India Gate, Delhi
Delhi does not really have a reputation for being liberal or safe. The capital city has grabbed many headlines in the past for the incidents of violence against women and minorities. It has one of the highest crime rates among cities in India. But despite popular perception and what the data may show you, Delhi actually has plenty of spaces around that are safe for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex (LGBTQI) community. It is considered the friendliest city in India for LGBTQI travelers, even more so than the arguably more cosmopolitan and liberal Mumbai. Conde Nast Traveller recently ventured into Delhi to seek these spaces, and what they found was pretty eye-opening. And to mark the occasion of Pride Month 2017 and to support the cause, here is a look at these pubs, cafes, guest houses, art galleries and other safe spaces for the LGBTQI community in Delhi. Also Read - Manipur Give India Its First All-Transgender Football Team
The Lalit New Delhi
The Lalit New Delhi, Photograph Courtesy: Facebook
Remarkably, many of the pubs and parties hosted for the LGBTQI community in Delhi are held in four- or five-star establishments, something that is a rarity in other cities, including Mumbai. The Lalit New Delhi, like its Mumbai counterpart, is a five-star hotel that is LGBTQI-friendly and hosts regular C U Next Thursday nights that cater to the community. Also Read - Delhi Violence: SC Lawyer Files FIR For Immediate Arrest of Tahir Hussain; Death Toll Touches 42 | Highlights
The Mister & Art House
Located in South Delhi, this unmarked guest house claims itself to be the first boutique guest house of its kind and art gallery exclusively for men. According to CN Traveller, the place is comfortable and the staff is warm and helpful. Its owner, Sanjay Malhotra, also operates the local travel company IndjaPink that plans trips for gay tourists coming from abroad. Also Read - Sheer Qorma Trailer: Shabana Azmi, Swara Bhasker, Divya Dutta Bring Beauty, Sensitivity, Courage And Homosexuality
PCO Delhi, Photograph Courtesy: Facebook
Run by Eeshaan Kashyap, PCO in Vasant Vihar is one of the more happening spots in the city. The speakeasy bar boasts of a more complicated entry process – you can’t just walk in – in keeping with the format borrowed from American bars from the Prohibition Era. Back then, it was used to protect booze from the law. Now, the format has been reused for a different and probably nobler purpose. Dimly lit and with a vintage, worn-out look, PCO has even won a few awards since its establishment.
ATM Delhi, Photograph Courtesy: Facebook
A Ta Maison (ATM) in Sundar Nagar is also run by Eeshaan Kashyap and was the second venture after PCO became a success. Open only to a very private list of members, ATM (not to be confused with the ATM that the rest of us plebes are familiar with) is a place for artists and the corporate type, mingling with each other at the library, private salon, bar and sun room. There is a formal area for the more high-brow customers and events, but this is no party destination.
Pride flag at PDA Delhi, Photograph Courtesy: Facebook
Here is another three-letter abbreviation, also connected to PCO. Located in Greater Kailash II, PDA is short for PCO-DIVA Agenzia, a joint operation with chef Ritu Dalmia’s DIVA restaurant and Eeshaan Kashyap’s PCO. PDA says that it is a place celebrating ‘love in all forms’, with a giant rainbow ‘We Celebrate Love’ sign. With plenty of cocktails and a surprisingly large list of pizzas on offer, PDA has you covered on both fronts and, as Dalmia suggests, was envisioned as a place open to all.
Chez Jerome Q Café
Pride flag at Chez Jerome Q Café, Photograph Courtesy: Facebook
Located above the Mykonos men’s spa in Lado Sarai is Chez Jerome Q Café that is gay and proud. The rooftop cafe openly flies the rainbow flag that is the symbol of the movement for equality for the LGBTQI community. Apart from an incredible view of the Qutub Minar, the Q Cafe also offers space for open-mic events, fundraisers and poetry readings for the community. Relatively new, this is one of the few places in India that is open about its goals and message. ALSO READ: 5 best gay honeymoon destinations in India
Located in Greater Kailash I at the N Block Market, Depot48 comes after the success of Ritu Dalmia’s Depot 29. The restaurant runs Pink Tuesday events for queers, and offer plenty of drinks and delicious food for company. The burgers here are supposed to great, as is the Shredded Duck Taco and cocktails like the Monicatini, Summer Cooler and Jack Barrel.
Jugmug Thela, Photograph Courtesy: Facebook
Jugmug Thela is located in Saidulajaib, Saket, and is meant for the tea and coffee connoisseurs. The place offers artisan coffee and tea and packaged products. Popular for its quick bites and Chai Masala, Jugmug Thela offers a pretty comprehensive list of coffees and teas from all kinds of estates. The popular cafe even has its own online outlet for those who are completely addicted to the drinks brewed over here.
Max Mueller Bhavan
Evening event at the Max Mueller Bhavan, Photograph Courtesy: Facebook
Located near Connaught Place, the Max Mueller Bhavan of Delhi hosts LQBTQI-centric events apart from doing what all other Goethe-Institut facilities do in India. For the unacquainted, Goethe-Institutes, popularly known as Max Mueller Bhavans, essentially host programs and gigs that promote the study of German language and awareness of German culture abroad.
Akshara Theatre, Photograph Courtesy: Facebook
This ‘grassroots’ art complex was founded exactly 45 years ago in the year 1972, and also hosts queer-friendly events. Located on the Baba Kharak Singh Marg, the iconic art space packs in a 330-seat theater, shooting and editing studios and more in less an acre. Its most popular production has been the legendary contemporary dramatic version of The Ramayana by author Gopal Sharman, commissioned by the Royal Shakespeare Company of Great Britain.
Summer House Café
Summer House Café, Photograph Courtesy: Facebook
The chilled-out Summer House Café lies just at the edge of Aurobindo Place, Hauz Khas and also runs queer-centric programs. Its American and Western-mix food is popular, as are its live events and cocktails. There is a rooftop to hang out at and chill after a day at work. Gigs are held here, with a small sound system in place. Events, talks, comedy shows and live gigs happen throughout the week, and you can find out what’s happening on Facebook. ALSO READ: 5 best gay-friendly travel destinations in India Have interesting travel photos youd like to share with us? Send photos from your travels to firstname.lastname@example.org, dont forget to mention where youve shot the picture and get a chance to be featured on our website! So what are you waiting for? Hurry! Have something to add to this story? Post your comments in the discussion board below; we will be thrilled to hear from you!