Gay Clubs, Partys und Events in Berlin

Wegen der COVID-19-Epidemie sind viele Einrichtungen und Lokale geschlossen oder es kann zu ver�nderten �ffnungszeiten kommen. Bitte informiert euch auf den Websites und Facebook-Seiten der jeweiligen Betreiber �ber den aktuellen Stand. Update April 2021: Bars und Restaurants m�ssen bis auf weiteres geschlossen bleiben. Touristische �bernachtungen in Hotels sind vor�bergehend nicht m�glich.

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A guide to the Berlin gay party scene

You’ll want to clear your schedule for Berlin’s best gay nights out

Gay culture and nightlife has been central to Berlin for decades. Immortalised in music, cinema and literature, the gay scene is synonymous with the city’s characteristically liberal and tolerant atmosphere. This being Berlin, pedestrians will tut themselves into apoplexy should you cross the street whilst the little red man is flashing, but if a parade of six-foot drag queens wish to strut down the Ku’damm in full regalia on a busy Saturday shopping afternoon, be prepared for no one to bat an eyelid. As a tribute to Berlin’s ultimate and unpredictable gay scene we’ve rounded up our exclusive picks of Berlin’s best gay, lesbian, transexual, drag and bisexual parties.

A guide to the Berlin gay party scene

A backpacker’s guide to Berlin LGBT nightlife

Berlin is the party capital of Europe, famed for being a hedonistic wonderland of sex, drugs, and rockin’ techno. If you’re an LGBT traveller looking to let your hair down and have a good time, it’s hard to think of a place better suited than Berlin. The German capital has been considered a gay hotspot since the early 1900s, and Berlin’s LGBT nightlife continues to thrive.

My partner Natalie and I recently spent almost a week in Berlin. As a lesbian couple who’ve grown up in the UK, you’d think we’d be accustomed to liberal attitudes regarding our sexuality. However, Berlin’s tolerant and open-minded culture is on a whole other level. You come as you are in Berlin and nobody blinks an eye. A city that encourages your uniqueness and welcome diversity. Oh, we are so here for that.

So what can you expect from LGBT Berlin? A no-holds-barred gay scene, that’s what. From pulsating techno clubs and kinky fetish bars, to trendy cocktail venues and steamy sex clubs, the Berlin gay scene has something for everybody. Ultimately, it’s a city where LGBT travellers can experience the true meaning of freedom.

In this article, I’ll be sharing the best of Berlin’s gay nightlife. From the original ‘gaybourhood’ of Schoneberg to the urban streets of Kreuzberg, I’ll be digging up the best gay bars, nightclubs and parties. Let’s get to it!

A backpacker’s guide to Berlin LGBT nightlife

Gay Clubs, Parties and Events in Berlin

Due to the COVID-19 epidemic, many places are closed or opening hours may have changed. Please check the websites and Facebook pages of the respective venues for the latest information. Update April 2021: Bars, restaurants, gymsTourist overnight stays in hotels are temporarily not allowed.

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Gay Clubs, Parties and Events in Berlin

Best Gay Festivals in Berlin – the complete guide

Berlin is definitely this decade’s gay capital of Europe, taking over from Amsterdam a decade ago and despite the “heavy-weight” leather scene of Cologne, the biggest in Germany. It is only natural that the city also hosts the Best Gay Festivals!

Best Gay Festivals in Berlin – the complete guide

Queer durch Berlin

Aus slawischen Siedlungen hervorgegangen und vor �ber 780 Jahren erstmals urkundlich erw�hnt, wurde Berlin 1701 Hauptstadt des K�nigreichs Preu�en und 1871 deutsche Reichshauptstadt. Preu�en wurde zwar schon von 1740 bis 1786 von einem schwulen K�nig regiert (Friedrich II.), doch Berlins schwule Karriere begann erst hundert Jahre sp�ter. In den 1920er Jahren (den ›Goldenen Zwanzigern‹) galt Berlin als die Metropole in Europa mit der lebendigsten und vielseitigsten schwulen Subkultur. Dies fand 1933 mit der Macht�bergabe an Hitler ein j�hes Ende. (F�r die Tausenden schwulen Opfer des Nazi-Regimes wurde 2008 in Berlin ein Denkmal eingeweiht – lange �berf�llig nach �ber 60 Jahren und leider schon mehrfach Ziel von Anschl�gen. Map

Nach dem Ende des Zweiten Weltkriegs 1945 wurde Berlin zu einer geteilten Stadt: West-Berlin wurde von den USA, Gro�britannien und Frankreich kontrolliert, Ost-Berlin von der Sowjetunion. West-Berlin wurde trotz seiner Insellage inmitten der kommunistisch regierten DDR wieder zur schwulen Metropole Deutschlands. Nicht nur wegen der Gr��e der Stadt mit etwa 3 Millionen Einwohnern, sondern zum Teil auch, weil sich viele junge M�nner der Wehrpflicht in der BRD durch Umzug nach West-Berlin entzogen. Nach der Legalisierung homosexueller Kontakte 1969 wuchs die Gay-Szene in West-Berlin rasch an und es entwickelte sich eine aktive Schwulenbewegung.

Ost-Berlin wiederum war Anziehungspunkt f�r viele Schwule in der DDR. Die juristische Situation der Schwulen in der DDR war die fortschrittlichste innerhalb des Ostblocks, ein Recht zur Organisierung von schwulen Interessenvertretungen aber gab es in dem autorit�ren Staat freilich nicht. Toleriert wurde nur eine kleine und meist verborgene Schwulen-Szene in einigen Bars, Kneipen und Parks. Ab Mitte der 1980er Jahre verbesserte sich die Situation deutlich und H�hepunkt dieser Entwicklung war der Film ›Coming Out‹ – dessen Premiere ironischerweise in der Nacht stattfand, als in Berlin die Mauer ge�ffnet wurde und die Wiedervereinigung Berlins ihren Anfang nahm.

2001 wurde mit Klaus Wowereit erstmals ein offen schwuler Politiker zum Oberb�rgermeister von Berlin gew�hlt. Um dem geplanten Outing durch seine konservativen Gegner im Wahlkampf zuvorzukommen, outete er sich selbst mit dem kultgewordenen Satz ›Ich bin schwul, und das ist auch gut so‹.

Traditionelle Schwulenviertel in Berlin sind Sch�neberg (wo es schon in den 1920er Jahren Ballh�user f�r M�nner gab) und Kreuzberg, beide im Westen der Stadt, sowie der Prenzlauer Berg im Osten. Nach dem Mauerfall entstanden zudem auch in Mitte und Friedrichshain einige Bars und Clubs.

Zu den j�hrlichen H�hepunkten und queeren Events in Berlin geh�ren unter anderem das Berlinale-Filmfestival im Februar (inkl. Queer Film Award Teddy), das schwul-lesbische Stra�enfest in Berlin-Sch�neberg und der CSD Berlin im Juli sowie Folsom Europe im September.

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Berlin’s original ‘gaybourhood’

It’s no secret that Berlin is a city steeped in history and its LGBT scene is certainly no different. As I already pointed out, Berlin has been at the centre of LGBT culture since the early 1900s, when the city was the unofficial gay capital of Europe.

You see, Berlin has been a city of ‘firsts’ on the road to LGBT equality. The world’s first gay magazine was published here as early as 1896. In the 1920s, Berlin became the first city in the world to have a gay district, and Schoneberg went on to host the first-ever gay demonstration in 1922.

In recent years, several other gay districts have popped up around the city and sprinkles of the gay scene can be found everywhere. Yet, Schoneberg remains the beating heart of Berlin’s LGBT culture. It’s here you’ll find many gay bars, nightclubs, shops, cafes, and hotels. All the major LGBT events such as take place here. Jeez, if you visit in December, you’ll even find an LGBT Christmas market!

Gay-friendly hostels in Berlin

LGBT travellers needn’t worry about experiencing any discrimination when booking hostels in Berlin. For one, it’s illegal to discriminate against anybody due to their sexual orientation and the majority of Berliners adopt the same open-minded attitude. With this in mind, I’m making the following hostel recommendations based on their location, value for money and overall awesomeness instead.

Three Little Pigs Hostel – We stayed at Three Little Pigs Hostel during our time in Berlin and can vouch that this hostel is not only LGBT+ friendly but comfortable and atmospheric as well. It’s also in a perfect location to get around all the best spots in the city.

Circus Hostel – There’s no shortage of unique accommodation in Berlin, and the quirky Circus Hostel is a backpacker favourite. Circus-and-comic book-themed decor adorns this vibrant and colourful hostel. If you’re planning a Berlin itinerary packed with sightseeing, the location is perfect.

Berliner Bed & Breakfast – Located in the gay district of Schoneberg, Berliner Bed & Breakfast is an ideal choice if you want to be at the heart of all the gay action. As the name suggests, it’s more of a bed & breakfast vibe than a hostel, but it’s excellent value for money all the same.

About the author:

Charlotte and Natalie are the explorers and adventurers behind the LGBT+ & Adventure Travel Blog Our Taste For Life. You will often find them wandering off the beaten path, immersed in nature, or enjoying authentic cultural experiences. The rest of the time, you will find them eating. Follow their journey on their blog or Instagram.

Keep reading: ⬇️

? 15 gay-friendly cities that LGBT travellers love

Wo die schwul-lesbische Szene feiert

Der Christopher Street Day zieht einmal jährlich hunderttausende Besucher nach Berlin. In den vielen LGBTI*-Clubs können Sie dagegen das gesamte Jahr über feiern. Zu den bekanntesten Locations zählt der Connection Club in Berlin-Schöneberg. Wie in vielen LGBTI*-Clubs sind hier außer Lesben, Schwulen, Bi-, Trans- und Intersexuellen auch alle anderen Gäste herzlich willkommen. Im Klub International in Berlin-Mitte mit seinen drei Dancefloors erwarten Sie hinter den Turntables häufig Drag Queens. Schwul-lesbisch ausgehen können Sie fast überall in Berlin. Ein weiterer Höhepunkt ist sicherlich die Partyreihe der bekanntesten Berliner Drag Queen Nina Queer, mit der Sie regelmäßig im Musik und Frieden in Kreuzberg feiern können.

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About Berlin and its gay life

Berlin’s origins go back more than 780 years. In 1701 Berlin became the capital of the kingdom of Prussia and in 1871 of the German Empire. Although Prussia was ruled by a gay king from 1740 till 1786 (Fredrick II), Berlin’s gay career started only hundred years later. In the 1920s (the ›Golden Twenties‹) Berlin was seen as the city with the most lively and advanced gay subculture in Europe. That, of course, ended after 1933 when Hitler and the Nazis were given power in Germany. (A memorial for gays persecuted by the Nazi regime was opened in Berlin in 2008, long overdue after more than 60 years. Map

After the end of World War II in 1945 and with the start of the cold war, Berlin had been divided into West Berlin (controlled by the Western Allies) and East Berlin (controlled by the Soviet Union).

West Berlin, although an island in communist ruled East Germany (G.D.R.), became the gay capital of Germany again. Not only due to its population of about 3 million people, but partially also because the compulsory military service of West Germany (F.R.G.) didn’t apply to men in West Berlin, which attracted many men from the younger generations to move to West Berlin. After homosexual contacts had been legalised in 1969, the gay scene and gay movement in West Berlin grew fast in the 1970s and 1980s.

The legal situation of gay men in East Germany was the best within the Eastern Bloc and even better than in some Western countries, but in an authoritarian state like this gays and lesbians had no rights to organize themselves in a civil rights movement and there were only a few possibilities to develop a gay scene and subculture. End of the 1980s the situation improved, and the peak of that process was the premiere of the legendary movie ›Coming Out‹ – ironically in the night of the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.

In 2001 Berlin got an openly gay mayor, Klaus Wowereit from the Social Democrats. To prevent his outing by opponents during the election campaign he outed himself on a party congress with the legendary words ›Ich bin schwul, und das ist auch gut so‹ (I’m gay and that’s just fine).

Traditionally, there have been gay neighborhoods in the districts of Sch�neberg and Kreuzberg (both in the western part of Berlin) as well as in Prenzlauer Berg (eastern part). Most of the gay hotels, bars, cafes and shops in Berlin are located in the Sch�neberg district which had dance halls for men already back in the 1920s.

Annual highlights and queer events in Berlin are, among others, the Berlinale film festival in February (including the Queer Film Award Teddy), the LGBTI street festival and the Gay Pride parade in July and Folsom Europe in September.

You will notice in our guide that many gay bars and clubs don’t indicate closing hours. That’s mainly due to the fact that Berlin has no closing hour anymore. Moreover, Berlin’s public transport system, urban railway (S-Bahn), underground (U-Bahn), trams and busses, operates the whole night and at least half-hourly at weekends.

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Diversity, freedom, tolerance and a certain “nonchalance” of Berliners, who don’t seem to really care about how you dress or act in public, are the key to understanding why the German capital is “the place to be”, if you recognize yourself as a LGBTQ person. Add to that the infinite nightlife options that give Berlin the reputation of being one of the most gay-friendly cities in the world. So we could not resist but give you a line up of the Best Gay Festivals in town!

Throughout the year, Berlin offers internationally renowned and extremely fun gay festivals. The calendar starts early on during the wintertime, with the Teddy Award, a prize given to the best LGBTQ themed movie exhibited throughout the Berlinale International Film Festival. And of course, a party is always scheduled to celebrate the winner!

On the extended Easter weekend (the Ostermontag, or Easter Monday, is also a bank holiday in Germany), the BLF – Berlin Leather Fetish Week magnetizes gays from all over the world, fascinated by the variety of parties and events dedicated to all the fetishes one can imagine. To attend all the events scheduled (or a couple of them), be sure to wear your favorite gear and bring along your hologram!

The most (in)famous party is the classic Berghain and Lab.Oratory. The venues are turned into a big “pervy party”. Most of all, it’s an unforgettable anthropological experience. Spiced with one of the best lineups of the year!

During summer, July is no doubt the “hottest” month. The sequence of festivals starts on the last weekend of June, with the alternative Gay Pride, the XCSD. The parade takes over the streets of Kreuzberg, traditionally between Hermannplatz and Heinrichplatz. Very alternative. Totally Kreuzberg. Super fun.

On the weekend before Christopher Street Day – Berlin’s official Gay Pride Parade/Party – the area around Nollendorfplatz (the classic gay circuit of Berlin) is taken by the Lebisch und Schwulles Stadtfest, also called Motzfest. It’s more a fair than a parade, with food stands, handicraft souvenirs, NGO’s and political parties, from the center-right wing to the greens (Berlin is a plural city, remember?). This festival serves as a warm-up for the biggest festival of the year, the CSD Gay Pride.

The Berliner Christopher Street Day (locally referred to as CSD) is the mainstream annual Gay Pride. Thousands of people start the parade on Kurfürstendamm, passing by Nollendorfplatz and the monumental Strasse der 17. Juni, finishing at Brandenburg Gate.

Closing the month, Yo!Sissy is an international queer music festival, presenting local performers and other talents from all over the world. PeachesMykki Blanco and Crystal Waters were some of the artists featured in past editions.

More leather and fetish take place in September with Folsom Europe. The street festival occupies Fuggerstrasse and Welserstrasse, not far from Nollendorfplatz, in Schöneberg. The Festival is hosted by the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, who plead for some contribution at the main entrance. The area is filled with food and drink stands as well as all kinds of fetish gear stalls, including BDSM spanking corners and the “puppies” playground.

Finally, towards the end of the year, Hustlaball and FC Snax United can’t really be considered as festivals. They are more like big parties. The first one, a porn party, takes place at KitKatClub and the second one, dedicated to sneakers and sportswear enthusiasts, is the “athletic” version of the Easter Snax party at Berghain/Lab.Oratory.

SchwuZ

Das SchwuZ in der Rollbergstraße ist zugleich Kult-Club der queeren Berliner Partyszene und Zentrum für schwul-lesbische Veranstaltungen. Rollbergstr. 26, 12053 Berlin–NeuköllnZum Eintrag

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Pet Shop Bears

You’d be forgiven for thinking that a gay party night called Pet Shop Bears would be packed out with hirsute gentlemen of impressive stature – but no, bears don’t pack out these woods. Instead, PSB’s parties attract a wide cross-section of chaps mainly under 30, communing with the groove at this insanely friendly and easy-going monthly bash. Regular DJs/promoters Justin Case and Open Mike keep things nice and bubbly all night long.

Betty F***

It was over a century ago that the queers of the Wilhelmine period would congregate around bars and cafés of Mitte’s Mulackstrasse. Today, as one of the few gay bars in Mitte, Betty F*** remains a favourite for trannies, gays, hipsters and fashionistas looking for a kickstart to the evening.

Zum Schmutzigen Hobby

Local legend Nina Queer runs ‘Zum Schmutzigen Hobby’ as part of her sprawling Berlin empire and a trashy, schlocky-fabulous place it is too, where an up-for-it crowd congregate nightly for hi jinks and low-down boogie. You’ll find the cream of the Berli queer scene here, as well as the occasional international celeb slumming it in style – Rupert Everett and uh, Tara Reid have all been spotted here. It’s in Friedrichshain on Revaler Strasse and whilst perhaps a little alarming at first, offers a very friendly, easygoing atmosphere for trannies, gays, lost tourists and local bohos and hipsters. Get down for a wild night out – but this being Berlin, Sunday nights are devoted to screenings of national crime serial ‘Tatort’.

Südblock

A former beer-slinger from Möbel-Olfe opened this bar for Kreuzberg’s increasingly large gay population in 2010. Located under the round- about housing development at Kottbusser Tor, the mixed (but girl-heavy) crowd enjoy nightly drinks and dancing, as well as many one-off rock parties. The Kottywood party is a popular go-to for gays and lesbians looking to cap a Friday night grinding to Latin, retro and pop music. Südblock also serves food, ranging from breakfast to midnight snacks.

Café Melitta Sundström

Daytimes, this place serves as a cosy café for students; in the evenings, it’s full of gays too lazy to go to Schöneberg and lesbians who wouldn’t go to Schöneberg anyway. At weekends, it’s the entrance to SchwuZ and is hectic and fun.

1. Berghain & Panorama Bar

Berghain is the most famous nightclub in Germany, notorious for its elusive door policies and 48-hour parties. It was once an exclusively gay nightclub, however these days it’s more of an ‘anybody who likes to party’ venue. But that’s not to say that a large percentage of the clientele aren’t still LGBT. Everybody who’s anybody wants a peek inside this enigmatic venue, often regarded as one of the best nightclubs in the world. If you can get past security, a realm of guilty pleasures and techno beats await in the dark depths of the former railway warehouse.

? Berghain – it might not look like much from the outside, but inside awaits clubbing wonderland!

2. Schwuz

One of the clubs that appears on every gay Berliners must-visit list is Schwuz. Whereas other gay clubs in Berlin have a reputation of being pretentious, Schwuz is anything but, providing nothing but a safe and welcoming space for all. From what we can tell, the club is mostly frequented by young gay men looking to have a good time, however you will find your fair share of lesbians and allies depending on the night. 3 or 4 rooms play a variety of music, from cheesy club classics to heavier techno, so there’s a little bit of something for everybody.

3. Die Busche

Die Busche is one of the oldest gay establishments in Berlin. Before reunification, it was the only gay disco in East Germany and has remained somewhat of an institution in gay Berlin ever since. Today, the multi-floored LGBT nightclub attracts a diverse and fun-loving crowd, with every room playing a different genre of music. Regardless of your sexual orientation, good times are guaranteed.

1. Tom’s Bar

Tom’s Bar is another in a long line of Berlin institutions, famed for its ‘successful cruising’ motto and ‘anything goes’ crowd. World-famous among the gay community, you’ll find a mixture of both Berliners and travellers here. But be warned, most visitors are there for one thing only. So don’t be offended or surprised if you’re offered more than just a drink! If you’re travelling on a budget, you might want to visit on a Monday night when they offer a 2-4-1 drinks promotion.

3.

Mobel Olfe is our personal favourite gay bar in Berlin, thanks to its laidback hipster vibe and bohemian decor. Honestly, there’s nothing pink or sparkly in sight, and fresh indie rock beats have displaced the cheesy club anthems & thumping techno. The bar attracts a diverse, slightly alternative crowd who are out for a fun time. But without the smutty extras that accompany many of the gay bars in Berlin.

4. The Coven

Another low-key gay bar in central Berlin, the Coven is making quite a name for itself as a chic cocktail venue and LGBT meeting place. Again, this bar won us over with its trendy industrial decor and relaxed vibe. It’s the ideal spot for quiet drinks between like-minded company, but without the over the top extras. Expect great craft cocktails, attractive clientele and a carefree ambience that’s rather infectious.

1. Revolver Party @KitKat Club

If the clubs and bars so far all sound a little too vanilla for you, perhaps you’ll be more interested in the debaucherous goings-on at KitKat Club. To be clear, this is a sex club in every sense of the word. Probably not ideal for the faint-hearted or the easily offended. You leave your clothes at the door, literally, and enter a world of lost inhibition, sexual freedom and heavy techno beats. If you’re curious, you don’t have to worry about being harassed for sex unless you want to. It’s all very regulated in that respect. But you are sure to see things that you’ll unlikely ever experience again in a nightclub environment.

While members of the LGBT community do go to the standard nights at Kit Kat, the exclusive gay men only night called Revolver Party is on once a month. See the website for exact dates so you can plan your trip around them.

3. Girlstown Party @ Gretchen Club

Girls, there’s no need to feel left out. While it might seem that a lot of Berlin’s gay nightlife is centred around the boys, there’s plenty of fun to be had for us as well. The biggest lesbian party in Berlin is Girlstown, a party organised by girls who love girls, for girls who love girls. Sounds great right? This epic event takes place at the iconic Gretchen Club on a bi-monthly basis, so keep an eye on their Facebook for the latest party dates.

4. Chantal’s House of Shame @ Suicide Circus

One of the most popular gay parties in Berlin, Chantal’s House of Shame is a cult favourite among gays and straights alike. Every Thursday, the legendary host Chantal leads party-goers through an explosive evening of drag shows, live bands and world-class DJs.

Christopher Street Day Parade

Bei der CSD Parade in Berlin gehen Menschen für die Rechte von Schwulen, Lesben, Transsexuellen und Transgendern, Inter- und Bisexuellen auf die Straße. mehr

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Well…as you can see, there is absolutely no shortage of best Gay festivals to enjoy throughout the year in Berlin. If you are not in the city during a festival, but still want to have a good time, check our Gay Berlin website section or go straight to the “Best Cruising Spots” in town.

Gay Berlin – Travel Gay Guide

Berlin was hailed as the gayest city on earth in the 1920s. It has reclaimed its crown in recent years. Other major cities may have big gay scenes but nowhere can quite rival Berlin. It has the most hedonistic gay scene in the world. Berlin takes pride in its anything-goes culture and that is reflected in its gay cruise clubs, gay saunas, clubs and bars. Berlin’s nightlife makes London’s and New York’s seem tame.

Schöneberg is the main hub of Berlin’s gay scene. It’s packed with bars and clubs. You’ll also find a big gay scene in Kreuzberg / Friedrichshain – home to the legendary Berghain. Next to the Berghain you’ll find Laboratory, the most notorious gay cruise club in the world. Berlin’s gay scene is fun but it can be quite extreme. There are more low key gay bars in Berlin, such as Heile Welt if you’d like a more chilled experience. But if you’re looking for something more then Berlin is the place to be.

Revolver Party @ KitKatClub

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