The best gay bars in Mexico City

The Mexican capital’s sheer size – it’s home to more than 20 million people – means there’s something in gay Mexico City for every taste. Thankfully, most of the top gay bars in Mexico City are located in the historic heart of the city or neighbouring Zona Rosa area, meaning bar hopping isn’t the trauma of taxis and metro systems it can be in other big cities!

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To get yourself acquainted with the pinker side of Mexico City a good place to start is República de Cuba Street. Just a block away from sights including the Museo Nacional de Arte (MUNAL), the street is host to a number of welcoming gay bars, including Marrakech Salón. A microcosm of all the gay clubs in Mexico City have to offer, this place manages to meld the contralto vocals of Cher with the rather more pained sounds of early 90s alternative bands without missing a beat. A popular spot for local gay guys and gals to relax and be themselves, perhaps the only true nod to its status as a gay bar is the bevvy of topless bartenders preparing drinks – and that’s no bad thing.

Sitting on the same street, but a little more obviously loud and proud, La Purísima (The Purest) is one of the unmissable gay bars in Mexico City for anyone looking to dance the night away without having to take themselves too seriously. The ever-busy dance floor is twinned with a small chill-out zone of armchairs from which to take in the true magnificence of the mirrored black and crimson interior, low lighting, and (it has to be said) less than subtle artwork, between DJ sets and appearances from La Purísima’s gang of male strippers.

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Photo: David Villasana

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Resident drag artistes go all out to create the buzz you’ll feel on entering El Pecado – The Sin

Almost next door is El Pecado or The Sin (although some older Chilangos might know it by its former name of El Otro Rio). The options available from behind the bar may be as modest as this exposed brick and stone wall space more generally, but the resident drag artistes go all out to create the buzz you’ll feel on entering and aren’t adverse to showing off their moves on the polished steel of the bar itself, whatever the monthly specials might be.

Continuing the religious theme is Divina (Divine, formerly Perra), a club with a playlist that roves effortlessly between the latest hipster favourites and classics from pretty much every genre going. Enter via the Teatro Garibaldi, a couple of blocks north of República de Cuba, and you’ll enter a series of high-ceilinged spaces which offer plenty of space for dancing. These include two stages from which the in-house dancers throw their shapes in front of an appreciative crowd and a downstairs bar area that is even less pretentious than that at El Pecado – here it’s either beer, vodka, or brandy.

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Drift a little west of the historic centre into the Juárez neighbourhood and you’ll soon reach the area dubbed the Zona Rosa, or Pink Zone. The name predates the adoption of the area by the city’s LGBT+ community and stems from a description by local artist José Luis Cuevas who claimed this bohemian neighbourhood ‘precisely pink’ because it was too naïve to be socialist (red) and too frivolous to be conservative (white). Whatever the truth of this, today the Zona Rosa is very definitely one of Mexico City’s LGBT+ destinations. For one thing, it’s home to Nicho Bears & Bar, which does pretty much what its name suggests. A place where bears and those attracted to bears can hang out with a beer or two, the rather ordinary exterior hides a glam interior of glinting bottles of booze, matt black chandeliers, and more than a few leather-clad teddy bear soft toys. The Friday night karaoke is always a big hit, with a nice blend of Spanish and English hits sung with varying degrees of success.

Photo: Taylor Friehl

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The Zona Rosa is very definitely one of Mexico City’s LGBT+ destinations

Perhaps the most famous name on the list of gay clubs Mexico City that occupy the Zona Rosa, is Kinky, one of the largest and chicest gay nightspots anywhere in the city. While the music may not offer the range of somewhere like Divina, its still good, and takes nothing away from the three distinct floors. On the first, the Chipocluda Neo-Cantina dishes out filling plates of food, while the next takes the form of a karaoke lounge with small stage and café-style seating. If that all becomes a little too much, wander up to the third floor, where you’ll discover a nice but narrow outdoor terrace looking out over the trees of the Paseo de la Reforma, the avenue along which one of Latin America’s largest Pride parades shimmies down each June. Thursdays are ladies only nights, so those of the male persuasion will need to head to one of the other gay bars we’ve mentioned if you’re looking to start the weekend off with the bang it probably deserves.

Photo: Johannes Roth

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