Gay Cruising Area

Zu Zeiten als “homosexuelle Handlungen” noch unter Strafe standen gab es für schwule Männer kaum Orte, wo sie Gleichgesinnte kennenlernen konnten. Homo-Bars erlebten zwar von den späten Zwanzigern bis 1933 eine Blüte, doch mit der Machtübergabe an die Nazis war damit Schluss. Und auch in den ersten Nachkriegs-Jahrzehnten mussten sich Schwule verstecken, die Nazi-Gesetze gegen sie galten noch bis in die 70er Jahre hinein.

Um andere Schwule kennenzulernen musste man ausweichen, so “entdeckten” die Berliner Gays den Tiergarten. Das Areal zwischen Siegessäule und Zoo entwickelte sich in den Jahren zu einem öffentlichen Treffpunkt, ebenso das Ost-Berliner Gegenstück im Volkspark Friedrichshain. Hier legten sich im Sommer die Männer auf die sogenannte “Tuntenwiese”, hier wusste Mann: Wer stehenbleibt und guckt, der ist ebenfalls auf der Suche. Die umliegenden Büsche entwickelten sich rasch zum Ort für den schnellen Sex, oft nur spärlich geschützt vor Blicken von auß zügelloses Treiben rief natürlich die staatlichen Sittenwächter auf den Plan, berüchtigt wurden die Razzien im Tiergarten Ende der 1970er Jahre, als manchmal Hunderte Polizeibeamte das Areal umstellten, auf dass auch ja kein Bösewicht entkäme.

Heute sieht der Senat diese schwulen Aktivitäten gelassener, wenn auch nicht gerne. Denn in den Parks lauern auch Gefahren, schon oft gab es Übergriffe von Schwulenhassern auf die sogenannten “Cruiser”. Das Wort ist abgeleitet vom “Cruising”, dem Kreuzen quer durch die Büsche. Allerdings gibt es auch Gegenwehr, schon mehrmals wurden Angreifer von den Cruisern gestellt und zusammengeschlagen oder der Polizei übergeben. Erfahrungen wie in Kopenhagen, wo ein Angreifer sogar vergewaltigt wurde, gibt es in Berlin jedoch noch Männer, die hier vor allem den kurzen, schnelles Sex suchen, entsprechen auch gar nicht dem Klischee-Schwulen. Weder sind es Tunten, die in den Parks herumhüpfen, noch stampfen die Lederkerle durchs Gebüsch, auf der Suche nach einem “Opfer”. Meistens sind es ganz normale Männer, die einfach nur schwul als in anderen Parks trifft man im Tiergarten auch tagsüber stets schwule Männer, in den Sommermonaten bevölkern manchmal hundert Kerle die Tuntenwiese. Richtig los gehts aber wie bei den anderen “Cruising Areas” erst mit Anbruch der Dunkelheit. Dann sind hier in warmen Sommernächten bis zu 300 Schwule gleichzeitig unterwegs, vor allem die Wege um die Löwenbrücke sind voller halbnackter Männer.

Ein anderer Ort, ein anderes Bild: Auch der Märchenbrunnen im Friedrichshain ist noch immer Treffpunkt, hier sind es aber mehr junge Schwule, die auf der Pirsch sind. Währenddessen trifft man im Preußenpark zur gleichen Zeit die “härteren” Schwulen, schwarzes Leder, Glatze und Bomberjacken diesen recht zentralen Orten haben sich noch einige “Kiez Areas” entwickelt. Der Rosengarten im Weddinger Humboldthain, der Park an der Neuköllner Thomasstraße, der Kreuzberg, rund um den Müggelsee oder der Parkplatz gleich hinter dem S-Bahnhof Grunewald sind beliebte “Ausflugsziele”.

Übrigens sind es nicht nur die sogenannten “Klemmschwestern”, die sich im Gebüsch rumtreiben, sondern der Durchschnitt der schwulen Bevölkerung. Richtig junge Schwule kommen zwar seltener, aber sonst ist die ganze Bandbreite vertreten. Es kann auch durchaus passieren kann, dass man des Nachts mal den eigenen Nachbarn trifft (nicht jeder Ehemann, der eine Stunde zum Zigarettenholen weg bleibt, trifft sich mit einer Frau…) Cruising Areas ziehen teilweise auch Heteromänner an, die es mal unverbindlich andersrum probieren wollen. Manche Männer sieht man hier jeden Tag, für sie ist der Sex in der geheimen Öffentlichkeit ein Ersatz für andere Gelegenheiten, wenigstens in den Sommermonaten. Andere kommen auch zu zweit, weil sie der Sex in der eigenen Beziehung nicht mehr ausfüllt. Es gibt Voyeure, es gibt die Exhibitionisten, aber vor allem gibt es diejenigen, die einfach nur ein paar schöne Minuten oder Sekunden suchen. Dafür warten sie oft einige Stunden.

Gay Cruising-Kinos & Sexshops

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.

Patroc Europa Gay Guide  |  Kontakt – Impressum – Datenschutz  |  Advertise  |  Copyright© 2021 | Freitag, 16. April 2021

Gay Cruising-Kinos & Sexshops

The best gay tours in Berlin for LGBTQ travellers

Berlin is a city that has been revelling in its queerness for years. Even as far back as the 1920s, it was known as the gayest city in the world. While other cities have recently begun to vie for that crown, for us, there’s just nowhere quite like Berlin!

With a truly hedonistic gay scene featuring gay clubs, bars, saunas, hotels and cruising clubs, Berlin might seem a little overwhelming to first-time visitors. Hell, even us old queens who’ve been here dozens of times occasionally get surprised by the newest additions that have popped up since our last visit!

Luckily, for those who want to ease into Berlin’s gay scene gently, or even explore the city from a unique perspective, there are a variety of fabulous gay tours to experience. Whether you want to just explore Berlin with a gay guide, get acquainted with the gay nightlife, or even learn about the city’s history of sex, there’s a tour for you! We’ve rounded up the best of the best for you right here:

The best gay tours in Berlin for LGBTQ travellers

These Photos of Naked Men in Berlin Show the Intimacy of Gay Sex

Sam Morris was a Tumblr kid. Probably still is at heart. The platform was where he developed and honed his eye for aesthetics, and where he began to cultivate an audience. He still credits Tumblr as the place that he really came to understand imagery. But now, since the service’s ban on adult content, the photographer and former professional dancer has moved on.

Though we could not show the exhibition in full — sadly we do not show erect penises on the Out website, no matter the artistic context — we have curated a selection of the work here. Alongside it, Morris explains how Berlin helped him confront his ideas around sex and what its like to be an artist who relies on the ever-fickle Instagram.

These Photos of Naked Men in Berlin Show the Intimacy of Gay Sex

Er sucht Ihn: Schwule Singles aus Berlin

GayParhsip ist der Platzhirsch unter den Partnervermittlungen für homosexuelle Singles, aber auch in der örse sowie bei unseren Partnern sind homosexuelle Männer auf der Suche nach einem Flirt oder der großen Liebe. Die folgenden Singleprofile sollen dir einen ersten Eindruck vermitteln, weitere passende Profile kannst du nach deiner kostenlosen Anmeldung entdecken. 

 Er sucht Ihn: Schwule Singles aus Berlin

Ausgeprägte Gay Szene – Wo leben die meisten Schwulen?

Die meisten deutschen Großstädte haben eine beachtliche Schwulenszene. Flirt-Hotspots gibt es viele. Doch in welcher Stadt flirtet es sich am besten für schwule Männer? Ist es das weltoffene Berlin, das lebenslustige Köln oder doch das bunte Nordlicht Hamburg?

Travel guide to Berlin’s gay area and other gay neighbourhoods

…especially when you arrive at the Wittenbergplatz in gay old Schöneberg, to be greeted by the cutest, gayest, rainbow-clad super-kitsch kiosk of Fritz & Co selling particularly yummy currywurst German sausages. More about Fritz & Co below, but as our first impression of Berlin, we knew we were in for a gay old time here! Berlin is notorious for being the city of sin – a truly liberal and diverse hub where anything goes. The absolute wurst…and we live for it!

Schöneberg is considered to be the main gay area of Berlin, the traditional heart and soul of Berlin’s LGBTQ gay community, where the bulk of its gay bars, clubs and hotels can be found. The city also has several other exciting gay neighbourhoods to check out, each with its own unique character, vibe and queer hangouts. The main ones are Kreuzberg, Neukölln, Prenzlauer Berg and Friedrichshain.

We’ve been to Berlin several times and usually base ourselves somewhere in Schöneberg, which we love. For us, Schöneberg remains the best gay neighbourhood of Berlin – the true Queen of the Scene! We also love venturing out to the bars and parties happening in the other gay districts of Berlin such as Möbel Olfe in Kreuzberg, SchwuZ in Neukölln, Flax in Prenzlauer Berg, and the infamous Berghain in Friedrichshain. The Berghain super club is almost like an entire gay neighbourhood in its own right! This is reason alone why we rate Berlin as one of the top gay friendly vacation destinations in the world.

We’ve put all our notes and stories from our many travels to Berlin in this comprehensive gay guide to help inspire your own holiday to this crazy and super exciting city including the best of the gay scene, gay hotels, parties, events, things to do and more.

Bars und Clubs

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.

Patroc Europa Gay Guide  |  Kontakt – Impressum – Datenschutz  |  Advertise  |  Copyright© 2021 | Freitag, 16. April 2021

Berlin’s gay, lesbian, and queer scene walking tour

When we did this tour we had the terrific, Finn, as our guide. Finn is a gay local and also a history fanatic – the perfect person to get you acquainted with Berlin’s historic gay scene!

The tour is organised by Original Berlin Walks, who focus on telling the history of Berlin in an informative and entertaining manner. We were definitely entertained by Finn, learning so much about Berlin’s queer history at the same time as he walked us through the streets of Schöneberg.

We loved learning more about Christopher Isherwood, the legendary British writer whose novel Goodbye to Berlin inspired the famous gay musical Cabaret! We also got to see where Marlene Dietrich lived and worked before visiting the Eldorado – the oldest gay/transvestite bar in the city. Other notable sites that this tour can show you include the memorial to all the homosexuals persecuted by the Nazis, Berlin’s gay museum in Kreuzberg and the Tiergarten.

If you like to explore a city by walking, want to know more about the history of Berlin’s queer scene and be entertained by a fun guide, then you will love this tour. We can’t recommend them enough! Finn also has an incredible story to tell as an FTM transgender person, which you can read all about in our .

Gay Berlin by night

Let’s be honest, sometimes the history of a gay scene is just not as exciting as experiencing the gay bars and clubs, right?!

On this fabulous night time tour, you’ll benefit from a local guide showing you around all the best bars and clubs in the gay neighbourhood of Schöneberg. If this is your first time visiting Berlin, or you’re travelling solo, we highly recommend this tour. It’s the perfect way to quickly make new friends as well as getting the lowdown on what gay life is like from a gay local.

The tour includes stops at a few different gay nightlife spots but may change based on the tastes of the group. No matter what, you’ll have a chance to chill out somewhere quiet to start off and get to know your group, before heading to some hip, happening spots.

The tour includes a few drinks included at the bars with your guide. When the tour finishes, your guide will give you the low-down on the best places to go afterwards for the late-night party boys who want to continue their journey down the rabbit-hole of Berlin’s gay nightlife! We highly recommend everyone experience the rabbit-hole of Berlin’s gay nightlife at least once in their lifetime…

From the airport you can catch the airport express train which runs every 30 minutes from 4am to 11pm. Make sure you pre-order your Berlin Transport Card before you arrive to avoid queues at the airport. It includes unlimited travel in Berlin and a return journey from / to Schoenefeld airport. Remember to purchase it for zones AB and C which also includes Berlin-Schoenefeld airport station.

Schöneberg and Kreuzberg’s secrets gay tour

While Schöneberg is known as the gay neighbourhood of Berlin, there are many other sprinkles of fabulousness scattered throughout the city, particularly in Kreuzberg. This tour focuses on both, with emphasis on the upcoming, super trendy and hipster gay hangouts of Kreuzberg like Möbel Olfe.

If you’ve heard of the incredible, super-exclusive and almost impossible-to-get-into Berghain club (seriously, even BRITNEY was turned away!), well that’s also located in Kreuzberg. Whilst it can seem pretentious, you have to experience an evening clubbing at this former power plant. There’s nothing quite like the gritty, industrial-like, smokey, electro environment inside! And it’s open from Friday evening, throughout the weekend until Monday morning. We woke up on Sunday morning, had our breakfast, then headed here for an afternoon boogie. Our advice for getting in: avoid big groups, dress in dark plain colours, and whatever you do, never smile or laugh when the Berghain doormen are assessing you. They’re like the Dementors in Harry Potter – just avoid looking them in the eyes and you may be allowed entry! If not, bad luck, but you’re in good company with a whole bunch of famous people who have also been turned away. Your guide on this tour will also give lots of practical tips for getting into the Berghain.

The Berghain aside, our favourite part of this tour was learning about the in Schöneberg. This is one of the city’s oldest gay and transvestite bars, where Marlene Dietrich performed. They have old black and white photos of the bar showing the bar in its heyday before the Nazis closed it down. It reopened in 1996 at a new location (Motzstraße 20) as a cabaret bar and is still going strong.

Historic tour of Berlin with an LGBTQ local

Maybe you want to explore Berlin and learn about the city’s history but not just focus on one neighbourhood? This gay tour takes you to the main tourist sites with an LGBTQ guide, who will also tell you all the history behind everything.

Instead of joining a regular sightseeing tour, we rate this tour because as well as exploring the highlights like the Brandenburg Gate, Reichstag Building and Museum Island, you have a gay local who will tell you things from his perspective. For us, this was important because the LGBTQ community were hit hard during the Nazi regime (remember the origin of the pink triangle?), so we wanted an insight about this sad aspect of Berlin’s history from a gay local. Obviously, it goes without saying that a gay local showing you around will also tell you the best LGBTQ hangouts to check out both during the day and in the evening.

One of the stops we loved the most was the stunning Berliner Dom, aka the Berlin Cathedral. Located on Museum Island, the domed roof of this incredible structure is one of the most recognisable in Berlin.

The final part of this tour includes your skip-the-line entrance to the Berliner Fernsehturm, which is the iconic Berlin TV Tower. For us, this is the most recognisable building on the Berlin city skyline, so we were super excited to visit. You get to admire the city from 203 metres (666 feet) above on the viewing platform. Also, look out for the revolving restaurants, which is a romantic place to get a sunset cocktail whilst watching the Berlin rush hour unfold around you.

Berlin’s history of sex tour with a sociologist

For something a little bit out of the ordinary, we recommend this quirky tour about Berlin’s history of sex, led by none other, than a sociologist! While this is not an outright gay tour per se, it does touch on Berlin’s queer history along with other sexual aspects of the city’s past.

This tour visits some of the famous gay landmarks mentioned in this guide, like the Eldorado Bar and the memorial to the homosexuals persecuted by the Nazis. In addition, it also includes visits to other locations that are significant historically. Perhaps one of the most fascinating (at least for us) was the Magnus Hirschfeld‘s Institute of Sexual Science – he is renowned for being the world’s first ‘sexual‘ scientist and a prominent advocate for LGBTQ rights in the early 1900s.

Other fascinating aspects covered on this tour include the history of nudism in Berlin, the sex worker industry of Berlin and how the HIV/AIDS epidemic was dealt with in a divided city.

Overall, this tour provides a very unique insight into how and why Berlin has become known as a city of hedonism. If you have any sort of interest in social movements and history then you will also find this tour completely captivating.

Schwules Museum (Gay Museum) Tours

If you’re short on time or don’t really want to do a great big city tour, there is an alternative. The Schwules Museum, also known as the gay museum, is a museum and research centre dedicated to LGBTQ history.

When the Schwules Museum was opened in 1985, it was the first museum in the world dedicated to gay history. It was opened after the success of the first public exhibition shown in Germany of research on gay life at the Berlin Märkisches Museum. Today it holds over 50,000 objects showcasing gay culture with everything from postcards to clothing and vinyl records. They also display themes relating to drag, gender issues, HIV/AIDS and more. You could easily spend an entire day exploring – we sure did!

We recommend looking out for their ad hoc events and talks. As well as being educational, it’s the perfect social gathering to quickly make new friends.

The Schwules Museum is open every day except Tuesdays. Look out for the free tours they offer on Thursdays and Saturdays. Another tip, if you purchase the “Berlin Pass” it will include free entry to Schwules as well as to other attractions and museums in Berlin.

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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Berlin’s largest gay village, with many bars, shops and gay hotels

Berlin’s city centre; home to major landmarks and tourist attractions

trendy districts with many gay-popular bars and nightclubs

gay-popular district with many friendly bars and unique culture

Friendly gay bar and casual neighbourhood hangout. Fairly small inside but there’s a large seating area outside.

Blond attracts a mixed, young crowd. Open long hours, from breakfast to cocktails and beyond. Karaoke on Tuesday nights. Jukebox allows you to pick your favourite pop tunes.

· up to 75% off · flexible booking policy · refundable rates

Gay café bar & lounge, located right next to the Nollendorfplatz train station. Popular with both locals and tourists.

This is one of the classier gay bars in Berlin – doesn’t have to be whips and chains every night. Heile Welt is a good place to go on a date. Also great for pre-clubbing. You’ll be able to hear your conversation over the music.

“Come as strangers, leave as friends” is the motto at Prinzknecht.

The large, brick-walled bar is popular with a slightly more mature men – an interesting mix of blue collar, showbiz and leather-friendly crowd.

Always busy the weekend. Located next to Club Connection and  Mutschmann’s.

bar, music, internet access, dark room, cruise / fetish

Friendly gay bar in Schöneberg gay district. The bartender is the DJ and customers can request songs. Music ranges from 80’s freestyle, German Schlager music and international hits.

Redgold1 is located around the corner from Axel Hotel Berlin.

· up to 75% off · flexible booking policy · refundable rates

“Where boys meet men and men meet boys.” TABASCO is one of the oldest gay bars in Berlin, with dark and seedy atmosphere.

The friendly staff and customers will get even friendlier if you pay them. Located opposite from Blond bar.

For 40 years, Blue Boy Bar has been entertaining crowds with its loveable bar staff, cheap drinks and quirky interiors.

We like the fact that this bar is open 24 hours – you must stop by for a drink, no matter what time of day or night!

A cosy alternative to the loud gay bars in Berlin. We like the relaxed, warm atmosphere of Dreizehn (13).

This pub-style gay bar has plenty of beer, wine, spirits and more on offer. Old-fashioned in style, it does tend to attract a more mature guys. Happy hour 2pm-5pm, Monday to Friday only.

Local gay bar with dance floor and karaoke. Music ranges from German pop and Schlager. Happy hour every day.

Tramp’s is very much a friendly local gay hangout bar and one of the few that is open 24 hours a day.

Located in the Schöneberg gay village, a short walk from TOM’s BarRomeo & Romeo, etc.

Kreuzberg & Friedrichshain

Small, funky bar in Kreuzberg with a little stage for big personalities in drag who host dancing, karaoke and drag shows. Music at Rauschgold ranges from pop, Schlager to disco.

A fun, liberated place, and the drinks are inexpensive. Very popular on weekends. Mixed crowd. Located within easy reach of dance club SchwuZ.

· up to 75% off · flexible booking policy · refundable rates

Fun, camp bar that takes its pink fetish to the extreme with all the Barbie dolls interior. BarbieBar serves homemade cakes, cookies and cocktails.

Once a furniture store, Möbel-Olfe offers a very hip bar experience with interesting decor designed by well-known Berlin artists.

The place draws an eclectic mix of crowd, but Thursdays are very gay and trendy. Drinks are reasonable, and the music leans towards indie and alternative.

Quirky vibe and friendly, cosy atmosphere. Closed on Mondays.

This fun, lively bar in Berlin-Neuköln welcomes “kings, queens and criminal queers” of Berlin and beyond.

Silver Future serves drinks and food 7 days a week and hosts regular exhibitions about queer culture and LGBT-related events.

Roses here aren’t red, they’re very pink! This is the campest gay bar in Kreuzberg with lots of fun and excitement.

Lively, mixed crowd with 80’s to 90’s music that wouldn’t work anywhere else. Cheap drinks, friendly bartenders, packed at night. A favourite stop for pre- or post-clubbing.

Popular show bar & LGBT venue. Meltier Sundström boasts an array of entertainment every week, from comedy nights to cabaret performers. Good food and drinks. Nice large terrace.

Check out their website for further details of forthcoming events.

bar, music, dancing, karaoke, live music, cafe, restaurant

Prenzlauer Berg & Berlin Mitte

Cosy, friendly bar for bears and friends since 1999. Bärenhöhle plays a mix of pop music from the 1970’s onwards.

All ages and sizes are welcome. Free WiFi available. Half-priced drinks on Wednesdays until midnight.

A small basement gay bar in Berlin Mitte, with themed-night fun and tranny entertainment. Very busy on weekends.

Popular with youngsters, FLAX is café & cocktail bar with house music. Regular themed nights with karaoke and happy hours.

Brunch buffet on Sundays from 10am-5pm. Closed on Mondays.

Stylish gay bar, designed by Berlin-based Architect, Thilo Reich, with a casual yet sophisticated atmosphere.

The Coven serves a premium drinks and cocktails, with great music and friendly service. Located one of the most beautiful spots in Berlin Mitte, close to Berlin ‘Dom’, the Museum Island and Monbijou Park.

Gay café, bar & lounge with a lively, club-like environment. Marienhof hosts regular parties and colourful events with DJ’s.

Located in the trendy Prenzlauer Berg District. Busiest on Friday nights. Closed on Sundays.

Opened in 2013, Bar Saint Jean is one of the most popular meeting places for gay men in Berlin-Mitte.

This small, underground, French-owned bar features simple, minimalist décor and specialises in high-end long drinks and cocktails. Hosts occasional DJ nights. Closed on Mondays.

Trendy gay/mixed bar in Prenzlauer Berg that serves great cocktails. Tourists, locals and expats are all welcome at PERLE.

Thursday night is the “International Night” where English is the primary language spoken. Closed on Mondays.

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Gay Berlin

Every summer the Pride Weeks are celebrated with the lesbian/gay city festival, CSD on the Spree and many other events. The highlight is without a doubt the annual CSD Berlin, where the streets of Berlin play host to demonstrations for equal rights but also to celebrations. This year the CSD takes place digitally.

Tips for gay Berlin

How the gay and lesbian scene in Berlin emerged

Back in the 1920s, Berlin had already become a haven and refuge for gays and lesbians from all over the world. There are 170 clubs, bars and pubs for gays and lesbians, and well as riotous nightlife and a gay neighbourhood. But parties aren’t the only thing being organised – several political associations are founded in Berlin to fight for equal rights. However, the Nazis‘ rise to power spells the death knell for this diversity, and it would take several decades for Berlin to return to its status as a global centre for the LGBTQ scene. Learn about how Berlin became a hotspot for gays and lesbians over the course of the 20th century, and how its scene attracted people from all over the world – and continues to do so today.

Neuer Glanz im Chat

In Zeiten, in denen Online hoch im Kurs steht, hat die Deutsche Aidshilfe ihren Beratungs-Chat für schwule Männer überarbeitet und neugestaltet.

Frisches Design und sehen, wenn der andere grade schreibt: Der GAY HEALTH CHAT rückt mit neuen Funktionalitäten und höchstem Chat-Komfort auf in die Spitzenliga der Online-Chats und bleibt dabei sicher, kostenlos und anonym. Es werden keine Chats gespeichert, alle Chat-Nachrichten werden Ende-zu-Ende-verschlüsselt und er ist jeden Tag in der Woche zu erreichen.

Einrichtungen wie der schwule Checkpoint Mann-o-Meter, Berlin, liefern die Beratungskompetenz. Insgesamt arbeiten 49 Aidshilfen aus Deutschland, Österreich und der Schweiz an diesem Projekt mit. Alle Mitarbeiter werden von der Deutschen Aidshilfe für die Chatberatung ausgebildet und trainiert.

„Wie geht es dir?“ Der GAY HEALTH CHAT bietet alles, was ein schwuler Mann wissen will – zu Freundschaft, Partnerschaft, Einsamkeit, Sex, Substanzen oder zu Dingen, die Angst machen; wie man sich vor HIV und anderen sexuell übertragbaren Infektionen schützen kann oder ob man sich infiziert haben könnte.

Der GAY HEALTH CHAT ist ab sofort in neuer Form online, täglich von 17 bis 20 Uhr unter Er ist offen für alle Männer, die Sex mit Männern haben, egal ob cis- oder trans*.

Where is the main gay area of Berlin?

The main gay area of Berlin is based in Schöneberg. It is the traditional heart and soul of Berlin’s LGBTQ gay community, dating back to 1897 when the world’s first-ever LGBTQ organisation was founded right here: the Scientific-Humanitarian Committee. From this point on, the area blossomed, becoming the Gay Village capital of the world.

Schöneberg reached its zenith in late the 1920s when it had over 80 LGBTQ venues, with gender attraction fluid celebrities like Marlene Dietrich and Claire Waldoff calling it their home. This was also the time when British author Christopher Isherwood wrote about his adventures in the liberal gay Berlin scene of Schöneberg, which became the inspiration to one of our favourite musicals, the Liza Minnelli Cabaret!

Today, Schöneberg is still very much the thriving epicentre of Berlin’s gay scene, containing the bulk of the city’s best gay hangouts, as well as gay hotels like Tom’s Hotel and the two Axel “heterofriendly” hotels.

So you’ve just touched down at Schönefeld Airport and you need to negotiate your way to Berlin City Centre. Fear not, we’ve got you covered in our comprehensive guide on the best ways to get from Schönefeld Airport to Berlin City Centre. If you’re arriving at Tegel Airport, then be sure to check our other guide on how to get from Tegel to Berlin City Centre.

Gay hotels in Berlin

Berlin is one super gay city where we felt completely safe and welcome! There are very few places we feel comfortable walking the streets holding hands, and this is one of them, especially in the gay hotspots like Schöneberg and Kreuzberg. The Berliners are one very open-minded bunch. Whether you’re gay, lesbian, transgender, bi, dressed in leather or simply curious, people don’t care. In Berlin, you can come just as you are. The same applies to the hotels in Berlin. We never had an issue getting a double bed in any of the places we stayed in Berlin.

This is our summary of some of our favourite gay hotels in Berlin, along with a few “hetero-friendly” options:

Gay bars in Berlin

The first thing we noticed when researching where to go out in Berlin is that there are literally tons of gay bars sprawled around the city. Berlin really is one very gay place!

The bulk of the gay bars of Berlin are concentrated in Schöneberg and Kreuzberg with a sprinkling in Neukölln, Prenzlauer Berg and a few underground ones in Friedrichshain. We’ve only selected what we think is a snippet of the best ones as otherwise, our list would go on forever! The main tip from us, look out for the evenings when the bars do 2 for 1 drink promotions as that’s when they will be most busy.

Gay clubs in Berlin

Berlin is packed with tons of clubs! The general Berlin club theme we got used to seeing is smoky underground-type dancing venues, set in former industrial warehouses pumping out electro house – complete with obligatory darkroom. Boom-boom is in the air here- you can literally inhale the hot loving pheromones as you enter most places!

The Berghain is, of course, the mama of all gay clubs in Berlin. There are a bunch of other options available in case you’re not allowed in – which is very likely given how exclusive it is!) As with the gay bars of Berlin, there are tons of clubs here, particularly in Friedrichshain, Kreuzberg and Neukölln, so we’ve only selected a handful of our favourites:

Gay cruising in Berlin

There are many gay cruising places in Berlin, both indoor and outdoor. What’s interesting is that whilst Grindr has almost destroyed the gay outdoor cruising in most other cities, in Berlin it’s still going strong. This is one city where there is no shortage of spaces for good old fashioned anonymous encounters!

Oh and on the subject of gay apps? As well as Grindr and Scruff, we also recommend using Planet Romeo in Berlin – also referred to locally as “die blauen Seiten” (the blue pages). We’ve split this section into the best outdoor gay cruising areas and the indoor, which are essentially bars with a prominent darkroom area.

Gay saunas in Berlin

For a city that oozes hedonism so liberally, it’s quite lacking in gay saunas, particularly when compared to somewhere like the (which has loads!). Despite this, Berlin is home to one of the most famous gay saunas in Europe – possibly the world – der Boiler! We’ve also included a unique gay Tคntrค experience worth checking out:

Gay cafes in Berlin

Germans love their coffee as much as they like cheeky cuddles in bed… There’s a cafe on almost every other street corner in Berlin along with several gay ones sprinkled around the city, particularly in Schoeneberg – Romeo & Romeo our personal favourite. We’ve set out the best gay cafes in Berlin below, but remember, as with the bars, there are loads: this list is not exclusive!

Gay restaurants in Berlin

German sausage jokes aside, the Currywurst is a must! When you first arrive in Schöneberg’s Wittenbergplatz, you’ll no doubt see the famous gay Fritz & Co stand. There are of course many excellent restaurants to check out in Berlin. We checked out some of the best gay restaurants in Berlin and have summarised our favourites right here:

Gay events in Berlin

When it comes to annual gay events, Berlin leads the way! It’s like our European answer to San Francisco, from the Pig parties of Folsom to the քorɳ event of Hustlaball. Here’s our summary of some of the best gay events in Berlin to look out for:

Plan your trip to Berlin

We’ve put together some handy hints and tips to help you plan your own trip to Berlin. Read on to find out everything the gay traveller should know before they go.

How to get there: There are excellent transport links to Berlin from throughout Europe. You can get there via car, bus, train or by flying into Schonefeld or Tegel Airport. We usually fly to Berlin and then get a private airport transfer with Welcome Pickups to our accommodation. They are reliable, always on time and you get a big car all to yourself with an English speaking local driver.

Visa requirements: If you’re coming to Germany from many countries like the United States, United Kingdom, Canada and Australia then you won’t need a visa to enter the country (and other countries in the Schengen Area) as a tourist. This means you can visit Berlin quite easily but make sure you check your personal visa requirements before you travel, especially if you are planning to visit other parts of Europe as well.

Getting around: Berlin is a huge city with an extensive public transport system made up of the U-Bahn (subway), S-Bahn (light rail), buses and trams. The city is divided into three different fare zones: A, B and C. We recommend you pre-purchase the Berlin Welcome Card as it gives you unlimited travel in the zones you choose for the whole duration of your stay as well as lots of discounts on popular attractions.

Power Plugs: Power plug socket F is used in Berlin, and the rest of Germany, which is also compatible with plugs for types C and E. If you’re travelling from within Europe you shouldn’t have a problem, but travellers to from the United Kingdom, United States, Canada, Australia and many other countries will need to bring a travel adaptor with them.

Travel insurance: No matter how well you plan and prepare, sometimes things just go wrong when you’re travelling. We recommend all travellers to Berlin ensure they have travel insurance so you’re protected in the case of accident, illness or even just lost luggage. We’ve been using for years and love them. They provide affordable and comprehensive cover, plus it’s easy to make a claim online when you need to.

Vaccinations: Before travelling to Berlin, make sure you’re up-to-date with routine vaccinations like measles, mumps, chickenpox, etc. Depending on what you are planning to do in other parts of Germany you may also need vaccinations for Hepatitis A and B as well as rabies. Check the most recent advice on the CDC website and talk to your doctor before you make any travel arrangements.

Currency: The currency used in Berlin is the Euro, just like the rest of Germany and 18 of the other countries that are part of the European Union. The symbol for the euro is € and $1 US converts to about 90 euro cents while £1 is worth around €1.17.

Tipping culture: Berlin does have a tipping culture, but only if the service warrants it so don’t ever feel forced to tip. Usually, you can round up your bill to the nearest euro, or give a few euros to the housekeeper at a nice hotel. Here’s some more detailed information on tipping in Berlin.

Internet access: There are lots of free public WiFi hotspots in Berlin, which don’t require registration and provide unlimited access. Here is a list of all the free WiFi hotspots but if you don’t want to be wandering around trying to get online you might prefer to hire a portable WiFi device.

Online privacy: Germany as a whole is very gay friendly, so you’re unlikely to encounter anything in the way of internet censorship or difficulty accessing gay dating apps while you’re in Berlin. If you just prefer to keep your online activities private then we recommend using a VPN like those from ExpressVPN. They provide very reliable and affordable online privacy for when you’re travelling so you can maintain your anonymity.

Accommodation: For more accommodation options in Berlin make sure you check out which is our favourite place to find accommodation at the best prices. They have a huge selection of properties, many with free cancellation and provide excellent 24/7 online customer support.

Sightseeing and adventure: There are also lots more exciting things to see and do in Berlin beyond what we’ve mentioned in this guide. We like to use to plan our adventures since they have many wonderful options, an easy to use online booking system and 24/7 online customer support.

When to visit: Berlin is an exciting city with things happening pretty much all throughout the year. When you visit will be based on specific events you may want to attend or your own personal weather preferences. It can get hot during summer which is from June-August in Germany. Spring and autumn are both mild, with pretty flowers or colourful changing leaves. While winter can be harsh it can also be magical, especially around Christmas!

Gay map of Berlin

Here’s our gay map of Berlin to show you where everything we’ve mentioned in this article is located. Use it to find out where all the best gay hotels, bars clubs, restaurants and activities are for your own visit to Berlin!

STAY WITH A GAY LOCAL

Misterb&b is the Airbnb equivalent for the LGBTQ community. Unlike on Airbnb, you know your host is gay, avoiding any nasty surprises when you check in. It is also a great way to meet gay locals and discover the underground gay scene. Click below to get 10 € (or $10) off your first booking.

Stefan Arestis

Stefan is the co-founder, editor, and author of the gay travel blog As a travel nerd, he has explored more than 80 countries across 5 continents. What he loves the most about traveling is discovering the local gay scene, making new friends, and learning new cultures. His advice about LGBTQ travel has been featured in Gaycation Magazine, Gaycities, Gay Times, Pink News, and Attitude Magazine. He has also written about gay travel for other non-gay-specific publications including Lonely Planet, The New York Times, The Guardian, and The Huffington Post. Stefan is also a qualified lawyer, having practiced as a commercial property litigator in London for over 10 years. He left his lawyer days behind to work full time on Nomadic Boys with his husband Sebastien. Find out more .

Hello, Bonjour and Welcome to our travel blog. We are Stefan and Sebastien a French/Greek gay couple from London. Together, we have been travelling the world for over 10 years. Nomadic Boys is our gay travel blog showcasing all our travel adventures as a gay couple.

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

MehrGayfriendly Clubs,Kneipen,Clubsim BerlinFinder.

Respect Gaymes

Bei dem Sport- und Kulturevent wird unter dem Motto „Zeig Respekt für Schwule und Lesben!“ für ein vorurteils- und diskriminierungsfreies Miteinander geworben. mehr

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

Hotel Quick Search

Berlin’s largest gay village, with many bars, shops and gay hotels

Berlin’s city centre; home to major landmarks and tourist attractions

trendy districts with many gay-popular bars and nightclubs

gay-popular district with many friendly bars and unique culture

Schwules Museum* (Gay Museum*)

In Berlin’s Gay Museum you will take a journey through the eventful history of the gay, lesbian and transgender scene. The Schwules Museum*

Good to know for LGBTI*

Berlin has a long and proud history of inclusion. Practical information for LGBTI * visitors is available from dedicated organisations here

1897

Founding of the Scientific-Humanitarian Committee

The Scientific-Humanitarian Committee – the very first gay and lesbian organisation in the world – was founded in Berlin. Its founder is the Jewish doctor Magnus Hirschfeld. His guiding principle: “Justice through science”. His goals: freedom from persecution by the state and religious oppression, the fight for emancipation and social recognition. The Scientific-Humanitarian Committee, remains the most politically influential association with its lobbying activities, its alliances and awareness campaigns, right up until the early 1930s.A column erected opposite Charlottenburg Town Hall serves as a memorial to its historical birthplace.

1900

One of the first gay venues in Berlin, notorious for frequent raids by the police, had already been open in Jägerstrasse since 1885. In 1900, Magnus Hirschfeld is aware of six pubs known to be venues for gays and lesbians. By 1910 there are twice as parks such as Tiergarten, public baths and a range of railway stations traditionally provided places for many homosexual men to meet. These also included public urinals, facetiously known as “Café Octagon” in Berlin due to their shape.

1905

Starting in 1901, the literary and artistic bohème gather in the Dalbelli trattoria on Schöneberger Ufer, where they hold evening lectures and cabarets. Among others, Peter Hille and Else Lasker-Schüler, Erich Mühsam and John Henri Mackay recite poetry there. This is also where Else Lasker-Schüler makes friends with Magnus Hirschfeld. Mühsam and Mackay start contributing to the “unique” from this point on.

The co-owner of the restaurant, Alma Dalbelli, continues running the business as the Como from 1905 on: it was Berlin’s very first gay wine bar.

1910

Lesbians generally became involved in bourgeois feminism as a way to assert their interests and to fight for the right to their own careers and independence, as well as the right to political activity and the right to vote. Their ranks include feminists and suffragettes famous across Germany, such as the Berlin-based Helene Lange and Gertrud Bäumer, who live together as a couple.A number of lesbian women, including Johanna Elberskirchen and Toni Schwabe, take a pro-active stance and fight to become actively involved in the gay movement, arguing in favour of having their say in Magnus Hirschfeld’s Scientific-Humanitarian Committee. Their persistence pays off when Toni Schwalbe is elected to the Chairmen’s College, the governing body of the committee, in 1910 and Johanna Elberskirchen in 1914.

1919

The Scorpion, the first lesbian novel, is penned by the Berlin author Elisabeth Weihrauch in 1919. Furthermore, the first gay film, entitled Different from the Others (directed by Richard Oswald), is shown in Institute for Sexology, headed by Magnus Hirschfeld, opens in Berlin’s Tiergarten. It is a doctors‘ clinic and, at the same time, a centre for the gay and lesbian emancipation movement. Congresses and campaigns focussed on sexual reform make it internationally renowned. It proves to be a crowd-puller with its functions to increase public awareness and its museum on the history of institute stood at the site where the Haus der Kulturen der Welt (House of the Cultures of the World) now stands in Tiergarten. There is a column not far away to commemorate it.

1921

The gay and lesbian movement rapidly gains pace with the Friendship Associations and their local branches all over Germany, which are founded from 1919 on. In 1923, the associations are united under the leadership of the publisher Friedrich Radszuweit in the Association for Human Rights. The same year, he opens the first bookshop for gays and Berlin, around 40 venues open as meeting places for men – and increasingly for women as well. In 1921, there is an International Travel Guide to promote them – the very first gay and lesbian guide. A number of barkeepers join forces to support the movement.Magazines for gays and lesbians are available at public kiosks and in the venues: they include Die Freundschaft (Friendship), the Blätter für Menschenrecht (Magazine for Human Rights), Die Freundin (The Girlfriends), Frauenliebe (Women’s Love), and Das dritte Geschlecht (The Third Sex) for transvestites and transsexuals.

1922

The competing gay and lesbian associations are united in their fight against Paragraph 175 (which criminalises homosexual acts). The Scientific-Humanitarian Committee had been filing petitions since 1897 calling on the Reichstag to abolish the special law against homosexual men. More than six thousand prominent personalities from the German Empire and, later, the Weimar Republic have signed the 1922, the gay and lesbian‘ associations briefly unite to form an action group to ensure their voices are heard during an upcoming criminal justice reform. The Scientific-Humanitarian Committee drafts an alternative concept that gained much attention, and in 1928, the criminal justice commission responsible decides to reform Paragraph 175. However, the hopes of newly-found freedom are soon dashed by a conservative government that is elected to means that the Berlin Police Headquarters at Alexanderplatz remains a credible threat of force despite its policy of tolerance towards the gay and lesbian scene. This site is now occupied by the Alexa shopping centre, with its size and colour serving as a reminder of the former red behemoth.

1925

There are now around 80 venues for gays and lesbians in Berlin: beer-soaked dives and distilleries, bourgeois restaurants, wine bars and clubhouses, dance halls and dance palaces, ballrooms and cosmopolitan night-time bars. From 1925 on, large-scale events are held in the ballrooms in Alte Jacobstrasse and Kommandantenstrasse, or in the Nationalhof in Bü the manager of the Violetta Ladies‘ Club, Lotte Halm, along with several hundred of her fellow female members, helps shape major sections of the lesbian movement and entertainment scene from 1926 on. She unites her association with the Monbijou Women’s Club in 1928, which also includes transvestites and transsexuals, cooperating with the Association for Human Rights and constantly finding new venues for events.Numerous hotels and guest houses, beauty and hairdressing salons, tailors and photo studios, doctors and lawyers in private practice, libraries, cigarette and shoe shops, and even a car rental company, a travel agency and a distributor for potency pills advertise in gay and lesbian magazines.

1928

A travel guide for lesbians is published in 1928: Berlin’s Lesbian Women. The author Ruth-Margarete Roellig describes 12 venues in it, all of which are located in the lesbian hotspot of Schöneberg. This includes the popular café and bar for dancing and entertainment, Dorian Dorian Gray opened at Bülowstrasse 57 in 1921. Every evening, there is a stage programme or live music to dance to, along with carnival costume balls and literary readings. The highlight of the weekend is the variety shows and performances by famous stars of the scene, including the dancer Ilonka Stoyka. Her portrait was even printed on the cover of the lesbian magazine Liebende Frauen (Loving Women) the end of the 1920s, the British author Christopher Isherwood arrives in Berlin to sample the pleasures of its liberal gay nightlife. His Berlin Stories were written during his time in Berlin, and would later provide the inspiration for the musical Cabaret. Another icon of queer life in Berlin in the 1920s is the singer Claire Waldoff, who also lived in Berlin with her female partner.

1933

Following the seizure of power by the National Socialists and conservatives, a campaign is launched against alleged “public immorality” under a new policy of “national moral renewal”. In May 1933, Hirschfeld’s Institute for Sexology is closed and plundered. The new police director in Berlin had already had 14 of the most famous gay and lesbian venues closed in March. Local police departments pass further prohibitions in the city’s urban districts. The gay and lesbian associations also feel coerced into abandoning their efforts.

The owners of the all-night bar for lesbians, Mai & Igel, are also affected by the forced closures, while the carnival costume balls for gays and lesbians held at the In den Zelten amusement strip in Berlin’s Tiergarten, which were also hugely popular among heterosexuals, are banned with immediate effect. The artists‘ bar Chez Eugen, known as Moses, feels the full force of the ban: thugs from the SA raid the bar and drive its Jewish owner into exile.

1934-1945

A period of disguise and retreat into private groups of like-minded people begins for gays and lesbians. There are still a number of bars, camouflaged as artists‘ bars, to visit, and despite police surveillance, raids and bans, new bars still open up, allowing brief moments of freedom to be enjoyed.Homosexual men are particularly affected by persecution. Following raids by the Gestapo, the first prisoners are sent to concentration camps from 1934 on. With the tightening of the anti-homosexual laws in 1935, the number of convictions has tripled by 1939. They result in the loss of friends, freedom, wealth and profession, and lead to marginalisation and social ostracism, ultimately making intimate life a source of trauma. Only a small number of those persecuted survive the increasingly frequent deportations to concentration camps occurring during the war. So far, the names of around 400 Berlin men who fell victim to the terror against homosexuals have been identified.

1946

Rising from the ashes and defying the post-war austerity, gays and lesbians re-emerge, holding their first balls again in the midst of the rubble of the destroyed city from 1946 onwards. The organisers are flamboyant female impersonators with names like Mamita, Ramona and Cherie Hell. In 1949, there are more than 20 bars open again to cater to men and 15 for women. They offer a sanctuary and a place to socialise, and they encourage their customers to dream of a better life and fight for new freedoms. Many still have compelling memories of Berlin in the 1920s, yet are also traumatised by their experiences of persecution during the Nazi too is a legend reborn in 1947, with the transvestite bar Eldorado reopening and remaining open until the end of the 1960s.

1950

A Berlin-based group from the Scientific-Humanitarian Committee was founded in 1949 to resume the efforts made by the first gay and lesbian movement. In 1950, the association was registered under its new name as the Berlin Society for the Reform of Sexual Law. It is part of a homophile movement becoming established across Germany. In Berlin, an Association of Friends was founded in 1952, and a new Association for Human Rights was established in 1958, in which Lotte Hahm – the Berlin woman who fronted the lesbian emancipation movement during the Weimar Republic – was also an active women are involved in establishing homophile associations, they are also a minority. They meet privately and in women’s bars, such as Ida Fürstenau in Kreuzberg, or in Gerda Kelch’s Cabaret in Schöneberg, with a venue called Bei Kathi und Eva opening in a laundrette in Schöneberg in 1958.

1960

Venues for gays and lesbians are once again threatened by police raids from the mid-1950s on. Many men once again become the victim of state prosecution under the law against homosexuals, a Nazi law that remains on the books and has since been tightened. When the Berlin Wall is built in 1961, the divided city of Berlin loses its leading role, and its appeal, as the city of freedom for gays and lesbians for a decade to the gay and lesbian associations disband, the bar scene in West Berlin stands its ground. The number of bars increases, and by 1966 there are 28 different venues. Men continue to meet in Elli’s Bier-Bar, or go dancing in Kleist Casino or Trocadero. Chez Nous becomes an attraction in Berlin with its travesty shows. In 1963, Christel Rieseberg opens Club 10 together with her girlfriend in Schöneberg, which acquired prominence as Club de la femme and Dinelo. An intimate club and bar called Inconnu opens in Charlottenburg in 1966.

1970s

A new generation with a new urge for freedom loudly demands to be heard. As so-called Rosa Radikale (pink radicals), they reinvent homosexuality, understanding it as a political and anti-capitalistic promise of liberation. Rosa von Praunheim’s film, It Is Not the Homosexual Who Is Perverse, But the Society in Which He Lives (1971) inspires the gay scene to establish new associations. This is the launching pad of the gay and lesbian movement.Homosexuelle Aktion Westberlin is founded in Berlin in 1971, from which the feminist awakening emerges in 1975 with the founding of the Lesbian Aktionszentrum – along with the lesbian archive Spinnboden as an initiative for the discovery, and preservation, of female love. The gay bookshop Prinz Eisenherz opens in 1978. The first Gay Pride Parade/CSD is held in 1979.A new awakening is being ventured in East Berlin as well: the Homosexuals‘ Interest Group is founded in 1973. One year later, the transvestite Charlotte von Mahlsdorf opens a venue for gays and lesbians that will later become legendary in her museum dedicated to artefacts from the late 19th century.

1980er

The Schwule Museum (Gay Museum) opens in 1985, followed by Begine, a women’s bar and alternative project. Both remain self-administered venues today. While autonomous and free spaces are coming into being, other initiatives are promoting integration. They are active in trade unions, political parties and churches. Choirs, sports associations and hiking groups add diversity and vibrancy to the scene in Aids-Hilfe is formed in 1985, and benefits from widespread support and becomes a new actor in the gay movement. In 1993, an opera gala at the Deutsche Oper marks the beginning of one of the most successful fund-raising events for Aids-Hilfe.

In East Berlin, gays and lesbians are able to emancipate themselves from 1983 on with the protection of the Protestant Church. In 1986, away from the church, the Sonntagsclub (Sunday Club) opens as a cultural space. It still exists today. 

1990s

On the same evening as East Germany’s first gay-themed feature film Coming Out celebrates its première, the Berlin Wall falls: it’s 9 November CSD parades become more and more colourful and diverse, and much larger, in the reunited capital, and a high-spirited party accompanies the list of political demands being called for. The Transgeniale CSD is held from 1997 to 2016, an alternative event typical to Berlin at which a focus is directed at the political 1997, Berlin celebrates 100 years of the gay movement with an exhibition in the Akademie der Künste (Academy of Arts). Although the lesbian movement is largely neglected by this exhibition, no public protests occur (yet). A gay-lesbian reunification occurs in 1999: the gay and lesbian association is formed and tries out a new era of cooperation

2000

The controversial discussion around same-sex marriage, which first started in 1992, becomes the topic of public debate in 1999. In 2001, it results in a registered partnership, before the right to marry is finally extended to same-sex couples in 2017. A run on Berlin’s registry offices adopting the colours of the rainbow and the word queer, new homopolitical alliances are being formed. Queer becomes a political agenda, and a new label for the LGBTIQ+ movement. Rainbow flags are part of the urban landscape, fluttering in front of the community’s businesses and venues, and flying proudly from the town halls in Berlin on the occasion of the annual CSD initiative “Berlin supports self-determination and acceptance of sexual diversity” is launched in 2009, showing the Berlin state government’s support for diversity and equality of Germany’s largest LGBTIQ community.

2017

There are now 150 venues where events are held for the LGBTIQ community: cafés, restaurants, bars and a club scene that is unique in Germany. The range of services, shops, associations and entertainment fills a business directory of its own, which includes more than 1,000 30 June, Federal Parliament enacts a draft law by the Federal Council that allows same-sex couples to September 2017, a monument to the world’s first gay and lesbian emancipation movement, which was initiated by the gay and lesbian association, is unveiled on Magnus-Hirschfeld-Ufer, behind the Federal Chancellery. It is formed by six towering, colourful calla lilies – a plant that features both female and male flowers. It is a symbol of the diversity of sexuality and gender, and a metaphor for a confident, flourishing scene – a landscape that was first conceived of, put to the test, and made possible in the 1920s – when Berlin was a role model for an international gay and lesbian capital in which all queer people could find a haven and 1 October 2017 – a Sunday – the first gay and lesbian couples marry in Germany, including Volker Beck, a politician for the Green party, who marries his spouse in Berlin-Kreuzberg after a long fight to be able to say “I do”.

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Berlin’s largest gay village, with many bars, shops and gay hotels

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Explore the main gay neighbourhood of Berlin with a queer local

Whilst Berlin gay life is all about the ravaging parties and the naughty darkrooms, the LGBTQ community also has a rich historical fabric that we strongly advise you to learn more about. We did a with a queer local (called Finn!) who taught us all about the city’s LGBTQ history, focusing on Schoeneberg and Kreuzberg. This tour is a great way to get introduced to gay Berlin.

Schöneberg / Schoeneberg

As explained above, Schöneberg (sometimes spelt Schoeneberg) is the traditional beating heart of the gay scene of Berlin. It was the first gay neighbourhood of the city and still retains its fabulous charm today. It has some of the oldest gay bars of Berlin like Tom’s Bar, as well as hip hangouts like Prinzknecht, Heile Welt and Hafen. The main gay hotels of Berlin are based here, like Tom’s Hotel, Axel Hotel Berlin, TWO Hotel Berlin by Axel and the Gay Hostel. We use Wittenbergplatz and Nollendorfplatz as our point of reference for getting around Schoeneberg as most of the gay hangouts are located between these two major squares.

Kreuzberg

Kreuzberg is the other main gay district of Berlin that in our opinion now rivals Schöneberg. Just after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1991, interest in Kreuzberg started to grow, quickly attracting all the cool, hip kids. Today, the area has a large LGBTQ community living here along with tons of gay hangouts like Möbel Olfe, BarbieBar, and even a gay museum: the Schwules Museum. Kreuzberg is located south-east of Checkpoint Charlie, north of Tempelhofer Feld and towards the Eastern edge of what used to be “West Berlin”. The main metro station for gay Kreuzberg is Kottbusser Tor. Our favourite thing about Kreuzberg is The East Side Gallery – what used to be the remains of the Berlin Wall now converted into one of the world’s most famous open-air galleries of art murals.

Neukölln

The popularity of Kreuzberg amongst the LGBTQ community got so big that the cool hipster kids moved further south into Neukölln with more “hipster” and local dive bars opening like Cafe Melitta Sundström and SilverFuture, as well as underground, alternative gay clubs like Cocktail d’Amore. One of our favourite (and oldest) gay clubs of Berlin is right here in Neukölln: SchwuZ. This is a club famous for its diverse nights, with dance floors for the pop queens (ahem – that would be us!) and another for the techno/indie crowd. Neukölln also has a large Middle Eastern community – so expect some of the best shawarmas, lots of hummus joint, baklava pastry shops and a famous Turkish Market towards the canal.

Prenzlauer Berg

Prenzlauer Berg used to form the heart of what used to be Soviet Berlin. It is located towards the northeast of the city centre and Kreuzberg, and west of Mitte. It was famous in the 1960s for being the hub of East Germany’s gay scene, where the intellectuals, artists and students once lived. After the Berlin Wall fell in 1991, the area became a vibrant squatting scene, but subsequently experienced quite a rapid gentrification, today becoming one of the city’s nightlife hotspots. We found the gay scene of Prenzlauer Berg to be generally a younger crowd in their 20s-40s, with trendy gay bars like Flax and popular gay brunch spots like Schall & Rauch.

Friedrichshain

The is the more gritty, raw side of Berlin with a very punky, alternative and underground vibe. It used to be part of East Berlin before the Wall came down in 1991, located East from Kreuzberg and south of Prenzlauer Berg. It’s undergoing massive gentrification become trendier and more hip by the minute, but despite this, this is where you’ll find some of the best clubs of Berlin, particularly the king of them all: the Berghain! Also in Friedrichshain is the famous naughty club Lab, the Same Bitcհҽs and Polygon gay parties and the super hip Bar Zum Schmutzigen Hobby.

To maximise your enjoyment and avoid queues at the ticketing machines, it’s definitely worth investing in a  before you arrive. It will give you unlimited access on the metro (from 2 to 6 days) and discounts on various attractions.

Axel Hotel

Our favourite gay hotel in Berlin is the “hetero-friendly” Axel hotel. It’s located right in the heart of Schöneberg’s lively gay area with gay bars like Heile Welt, Hafen, Tom’s Bar and WOOF literally just around the corner.

The rooms have a modern design with darkened lighting to give it that sensual atmosphere. Look out for the famous “DO DISTURB” signs you can put on the door if you want some attention from other guests…!

With big comfy beds, flat-screen TVs and sound-proofing throughout, you know you can relax or even get a bit naughty and loud. We heard some guests refer to it as “a Grindr hotel” which made us giggle! The top floor is certainly a gay man’s playground, complete with a gym, outdoor Jacuzzi and an infamous sauna/steam room area for lots of hanky panky.

The hotel also has a restaurant and bar attached to it, which are both a great place to get a bite to eat or a few drinks before a gay night out in Schöneberg. On some evenings the lounge bar also features live music, stand-up comedy and drag shows. When the big ITB Berlin travel show happens in March, this is where one of the best gay parties takes place.

STAY WITH A GAY LOCAL

Misterb&b is the Airbnb equivalent for the LGBTQ community. Unlike on Airbnb, you know your host is gay, avoiding any nasty surprises when you check in. It is also a great way to meet gay locals and discover the underground gay scene. Click below to get 10 € (or $10) off your first booking.

Hotel Palace Berlin

Hotel Palace Berlin is a 5-star luxury gay friendly option, based right in the heart of the main shopping area opposite the Zoological Garden and just minutes walk away from Schöneberg’s gay scene. Also, OMG the cute footballers of the home team Hertha Bsc stay here when they play a home game!

This is the place to come and truly spoil yourself, and c’mon, with a name like Palace you know you’re going to feel like a true Queen here…

The rooms are spacious and the beds super comfortable, with a choice of three pillow types to ensure a good night’s sleep. The Hotel Palace has an excellent lounge area for business use as well as a small but well-equipped gym for getting a workout in. Next to the gym is a large indoor pool to relax and splash about in. We also loved the sauna complex which includes a Finnish sauna, tepidarium, ice cave and a relaxation room.

The dining options of the Hotel Palace Berlin are well rated. There is a bountiful buffet breakfast at the Bon Dia restaurant, which also includes a tea bar and a live cooking unit where you can get your eggs done in front of you. Carnivores will also love Restaurant Beef 45 which serves, you guessed it, premium meat cuts on a minimalist menu. The House of Gin is a where gin lovers like our Seby need to head to, with over 150 gin varieties to try!

Gay Youth Hostel

This is a good budget option if you’re travelling alone and want to make friends. The Gay Youth Hostel is located in the heart of the gay scene in Schöneberg, minutes away from all the bars and clubs.

It’s a small and intimate space, exclusively for gay men aged 18-38 years old, so you’ll definitely be making friends with other guests.

While it’s not a party hostel per se, we saw plenty of hanky panky going on in the communal showers!

They offer private double rooms and dorm rooms with bunk beds for up to 8 people for very affordable prices. The whole space is always impeccably clean which can sometimes be a concern with hostels, but not here. You can also choose to use either the private or shared bathrooms We love their marketing for what goes on in their dorm rooms and other shared spaces – have a look at their website to see what we mean…!

There are shared hangout areas to relax, as well as a small kitchen with everything you need to cook for yourself and keep costs down. Another excellent detail is that all guests at Gay Hostel get a “Hostel Pass” which provides lots of discounts for nearby stores, cafes or bars and sometimes free welcome drinks or free entry to certain places. Make sure you take advantage of the discounts at the nearby Romeo und Romeo and Cafe Kalwil for the best brunch.

Michelberger Hotel

If you want to base yourself in Friedrichshain, close to the Berghain super-club, we recommend checking out the Michelberger Hotel. Everything about this spot is super hip, from the artistic decor in the rooms to the organic produce (with vegan/vegetarian options available FYI) served in the restaurant and cafe.

It’s conveniently located close to both the Schlesisches Tor metro station and the Berlin Ostbahnhof. It’s also minutes away from the East Side Gallery.

We love the communal terrace area of the Michelberger Hotel. It’s the perfect place to hang out and connect with other travellers. You can also get food and drinks from their in-house restaurant and bar. They also have themed nights on Thursday to Sunday evenings to encourage guests to mingle. The “Table Tennis night” is one of the most popular and usually includes a live DJ.

Continuing on with the hip theme so prevalent in this hotel are the rooms, which range from small and cosy to the suites with private sauna. There are split-level rooms for families or groups of friends while all the rooms feature cool design elements like loft beds, quirky layouts and even yoga mats. So you can get your downward dog on before heading into the cafe for a hearty vegan breakfast and then a day of exploring Berlin’s rampant gay scene!

ArtHotel Connection

ArtHotel Connection is a super-gorgeous and super-cute “hetero-friendly” hotel, right in the heart of the Schöneberg’s gay scene.

It’s an excellent choice for a gay friendly hotel that’s not going to break the bank but still feels like you’re staying in a classy hotel. We like it ‚cause it’s homely. ArtHotel has more of a B&B feel. And they know they’re audience well: breakfast is available until 4pm…Berghain party bunnies just sayin‘!

All the rooms are designed in a kitschy art-nouveau style. The one we stayed in had purple/red walls, zebra print chairs and very colourful artwork on display! The creaking wooden stairway just adds to the old-world charm so prevalent throughout the ArtHotel as does the super cool antique (fully operational!) elevator. It definitely gave us Priscilla, Queen of the Desert vibes!

The ArtHotel Connection is located on a quiet tree-lined residential street in Schöneberg, right next door to Prinzknecht gay bar and down the road from WOOF and Connection Club. It’s also well connected, close to 3 metro stations: Wittenbergplatz, Augsburger Strasse and Viktoria-Luise-Platz.

Prinzknecht in Schöneberg

This unpronounceable gay bar is actually one of the best ones in Schöneberg. It’s always been busy when we’ve come here, especially on Wednesdays when they have their 2 for 1 drinks promotion. On warm days, the atmosphere pours onto the terrace outside creating a fun street party vibe along the super gay Fuggerstrasse street. When we came here, the crowd was mainly locals, all men, of all ages. And in true Berlin fashion, obligatory darkroom located downstairs! Prinzknecht is open daily until 2am (3am on weekends). It is located at Fuggerstrasse 33, just around the corner from the main Axel Hotel.

Heile Welt in Schöneberg

Heile Welt is our favourite gay bar in Schöneberg for a normal sit down drink with friends – minus the sleazy fun! It’s stylish, classy, feeling more like a lounge than a bar. There is always a mixed friendly crowd (both male and female), with zero judgment. Cocktails are yummy, especially their Pisco Sours – not has one like it since our travels in Lima. The most striking thing about Heile Welt is their pretty out-there wall decoration -literally made out of Chewbacca fluff!You’ll see what we mean when you visit… Heile Welt is open daily until 1am (3am on weekends). It is located at Motzstrasse 19, which is minutes walking distance from Nollendorfplatz metro station.

Hafen in Schöneberg

Hafen felt to us like a cosy friendly neighbourhood dive bar, where everyone knows everyone. Every evening we came to this small unassuming bar it’s always been busy, even on weekdays. We actually stumbled on Hafen by accident when looking for a gay bar open late on a Thursday – it closes at 4am on most nights. The crowd here is mixed – male and female, mainly locals, and super chilled. They have themed nights worth checking out like their Monday quiz nights and the occasional karaoke evenings. Hafen is open daily until around 4am. It is located at Motzstrasse 19, just a few doors down from Heile Welt.

Möbel Olfe in Kreuzberg

Möbel Olfe was our introduction to Kreuzberg, the first place we came to when checking out the gay scene of this more hipster side of Berlin. And it was steaming here! Nothing sleazy, but a very packed (and handsome!) crowd of mostly men, in their 20s, 30s and 40s. The only downside is it gets a bit too packed here on weekend evenings, which makes going to the bar to get drinks a pain in the backside as everyone accidentally tramples on you. Also, smoking is allowed inside, so expect to leave this place smelling of an ashtray! Handy note: Tuesdays is their female-only night. Möbel Olfe is open daily until around 3am. It is located at Reichenberger Strasse 177, near the Kottbusser Tor metro station.

Roses in Kreuzberg

Roses is a super quirky and kitsch gay bar in Kreuzberg: as you enter, you’re welcomed with a loud pink glitter decor that then transforms into the most unique collection figurines and pictures of the Virgin Mary that we’ve ever seen! The crowd here is a mix of male and female from the entire LGBTQ spectrum, mainly locals and some curious tourists. Despite being a small bar, it felt very reminiscent of the alternative hipster vibe of Kreuzberg. It’s also super popular, always attracting a large crowd on every night of the week. Roses is open daily until around 6am the next day. It is located at Oranienstrasse 187, near the Kottbusser Tor metro station.