Gay Guanajuato and San Miguel de Allende
Guanajuato street looking down on restaurant filled plaza
Sant CafÃˆ, Guanajuato
Colorful house in San Miguel de Allende
Unfortunately the title of this article is a bit of a misnomer. The gay scene in both places is very limited. But the scarcity of information on the web and the inaccuracies in that which does exist motivated me to at least write something definitive so others didnÃt have to comb back streets of these towns looking for establishments that no longer exist.
Guanajuato state does have a gay sceneÃ³in Leon. But everyone says Leon has little to recommend it to visitors so I took everyoneÃs advice and stayed away. Hell, even my friend who lived there said that. But guys in Guanajuato do make the hour-long drive to Leon on weekends when they want to go dancing.
With the big student population in Guanajuato and all the trendy café’s and galleries, you might expect more of a scene. Guanajuato’s one gay bar is El Parasio and is at Tepetapa, 76 after the bridge and before the railroad station. I didn’t expect much from its rather out of the way location, the non-descript building itÃs in and the fact that itÃs in a basement. So I was pleasantly surprised when I came down the steps to discover a really cool space: historic brickwork giving it the feeling of a centuriesÃ old wine cellar combined with trendy cool updates, dÃˆcor and art. Too bad that on the Saturday night I visited there never were more than a dozen people there. It also had rather pricey drinks, by Mexican standards anyway. It had a very friendly crowd though, where everyone knew everyone else so new blood was instantly spotted.
The crowd there also said that the centrally located La Pirinola Restaurante, AvÃˆnida JuÂ·rez, 25, was gay-owned and sure enough it had a rainbow decorated pirinola (spinning top) as the logo. But the crowd seemed to be families gorging on an all-you-can-eat buffet, not one of my favorite types of dining. Nor did the space seem particularly interesting, especially given all the cool options in town.
I’m sure that most of those trendy café’s and galleries (and possibly the discos) are gay-friendly. I spent a while chatting with the extensively tattooed and pierced barman at Sant Café over breakfast and it seemed like a cool place which would be gay-friendly with live music on weekend eves. And IÃd think this would apply to the town in generalÃ³itÃs such a young town with its big university and tons of foreign students from the USA and Europe too. But while it may be a young town, itÃs not a particularly gay one. One acquaintance, who spent two weeks there studying Spanish, said that he Ã¬found the town dull and devoid of any gay activity anywhere or at any time.Ã® I didnÃt get much of that gaydar buzz on the street. Or maybe my senses were dulled by just having come from what may be MexicoÃs gayest city, Guadalajara, where it seems everyone is cruising you.
San Miguel de Allende
With its huge expat population I expected to find a scene here. Leon is too far for a Saturday night trip from here although IÃm sure some head to Mexico City for reliefÃ³about 4 hours away. There are signs that some scene used to exist here Ã± Lonely Planet even listed a gay disco in my Mexico guidebook. And other web resources indicated another bar as well. But here nothing turned up at all. I trekked a little out of the way to find this bar La Lola which had popped up in Internet searches. It was hard to tell where it might have been since the street numbers had changed, with some buildings adopting the new numbers and some sticking with the old ones so one building would be 12, the next 37, the next 13, then 39 and 43. But in either numbering system, it was no longer there. The disco, 100 Â¡ngeles, which Lonely Planet and Internet guides listed as being at Mesones, 97 is no longer there either. However, after I left I did get unconfirmed reports that it had moved or perhaps changed it name and moved, like thatÃs helpful! If anyone can confirm if the disco still exists, let me know or leave a comment on this article. Someone else recommended the lounge at Pancho & LeftyÃs (Mesones, 99), which is a local institution, next door to where 100 Â¡ngeles used to be.
The scene in San Miguel de Allende would seem perfect to support a bar, if not a disco. ItÃs an older scene of lots of Norteamericano expats, artists, writers. Every street has elegant boutiques, great gourmet restaurants and everywhere there is art. But it did seem a bit more staid. Two respondents on the forum I asked for advice called San Miguel “dull” or just “snore”.