Things To Do
Dominican LGBTQ+ Nightlife: The Best Gay Bars and Clubs in the Dominican Republic
Dance party in Santo Domingo
Photo: Mikkel Ulriksen
Looking for the best drag shows and queer-friendly spaces?
The Dominican Republic’s hottest spots for LGBTQ+ nightlife are the capital city of Santo Domingo and the world-famous beach destination of Punta Cana. After a day spent swimming, sunbathing and sipping pina coladas on the sand, here’s where to go looking for a drink, a dance and a great time in a queer-friendly environment.
01. Esedeku Bar
This cosy two-floor bar is housed in a bright blue colonial building in the Zona Colonial, on the corner of Calle Mercedes and Calle Santomé. It’s a small space compared to some of the clubs in Santo Domingo, but it’s where most of the local LGBTQ+ community spends their weekends dancing, drinking and lip syncing.
Esedeku plays pop and electronic music, salsa, bachata and other latin hits. The low-lit second floor patio and women’s bathroom are known for being a cruising-friendly place. You can dance, smoke, drink and have a nice conversation with locals or friends.
The cover charge is 200 RD$ (US $4) and includes a drink - your choice of beer or a “Cuba Libre” (a rum and coke). The club opens at 9pm, is busiest after 11pm and closes at 3am.
02. Fogoo Bar & Lounge
A short walk around the corner from Esedeku, Fogoo is the biggest gay bar in the city. They play bachata, salsa, merengue and pop hits, and if you’re lucky you might catch one of Fogoo’s sizzling drag shows! Show or no show, you’ll see drag queens in here as patrons any time it’s open. If you’re looking for a spacious dancefloor with plenty of room to strut your stuff, this is the place to be.
Best to arrive after 10pm, and doors usually close at 2am. Prices are affordable.
Mamey Librería, Santo Domingo
Photo: Mikkel Ulriksen
03. Mamey Library Cafe
On the same block as Esedeku you’ll find Mamey, a gorgeous library with a beautiful Spanish colonial patio, and a bar and cafe. You can go there to buy books, have a coffee at the bar, a tropical drink on the patio, or weekend brunch. Coffee aficionados take note: you’ll find pour-over and cold-drip filter coffee here. Mamey hosts live music events, exhibitions, pop-up boutique shops and more.
Visit Mamey at Calle Mercedes 315. Open 4pm-midnight Wednesday thru Friday, and 10am-midnight on the weekend.
04. Dock Lounge
Dock Lounge was one of the first straight bars in Santo Domingo to earn a gay-friendly reputation. This two-storey bar is in the outside area of the tallest mall of the city - Acropolis Center Mall. It’s a smoker-friendly bar, too, with hookahs for hire. Expect a mix of pop and latin beats.
Dock Lounge is popular for its ever-changing drink specials, giveaways, and group booking deals.
Open 4pm-midnight Sunday through Thursday and 4pm-3am Fridays and Saturdays. Happy hour is 5pm-10pm, making this a great place to start the evening before you hit the clubs.
05. Parque Duarte / Duarte Park
This park is named after the founding father of the Dominican Republic, Juan Pablo Duarte. The park is in the center of the Zona Colonial. It’s surrounded by churches and colonial houses. Pigeons love to pass by the park and during the day it’s a regular family park.
During weekends, holidays, and after sundown, Parque Duarte becomes a gay-friendly park where many people hang out and drink during the night. You might run into live music, and almost certainly portable stereos. There is a bar, a mini restaurant and a grocery store, so you can buy your drinks, ice or snacks right at the park.
Parque Duarte livens up around 8pm, with people coming and going until 2-3am, when police close the park for the night. Find it on Distrito Nacional Int. Calles Padre Billini y Eugenio María de Hostos, Zona Colonial.
06. Bio Bar
Around the corner in the Zona Colonial, this dance club is known for serving drinks in buckets. Bio Bar has a whole menu of drinks and mixes that will get you happy in minutes. The playlist varies from rock to salsa to electro.
It’s a great place to drink and dance, and lots of tourists come here just to experience the bucket drinks. The vibe is “drink up and dance your ass off”, and here you can dance with your partner without fear.
Bio Bar gets crowded at 1am, so it’s best to arrive between 11pm and 1am to ensure you get a nice spot. Calle Hostos 352, Zona Colonial.
07. Pop Cafe De Toi
This bar/disco/lounge never closes, and it’s where many a night out partying ends. After Esedeku, Fogoo, Bio and Parque Duarte close at 3am, this is the place where everyone who still wants to party goes, and you’ll find the whole LGBTQ+ community gathered together, dancing and drinking until the dawn.
Feeling adventurous? Pop has a pole-dancing pole in case you want to try your skills, plus private rooms for exclusive parties. Need to cool down? Head outside to the smoker-friendly patio.
Open late. Calle José Gabriel García 157, Santo Domingo 10210, Dominican Republic.
08. Apolo Sauna
The only gay sauna in the country, Apolo is a well-known spot for cruising, hooking up and seeing the sights. Clothes are optional - you’ll be given a towel and a pair of flipflops on arrival. Drinks are cheap, cellphones are banned, and the music is unobtrusive. BYO condoms.
Amenities include dry and wet saunas, a jacuzzi, a bar, and other amenities one might hope to find at a gay sauna.
Open 10:30am-7pm Monday to Friday and 10am-5pm on weekends. Full price entry is just US $7, and Tuesdays-Thursdays are half-price. Calle Arzobispo Nouel 108, Zona Colonial.
09. Draguealo and Gaflabs
These two LGBTQ+ event companies throw gay- and non-binary-friendly parties with crossdressing themes, drag shows, and famous stars like Laganja Estranja and April Carrion. Their parties get crowded and even allies like to go to enjoy the show. In recent years The Madonnathon, The Britnethon and PopEr have been hugely popular.
Draguealo started off hosting streaming parties of RuPaul’s Drag Race, then hosting Pride Parade afterparties.
Because these events are straight-bar takeover nights, not actual venues, you’ll have to check Instagram to find out when and where the next event is happening. If a party is on while you’re in the DR, don’t miss out!
Follow Draguealo on Instagram: @draguéalo
Follow Gaflabs on Instagram: @gaflabs
Coco Bongo in Punta Cana
Photo: Coco Bongo
10. Coco Bongo - Punta Cana
Punta Cana is home to some of the biggest clubs in the country, known for their night shows, themed rooms and cocktails that reel in the crowds. Coco Bongo Caribbean Bar is a stalwart of extravagant nightlife in cities like Cancun and Playa del Carmen, and Coco Bongo Punta Cana is no exception - if you have partied in Cancun or Playa del Carmen you know how wild the parties get. Packages include free drinks, live performances and a playlist that will keep you dancing till morning. Not gay-oriented, but gay-friendly and a great night out.
Centro Comercial Downtown Punta Cana, Carretera Barcelo (Verón Esquina El Boulevard, cruce Coco Loco Bávaro), Punta Cana.
Imagine Nightclub in Punta Cana
11. Imagine - Punta Cana
A huge club that hosts huge parties, Imagine is one of the best venues on the whole Island. Expect live DJs, a diverse young crowd, and enough space to dance your booty off. it’s not a gay club, but it’s so big that you will find locals and foreigners in same-sex couples dancing without trouble. The dancefloor is cavernous - literally! You can buy entry and drinks separately or a get a package deal with drinks included.
Av. Estados Unidos, antiguo cruce carretera Coco Loco a Friusa, Punta Cana.
Written by Diego Angeles.
Published July 2021
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