Madrid by Barrios: Chueca

Madrid by Barrios: Chueca

Contributed By: Angie Grossman

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Stereotypically known as one of the most famous gay friendly neighborhoods in the world, Chueca does not fall short to deliver. While walking the streets you will see gorgeous buff muscle men in tiny shorts walking cute puppies while holding hands and smiling in the warm Madrid sunshine. The streets are filled with cafes, shops, restaurants and markets. The main square, relatively famous in Madrid, Plaza de Chueca is a large square packed with cafes overflowing with tables as the sunshine hits the square. Always busy with chatty people and oversized G&Ts (Gin & Tonic’s) at all hours of the day. Walking a bit south you find the San Anton Mercado, famous for 4 floors of unique bites and thirst quenching cocktails. You can buy supermarket goods on the ground floor and fancier nibbles as you escalate up to the rooftop bar/restaurant. Grab a slightly overpriced cocktail (€8-12 depending) while soaking in the sun and enjoying the cool water misters. 

Chueca also has many cozy cafes where you can curl up with a good book or your computer to send the family an update on your fabulous life. Two in particular spark interest for being decorated shabby chic with bearded waiters and tasty cafe con leche (coffee with milk, typical Spanish style cafe): Le Coco on Calle Barbieri, 15 & Frida on Calle San Gregorio, 8.

If you fancy a piece of home there is a famous shop: the Taste of America, stocked with American treats, ranging from Lucky Charms cereal to Dr Pepper and Cherry Coke! Yes, the price points are on the high end but if you need a taste of home – you’ll be willing to pay the extra, Calle San Marcos, 20.

Craving a late night sweet, there is a cafe open until midnight that sells tiny pastries and café con leche in case you want a late one and need a sugar shock to the system. Located on the corner of Calle Augusto Figueroa and Calle del Barquillo.

Fancy quant boutique shops where all the fashionistas go, with fun clothes and accessories branching off every direction from Plaza de Chueca. 

Burrito breakdown: 

Taco-a-way (Metro Gran Via) Calle Hortaleza, 8 

-open super late with decent ‘street burritos’ which are easy to grab and take away…get it? 

Terrea Burrito Bar (Metro Alonso Martínez) Calle Sagasta, 30

-if Spain created Chipotle (the restaurant) literally, burrito bar style with a jug of margaritas if you’re needing a spicy bite of American/Mexican food

Calle Hortaleza: Big shopping street filled with ‘little corner store shops’ deceptively small spaces stocked with everything you could imagine, from household goods to snacks, late night food, cute shops, gay shops, sex shops and always packed with the hustle ’n bustle of the big city. 

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Gay Pride: if you’re lucky enough to be in Madrid in July you will HAVE to spend time in Chueca to witness the packed streets during this festival. People come from all over the world to celebrate the freedom and gay pride in Madrid. It is truly a sight not to be missed! People in bright costumes, non-stop parties, giant parades for an entire week. All the streets are blocked off, they put up stages with live music in Callao and the over the top parade down the Castellano (giant street that crosses with Gran Via) that involves a lot of botellón (Spanish tradition of drinking in the street, specifically with a full bottle, plastic cups, mixer, ice and usually music with groups of friends). Be careful if you participate because although the police usually just turn a cheek it’s still considered illegal and can write you a hefty ticket. 

Check the official Gay Pride Festival information here: www.madridorgullo.com

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