Roll over Rio! OutUK's Adrian Gillan heads, instead, to the roaring urban jungle of São Paulo.
Two hundred miles west of Rio, along the Tropic of Capricorn, lies São Paulo: one of the world's
largest cities, with a Portuguese-tongued population of over 17 million.
Founded by Jesuits in the 16th Century - on a plateau 750m above sea level, although a mere 50 miles from the
Atlantic - São Paulo's Brazilian caffeine kick came at the end of the 19th Century with
the expansion of coffee plantations, and it soon emerged as South America's economic powerhouse.
Once only viewed as a rainy, industrial, concrete jungle, São Paulo is now acknowledged as a
cultural hotpot. Truly cosmopolitan - built by immigrants - the city has a million-strong
Japanese community, the largest outside Japan; three million Italians, many in the Bela
Vista neighbourhood; not to mention a million Arabs and hundreds of thousands of
Israelis. Locals ("paulistas") have a reputation for working hard - and playing hard.
More than a million marchers took part in Sao Paolo Pride at the end of May.
Despite a macho culture where many "straight" men live in denial, chasing trannie
prosies rather than groping as-they-see-it "real" men, São Paulo - like other
larger cities and states in this 170-million strong nation - is staunchly progressive
on gay issues. Brazil decriminalised most homosexual acts in 1823; anti-discrimination laws
are in place across many states and cities; and age of consent is fourteen for all
March-November is the driest and best time to visit the south and south eastern regions
of Brazil, including São Paulo. November normally brings a warm, pleasant spring; or you
might like to visit during the world's largest Pride event,
which is normally held at the end of May.
The 2006 parade was considered the biggest pride parade in the world at the time by the Guinness Book of World
Records, and it typically rivals the New York City Pride March as the largest pride parade in the world. In 2010,
the city hall of São Paulo invested 1 million reais into the parade - that's about 200,000 pounds. The event is the
second largest of the city, after only Formula One and according to the LGBT app Grindr, the gay parade of the city
was elected the best in the world.
Stroll along the city's main Manhattan-style scraper-lined artery - the Paulista Avenue -
taking in one of the most important museums in Latin America, Museo de Arte de Sao
Paulo (www.masp.art.br); and dip into the adjoining Japanese Liberdade district.
Then take a breather in the city's beautifully landscaped central park Parque
It's home to museums, a planetarium and a striking monument to the Bandeirantes,
the trailblazers who opened São Paulo up to the rest of the world. Just north east is
São Paulo's old "Downtown" (or Centro), where the Praça da República also provides a
shady place to rest between shopping excursions in nearby streets.
Sao Paolo's central Parque Ibirapuera.
For something a little more unusual, check out Butantã Snake Farm (located within a park
close to the University of São Paulo), where our slithery friends are milked to produce
antidotes; or the Museu da Tatuagem (Rua 24 de Maio 225; T: +55 11 222 8049) colourfully
displays a fine history of tattoos and body art.
SHOPPING AND EATING
The Victor and Victoria Mall on Rua Rego Freitas - a shopping centre dedicated to
queers - opened in 2003. With a rainbow-daubed ceiling, it has dozens of shops selling
clothes, underwear, home furnishings, wigs and sex toys - even a gay travel agency.
Sao Paolo's Iparanga Museum
Otherwise, the Morumbi Shopping Centre - at Rua
Barao de Itapetininga and Rua Don Jose de Barros - is a brand palace.|
Decades of intense immigration mean an enormous variety of restaurants dishing up
anything from Brazilian to Malaysian grub. The best options are in the Paulista district:
check out Lebanese Arabia or Central-South American Mestico. If in the old Downtown, you could
do far worse than Café Vermont which also features drag shows on Saturdays.
The gay scene is located predominantly within two neighbourhoods: the posh
Paulista-Consolacao (Jardins") district, where two scraper-lined avenues intersect;
and the older, poorer, cheaper - but in many ways more interesting - Downtown (Centro")
area, around Republica Park, a 15-20 minute walk north east of Jardins. In either, you will
find countless gay bars, clubs, shops, saunas and eateries, too numerous to fully mention.
If you start the night in Downtown, begin at Soda Pop Bar, a well regarded LGBT nightspot with appetizers,
beer, pop music and a young crowd that spills out onto the sidewalk on Avenida Dr, Av. Vieira de Carvalho.
Silver Mug is the oldest gay bar in São Paulo with an unusual look that reminds you of a London pub. Drinks are a good price.
Bar Fama is a gay bar with a full range of tourists and locals and there's an outside seating area.
Paris Bar is a Gay bar in the República area of São Paulo and Guinga's Bar & Karaokê is a hip, laid-back karaoke bar which serves
appetizers and has regular DJs and shows.
Popular as well is Ursound a huge LGBTQ+ nightclub with two stages housed in an old factory in the center of São Paulo. They host parties
and special events for Bears and their admirers, but everybody is welcome there.
Photo: Sérgio Savarese (Savaman on flickr)
CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
CRUSING AND BOOZING
The Eagle São Paulo is a cruising bar close to the Mackenzie-Higienópolis Metro station. They have a large dance floor to dance the night away and
they serve good quality hamburgers to satisfy any hunger during the night. At the back of the
bar you can find a video room, a dark room and cabins for a hotter enjoyment. They run a number of special nights including Bear Underwear where they
celebrate all bodies with everyone in panties, jocks or naked; Flashback Club with music from the 80s, 90s and 2000s; Sunday Cruise which is a hangout day,
meeting handsome men and having fun; and Sir Society their party for those interested in
Harness, Boots, Leather Pants, Bikers, Latex and Uniforms!
Hot House São Paulo is a Sex Show Bar, offering a Dark Room, glory hole, lockers, showers, hygienic shower, smoking room, massage rooms,
in addition to a bar, with the show space with loads of guys interacting with the audience. There's a dress code on some nights.
Cabines Bar is a crusing booths Bar. It's a bar for men who want to drink, have fun and meet people. Go alone, with friends, your boyfriend and
if the atmosphere gets hot you can lose yourself in their cabins! There are booths, corridors, a glory hole and dark room too.
Upgrade Club is a modern gay cruise club that caters to fetish and cruising needs. It's the ideal place for sex without commitment, making friends
and who knows, maybe finding the bad boy you've always wanted. Ther's a full bar, TVs and internet lounge, lockers, showers, hygienic showers,
air-conditioned environments, cruising labyrinth with slings, pissing zone and a darkroom. They host European style parties “GUYS GO CRAZY”, where
the club's cast of boys spice up the night. The names of their nights say it all - Interactive Boys, Fucking Party, Good Boy and Screw This.
Dedalos Bar is a bar for cis men and trans men over 18, located in the center of São Paulo. They have games, aphrodisiac drinks, video screens,
cabins, glory holes and glory ass walls (put your ass thru the wall not anything else!). They are in the Largo do Arouche region, one of the biggest gay spots in the country.
And then there's B•POP BAR a LGBTQIAP+ bar which has a lounge bar, dark room, video screens, collective rooms, private environments, smoking room,
hygienic shower, shower, drinks and music, in a cozy and intimate environment.
And don't forget Woof Bar which is also known as G Bar and is also in the República area of São Paulo. It's an LGBTQIAP+ bar that's aimed at
Wolves, Bears, Daddies, Leathers, Admirers and all their friends. They have a relaxed and lively atmosphere at this venue which is perfect for hanging out with friends
and meeting new people.
Photo: Ben Tavener from Curitiba, Brazil
CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
If in Downtown, try the very spacious Danger where local lads dance 'til dawn.
Alternatively, there's Tunnel an LGBT Disco club with large tiled interior in which a mix of trash, EDM & pop is played.
It's a fun place to dance and meet people and on the lower floor they play plenty of house music.
ABC Bailão is also an option, it's a Gay night club with a mezzanine & bars, whose main attraction is its varied musical repertoire.
Aloka Club is a Disco club popular with the gay crowd and plays pop, rock, indie, brazilian, 80s, 90s and 00s music
and there's Club Jerome a small gay night club that gets packed with people and plays host to a colorful São Paulo crowd. They play some great
underground house music and the bar has a nice vibe.
Top Man Club Sauna Spa is a Gay sauna in the Consolação area of São Paulo. It has a modern, bold and sophisticated design and has
hydro, dry and steam saunas, roof terrace, cabins, video room, swimming pool, bar, massage rooms, hot and cold showers, lounge, smoking
room and a garden space. There's also Clube 555 if you want to get hot and sweaty whilst watching some cabaret and drag shows.
They have strippers, a happy hour, an Italian food night and some free churros on offer on selected nights.
There are also many adult cinemas Downtown, the one next to McDonalds on Ipiranga Avenue (between Sao Joao Avenue
and the Republica Square) standing out for having a slightly younger clientele. Failing
that, the large Ibirapuera Park is a good daytime option, especially the south end, near
and on the main footpath.
You can get return direct scheduled flights from the UK from around £700, going off-peak in economy. Our
Bookings offer a wide range of gay-friendly hotels at special online prices.
THE LITTLE BLACK BOOK
ABC Bailão (R. Marquês de Itu, 182 - Vila Buarque; T: +55 11 3331-8918)
Aloka Club (R. Frei Caneca, 916 - Consolação; Website)
Arabia (Rua Haddock Lobo 1397; T: +55 11 3064 4776; Website)
B•POP BAR (Rua Comendador Elias Zarzur, 42 - Santo Amaro; T: +55 11 99148-2461)
Bar Fama (R. Frederico Abranches, 29 - Vila Buarque; T: +55 11 95119-8810)
Cabines Bar (R. da Consolação, 2510 - Consolação; T: +55 11 96016-8878; Website)
Café Vermont (Vieira de Carvalho 10; T: +55 11 222-5848)
Clube 555 (R. Traipu, 555 - Pacaembu; T: +55 11 2667-9094; Website)
Club Jerome (R. Mato Grosso, 398 - Consolação; T: +55 11 2614-6526; Instagram)
Danger (Rua Rego Freitas 470; T: +55 11 32110371; Instagram)
Dedalos Bar (R. Bento Freitas, 38 - República; T: +55 11 94383-3489; Website)
Guinga's Bar & Karaokê (Av. Sapopemba, 13790 - Jardim Adutora; T: +55 11 96536-6017)
Hot House São Paulo (R. Nestor Pestana, 27 - Consolação; T: +55 11 95749-6238; Website)
Mestico (Rua Fernando Albuquerque 277; T: +55 11 256 3165; Website)
Paris Bar (Av. Vieira de Carvalho, 94 - República; T: +55 11 96604-3726)
São Paulo City Tourism Website
São Paulo Pride Website
Silver Mug (Av. Vieira de Carvalho, 63 - Centro Histórico de São Paulo; T: +55 11 3223-6420)
Soda Pop Bar (Avenida Dr, Av. Vieira de Carvalho, 43 - República; T: +55 11 3224-9435)
The Eagle São Paulo (R. Augusta, 620 - Consolação; T: +55 11 95901-0053; facebook)
Top Man Club Sauna Spa (R. Marquês de Paranaguá, 363 - Consolação; T: +55 11 3294-0895; Website)
Tunnel (Rua dos Ingleses, 357 - Bela Vista; T: +55 11 3251-0447; Website)
Upgrade Club (R. Santa Isabel, 198 - Vila Buarque; T: +55 11 3337-2028; Website)
Ursound (Av. Henry Ford, 511 - Parque da Mooca; facebook)
Woof Bar, aka G Bar (Av. Vieira de Carvalho, 31/35 - República; T: +55 11 93938-2446; Website)
Revised July 2023.