One of the most wonderful aspects of gay Puerto Vallarta's coolest neighborhood, Zona Romantica, is that it still has a handful of rambling, historic haciendas from the days before this sunny resort town on Mexico's Riviera became the major tourist destination it is today. Just a couple of seasons ago, one of these grand old estates morphed into a pulsing, see-and-be-seen gay disco called Club Manana. And this beautiful, open-air compound has helped to transform gay Puerto Vallarta's already bustling bar and club scene.
There are nearly a dozen gay nightspots in Zona Romantica, which also offers a nice range of accommodations, vacation rentals, and worthy cafes and restaurants. Some are cozy and intimate, others oriented toward piano cabaret or early-evening martinis. Some are more popular with gay men, others with lesbians. Club Manana is the single Puerto Vallarta address that seems to unite all types of revelers, even drawing its share of straight friends of the community, who appreciate the outstanding sound system and high-energy vibe.
The club consists of two main areas. As you enter, you'll find an attractive, airy courtyard anchored by a picturesque, in-ground swimming pool (very romantic to look at, but keep in mind that nobody actually swims in it - this is a disco, not a resort). To your right there's a sizable dance area overlooking a stage where drag artists and guest dancers and musicians perform. On the other side of the pool you'll find a slew of cafe tables. Efficient cocktail waiters move quickly about the place, taking orders, and you can also order drinks at a bar near the main entrance.
Manana's other big feature, to the far left as you enter, is a fully indoor, air-conditioned lounge and disco where go-go dancers perform to extremely enthusiastic crowds, and patrons dance at other times. The outdoor area is more atmospheric and romantic, but the energy inside can be great fun.
The club offers a wide range of specials and themes, from Sunday beer blasts to Wednesday guest performers (these have included Kristine W, Lady Bunny, Thelma Houston, and plenty of other icons).
Club Manana is at Venustiano Carranza 290, a short walk from several other popular gay clubs. It's open nightly and remains open into the wee (as in morning) hours. Drinks and the door cover charge are among the priciest of any other gay club in town, but you get what you pay for - this is the place to party in gay Puerto Vallarta, and it's run with the professionalism you'd expect of a top-notch, international gay club.