A short and updated guide to all the LGBTQ+ bars and main events in town
Florence is very well known for its art and world-famous museums, but LGBTQ+ visitors often wonder where to go to have a drink, meet locals or just hang out for a fun night after they’ve taken in all the beauty!
As a Florence gay tour guide, I always give information on the local gay scene and even if the city may look quiet from the outside, it will end up surprising you. So, here’s a list of places you can check out while you’re staying in our beautiful city!
GAY AND LESBIAN BARS AND ROOFTOPS
Piccolo Cafe : This bar just off Santa Croce’s basilica is one of the most popular in town! Cozy, crowded and very mixed, Piccolo is the perfect place to get a drink or chat with locals. The bar tends to get crowded at weekends after dinner (around 11.30 pm), but it’s still a nice option any day of the week, except on Mondays and Tuesdays when the bar is closed. We like to stand outside sipping our drink but if it’s cold (and, yes, Florence is a cold city in the winter!) there’s room inside. The staff is friendly and makes you feel welcome as they are used to having tourists from all over the world! I’ve been going to Piccolo forever and, even after all these years, it still is my first choice to start my Florence gay night!
Queer Cafe: If you’re looking for a quiet yet fun and cheerful night out, the Queer cafe is the place for you. The place is quite the new hot spot on town and it tends to attract a younger crowd, from the occasional gender-fluid twink to the lesbian fashionista! There’s a good choice of music and the owner, Andrea, is a perfect cocktail-maker. Make sure you stop by this nice joint for a couple of drinks before getting your party started on the dancefloor!
Twist Bistro: This picturesque and one-of-a-kind cafe is perfect for chilling after a long day at the museums or for a nice aperitivo before dinner. The owner, Franco, is the sweetest and most thoughtful person. He will make sure you feel very welcome. Plus, the Twist Bistro has special theme nights to give that little spicy twist to your vacation! The Drag Show night is surely a hot night with Miss Flo and Miss Rose’s surprisingly sophisticated drag. Plus, if you like their clothes, they are on sale at the bar! Be sure to get there early as the seating area for the drag show is quite small. Check their Facebook page for more information and updates!
View on Art @ Hotel de Medici: this hotel is one of the oldest in town and the first one in Florence to appear on a Spartacus guidebook. Plus, the rooftop provides a delightful and unique view on the Duomo and Brunelleschi’s Dome! Make a reservation before going as the seating area on the terrace is limited. The cocktails are mouth-watering and well-served together with a light aperitivo, in authentic Italian style. Enjoy!
GAY CLUBS AND HEALTH CENTERS
Crisco Club: this is the longest-running crusing club in town. Located right downtown, just a few meters away from the Duomo, Crisko opens its doors late and gets crowded even later (on weekends, best to get there after midnight). Dark, wet and sweaty, as every queer cruising club should be, this place is small but fun, with a large underground darkroom full of… surprises! Make sure you check out the dress code nights such as the infamous Naked-Jockstrap night on Thursdays!
Florence Baths: if you’re looking for a relaxing afternoon in a steamy atmosphere, the Florence Bathhouse is the perfect place for you. This stricly men-only club has lockers, privacy and descreet nooks where you can unwind after a long day admiring the gorgeous masterpieces of Florence galleries. Its indoor facilities include a recently renovated Finnish sauna and a Turkish bath plus a jacuzzi and cruising areas for your personal satisfaction. On weekdays, it’s open from 1 pm to 8 pm. On Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays the Florence Baths shuts its doors at 1 am.
Fabrik: this venue is mostly popular among the bear community and its fans but it also holds circuit parties and other interesting theme nights. So, make sure you check their website before going! Fabrik is located between Florence and Prato, so you either take a cab or the train (trains run very frequently from Firenze Santa Maria Novella train station and stop at Calenzano right opposite the club). Every Sunday afternoon, the naked party is one of the best in town and it attracts cute guys from all over the area. Membership required.
LGBTQ+ PARTIES AND EVENTS
The Shade @ Limonaia di Villa Strozzi powered by ArciGay Firenze: this new and unique party in Florence is exactly what the city needed! Its refreshing combination of entertainment, music, stand-up drag comedy and (of course) drag shows is totally new to Florence and currently the most crowded party in town. The Shade usually starts with some pop-cultural events (book presentations, celebrity speakers, LGBTQ+ activists) and then goes on to some more light-hearted, everrainbow drag show introduced by RuPaul’s Drag Race Italia’s queen star Ava Hangard and her crew! Check The Shade’s Instagram page and don’t forget to book a table for you and your buddies as this event may get totally sold out in just a few days!
Fairy Gold: Fairy Gold is definitely the youngest and hottest party in Florence. Lots of disco queens, cool youngters and fierce hipsters get down to the sizzling beats of resident DJ Pino Ramirez and sassy queens Dayana and Mirage. Doors open on Saturday night at 11.30 pm. Make sure you get on the list by checking their updates on Facebook or Instagram. Category is… crazy fun realness!