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Gay Lisbon

Europe's most beautiful gay beach and a vibrant nighttime street party


There aren't many rainbow flags waving around Lisbon's seven hills, and you must ring a bell to enter a few late-night gay bars due to their quiet residential neighborhood location. While this picture may take you back into the so-last-century days of the closet, you should not be fooled by that -- Lisbon is very gay.

Yes, Lisbon is the capital of a country with a strong Catholic culture that lived under a homophobic dictatorship for decades, but the city has become more open, colorful, and quite gay in the last decade. Many gay Portuguese men are still married-with-children, straight men seem way too obsessed with affirming their masculinity with macho speech and attitudes, while others maintain ambiguous Batman-and-Robin relationships, but let's just come out and say it -- Lisbon is one of Europe's most attractive gay destinations.

IN DAYLIGHT


During the day you'll see plenty of gay men parading up and down the shopping street Rua Garrett, making eye contact at the cafés of Chiado and at the Armazens do Chiado mall down the street.
Cafés in the neighborhood that are particularly popular among young gay men are Royale Café and Kaffeehaus.

AT THE BEACH


Lisbon's gay beach But since Lisbon's summers are long, you'll likely be drawn to the beach -- it can be pleasant and warm enough as early as April, all the way to October! But no, you don't have to compete with sandcastles and screaming children for space to spread your towel on. Lisbon has a wonderful gay beach ("Beach 19"), with plenty of sand, sea, and some secluded (and usually discretely occupied) dunes. You'll ideally have a car to reach it, otherwise, take the "toy train" from the overcrowded Costa da Caparica beach all the way to stop 19 (hence the name of the beach).
Better yet is going on the Day Trip to Lisbon Gay Beach 19.

GAY HOTEL


When the sun sets, you may shower and relax at the gay hotel The Late Birds.

GAY-FRIENDLY RESTAURANTS


As for gay-friendly restaurants, the most recommended is Bica do Sapato on the waterfront. Another option to consider is PAP'AÇORDA in Bairro Alto (Rua da Atalaia, 57).

BARS


For post-dinner drinks the entire city invades the narrow streets of boho Bairro Alto, with the corner of Travessa da Espera and Rua da Barroca already being dubbed "the pink corner." Gays, hags, straights, whatever, mingle with drink in hand outside CLUB DA ESQUINA (Rua da Barroca, 30-32) and SETIMO CEU (Travessa Da Espera, 54), a very relaxed gay bar, usually playing Brazilian, electronic, or chill-out sounds. Here too, there is space to sit inside, but everyone prefers to hang by the door. Further up the hill is the most recent hot gayborhood, Principe Real, home to several bars, including the very popular Woof Lx and Tr3s.

CLUBS


When things die down by 2 or 3AM, it means the real clubbing is about to get started. One of the immediate choices is Lux, the city's most fashionable club which seems to always reserve a section of its dance floor for alternative lifestyles. Those preferring a strictly gay scene head to Trumps, the country's largest gay club. It consists of two dance floors -- one playing House; the other well-known pop sounds and the occasional gay anthem.
More dancefloor fun can be found at FINALMENTE (Rua Da Palmeira, 38) which is also known for its drag shows, as well as at CONSTRUCTION (Rua Cecilio de Sousa, 84), usually spinning high-energy sounds.

SAUNA


Those looking for a sauna, the best choice in the city is TROMBETA BATH in Bairro Alto.

LESBIANS


As for the ladies, they choose to meet for drinks at PUREX (Rua das Salgadeiras 28), where the music is loud but welcoming for a chat and a drink.

GAY EVENTS


If you happen to be in the city in June, there is the usual gay pride march and related events. In September, be sure to catch Queer Lisboa, the Lisbon Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, one of the largest in Europe, screening over 100 gay-themed films from around the world.
And taking place two or three times a year, the Lesboa Party is a night for gay women to come out and dance, although it's really become one of Lisbon's hottest regular parties for gay and straight, male or female.



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