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Don't Miss This Outrageous Drag Bar in Medellin, Colombia

Don't Miss This Outrageous Drag Bar in Medellin, Colombia

Don't Miss This Outrageous Drag Bar in Medellin, Colombia

Bar Chiquita is a dazzling queer fortress in the heart of Medellin’s nightlife district, with parties and drag queen performances nightly.

By Andrew Sciallo

Bar Chiquita translates to “small bar” in English, but judging by its eccentric abstract theme, Bar Chiquita is anything but small. You can tell as you ascend the rainbow staircase into the venue’s main courtyard and the space filled with mirrors and decor influenced by various art mediums that compile an abstract contemporary theme.

It was an idea started by five friends. All of whom were professional designers in various fields. The original concept was an eccentric, queer traveling party event in Medellin, Colombia, called “Banana Splitter.” The original goal was to create an experience.

After years of success as a traveling party-event, Juan Pablo Gomez, one of the team’s owners, found a home to make Banana Splitter a permanent bar in 2016.

The original Chiquita was, in fact, a tiny bar, first designed as a drag queen cocktail bar just one block away from the current location in Provenza, Medellin. “Once the drag queen scene began developing here, about seven years ago because of RuPaul’s Drag Race, we felt the need to host a space where drag queens would be welcome,” Gomez told Out Traveler.

Two drag queens holding cards that say ChiquitaCourtesy La Chiquita

Before Chiquita opened in 2016, many gay bars would close their doors to drag performers due to transphobia Gomez tells us. “Chiquita was the first place to welcome that community, which led to the blossom of this culture of drag shows and inclusion that we see today in Medellin’s queer nightlife.”

Like so many businesses worldwide, The original La Chiquita had to close because of the shutdowns. The bar’s owners were fortunate enough to land a prime piece of real estate with a glimmering new venue that opened in 2021. “We have contributed to much of the diversity you see today in the nightlife here. Before us, a lot of the bars here were underground and discreet. Now we have this beautiful space in the middle of the Provenza!”

Sexy Zebra Queen artwork at ChiquitaCourtesy La Chiquita

Several years, one shut down, and two locations later, Bar Chiquita is today a dazzling queer fortress directly in the heart of Medellin’s nightlife district, with parties and drag queen performances playing every night.

Gomez had plenty to say about the most memorable drag performers Chiquita has hosted in its history. Gretha White is a queen who started in Chiquita and is now one of the biggest drag queens in Latin America. Many of our kids were born in Medellin, started at our bar, and have gone on to do great things.”

Medellin’s connection to fashion makes it a rich terrain for drag performers. “Medellin really has its own signature of drag performance,” says Pablo-Gomez.

Artwork at La Chiquita barCourtesy La Chiquita

Each piece of decor in Chaquita is intentional. Each piece of art is intricately placed from the walls to the tables to tell “the story of Chaquita,” as Pablo-Gomez put it. Inside, there is an explosion of light and color. Statues of golden cheetahs line the walls watching down partygoers on the dance floor.

For the owners of Chiquita, it’s essential that they remember the success they’ve had did not happen overnight. “I think what we’ve given to the city is a new perspective for how they can see our community. One that is proud. And this really a place for people to blossom and be themselves. We don’t want to call ourselves a ‘gay bar’ because we are open to everybody so long as they respect our community and know how to act in a place like this. So long as they can have fun with it.”

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