Madrid is elegant. It's visually stunning and walkable European city with a royal palace, impressive architecture and inspiring art collections. Madrid is a big, vibrant and sexy.
The charming gay neighborhood is Chueca, in the heart of downtown Madrid located just off the Gran Via, Madrid's grand street with government buildings and major European retailers. Stop at Mama Ines, the popular gay cafe located on the main street of Chueca at Calle de Hortaleza 22. Restaurant Vivares on Calle de Hortaleza is a tasty and affordable option popular with the local LGBT community. Don't miss the trendy indoor food market Mercado San Anton and the roof top restaurant and bar La Cocina San Anton.
For nightlife, Black and White ( Calle de la Libertad, 34 ) is the oldest gay bar in Madrid, complete with drag shows. The LL Bar is popular with live entertainment from drag queens to strippers. For lesbians, visit Truco, which is adjacent to the Metro stop at Calle de Gravina 10.
The up-and-coming gay hot spot in Madrid is in downtown in the area called "La Latina." You can take the Metro or an inexpensive cab ride. All of the gay bars are cozy and filled with locals, making the experience very authentic Madrid. There are three bars clustered together. Start at Sixta ( Calle de Calatrava 15 ) then cross the street to El Perla ( Calle de Calatrava 14 ) and La Feucha.
The Oscar Hotel ( Calle de las Infantas ) is a gay-owned property in the heart of Chueca. It is stylish, and the hotel's rooftop pool and terrace are favorites among locals in the warmer months. The hotel asks, "Do you want to sleep with me?" And I say "Yes!" ( www.oscar.room-matehotels.com )
For Old World elegance, an overnight at the Ritz Madrid is a must. Built in 1910 according to the wishes of King Alfonso XIII, you feel like royalty when you check into this "power" spot in Madrid. Located within walking distance of the Madrid Atocha train station and Chueca and next to the cultural wonder, the Prado museum, the Ritz is grand. From the staircase to the vintage hotel room keys ( yes, an actual silver key to your room ) and staff that caters to the elite this hotel is a not-to-be-missed destination. The hotel will host a fundraiser for the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association Foundation in May.
Like any world city, there is a variety of LGBT events for every interest. Sleazy Madrid ( www.sleazymadrid.com ) is the main Spanish gathering of international fetish men and takes place during Spain's annual MayDay weekend ( April 30-May 4 ). Soon after Sleazy Madrid, the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association ( www.iglta.org ) holds the annual convention of travel professionals ( May 8-10 ).
Madrid Pride is the largest in Europe and draws more than 2 million people to the city to see more than 300 artists over five days of fun beginning July 2. Madrid Pride should be on your bucket List event. ( www.madridorgullo.com )
In 2017, Madrid will host World Pride. Make your reservations now!