The Big Guide to partying in Puglia

WE (L) COME BACK TO PUGLIA

As the sun sets Puglia takes a second breath. It transforms itself. From a quiet evening on a terrace in Ostuni, to a sophisticated evening with one-on-one service that’s all about you in a stunning Masseria just beyond Castro, the balcony over the Adriatic. And if you want to enjoy a party afterwards the possibilities are endless ... welcome to Puglia. Our home.

 The Big Guide to Partying in Puglia

Gay friendly bars and clubs. Beach lidos that transform into something a little more chic on balmy summer evenings ...

Although Gallipoli is the ever popular gay destination in Puglia, there’s a selection of venues across the region.

Bari

Makumba Tribe Village at the Palaghiaccio, Acquapark Bari (Via Caldarola 6, 70126 Bari BA) is Bari's best known gay club (although it draws a gay-friendly crowd too).

As the location might suggest, it is has a pool, and is well known for its pool parties during summer. It has go-go boys and drag queens, including the wonderful Sorelle Pompadur.

On your way into the old town there is the Reverso Unconventional Bistrot. Small but perfectly formed.

La Ciclatera Sotto Il Mare is another popular gay-friendly caffè bar,Via Venezia 16, 70122 Bari. It has a wonderful terrace in an envious position overlooking the Adriatic across to the Porto Vecchio and beyond. It’s the perfect place to enjoy something light to eat, or an aperitivo during the “golden hour” looking out towards the sea, before or after exploring the narrow, cooler alleyways and passages of the old town. We enjoyed our visit.

They have a sister bar La Ciclatera at Corte Colagualano, 36.

Beaches

Bari has its own city beaches. You might find some local gays at Pane e Pomodoro beach, but for the nearest gay beaches you should head to these gay-friendly naturist beaches: north of Bari Spiaggia Torre Calderina (Google Map co-ordinates 41°13'36.5"N 16°33'09.7"E) and Cola Olidda, Gavetone (Google Map co-ordinates 41°11'37.3"N 16°38'26.9"E), either side of Molfetta; or head south to Torre Incina, between Polignano a Mare and Monopoli.

Bari Pride

Usually held at the end of June. The 2020 Pride Parade was another Covid-19 casualty, although on 18 July 2020 the organisers held a socially distanced ”static” Pride event outside the Prefettura di Bari.

The Big Gay Podcast from Puglia were proud sponsors of Bari Pride 2019.

Other

Bari’s only gay sauna is Millenium Bath on the north western side of the modern port, near Fiera del Levante.

Popular central cruising spots are along the lungomare Nazario Sauro and by the University’s of Bari’s faculty of language and literature (via Michele Garruba, 6). You will need a car to get to the main cruising spot which is by the football stadium (the Stadio San Nicola). Just drive around the car park, though obviously not when there’s a match.

The most popular social apps are Grindr and Planet Romeo. Many don’t identify as gay and Tinder is popular.

BakecaIncontrii.com is the largest classified ads portal for adults in Italy. Categories include “escorts, trans, transvestites, male escorts, erotic massages, couples and much more ... the opportunity to realise your every fantasy and find what you are looking for. Real ads for you!”.

It has a dedicated Men Seeking Men Bari section though to navigate the ads you will need a working knowledge of the language, dialect and slang!

Gay Organisations and Associations

ArcigayBari - organisers of Bari Pride.

 

 

Bari | Taranto

 

Pazzeska is Bari’s and Taranto’s newest gay and gay friendly night, drawing a young and happy crowd. Their nights feature house drag artists, gogo boys and gogo girls.

Run by the same promotors as 2019’s Adoro Bari Friendly they move around from venue to venue and town to town  - so follow them on social to find out where and when.

Their current preferred Bari venue is Villa Rotondo club and restaurant Corso Alcide De Gasperi, Str. Vicinale Carducci, 431, 70125 Bari.

The Taranto grand opening will be held at Cocomero’s Club, Viale Jonio, 160, 74122 Taranto (info Gianelli 346 3758593) on Saturday 1 August from midnight.

 

Barletta | Bisceglie

Pacha Mama is a gay disco club taking place on Saturday nights during summer at one of the lido clubs in Barletta, some 60km north of Bari. Their last few seasons have been postponed due to “technical” issues.

Their winter season was to be held at the Glam’House Club and restaurant in Bisceglie.

Check out their facebook page for updates.

Closer to Bari (just before Molfetta) Babylon is a gay/gay-friendly club night taking place each Sunday in August, except for the ferragosto weekend when it switches to Saturday 15th August.

The venue is the Nautilus Club in SS16, 140-146, 70054 Giovinazzo BA. Popular with a young and enthusiastic crowd, more details are available on their Babylon Party Instagram.

Gallipoli

Summer transforms the otherwise sleepy town of Gallipoli. Sitting on the beautiful crystal clear waters of the Ionian Sea, it’s a town of two halves; the old town and the new.

The best of the gay scene is enjoyed at the beaches lidos and bars just outside town.

Gallipoli draws an affluent gay crowd who spend their days baking on the rocks and showing themselves off, and their nights partying hard and ... showing themselves off.

If you are in the old town then start your evening off either at Caffè Bellini Gallipoli at the Corso Roma 9 or just along from there at Gogó Food & Drink on the via Roma 13/G (and for 2019 was Gogó Food & Drink)

Our favourite place to hang out in Gallipoli during the day and in the evening is LED Beach on the lungomare at Lido Pôr do Sol, Baia Verde. A very gay friendly beach club and lido where everyone is welcome and our absolute favourite place to visit in Gallipoli. 

Our visit to Lido Pôr do Sol.

Picador Village claim to be the largest LGBTQ* disco in southern Italy. They have just opened their doors for summer 2019. Located approximately 10km south of Gallipoli (about a 12 minute drive, with around 1,500 parking spaces available), it's extremely popular with the gay crowd, although it does have a mixed clientelle on most evenings.

Surrounded by olive and palm trees, it's a fun location, though relatively expensive, as Salento goes. But then, welcome to Gallipoli!

At Picador you can expect drag queens, go-go boys and long hot summer nights.

Picador Village Sp 289 Località Fontana Gallipoli/Taviano

(from the SP exit at“Li Sauli” direction Lido Pizzo/Punta della Suina)

Finally a word of caution. G Beach Club used to be one of the most popular gay destinations in Gallipoli . Following a change of management they have become less gay friendly - asking 2 gay couples who were kissing to leave.

They asked us to remove tags and pictures from our social media, and the accusations of homophobia have continued.

Ostuni

While not officially a gay or gay-friendly bar, you will notice that Franco Passion Cocktail Bar in Ostuni has a certain something about it. More fun than sophisticated.

Lecce

In Lecce’s old town we enjoyed the trendy and popular Zei Spazio Sociale. The last time we visited they had a sign out front: “No rascist, no fascist, no sexist, no homophobic. Yes pets”. The bar and social space was decidedly popular with a student crowd, but not exclusively. We just hope that it survives the covid downturn.

Marilyn Lounge and Disco Bar is located just outside the old town.

Out of town La Restuccia Masseria Urban runs queer events: brunches, cabaret, festivals, craft and artesian markets, including their 2020 Wave Festival.

Brindisi (Provincia)

HOTPARTY ITALY Disco & Cruising takes place at Tacco12 in San Pietro Vernotico (72027 San Pietro Vernotico, BR) about 17km south of Brindisi on the SS16. Follow them on Instagram for updates.

 

 

Normally it's a private gentlmen's club, but twice a month on a Sunday it becomes a gay cruising party. The Cockparty, with darkroom, gloryhole and private cabins. There's also a private garden and, of course, a dancefloor!

Because it is a private club, you need to be a member. Usually, with ID you can join at the door on the night. But expect to pay around a 3EUR for the membership, with an 18EUR cover on top (drink and buffet included).

Some of us haven't been yet, but expect plenty of live action with naked go-go boys.

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GO DEEPLY INTO PUGLIA

The endless olive groves stretching as far as the eye can see and clusters of trulli are both reasons to visit the Valle d’Itria. Indeed, no trip to Puglia would be complete without visiting Polignano a Mare, eating seafood by the old port in Monopoli and exploring the trulli. But even with a dash of Lecce and shot of Otranto you would still be experiencing what most of Puglia’s visitors experience. And while the Valle d’Itria may draw the majority of Puglia’s visitors, it’s Salento that puts the “extra” into extraordinary.

"We are in Puglia."

~ Patti LuPone