Why Macha Mexico?
“We have to do something gay while we’re here.”
My friend and travel companion Ariel was insistent. We were both visiting Mexico City for the first time, a couple of twenty-something gringa dykes sucking up as much sightseeing and fun as we could in a week. As the (pseudo) Spanish-speaker and more experienced traveler of the two of us, I had been booking our economical hotels, planning our itinerary, and asking for directions when we were lost–mostly successfully. When it came to navigating gay life in Mexico City, I was at a loss.
The guidebooks I brought with me, Moon Handbooks Mexico City by Christopher Humphrey and the good-ole Lonely Planet, while extremely helpful in navigating many other aspects of the city, left me guessing at what was fun, safe, and interesting for a macha to do in the D.F. The guidebooks themselves admitted that it was difficult to keep up to date when bars and clubs closed and moved so quickly.
The descriptions of clubs in the guidebooks were also woefully inadequate. Would I feel comfortable at these bars? Would they welcome women? What type of scene was a given bar catering to? Most of the “gay and lesbian” listings were for men’s venues, and although some alluded to a “ladies night,” I was unsure how to find out more information. The clerk at our hotel would likely not be able to give us an insider’s opinion about this scene.
It was through sheer coincidence that my friend and I were able to connect with an amazing group of women who gave us more than a glimpse of some of the diversity of lesbian life in Mexico City. At the bar of the Hotel Virreyes, we stumbled into the after party of a gay and lesbian cultural festival that had been taking place in the lobby. Never ones to shy away from a crowd of slightly inebriated lesbians, we walked over and struck up a conversation. Our new friends were kind enough to adopt us for the rest of the week, inviting us to their lesbian outings, dinners, and parties, and changing the course of our travels for the better. Since then, I have returned to Mexico City many times and have had the pleasure of exploring an ever widening variety of what the city has to offer.
This website is an attempt to make more accessible to English-speaking visitors some of the wonderful venues, resources, and events that exist for queer women in Mexico City.
There are reviews of restaurants, bars, nightclubs, hotels and other venues that might be of interest to the lesbian traveler. Some places are explicitly lesbian establishments, and some are just worth knowing about.
How to use this site
To use the site, you can browse through entries chronologically, search for a specific term, or search using one of the general categories or more specific tags.
Categories are more general ways of organizing entries; hold the mouse over a specific category in the list in the right-hand margin to see a brief description of what each category offers.
Specific entries also have multiple tags that allow you to search for venues or events by neighborhood (the Zona Rosa), by night of the week, or by a more specific marker. Because we are foodies, some specific foods and beverages also appear as tags, for those searching for the perfect michelada or vegetarian chiles en nogada.
In addition to reviews, this blog contains journalistic articles about events, neighborhoods, and issues related to life (and, specifically, queer life) in Mexico City, as well as tips and suggestions for how to navigate Mexico City as a non-chilanga. These can be found using the “articles” category.
A note on the M-word
The word macha roughly translates to dyke in English; at times it can imply simply lesbianism, at times masculinity, unfortunately at times a derogatory version of either. Of course, “you fucking dyke” means something very different than “hey, we’re going to the dyke bar to watch Xena.”
Unlike dyke, which has more or less become normalized in queer culture thanks to Alison Bechdel and others who have publicly and joyfully embraced the word, macha is not widespread in Mexican lesbian culture. We have chosen to use it here to follow in the tradition of our group of chilanga lesbian friends, who use macha casually and constantly in an effort to reclaim and celebrate all of the power and fabulousness that lies within the word.
Further, in our circle of friends, the word macha has now taken on a life of its own, spawning the verb machear (to dyke around, to hang out or keep busy as a fabulous lesbian), the affectionate diminuative machita, and the pun machidumbre (a large group of machas). (For a more thorough dictionary, please visit the Diccionario Panhispánico de Vocabulario Efímero, a blog entry by chilanga lesbian writer Artemisa Téllez.)
Feedback, contributions, and publicity
Please e-mail or leave comments if there are topics or venues you would like to read more about! We are open to suggestions about how to improve Macha Mexico.
Also, if you are interesting in writing a review or article for Macha Mexico, send us an e-mail with an excerpt from (or complete draft of) the piece you would like to write and some biographical information about yourself and your travels. Please note that we may want to edit your piece to better fit the style of the blog.
At this time we rely on links and word of mouth to get the word out about our blog. So, please spread the word and link to us from your own blogs and websites!