Painting the Town Rainbow
Gay life in Medellin has improved greatly in recent years, according to Nicolas Diez, co-owner of Oraculo and Bar Chiquita, two of the city’s trendiest nightspots. “Medellin didn’t used to have many gay bars,” he told me as stood on a sidewalk that overflowed with patrons from Bar Chiquita, a fabulous small venue with creative décor that evokes the
artistic heyday of New York City’s East Village. “Medellin is gradually becoming more open. There’s still a bit of a lack of creativity, so that’s our goal with Bar Chiquita.”
The easiest way to get an overview of Medellin’s LGBTQ nightlife is to sign up for a bar-hopping tour with Out in Colombia, which has a team of guides who are well versed in the best places to go; the tour includes a drink at each venue visited. For additional resources, look for a copy of Guía E or EgoCity, both of which highlight LGBTQ life and nightlife in Medellin and Bogota. EgoCity also has a free app with listings and directions.
The upscale neighborhood of Poblado is one of the main hubs for dancing and drinking after dark. Just a few short blocks away from Bar Chiquita is Club Oraculo, a relatively new nightclub where the DJ spins an eclectic mix of multilingual music for a lively crowd on the small-but-cool dance floor (there’s no cover on Thursdays or Fridays between 10 P.M. and midnight).
Our evening during the Out in Colombia gay bar tour began at yet another noteworthy venue: Donde Aquellos, which opened in 2000 and is the oldest gay bar in Poblado. It’s a pleasant, mostly open-air bar just off Parque Lleras, the small park in the heart of Poblado. It’s an ideal place to start any evening with thumping music and big-screen music
videos, and a new indoor lounge with a tiny dance floor.
Additional options for dancing include Zero, which attracts a younger crowd to its packed basement dance floor. It’s a fun place to sip a beer, rum, or aguardiente (an anise-flavored liquor that’s made with sugar cane). Also good for dancing is Industry Club, which is located in a neighborhood called Barrio Colombia.
This wasn’t my first visit to Medellin, but it seems like the more I learn about this fascinating city, the more reasons I find to come back again.