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Passion Club, one of Mazatlan's hottest GLBT discos, in Zona Dorada
Although not as popular with gay travelers and Puerto Vallarta, which is farther down the Mexico Riviera coastline, the thriving port city and resort getaway of Mazatlan lies directly across the Gulf of California from the tip of Baja. Known for its miles of beaches, old city (Viejo Mazatlan) historic district, and Zona Dorada club-and-hotel area, Mazatlan makes for an engaging yet relaxing getaway, especially in winter. Here's a photo tour of this vibrant city with a growing gay following.
Passion Club (Av. Playa Gaviotas 417) lies occupies the second level of a building in the heart of Mazatlan's lively Golden Zone, or Zona Dorada - just a few blocks north of Plaza Mazatlan resort and the city's other notable gay disco, the long-running Pepe Toro (it's centrally located, and pretty much any cab driver in town will know the location of both of these bars). In a city that's far less known for gay-clubbing than Puerto Vallarta, Passion Club is nonetheless highly... popular and plenty of fun, with great music, friendly bartenders, and a compact but well-lighted interior with comfy lounge chairs and a decent-size dance floor. The bar draws a heavily local crowd much of the year, but during busy tourist times (Carnaval spring break, and such), you'll find more of a mix. Of the handful of gay bars in town, this is also the one drawing the youngest crowd (mostly under 30) - a friendly, energetic mix of gay and lesbian clubbers. Things tend to get busiest after midnight.Continue to 2 of 3 below.
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Pepe Toro, a long-running gay club in Zona Dorada
Mazatlan's longest-running gay club, Pepe Toro's (Av de las Garzas 18, 669-914-4176) is prominently located near a central intersection of the city's clubbing corridor, the Zona Dorada (i.e., Golden Zone), and it's been an anchor of the city's gay scene since the early '90s. Competition from Passion Club disco, up the street, has cut into the crowds at Pepe Toro to some extent, especially among the younger set, but this relatively spacious gay disco still packs in sizable crowds on high-season weekends. Pepe Toro's has the largest dance floor of the city's gay establishments and a small but pleasant patio out back. The crowd is mostly, though by no means exclusively, male, and more age-varied than that at Passion Club. And Pepe Toro's owners have a second gay establishment, the more laid-back Vitrolas, in the Historic District (Zona Historica), just a couple of blocks north of Plaza Machado.Continue to 3 of 3 below.
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Vitrolas Bar, in Mazatlan's historic old town district
Set inside an elegant, high-ceilinged, colonial-style building a couple of blocks north of Plaza Machado in Mazatlan's colorful Zona Historica (Historic District), Vitrolas Bar (Heriberto Frias 1608, 669-985-2221) is the cousin of Pepe Toro gay disco in Zona Dorada. This is a laid-back, relatively quiet bar with cafe tables and plenty of room to kick back and socialize. The crowd is a mix of women and men, all ages, and things tend to get going early here. It's a popular place after dinner and before club-going. Light bar food, snacks, and espresso are also served.