Guide to Gay Bars: Puerto Vallarta
With a couple of visits under my belt, I’m ready to review the gay bars in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Read below for the most popular spots in this gay-friendly town on the Pacific ocean. Then, see my other post for 8 reasons why Puerto Vallarta is the perfect gay vacation.
Dancers & Drag Shows
Lázaro Cárdenas 267D, Zona Romántica
This gay bar has consistently great performers, a draw for both men and women. The ground floor has a healthy mix of pole, silk, and gogo dancers – changing regularly throughout the hour. Stick around for a great show and the pop-house music, then head upstairs for a
Visit La Noche for great performers and a breezy terrace to socialize on.
Daily: 3 p.m. – 3 a.m.
Ignacio L. Vallarta 278, Zona Romántica
Also known as Club Paco Paco, this two-level gay bar is made for drag shows. A large square stage occupies most of the first floor. At peak hours, the audience moves to an upstairs overlook. This is a fine view, but Paco’s is a victim of its own design. The first-floor audience is separated from the stage by a railing. This severely limits the usual crowd work, tip giving, and raunchy physical malfeasances most people love about drag shows. It’s worth checking out, but in my experience, there are better places to catch a show in PV.
Go to Paco’s Ranch for a traditional drag show.
Daily: 10 p.m. – 6 a.m.
Neighborhood & Local Bars
Lázaro Cárdenas 257, Zona Romántica
I’m gonna be honest. Mr. Flamingo was so packed that I never bothered to fight past the sidewalk crowds and go inside. This corner bar is a prominent anchor on the gay-centric street of Lázaro Cárdenas, so it’s not hard to find another option. But if you enjoy the atmosphere or catch the bar on a less busy night – then go inside and check it out. All those people can’t be wrong. Its got a big, open design and solid reviews across the board.
Head here for big crowds and a dance floor – granted there’s not much room to dance.
Daily: 2 p.m. – 3 a.m.
La Margarita Bar
Lázaro Cárdenas 257, Zona Romántica
For literally the closest thing to Mr. Flamingo, go next door to La Margarita Bar. It has all the same vibe of
Go here for a less-crowded version of Mr. Flamingo.
Calle Francisco I. Madero, Zona Romántica
This Mexican cantina has a reputation for being the local’s bar. English is common in Puerto Vallarta, but Spanish is the preferred language in this little club. If you know some Spanish and they know some English, then you’ll be just fine.
Walk to Divas if you’re a Spanish speaker looking for the local’s bar.
Call, Lázaro Cárdenas 254, Zona Romántica
Slaughters is a place most people will tell you to visit in Puerto Vallarta. For my dance-crazed boyfriend, it got the stamp of approval. This is where you’ll go late at night for the club scene – and one of the few places with a cover, which is usually minimal. The bar is separated into two spaces, the front area is a typical socializing bar, and the second, more expansive area for club music and dancing. The dance floor area is a little sparse in the opening hours, but gets busy later in the night.
I’m not advocating a purchase, but this is the place where you’ll be offered weed and other party drugs of choice.
Drop by for the best dance club in town.
Daily: 6 p.m. – 6 a.m.
Kinky Karaoke Bar
Boulevard Lazaro Cardenas 315A
It won’t make
Go to Kinky for karaoke and a fun, friendly atmosphere.
Daily: 4 p.m. – 4 a.m.
Lázaro Cárdenas 361, Zona Romántica
There’s nothing on Earth quite like Reinas. You’ll walk in to find a mural of Elizabeth II on the wall and a crowd of queens at the bar. The audience is eclectic, to say the least, and the setting is gaudy. But it all works. When you’re looking for something a little less conventional, this is a solid bet.
Go to Reinas for a quiet bar with a quirky vibe.
Daily: 4 p.m. – 2 a.m.
Calle Venustiano Carranza S/N-C, Col. Altavista
This western bar was a pleasant surprise. You can expect a much different crowd, but a welcoming atmosphere nonetheless. The first and second floor
Saddle up at Los Amigos for a cowboy vibe and the best rooftop in Puerto Vallarta.
Strip Clubs & Saunas
Morelos 210, Centro
This was quite the place to start my night. No credit cards accepted, so pack some pesos – it’s a strip club after all. It’s sexual, it’s loud, there’s lots of underwear. Even on a Thursday, there were about two dozen dancers prowling the floor. When a dancer sits next to you on the big comfy couches, you should expect to tip – not that their pushy about it. In fact, Rafi and I were shocked by how pleasant everyone was. And they were some of the best dancers I’ve seen in Mexico, regardless of how much clothing was worn.
You’ll make a small 50 peso “donation” to get inside, but beer is a couple bucks like everywhere else in town. Do note, there’s indoor smoking – something of an outlier.
Swing by Anthropology for awesome dancers and a surprisingly laid-back atmosphere.
Daily: 9 p.m. – 4 a.m.
Lázaro Cárdenas 312, Zona Romántica
Due to time, Wetdreams was unfortunately absent from my itinerary. Needless to say, it’s another gay strip club but a little more downscale from others in the area. There’s a large plexiglass shower behind the bar and the same expectations for a “donation” to enter. Compared to Anthropology, it does offer a smoke-free environment.
Drop in on Wetdreams for another strip club experience and a smoke-free environment.
Daily: 8 p.m. – 2 a.m.
Lázaro Cárdenas 240, Zona Romántica
Well, we’ve made it this far. Spartacus is the iconic bathhouse of gay Puerto Vallarta. Per their website, general admission ranges for $14 to $23 USD depending on the day and what you’re renting – not a bad price. The +4,000 sq ft complex spreads four floors and includes your standard items: lockers, steam rooms, jacuzzis, showers, private beds, massages – and new to me – a nude sun deck. I found the space a little dirtier than So.Do.Me in Mexico City, but not to an outrageous level. As is good practice for any new place, go with friends.
Go to Spartacus for the only bathhouse in Puerto Vallarta.
Friday, Saturday, Holidays: 2 p.m. – 8 a.m.
Mantamar Beach Club Bar & Grill
Mantamar is the home of Puerto Vallarta’s gay beach – and rightfully deserves a top place on this list. It’s got a great spot on the water with none of the large rocks you’ll find further down the strip.
The clientele is over 90% gay men, who occupy the cabanas and umbrellaed beach chairs along the Pacific and salt-water pools. If you’d like a bed-side pool, be sure to reserve in advance (at a cost). On my visit, the spots were all booked up for Beef Dip 2019. The normally semi-crowded pool was packed to the gills with bears. The water displacement and hair-clogged drains must have been incredible. But I didn’t
Spend an entire day here for surprisingly good food and a great location. Minus the sometimes steep cover charge, prices are good.
Daily: 9 a.m. – 11 p.m.
Where You Should Go
It’s hard to go wrong when visiting any of the gay bars in Puerto Vallarta. The area is safe and the people are gay-friendly. In terms of cost, everything is cheap – so there’s not much use in comparing the drink prices when a beer costs $1.50 in Bar A and $1.75 in Bar B.
For what it’s worth, I recommend Mantamar, Anthropology and La Noche if time is limited. Enjoy!