is really more open during the day;
Cafe de las Horas which is a 3-min walk from Valencia Cathedral and offers an amazing
old fashioned and chinzy interior with a good selection of tapas and drinks;
and La Boba y el Gato Rancio - a laid-back gay bar featuring
cocktails, coffee & desserts in colorful surrounds with a terrace, found on Carrer de Cuba.
The warm-up for the night ahead, definitely happens in Deseo 54
on Carrer de Pepita. It has drag shows, podium dancers & house music at this popular gay club with
colorful light effects which is most surely where the young, hip crowd muster to hang and swing.
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 Nunca Digo No a sexbar with
backrooms, cruising area, videos rooms, slings, showers, and more.
tête-à-tête bills itself as "Not just a sex bar". They run a number of special nights from 10pm
including a Slip and Nudist Party and some Greek Festival nights called "Fiesta Griega".
It's a Greek towel party - the towel and flip flops are included with your ticket.
The venue has a Jacuzzi, Glory Holes, Slings, Round Bed, Cabins, Films and even a VIP Room.
Enjoying all the sights of Valencia |
Homens Sex Bar is exactly what it says. "Hòmens" (Men, in Valencian) is what you can find here, since it is a bar
with strip performances, live sex, sex and role-playing parties (including Nudist-fetish party, Nude or Slips,
Stripper performances and Nudist alldayers) and a great maze to lose yourself among men, cabins (some with beds),
video screens, glory holes, slings, dark room, showers. Its reputation isn't great with people complaining of warm bottles
of beer, a dank bar and staff who couldn't care less. Others say it's hilariously AWFUL!! A sign that the Spanish gay scene
has not yet left the 70's!
WHERE TO STAY
Our hotel partners Bookings have an excellent range of gay-friendly hotels which can
be booked online at special discount rates
THE LITTLE BLACK BOOK
BUBU (Carrer del Botànic, 7; T: +34 628 22 12 67; Website)
Cafe de las Horas (Carrer del Comte d'Almodóvar 1; T: +34 963 91 73 36; Website)
Deseo 54 (Carrer de Pepita, 13-15; T: +34 662 11 30 83; Website)
Homens Sex Bar (Carrer d'Alacant, 11; T: +34 963 28 02 92; Website)
La Boba y el Gato Rancio (Carrer de Cuba, 59; T: +34 962 06 63 54; facebook)
Nunca Digo No (Turia 22; Website)
Nyara (C. Pérez Escrich 21D; T: +1 878-278-3014)
Rincón 33 (Corretgería 33; T: 0034 963 924 161; facebook)
Sant Miquel Café (Pza Sant Miquel 13; T: 0034 963 924 596; facebook)
tête-à-tête (Carrer del Gravador Jordán, 1; Website)
The Muse Valencia (Carrer de Ruaya 48; T: +34 651 59 35 32; facebook)
Trapezzio Café (Pza Músico Lopez Chavarri 2;T: 0034 963 915 027)
Valencia Gay Pride (Parade starts from Puerta de la Mar; facebook)
Revised March 2022.