Rumor has it Madrid’s gay pride tops all others. Thus, in an effort to uncover the truth, Queerty contributor Jimmy Im traveled to the Spanish city for a full investigation.
Check out the blow-by-blow, after the jump…
Day One: Getting To Know You…
I’m not sure there’s anything quite as gay as gay pride in Madrid. It’s not just a select celebration of gayness, but a city wide explosion of Madrillenos’ love of a hardy party. What could be better? Oh, right, all those gorgeous Spaniards, whose charm knows no bounds. And I sure got to know more than a few during my excursion last week.
Because Spain has a reputation for living “la vida loca” by night, my friend Matt Bell paced ourselves with some light sightseeing before the night’s festivities.
The chic Me hotel (sporting one of the best views of the city from the trendy rooftop) sheltered our gay asses before we set out for old city tours. This jet setter’s paradise, transformed from a 19th century building, is visited frequently by celebs like Posh Spice and George Clooney, who claims it is his favorite place in Madrid. Call it a hunch, but I have a feeling he feels right at home among the modelesque “straight” staff we got to know.
While we meant to see the city’s intricate architecture and awe-worthy monuments, Bell and I couldn’t control our carnal urges and soon found ourselves cruising among the masses at Madrid’s hot spots, like major shopping street Gran Via, “gayborhood” Chueca and historic Plaza de Santa Ana. But, we did manage to take in the Plaza Major, Madrid’s central plaza, which Philip II of Spain had constructed back in 1581 and continues to be one of the city’s most popular sites. It’s also home to the La Latina neighborhood, where the best tapas can be had, especially at San Loco, the bar owned by Javier Bardem’s brother.
Taking a cue from the Madrillenos, we followed the city’s nightlife rule of thumb – dinner at 10 pm; bars at 1 pm; discos at 3 am – and wine-and-dined at the neck-craning, sexy Philip-Starke-designed Ramses. The delicious food – and staff – got us more than pumped for our first night out. Viva Chueca!
Needless to say, the scene at the outdoor fiesta was a little chaotic. Alright, a lot. The plaza and adjoining streets were simply flooded with caliente boys, mostly locals, but a healthy portion of visitors flew down early for the notorious festivities. We made some local friends who couldn’t comprehend our “American” accents, but outdoor bars made it easier to get our drink on, and by 2 am, the language barrier seemed to be less problematic. Despite our promising drunken flirtations with eager muchachos, we called it an early night to save face for the rest of the week.