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Out in Mexico

Big Night Out On Calle República de Cuba


We took a stroll on Mexico City’s authentic gay strip

While the Zona Rosa (the "Pink District") may be one of Mexico City's most famous districts, many of the locals now find the area "tacky"--their word not ours. Our friends in town told us to go to the bars on Calle Republica de Cuba in Mexico City's downtown. The strip, right off the Paseo de La Reforma--one of the major avenues in the bustling metropolis--is a home to a handful of lively queer nightspots.

Our first stop was La Perla, which is host to one of the best and kitschiest drag shows in town. The "ladies" here perform Latin-American staples to lively, if not mostly hetero, crowd. There's no standing allowed, you've got to grab a table if you want to see the show, so come early in the evening.

Down the road is Marrakech Salon. We walked in just as a go-go boy dressed as a centurion took it all off--and we mean everything. He was quickly joined on the bar by a couple of patrons and he was more than happy to have them get up on him. He was followed by a drag queen pulling of Selina realness. Marrakech attracts the younger set--most were in their early 20s by my estimate. Though it's mostly locals, they were very welcoming to us tourists.

We finished our bar crawl at La Purisima and Un Bueno Tiempo. Both are larger than Perla and Marrakech and attract a more mature crowd. We couldn't stay long--we were fading fast and the tequila was really kicking in--but we wish we could have stayed longer. Purisima had a killer playlist--an eclectic mix of 80s new wave and modern pop hits--while the boys at Un Bueno Tiempo seemed eager to show us a good time. So forget your guidebook's suggestion to go to the Zona Rosa, head downtown and hit up Calle Republica de Cuba.

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Alex Panisch