terça-feira, 30 de agosto de 2011



Since the 1990s Lisbon (Lisboa) became one of the new hot-spots for travellers in Europe. Vivid, small and steep historical streets, modernised areas, extensive nightlife till early morning, a fresh breeze from the sea even in hot summers make Lisbon a pleasant place for relaxing, sight-seeing and going out all altogether.

Lisbon's gay scene also became very European. While some of the gay clubs and bars in the Príncipe Real area still remind a bit of the years of hiding behind doors with bells, the old Bairro Alto district has a very visible gay life at night. In Bairro Alto it is pleasantly difficult to say which bar, cafe, restaurant and club is gay or gay-friendly or hetero-friendly or whatever.


O Woof X abriu a 22 de Abril (curiosamente, a mesma data de inauguração do Labyrinto) e pertence a David Canelas e Ricardo Morgado. O primeiro é também responsável pelo bar Woof Lx, que está prestes a comemorar o primeiro aniversário. Ambos os espaços apelam ao público bear (“ursos”), uma subcultura gay que valoriza a virilidade tradicional na aparência e no comportamento – e que nos últimos anos tem tido uma maior visibilidade em Lisboa.

“O Woof X é um complemento do Woof Lx, mas com uma vertente mais fetichista e intimista ligada à cultura bear”, explica Rodrigo Lopes. “Em Espanha, Inglaterra ou na Alemanha este tipo de espaços é muito comum, mas até agora não havia nada semelhante em Portugal.” Isto sem esquecer que a discoteca Bric, remodelada em Novembro passado, e o bar Max, fechado há mais de dois anos, tiveram durante muito tempo um “quarto escuro” em funcionamento.

O bar fica no 2B da Rua Manuel Bernardes. Abre de segunda a domingo, entre as 22.00 e as 04.00. A porta está fechada, mas não se paga entrada. O balcão fica à direita de quem entra. A zona de sexo está em fundo, ao lado das casas de banho. Há “glory holes” e um ecrã que passa pornografia. São distribuídos preservativos gratuitamente. Há pouca luz e a área é pequena. Se alguns podem falar em aspecto rústico, outros dirão que a atmosfera kinky está toda nisso.

Apesar de haver em Lisboa cada vez mais espaços gay para práticas sexuais (nos últimos meses abriram mais duas saunas), Rodrigo Lopes entende que todos têm o seu papel. “O fetichismo ligado ao cabedal, à borracha, à roupa desportiva ou à dominação e submissão não tem grande expressão nos outros espaços”, diz. “À partida, quem aqui vem conhece o meio e a atitude fetichista, ninguém fica constrangido.”

Ao contrário do que seria de supor, não é preciso ser-se bear para entrar no Woof X. As mulheres, por exemplo, são bem-vindas. “Cada um está na sua”, diz o gerente. “Faz parte da cultura fetichista aceitar e respeitar os outros.”

Bar Woof X. 21 394 0480. Rua Manuel Bernardes, 2B (Praça das Flores). Seg-Dom, 22.00/04.00.

“A culpa não é toda dos homens”



Lisboa foi considerada pelo guia de viagens online www.ucityguides.com como uma das 10 cidades mais bonitas do mundo. A calçada portuguesa, as fachadas e os tons da capital foram as características mais apreciadas.



Lisboa tem “uma atmosfera singular, difícil de encontrar noutras cidades” segundo a descrição do guia. “Estando num local tão espantoso, não admira que muitos dos maiores exploradores do mundo se interrogassem sobre que outras belezas estariam para lá do horizonte quando daqui partiram no século XV”, acrescenta o ucityguides.com.



Lisboa é uma das 10 cidades mais belas do mundo juntamente com Veneza, Paris, Praga, Rio de Janeiro, Amesterdão, Florença, Roma, Budapeste, Bruges.
5 UP-AND-COMING CITIES ON THE TRAVEL GAYDAR:
ZURICH - Major street festivals like the Street Parade and a long list of gay hotpots.
RIO DE JANEIRO - Flawless bodies and a huge rainbow flag flying on Ipanema beach.
LISBON - Europe's most beautiful gay beach and vibrant nightlife.
BUENOS AIRES - Is this the sexiest Latin-American city?
COPENHAGEN - The capital of the world's most gay-friendly country and its beautiful people...


TOP 10 GAY CITIES:
NEW YORK - The birthplace of gay life.
SAN FRANCISCO - The world's most gay-friendly city.
BERLIN - Europe's gayest capital?
AMSTERDAM - The world's most liberal city.
BARCELONA - Gay-friendly nightlife and Sitges' gay beach.
MADRID - Europe's nightlife capital (and gay Chueca...)
PARIS - Marais, romance, oh gay Paris...!
LONDON - Europe's largest gay and lesbian community.
LOS ANGELES - West Hollywood, the beaches, the city of dreams...
MIAMI - South Beach, hot weather, hot nightlife, hot party people...


Can Lisbon be Europe's new capital of cool? The words "new" and "cool" haven't really been associated with this city since the 16th century when it ruled over the world's first global empire, extending from Brazil to India. Vasco da Gama's expedition to the East brought it cultures and a touch of the exotic that Europe had never seen before -- spices (cinnamon, pepper, ginger), foods (potatoes, pineapples, tea) and animals such as the elephant and rhinoceros that paraded by the city's waterfront.

When the glory days of trade and discovery were over, Lisbon fell victim to one of the most destructive earthquakes ever recorded, and remained dormant ever since. The kiss that awoke the "princess by the Tagus" came during Expo 98, the last world fair of the 20th century. The Expo site became a new neighborhood with futuristic architecture, riverfront warehouses were converted into clubs and restaurants, its narrow cobbled lanes were invaded by caipirinha-holding young crowds enjoying a typically-warm night out, new boutique hotels and contemporary-design hostels opened in renovated old buildings, and an energized artistic scene brought it a renewed sense of confidence.
Culture vultures have also welcomed a new world-class collection of modern art (the Berardo Museum), and a reborn Design and Fashion Museum -- an experience that may then be complemented by a visit to the shops in the designated "Design District" of Santos.

But what hasn't changed are the breathtaking views from its hills which arguably make Lisbon Europe's most scenic capital. Add its trademark mosaic pavements, dilapidated pastel-colored or tile-covered buildings, iconic turn-of-the-century trams, melancholic Fado music, and you also have one of the world's most soulful cities. In fact, Lisbon's unpolished appearance actually provides a seductive atmosphere all of its own, and prevents it from ever being just another bland old city.

The nearby Atlantic beaches and fairytale palaces are other attractions, although visitors will find plenty of reasons to simply embark on their own voyage of discovery in this deliciously-decadent city.
Check if the international luxury brands have any special offerings in their Lisbon shops down Avenida da Liberdade and Rua Garrett. Go for something different at the trendy and funky boutiques with retro and urban wear in Rua do Norte. Find some extraordinary old shops filled with charm in Chiado and get some design ideas in Santos. That's all part of the Lisbon shopping experience
For the ladies, the lesbian clubs in the city are MARIA LISBOA and MEMORIAL (Rua Gustavo Matos Sequeira, 42), although recently they've also become popular with gay men. Before heading there, many choose to meet for drinks in CHUECA (Rua da Atalaia, 97), a small Bairro Alto bar named after Madrid's gayest neighborhood. Not too far away is PUREX (Rua das Salgadeiras 28), where the music is louder but just as welcoming for a chat and a drink
Those looking for a sauna, the best choice in the city is TROMBETA BATH in Bairro Alto.
For post-dinner drinks the entire city invades the narrow streets of boho Bairro Alto, with the corner of Travessa da Espera and Rua da Barroca already being dubbed "the pink corner." Gays, hags, straights, whatever, mingle with drink in hand outside CLUB DA ESQUINA (Rua da Barroca, 30-32) and SIDE (Rua da Barroca, 33) opposite it. Next to "Side" is SÉTIMO CÉU (Travessa Da Espera, 54), a very relaxed and recommended gay bar, usually playing Brazilian, electronic, or chill-out sounds. Here too, there is space to sit inside, but everyone prefers to hang by the door. Further up the street is PORTAS LARGAS (Rua Da Atalaia, 105), one of the city's oldest bars, and now almost exclusively gay. That's where everyone kills some time before they take a few steps into FRAGIL, one of the trendiest spots in the city that we now dare to declare "straight-friendly." An alternative to Fragil is 106 (Rua De São Marçal, 106), a small welcoming bar further up the hill that is especially popular on Sunday nights.
A new bars of Woof LX, Woof X and Tr3s, a gay bear bars are rising and get lots of admires 




As for gay-friendly restaurants, the most recommended option is IMPÉRIO DOS SENTIDOS. The Mediterranean menu is served in a low-lit art-filled space which is inviting for a dinner for two. Another option to consider is O FREI CONTENTE (Rua de São Marçal, 94) which translates to "The Happy (or gay) Friar". It serves mostly Portuguese cuisine, and its proximity to gay bars always guarantees an overwhelmingly gay clientele. A third option is PÕE-TE NA BICHA (Travessa da Água da Flor 36), a decent and somewhat traditional place with a rather naughty name -- it may mean "get on line (or queue)" or with "bicha" also being slang for "gay," you may interpret that however you wish...
When the sun sets, you may shower and relax at the gay hotels RAINBOW ROOMS, LES SUITES DU BAIRRO ALTO or POUSO DOS ANJOS, at the gay-friendly PALACETE D'EL REI, BAIRRO ALTO HOTEL, or at the romantic SOLAR DOS MOUROS which is the perfect option for two.
But since Lisbon's summers are long, you'll likely be drawn to the beach -- it can be pleasant and warm enough as early as April, all the way to October! But no, you don't have to compete with sandcastles and screaming children for space to spread your towel on. Lisbon has a wonderful gay beach ("Beach 19"), with plenty of sand, sea, and some secluded (and usually discretely occupied) dunes. You'll ideally have a car to reach it, otherwise, take the "toy train" from the overcrowded Costa da Caparica beach all the way to stop 19 (hence the name of the beach).
During the day you'll see plenty of gay men parading up and down the shopping street Rua Garrett, making eye contact on the outdoor tables of A BRASILEIRA CAFÉ (Rua Garrett, 120-122), and often pretty much taking over the entire food court of the Armazens do Chiado mall down the street.
Two official daytime gay cafés are a short walk away, the very Parisian LES MAUVAIS GARÇONS(Rua da Rosa, 39) and MAR ADENTRO (Rua do Alecrim, 35). The first is a small cosy space with old furniture, black and white photos, and serving light meals, while the latter also serves its salads and sandwiches along with international periodicals, free wireless internet connection, and some regular events. Another café in the neighborhood that is also a popular gay hangout is ROYALE CAFÉ, with a very contemporary interior and a pleasant outdoor patio.
There aren't many rainbow flags waving around Lisbon's seven hills, and you must ring a bell to enter most late-night gay bars due to their quiet residential neighborhood location. While this picture may take you back into the so-last-century days of the closet, you should not be fooled by that -- Lisbon is very gay.

Yes, Lisbon is the capital of a country with a strong Catholic culture that lived under a homophobic dictatorship for decades, but the city has become more open, colorful, and quite gay in the last decade. Many gay Portuguese men are still married-with-children, straight men seem way too obsessed with affirming their masculinity with macho speech and attitudes, while others maintain ambiguous Batman-and-Robin relationships, but let's just come out and say it -- Lisbon is one of Europe's most attractive gay destinations.