Chueca is a small but lively neighborhood squeezed between Paseo de Recoletos to the east
and Calle de Fuencarral to the west. Its epicenter is Plaza de Chueca.
Plaza de Chueca is the centre of barrio activity. Cafes around the square set up tables when the
weather is nice. It's the see and be seen of Gay Madrid.
Bodega Angel Sierra is a classic in the square, keeping the flavour of a traditional tapas bar.
Chueca is full of restaurants, any type of cuisine, of style, different budgets, -and with surprisingly
affordable options. It's among the liveliest and cosmopolitan neighbourhood’s downtown,
and remarkably, the gay centre of Madrid and all of Spain. The "Barrio Rosa" (Pink Neighbourhood)
shines during Gay Pride every June with an extravagant parade and debaucherous street partying.
Chueca is the kind of neighbourhood perfect for strolling and stumbling upon attractive
establishments... Taste the forward-thinking, fusion cuisine of New York-style cafes along
calles Libertad and San Marcos (Cafe Diurno & Bazaar are two stand-outs).
Calle Fuencarral is a cool area for shopping, with the hippest shops: Diesel, Puma, Adidas,
Hoss; and calle Augusto Figueroa for top brands occasion shoes. In the Calles Almirante and
Prim, one can find some of Madrid's most chic fashion and shoe shops.
The entire district is peppered with lots of bars and clubs, both for gay and non-gay night life.
Chueca is also interesting in terms of architecture. In fact, it holds some of the most beautiful
blocks in Madrid. Brightly-coloured facades and intricate iron balconies characterize these streets.
The modernization of Chueca
Where else in Madrid can you see senior citizens taking their toy-sized dogs for a walk on
the cobbled streets alongside gay couples who are heading for an after-work drink at a
neighbourhood bar? The centre of this barrio is Plaza de Chueca, where the metro stop of the
same name is a regular meeting place. The gradual transformation of the area can be seen in the modernization of its buildings and facilities, such as the Mercado de San Antón, which is now a
space with an art gallery and a bar with a terrace, but also still incorporates the meat and fish
stalls that have been around forever.
The gay community has revitalised what was considered quite the rundown neighbourhood
until recently. Bars, shops, nightclubs, restaurants, travel agencies, bookstores, and all kinds
of businesses now focus on the gay clientele that frequent the area, where the rainbow flag
flutters on plenty of balconies. So what you'll come across in Chueca is a traditional Madrid
neighbourhood in regards to its streets and architecture, but these traditional streets are filled
with open-minded and social people who want to enjoy their city to the fullest and treat it and
others with respect.
At night the festive atmosphere extends throughout the neighbourhood, even on weekdays.
Many of the bars stay open late into the night, and while most of the punters are gay, more
and more heteros are also going out to play in Chueca. Among the best-known clubs include
Black & White, Delirio, Why Not?, Truco, Fulanita de Tal and Long Play – the last of which is
huge, and so wildly popular in the area.
Gay Pride celebrations
If there's a celebration that has made Chueca famous, it's got to be the Gay Pride festivities,
which are on every year from late June or early July and attract proud party people from all
over the world. For about a week, you can drink and dance in the streets, and events and parties
take place in bars and clubs all over the barrio. The main attraction is the big parade that
features floats, drag queens and dancers giving it their all.
If you're not one for crowds, give Chueca a miss during the celebrations, because it's a time
when the barrio is definitely heaving.
The centrally located Chueca neighbourhood is a fun, flirty place full of fashionable restaurants
and shops. Once a marginalized area, Chueca today is anything but. It’s known as Madrid’s quarter
for cutting-edge trends and gay life. But gay or straight, Chueca is now a playground for all,
on weekend and summer nights when you will see the restaurants and bars packed.
Don’t be afraid to come out and strut your stuff along with the locals. It’s all in good fun.
See & Do
Though the Chueca neighbourhood maintains the character of its 1900 style buildings,
Chueca’s most important attractions are not its architecture, but its squares, shops and
cosmopolitan personality. Head to the Plaza de Chueca to see the heart of the neighbourhood
and a popular gathering spot, and then to San Anton Market for the best in food.
Like SoHoto which it is often compared, Chueca is known for its mix of unique and trendy
restaurants. Here the Madrid neighbourhood is as much a treat for the palate as for its purposeful ambiances. You don’t need to dress up though; just come well groomed, act like you belong a
nd you’re in!
For all its reputation as a trendy mecca, the Chueca neighbourhood has a surprising mix of
different types of bars and clubs. Gay, straight, lesbian, hoity-toity and down and dirty –
Chueca’s bars and clubs seem to cater to it all. So if one place isn’t your cup of tea, that’s
no problem, just head next door. Chances are it’ll be totally different.
Anyone looking for the latest fashions or something different to spice up their wardrobe and
wow up their house will find it in Chueca. The neighbourhood has tons of trendy little shops
(and a few sex shops) as well as its main shopping attraction, Fuencarral Street, with everything
you could imagine, along its western border.
Getting to know any city is easier if you get a general sense of the personality and location of each neighbourhood. So here’s a brief description of the centre of Madrid! All these neighbourhoods
are so close together that there’s no need to hop on the metro, but Madrileños often associate neighbourhoods with their respective metro stops so this is a good way to get a sense of where
everything is. Happy exploring!
SOL is the city-center and home to Madrid’s most popular meeting-point: “the bear statue” or as
it’s called in Spanish, “El Oso y el Madroño”. Sol also marks Kilometer Zero, meaning that all of
Madrid’s building numbers and highways stem from there. It’s literally the middle-point of the
entire Iberian Peninsula. Sol is also the center-point of the city when it comes to transport,
shopping and tourist destinations. All of Madrid’s most popular shops are located within walking
distance from Sol, and there are plenty of restaurants, both new and old, to dine at. The Plaza Mayor
is a hop skip away, and a ten minute walk from Sol will conveniently bring you either to the Prado Museum or the Royal Palace.
CHUECA is a stone’s throw from Gran Vía and one of the best places to go out in Madrid.
Its main street is calle Hortaleza. Known as the gay neighborhood for the past two decades,
Chueca is undoubtedly one of the trendiest nightlife destinations in the city. During the day,
Chueca offers fabulous restaurants, outdoor terraces and boutiques, especially a whole street
of shoe stores on c/ Agusto Figueroa. Also along this street is another highlight–
Mercado de San Antón–a 3-story gourmet food market offering all types of delicious food and a fantastic rooftop bar. Chueca is also proudly home to one of the world’s largest Gay Pride
Parades, as well as many other city activities. For its mix of edgy and high-end nightclubs,
restaurants, bars, stores and ambience, Chueca is easy to fall in love with.