So going on holiday is about having fun, that’s a given. But having fun can come in different forms; chilling-out with a good read next to a calm azure pool, exploring the sites or even some well-deserved retail therapy but here at Gay Homestays, we like to party and we know you do to so we are hooking you up with our top 10 list of hot gay bars from all corners of the globe.
BAR BAH’E – Istanbul
This cozy tavern is tucked away in a quaint alley in the bohemian Cihangir neighborhood of Istanbul. During the week it’s perfect for an intimate tête-à-tête, though once Friday rolls around, bartenders shower the bar top with whiskey and set it alight to the delight of a mixed crowd of Turks and tourists, guys, girls, trannies everyone you need to get the party started.
LIVING CLUB – Mexico City
The grand facade of this colonial-style church belies the sensory barrage that waits inside. A Br’er Rabbit impersonator serves watermelon slices, a laser light show illuminates the spectacular go-go boys on stilts, and a m’lange of high-energy beats emanates from the many nooks and crannies in this multilevel party domain. Fridays and Saturdays boast a raw dance party reminiscent of New York’s Limelight complete with an all-star lineup of DJs. An in-house bodega serves up hot tacos and lavish fruit cocktails, and siesta rooms are available for the faint-hearted.
CUBBY HOLE – NY
Notorious for decor that looks like a party supply store turned upside down and shaken out; the Cubby Hole is a closet-size West Village lesbian mainstay. The bar draws neighborhood professionals for a well-priced happy hour and a mixed crowd for nightly drink specials and a jukebox heavy on current pop favorites and the classics from k.d. lang and Melissa Etheridge. The bar’s leave-a-drink-for-a-friend board offers the bashful an easy way to make a move on a regular.
THE IMPERIAL HOTEL – Sydney
From the outside, this ochre building looks rather drab, but walk in and discover a thriving icon of gay Australia. Nestled in the Sydney suburbs is the three-bar Imperial Hotel, which is home to a mixed community of gays and lesbians (together at last). Intricate vintage fixtures sprout dusty rainbow flags, and 1980s videos play from 12-inch TV sets. There’s zero attitude but a ton of frills. The final scenes from The Adventures of Priscilla: Queen of the Desert were shot at the Imperial, and drag legend Mitzi Macintosh has been reenacting them here ever since. If not Priscilla, she’ll do The Rocky Horror Picture Show. And her show’s free before midnight.
MUSEO CHICOTE – Madrid
Keep your eye on the back booth at this Franco-era speakeasy on Madrid’s pulsing Gran Via’ director Pedro Almod’var and his posse hang out here. Anyone fashionable is welcome among the mostly gay crowd here, where handsome bartenders can hand-crack ice for your mojito or serve you at your art deco banquette.
AKBAR – LA
Perhaps the social epicenter of hard-partying ‘Alterna-Wood’, Akbar is the go-to spot in the middle of Los Angeles’s antigloss neighborhoods of Los Feliz, Silver Lake, and Echo Park. The pretentious attitude of the Westside just isn’t tolerated here, and the haven that the place represents from all that West Hollywood phoniness gives the place its ample charge. Great indie music on the jukebox, stiff drinks, hot guys, good times. Gay guys, women, and straight dudes pack the joint nightly, and the bar has expanded into a full-fledged dance club on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. When Dirty Dirty House Club takes off on Thursdays, the crowd gets pretty lively and the diverse vibe is a welcome change in the often-segregated L.A. nightscape.
LE QUEEN – Paris
Oui mon cher, you’ll probably end up shelling out a thick wad of euros at this heaving Paris mega-club, situated on the superchic Champs-Elys’es. But once you get inside, we suggest arriving very, very late, you’ll be greeted by bouncing fashionistas, muscular strippers, and, of course, sashaying drag queens. Resident DJs include heavyweights like Paul Van Dyk and Deep Dish, and the fete rages on until 6 or 7 A.M.
AXEL SKY BAR – Barcelona
Perched atop the Hotel Axel, which bills itself as homo-friendly, Sky Bar commands stunning views over the Catalan city, and it’s also handily situated by the hotel’s pool and Jacuzzi. The bar hosts a party every year to welcome the start of the summer, the infinity pool is a hot place to cool down under the Spanish sun. Located in the Eixample, the heart of the gay quarter of Barcelona, Sky Bar is perfect for kicking off an evening or hanging out all night.
THE ABBEY – LA
A perennial ‘Best of L.A.’ champ, this over 16,000-square-foot party place attracts celebs aplenty (mostly queers and straight lassies, but occasionally a famous straight lad). Famous for creative cocktails and the perfect patio, this is where many a gay Angeleno brings his or her out-of-town pals to see and experience the heart of WeHo.
BERGHAIN – Berlin
On approach, this former power station looks like an intimidating, almost eerie place but once you have shown your worth to the notoriously picky doorstaff you’ll enter and notice an enormous Ferris wheel inside which sets the stage for what can only be described as Berghain, the ultimate ringmaster’s den of iniquity: myriad caves, dens, dance floors, locker rooms, and bathtubs. Upstairs is the Panorama Bar, a world-class dance club with an unrivaled lineup of international DJs, occupies the upper level. Berghain has rightfully earned itself a notorious reputation for being the most elite, trendy club to have ever been erected. If you go to Berlin, you go (try to) to Berghain.