The Lesbian/Gay Bars in Santo Domingo & Punta Cana (+ Queer Events)

Traveling to the Dominican Republic and looking for LGBTQ-safe spaces? As a formerly colonized country with a strong religious conservative history, we still have a long way to go in supporting the queer community. Nevertheless, with the younger generation, and as the world slowly becomes more educated and unlearns centuries of heteronormative conditioning, there is the emergence of gay-inclusive organizations and spaces. Here is a list of the best lesbian and gay bars in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, and on other parts of the island! Having these safe spaces is revolutionary and so it is great to support them!

I. Lesbian & Gay Bars in SANTO DOMINGO

The hottest nightlife spot in the Dominican Republic is the capital, Santo Domingo. And that’s also where most of the country’s LGBTQ+ bars are, specifically in the historical Colonial Zone. La Zona Colonial is also popular among Millennial and Gen-Z Dominican artists, activists, and queers!

1. Esedeku Bar & Terraza

Welcome to Esedeku, one of the popular gay bars in Santo Domingo. On weekends, LGBTQ+ locals and tourists gather to dance and enjoy drinks. The crowd tends to be young and preppy (aka popi), while the music selection ranges from pop to bachata, catering to various tastes. Those seeking a quieter evening can retreat to the cozy rooftop terrace. 

Esedeku’s vibrant vibe, diverse music, and attentive customer service make up for its small space. There’s no door cover charge. But drinks, both local and international, are available at relatively higher prices, with beers priced at 250 pesos, reflecting the bar’s prime location. Their busiest time is after 11 pm.

Note: Esedeku doesn’t accept reservations and has a cash-only policy. So make sure you have Dominican pesos when you visit!

  • Neighborhood: Zona Colonial
  • Address: Mercedes 341 esq Calle, C. Santomé

2. Queerium 

Aside from spectacular parties and lively DJ sets, this queer bar host concert films, movies, drag shows, and more. They recently screened lesbian movies such as ‘The Favorite’ and ‘Portrait of a Lady on Fire’ as well as RuPaul’s, Lady Gaga’s Chromatica Ball Tour concert film. For some events, they require reservations and a door cover. Sometimes, they waive fees if you come before 10 pm 😉. But if you want to be greeted with a buzzing atmosphere, aim to arrive before midnight!

Thanks to Queerium, the city’s LGBTQ community (and allies) finally has a place to go where they feel safe to be themselves! While they occasionally host free yoga on their terrace outside bar days, I hope they expand their operating hours beyond twice a week!

  • Neighborhood: Zona Colonial
  • Address: Calle Palo Hincado esquina Arzobispo Portes

3. La Jaula Bar

This is one of the best LGBTQ+ nightclubs in Santo Domingo and it’s probably the only lesbian bar around. The vibe is so welcoming and you’ll feel safe. Open from Fridays to Sundays, they also host baby drag competitions and other events. The space is intimate, but you’ll have room to dance. So, make sure to get there early!

Note: This lesbian space is temporarily closed due to moving and remodeling. In the meantime, you can follow their Instagram to stay tuned for when they reopen.

  • Neighborhood: Zona Colonial
  • Address: C. Espaillat 52

4. Calife Bar & Lounge

Calife Bar & Lounge offers karaoke, dance, and contraband nights on Thursdays, Fridays, and Sundays, respectively. Most of the time, there’s no cover charge. Special events like rave nights featuring performances are also part of their lineup. While not officially a gay bar (probably for safety reasons), the club maintains a highly gay-leaning and inclusive atmosphere. 

With its spacious layout, Calife stands out among bars in the area. Drinks are fairly priced, and there’s always a pool table available if you’re game.

Note: You can bring your own bottle on contraband nights and they accept all payment types.

  • Neighborhood: Zona Colonial
  • Address: C. Vicente Celestino Duarte 3

5. Fogoo Discotec

Just a 3-minute walk from Esedeku you’ll find Fogoo, a gay nightclub that regularly hosts sizzling drag shows and disco nights on Saturdays. Covers vary between $150 and $300, depending on the event. It includes a drink if you arrive before 12 am. Friday nights are for dancing—salsa, merengue, bachata, pop, you name it!—while Sunday evenings are dedicated contraband nights until midnight.

  • Neighborhood: Zona Colonial
  • Address: C. Arzobispo Nouel 308

II. LGBTQ+ Events in the Dominican Republic

Aside from bars, there are Dominican Republic LGBT-focused event organizers that keep the fun alive through exciting gay happenings, including drag parties and performance competitions. Since these are not actual venues, you have to keep tabs on their Instagram pages for the next events and locations so you won’t miss out!

6. Draguéalo

Draguéalo brings life to Santo Domingo through their drag shows complimented by DJ sets and lip sync competitions. A safe space for self-expression and diversity, they also host drag queens makeup workshops and dance classes focusing on ballroom, vogue, and acrobatics. Their gay parties allow crossdressing, too!

7. GAF Labs (Gays and Friends)

GAF Labs is popular for its events that celebrate pop icons’ music from Santo Domingo and beyond. Madonnathon, Kyliethon, Beyoncethon, Britneython, Gagathon, and Duathlon, yes they have it all! These often go with drag shows, lip-sync battles, and live music by DJs. Door charge ranges between $400+ to $1,000. I recommend getting tickets early at a presale price!

III. Other Gay-FRIENDLY Bars & Clubs in the Dominican Republic

Aside from Santo Domingo, the next place in the Dominican Republic for gay bars and celebration is Punta Cana. The famous beach destination might not have as strong a gay scene like the capital, but it boasts some of the biggest LGBTQ-inclusive clubs, bringing lights and music to the country’s easternmost tip. After a day of swimming and sunbathing, treat yourself further to the best gay nightlife in Punta Cana area!

8. Paradise Garage

In a restored cabaret club, Paradise Garage offers a unique dining and show experience showcasing the talents of the Dominican Republic’s top female impersonators. Performances include burlesque, acrobatics, drag, rogue, and so much more! Whether you’re queer or straight, you’ll definitely enjoy the comical and interactive show, which is probably the best of its kind outside Las Vegas. 

Dinner is served at 8 pm, followed by the performance and dessert. After the show, you can party the night away and mingle with the cast! This is the best spot in Punta Cana if you’re up for an unforgettable and exciting night! You can book your tickets here.

New: Paradise Garage recently launched its Paradise Beach & Boat Party. With an open bar and live DJ performances, you can party in the Caribbean ocean!

  • Address: Avenida Barceló #4, ente hoteles Barcelo y Plaza Paseo San Juan, Bavaro, Punta Cana

9. Coco Bongo 

Coco Bongo is a vibrant LGBT-friendly club popular for its exciting live performances. These blend lively music with captivating dance and acrobatics, all enjoyed alongside unlimited drinks. Stage productions are inspired by iconic movies like “Moulin Rouge,” “The Mask,” “300,” and “Mad Max,” alongside tributes to the rock band “Queen” and the Brazilian dance “Samba.”

While tickets may be on the pricier side, they’re well worth the investment. General admission tickets are standing, while VIP passes offer assigned seating. Secure your slots for a memorable experience!

If watching live performances isn’t your thing, Coco Bongo’s strong cocktails and lively DJ sets still offer an extravagant nightlife!

  • Address: JJM3+XW3, Centro Comercial Downtown Punta Cana

10. Imagine Punta Cana

Imagine clubbing in a natural cave. Imagine!! Yes, that’s the name of the place. 

Imagine Punta Cana gives visitors the unique experience of partying in a natural, ancient cave. The Dominican gay-friendly club’s tequila is a favorite. The downside is that most of the music played caters to the US audience and prices are in USD. So if you’re craving Latin music, you’ll be betting on the lotto. 

Tickets are at $55 USD for an open bar and $70 USD if you prefer premium drinks. For groups, you can avail a VIP table at $540 USD. 

Note: You have the option to book transportation between the club and your hotel when you book tickets

  • Address: Av. Estados Unidos, antiguo cruce carretera Coco Loco a Friusa, Punta Cana

11. ORO Nightclub 

For a more exclusive experience, head to ORO Nightclub. Aside from its wide drink selection, the gay-inclusive disco club boasts vibrant shows that feature themed shows, concerts, and shows by local and international DJs. Since it sits in the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino complex, the place leans more towards the expensive side, and they only accept cards. If you are a guest at the resort, you can get in for free before midnight.

  • Address: Boulevard Turístico del Este Km. 28, Blvd. Turístico del Este 74, Punta Cana

IV. Tips When Visiting LGBTQ+ Spaces in the Dominican Republic

As a New Yorker, the NYC lesbian scene has spoiled me. Because the sad reality is that much of the world, from the USA to DR has a very long way to go for us. While DR is becoming more aware of LGBTQ rights and public perception has sliiiightly improved, it’s still just like the American South and not a place to openly display your queerness safely. As a tourist, you hold a lot of privilege, especially if you’re white. But still, it’s best to steer on the safe side here and keep these things in mind before traveling to the Dominican Republic as a queer/gay traveler:

  • Public Displays of Affection: Some places like Cabarete and Punta Cana are relatively more tolerant of public displays of affection between same-sex couples. Maybe even La Zona Colonial. But to be 100% safe, it’s best to avoid PDA (kissing and hand-holding) in public spaces in most of the country, but especially outside these areas.
  • Online Meetups and Hookups: Dating apps are commonly used in the Dominican Republic, but you need to exercise extra caution here. You cannot trust anyone 100% regardless of whether they’re a local or a tourist. Make sure that the person you’re about to meet is legit by asking for pictures or identification and meet up in public places only!†
  • Exploitation of Vulnerable Populations: Sex Tourism is huge a problem in the Dominican Republic. We don’t promote it. Please treat people with respect. Do not exploit locals in poverty. Sex tourism fuels sex trafficking!

V. Lesbian & Gay Bars in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic: Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: Is there a gay scene in the Dominican Republic?

Most LGBT spots in the Dominican Republic can be found in Santo Domingo’s Zona Colonial. You can also find some LGBT-friendly places in Punta Cana, which is a gay-friendly destination.

Q2: Is Punta Cana safe for LGBT?

Yes, Punta Cana is safe for LGBT people. But still, public displays of affection may be frowned upon (or worse).

Q3: What are the best gay clubs in Punta Cana?

With LGBTQ+ performers, Paradise Garage is the best and only OFFICIAL gay bar/club in Punta Cana.

VI. Related Dominican Republic Posts

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