HIGHS AND LOWS OF BULGARIAN GAY NIGHT LIFE



We took a bus from Belgrade to Sofia. Arriving in the evening and walking down to our Airbnb next to beautiful churches and the view of the mountains in front of us was mesmerizing.

City looked very peaceful. That’s till we decided to go out for drinks to the main pedestrian street - Vitosha. Even though it was pretty late ~11pm the street was buzzing, restaurants were busy, finding a table in the bars was not easy. We were lucky and found some great cocktails and the bar weirdly called Cafe Memento.

Even though the street was busy and our gaydars worked extremely well, it was obviously a wrong place to approach the boys - Bulgaria is still a very homophobic country.

Gay bar was requested! Firstly we decided to stop by the bar SECRET GARDEN that was very close to our apartment. Oh boy - that was not a good idea! It’s basically a big kiosk in the parking lot (not even a garden) with weird clientele playing darts and drinking the cheapest beer. After passing by couple times, as we couldn’t believe it’s the right place, we stepped in for a second... and had to leave in an instant. I never thought gays can go that low. If our blog would rank the worst gay bars in the world - that would be the absolute winner!


The night was rather interesting, but definitely not successful. It was a time for bed and spending more hours next day on the research. This time for the quantitative research on Grindr (aka asking as many boys as possible where to go out).

On the second night we decided to hit another, pretty new bar / club in the area that the local boys recommended - BARCODE. It’s just a regular house door with the logo above: we could not hear any music, there was nobody at the door - definitely not a welcoming look. However after last nights tragedy nothing can be worse, we braced ourselves and opened the door.



The place looked probably 100 times better that previous: pretty modern, clean, somebody did some job on the interior design (even though it’s not to my taste). After we walked through the long corridor with lounge chairs and homoerotic photos on the walls, we ended up in the bar and dancing area which looked rather modern: leather couches on the sides, circle platform for dancers, all lit up with colorful cheap Chinese lasers.

Being a fresh meat in a not busy room was not easy - we needed those double Gin & Tonics. As on Thursdays they have 50% discount - one double drink was only 3 Eur.



We picked the couch and started observing the boys (and they observing us). Surprisingly jeans shorts and white button up shirts was the first choice in this club. Among other weird things - somebody brought a small dog and put him on dance floor. Poor animal was scared of loud music and lasers - the true animal cruelty!

Even though the bar was not terrible - the music was! We would OK with Bulgarian music, but as a local explained to us - it was turbo folk music (which means - folk music remakes with strong beat) - the worst you can expect. Even the alcohol did not help to enjoy it.



On the way out we also found a dark room - we were surprised to see that in Sofia. Obviously it was empty.

If I ever come back, I would like to check BARCODE again on a weekend night, it could be fun (ignoring the music). Many local boys recommended to visit the club ONE TO ONE - very promising establishment. According to the info we got it must be a pretty decent dancing club. If you visit it - drop us a line, tell us how is it!

SECRET GARDEN

hotness of the crowd ---------🍭

friendliness of the people ----🍭🍭

music quality ------------------🍭

drinks --------------------------🍭🍭

lights and sound --------------🍭

coolness of the venue --------🍭

BARCODE

hotness of the crowd ---------🍭🍭🍭

friendliness of the people ----🍭🍭

music quality ------------------🍭

drinks --------------------------🍭🍭🍭🍭

lights and sound --------------🍭🍭🍭

coolness of the venue --------🍭🍭🍭

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