Colombia’s second-biggest city, Medellin, has a thriving gay community. From raging nightclubs to seedy alleys, here’s a guide to the most exciting (and sketchy) LGBT venues in town.
Purple is located just a few minutes’ walk from the main drag of the La 70 zone of the Laureles neighborhood, one of Medellin’s most exciting nightlife pockets.
One of Purple’s most recent parties included an optional “Orgasm Game,” with dice containing prompts to lick, kiss, bite, or touch fellow players, according to the nightclub’s official Facebook page. Participation in the game was voluntary, of course.
Every Friday night at Purple, 18 to 20 year-olds get in for free. For everyone else, the cover charge is $5.
The music at Purple is a mixture of reggaeton, recent hits, R&B, and electronica.
Location: Calle San Juan # 74-84
Viva is one of Medellin’s biggest and most well-known gay bars, with “paisas” (people from Medellin) from all stratas of society partying at Viva on Friday and Saturday nights, according to sources who frequent Viva. Its impressive dance floor can host up to 1,500 people at any one time.
The main dance floor plays mostly reggaeton and electronica, but on the second floor there is also a separate, more intimate dance floor with “crossover” music. In Colombia, “crossover” refers to an eclectic mix of music where anything from salsa, vallenato, and merengue, to pop, reggaeton, and electronica is played.
Viva often hosts themed parties, anything from gay pride parties, to strip shows, to Rio de Janeiro-style carnivals, according to their official Facebook page.
Location: Calle 51, #73 – 100 (near the stadium).
La Cantina de Javi
La Cantina de Javi is an iconic gay bar located in the heart of downtown Medellin whose style is reminiscent of a traditional Mexican cantina.
While most other gay nightclubs in Medellin are only open on weekends, La Cantina de Javi is open Wednesday through Monday from 8PM, according to its official Facebook page. The music is crossover and the booze is cheap, reported sources who frequent the place.
Location: Calle 58 No. 47 – 18
Calle del Pecado (The Street of Sin)
Medellin’s “Street of Sin,” located downtown not far from La Cantina de Javi, lives up to its name. It is a sketchy strip off of la Oriental (one of the city’s main streets) that comes alive at night time with drug dealers and male and trans “prepagos” (prostitutes) waiting for their next client, according to local sources. The Street of Sin isn’t for the faint-hearted and it is not advised to go there alone.
Location: Calle 57a (bordering, perhaps ironically, the west side of Medellin’s Metropolitan Church)
Donde Aquellos is a gay-friendly outdoor bar in Parque Lleras, Poblado; an up-scale area of Medellin where the bustling nightlife attracts travellers and locals alike. Donde Aquellos is a popular place to meet up with friends at the start of the evening and have a few drinks before moving onto the steamy dance floors in Poblado.
Location: Carrera 38 # 9A-26, Parque Lleras, Poblado.
Wake Up is not a venue but rather an entertainment group that organizes electronica parties in Medellin. Wake Up rents out nightclubs for mega fiestas, bringing in renowned local DJs as well as DJs from Spain and Brazil, according to regular attendees of the Wake Up parties.