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DBoy club

When to go out

Nobody hits the bars until midnight in Barcelona - and they often do not get busy until 1am - so unless you’re looking for a bit of alone-time with the bartender, then nurse the Saturday night fever with a pre-dinner disco nap rather than trying to go out earlier.

After a frenetically hectic hour, the bars will empty out in two waves: the first a bit before 2am, when some people leave for the free lists at Bombón on Fridays and Saturgays or Pervert (Saturdays only), and then around closing time at 3am, when the rest move onto the other main gay club, Metro. Subsequently, the clubs do not get busy until then. Most clubs have discount flyers or free passes. Pick these up in the bars, available either at a stand by the entrance or from the bartenders.

Queuing

To get into a club, guest lists often work differently from other countries: Here you’ll often queue if you’re on the free list, but enter directly if you’re a paying walk-in. If the queue is very long, it’s worth asking the doorman if it’s the queue for “la lista” or the paying queue. Dress codes are casual (tank tops fine for gay clubs) to hipster-ish, but don't rock up dressed in soccer shirts - not even Barça shirts.

In winter, the queue for the cloakroom is often longer than to get in so, and you’ll be paying per item. Something to think about before putting on five different layers if you’re prone to be dancing shirtless, arms in the air, at the end of the night.

If you need to use the bathroom, separate queues often exist for the cubicles (usually identified by groups in need of a 'powder room') and for the urinals (usually go straight for them). Again, ask if in doubt.

Ordering drinks

You may be ordering “a dirty vodka martini, Grey Goose, two olives”. But the bartender will hear “dirty” (not clean?), “wodka” (¿qué?), “martini” (ah, Cinzano, yes, got a bottle of that), “grey goose” (but we don’t serve food here?), “two olives” (two what?).

Note: Outside the classic cocktail and hotel bars, most bartenders will not know how to mix a cocktail; most will not be familiar with super premium spirit brands; and most will have only a limited command of English, especially when it comes to listening comprehension.

To make life easier for you, stick to beer and simple mixed drinks. A quick step-by-step manual below:

  1. Check the inventory and pick the liquor brand that you want. Although many bars meddle with the bottles, meaning that you’ll get the same thing regardless of whether you choose Beefeaters or Bombay Sapphire.
  2. Decide on your mixer, which should preferably be tónica, coca-cola, limon, naranja (Fanta) or zumo de naranja (orange juice). Anything else and you might run into trouble. Most bars do not carry soda or sour mix, and cranberry is not a common mixer.
  3. Order. Try first in English. Then resort to sign language and big arm movements. And pay notice to these common misunderstandings
    vodka – pronounced ‘bodka’
    gin – pronounced ‘heen’
    J&B – pronounced ‘ho-ta b’
    caña – a draft beer (not to be confused with dame caña which means ‘give it to me hard’)
  4. Pay. You are entitled to complain if your glass is not filled up at least halfway with the spirit. It is not common at all to tip in bars, so don’t feel obliged to. And bring cash – many bars don't accept plastic

Blame it on the economy, but locals don't drink that much. Hammered is not considered a good look here.

Dark rooms

While you may think that the normal thing is to move out around university age and get a sports car when midlife crisis hits, many Spanish boys tend to do it the other way around. To accommodate the lack of privacy at home, most clubs will have a dark room. Enter if you must, but do leave your valuables behind. If you haven’t got a friend to look after it for you, then stuff it in your socks rather than your pockets.

After the clubs

The main after-club after the shut-down of Souvenir is now Deja Vu just outside Gayxample. It opens Sunday mornings at 6am.

The other big after-club destination is the saunas, of which Sauna Casanova (corner of Casanova and Diputació in Gayxample) remains the most popular (not to be confused with the next door straight strip club on Casanova proper, also called Sauna Casanova).