Ibiza has been the Spanish island playground for European gay boys since the
early 1980s and still continues to be one of the most fashionable places to get a tan.
OutUK sent Colm Howard-Lloyd to investigate more about Ibiza and what makes it such a popular gay destination.
Ibiza is a real island of contrasts, on one side you have Ibiza Town a 1600 year old walled city with winding streets and classy bars,
and on the other you have San Antonio, immortalised on Ibiza Uncovered and full of fish and chip shops and faux British pubs serving British
beer on draft. San Antonio isn’t without its charm but it is pleasing to discover that all of the gay nightlife revolves around Ibiza Town. On this island at least the gay boys are the class act.
A PLACE TO STAY
Most gay boys (especially those travelling with the gay tour operators) stay in
Figueretes a fairly uninspiring suburb of Ibiza Town. It has two main things
going for it, a nice sandy beach and just about every gay hotel, apartment block
and guesthouse on the island. The place is literally teeming with boys who like
boys. It is very difficult to spot anyone straight and pretty much how we all imagine heaven to be.
Ibiza's gay nightlife is largely situated in the port and old town area of Ibiza Town, all of the bars are within easy walking distance of each other
and the most popular are those with large terraces where the crowds can mingle out of doors. Entertainment is provided by the varied and fun public relations teams of
sparkling transvestites and performance artistes who parade the streets in a bid to temp you to the latest clubs.
Most of the gay bars are situated on or near
the Calle de la Virgen but for most gay men all roads lead to the many gay-friendly nightclubs, with plenty of watering holes along the way.
There are many different guides to Ibiza.
The aforementioned Figueretes (Platja de ses Figueretes) is also home to its own small coven of bars. Lady D, Sunrise and JJ Bar are all firm OutUK favourites although as with
many bars on the island there are some quite silly prices and you can expect to pay £10.00 or more for a vodka and tonic in some places.
Some of the clubs compensate for this by distributing free invitations, usually via the bars, saving up to 6,000 pts on a popular nights
(a good enough reason to tip the waiter in your fave bar). When travelling by cab the cab drivers know all clubs by name, so it's easy to get
around. Drugs are illegal in Spain and there are extra police efforts to control their use in the summer months, however this does not prevent
the widespread availability of most recreational substances.
PLACES TO PLAY
The nightlife in Ibiza Town itself doesn't really get going until late. Really
late by UK standards, in fact I couldn't find a bar that opened before 10:30pm.
The scene is also very transitory and certain bars are good at certain times. The basic
rule of thumb is that people begin with the bars furthest from their chosen club
for the late evening and then work their way around the island.
If you want to start the night with some food, Angelo´s has over 40 years of history and is a straight-friendly, gay-managed bar & restaurant.
The top-floor restaurant offers an incredible view of the castle and Ibiza Old Town. The food menu is 80% Spanish, 20% international. The large
terrace downstairs is great for enjoying your cocktails.
The food at Magnus Playa Bistro is also recommended - it's the kind of place
you could take for granted but it really has everything you want from a beach restaurant. Mediterranean and Spanish cuisines can be tried here and you can
taste perfectly cooked tapas, fish fillet and prawns.
Chiringay is a beach bar in the heart of the Ses Salines Natural Park. This is one of the most visited beaches, not only for its spectacular
landscapes but also for being one of the official nudist beaches in Ibiza. It's very popular with the gay crowd and there's no need to be shy
- you are free to order a drink or an ice cream from the bar wearing nothing but your handbag!
Summer Love in Ibiza - Photo: rawpixel.com
The venue has sun loungers, umbrellas, showers, and a boutique
catering for windsurfing, kitesurfing and beach volleyball amongst many other activities.
Towards the city walls you'll find Bar MonaLisa which is a stylish gay cocktail bar with a big terrace and plenty of glitz and glamour,
quite close to the Ramparts. MonaLisa is a popular meeting spot for locals, tourists and occasional celebrities and don't miss Number 5 Ibiza which
offers tasty drinks, friendly staff, and some very comfortable sofas!
Also in the area are Minidome Ibiza Bar a terrace bar for drinks next to the Ramparts, and Bar Angelo Eivissa
which not only has a great setting, but a good selection of drinks at decent prices and some friendly and welcoming staff.
For something more usual there's BDSM Art & Fetish which can be found on Carrer de Vicent Serra i Orvay. It's a cocktail Bar and BDSM Shop in one that holds
special events on the weekend and occasional after parties during the week. They are known for their bodypainting events and some interesting monologues.
Too many of these in the bars and you'll never make the clubs!
As we mentioned, Calle de la Virgen is Ibiza Town's main gay street. Almost every business along this narrow walking street is targeted at the gay market.
Can be a bit difficult to find on your first visit, particularly as Google map uses the street's official name "Carrer la Mare de Déu".
Many of the bars open every night from April to October but only weekends in winter.
Located at the 'town end' of Calle de la Virgen, Lady D Ibiza is likely to be one of the first gay bars you will get to see.
Here you'll also find Bar 22 which has a good atmosphere with lots of pink lighting and some excellent Mojitos!
Ibiza Tónica and Exis Bar are close by too and both are small but very typical Ibiza bars in a welcoming and charming street.
Nearby you will also find La Virgen Ibiza Club with top quality music, and relatively cheap drinks, MAD Bar with its relaxed
atmosphere and fabulous Mojitos - their hot, hunky staff make the terrace a great hangout spot and Sunrise Ibiza has some extraordinary
neon lights and swings where everyone wants to get a picture.
And finally a real highlight - JJ Bar is one of the original gay bars in Ibiza, located towards the far end of the gay street.
JJ offers a friendly, more traditional pub atmosphere with a nice balcony overlooking Ibiza Port. There's a dark room, too!
THE LITTLE BLACK BOOK
Angelo´s (Carrer de Cipriano Garijo 8; T: +34 647 21 93 72)
BAR 22 (Calle de la Virgen 22)
Bar Angelo Eivissa (Carrer d'Alfons XII, 11)
Bar MonaLisa (Carrer d'Alfonso XII 3; Website; facebook)
BDSM Art & Fetish (Carrer de Vicent Serra i Orvay 17; T: +34 641 95 37 19; Website)
Chiringay (Playa des Cavallet; T: +34 971 59 95 08; Website)
Exis Bar (Calle de la Virgen 57)
Ibiza Tónica (Calle de la Virgen 42; facebook)
JJ's Bar (Calle de la Virgen 79; T: +34 649 24 69 25)
Lady D Ibiza (Calle de la Virgen 4; facebook)
La Virgen Ibiza Club (Calle de la Virgen 75; T: +34 625 87 89 84; Website)
MAD Bar (Calle de la Virgen 32; facebook)
Magnus Playa Bistro (Passeig ses Pitiüses; T: +34 609 34 04 84; facebook)
Minidome Ibiza Bar (Carrer d'Alfons XII, 7)
Number 5 Ibiza (Carrer de Cipriano Garijo 5; T: +34 620 66 36 17; Website)
Sunrise Ibiza (Calle de la Virgen 44; Website)
More ... Off to the Ibiza Clubs
Revised July 2022.