travel

A gay guide to Berlin

Here's what to do and where to go in Europe's most sexually-liberated city.

2018-08-12

With its rich gay history and celebration of sexual liberation, Berlin is arguably the ultimate European city break desitination for LGBT people.

With so much on offer and a yearly Pride event that regularly attracts over a million people, there's a reason gay visitors keep going back to sample to buzzy atmospere of the German capital.

A gay Berlin city break is what you make of it, and there's no better place place to start than with our guide to where to eat, sleep and party your days and nights away...

WHERE TO GO

Berlin's gay credentials are such that LGBT people should feel safe and welcome anywhere, but while LGBT bars and venues are dotted all over the city, they tend to be centred around three separate areas.

Schöneberg 

Here you'll find Blond, Prinzknecht, HAFEN, Redgold1, Pinocchio, Toyboy Bar, Heile Welt, TABASCO, Dreizehn, Blue Boy Bar, Tramp’s and K6.

Kreuzberg and Friedrichshain

Here you'll find BarbieBar, CLUB, Möbel-Olfe, Silver Future, Rauschgold, Roses.

Prenzlauer Berg and Berlin Mitte

Here you'll find – Bärenhöhle, Betty F*** Bar, FLAX, The Coven, Marienhof, Bar Saint Jean, PERLE.

WHERE TO EAT

Sissi

Pink in every sense, this cosy Austrian restaurant is incredible value for money, and being located in the heart of Schöneberg, makes it the perfect spot to bookend an evening exploring the nearby bars with something tasty.

Romeo & Romeo

Enjoy coffee and pastries whie soaking up Schöneberg's chilled daytime atmoshpere at this pupular LGBT café.

Südblock

Located at Kottbusser Tor just south of central Berlin, this gem of a queer space is more than just a beer garden and eatery (though it does a superb job of that too).

A varied and includsive monthly programme of events including gigs, readings, quizes, parties and Sunday brunch means this spot is always worth a visit.

WHERE TO PARTY

SchwuZ

One of Berlin's oldest gay nights, SchwuZ generally attracts a younger crowd and is currently based in a former brewery in the Neukölln district.

You'll find music to suit everyone throughout its vast interior, from pop to indie to house.

Die Busche

Open on Fridays and Saturdays until 7am, this young and friendly pop night in Friedrichshain will keep chart-lovers partying to their heart's content.

Revolver Party at KitKatClub

Held once a month at the notorious KitKat Club, Revolver is one of Berlin's biggest gay nights and has an edgy, cruisey vibe.

There's always plenty to, erm, see - and that's before you even get to the shows and go-go boys...

Berghain

The infamous east Berlin club's reputation for hedonism might seem intimidating, but the reality inside the former power plant is any but, with a non-judgemental and free-spirited atmosphere that's extended the venue's clientele far beyond its original LGBT beginnings.

Open all hours, the best to go join the neverending weekend party for gays is a Sunday afteroon, while the adjoining club Laborotory offers more X-rated delights for those so inclined.

Essays have been written on the club's notoriously unpredictable door policy (you might think it's hardened hipsters only, but we once saw a middle aged woman waltz in with several bags of groceries) but the inimitable atmosphere inside is more than worth the risk of being turned away.

Our advice? Wear something dark but casual, don't look intimidated - and most definitely don't act like a pissed-up Brit abroad in the queue.

WHEN TO GO

Whether you're after cosy German Christmas markets or scorching sunshine in the bars that line the banks of the River Spree, Berlin has plenty to offer all year round and is very much two different cities depending on the season.

That said, there's no better time to enjoy the liberated spirit of the city than during Berlin Gay Pride CSD, which takes place over the weekend of 27 July next year and will be preceded by the Lesbian & Gay City Festival 2019 from 20-21 July.

Tens of thousands of Berliners line the streets as the annual Christopher Street Day Parade winds its way towards the iconic Brandenburg Gate, where an all-day street party continues long into the night set against the magical canopies of Tiergarten.

WHERE TO STAY

The Pink Pillow Collection

When looking for accommodation in Berlin be sure to book one of the many hotels which make up part of Visit Berlin's Pink Pillow Collection; a fantastic initiative which ensures wherever you're staying is not just LGBT-friendly, but makes an extra effort to cater for LGBT guests and staff.

Member hotels are only given the rainbow stamp of approval after demonstrating that they are actively inclusive, contributing to local LGBT projects, and offering LGBT guests on-site information about the local scene.

Located in the bustling commercial district next to Berlin Zoo in West Berlin, Lindner Hotel An Ku'Damm offers slick and spacious rooms just a stone's throw from the leafy wonders of Tiergarten and cosy gay bars of Schöneberg.

As well as grand bathrooms which spill directly into cleverly appointed Business or First Class twin and double rooms, Linder also offer use of the neighbouring gym, where you can sweat off your hangover while enjoying stunning views of the western part of the city.

The hearty buffet breakfast can be enjoyed on the central outdoor terrace and is served til noon on weekends for late riders, so there'll be no worries about having to curtail your Big Night Out.

Linder also has an added string to its bow for summer Pride-goers: Located on the street where the annual cascade of floats begin the CSD Street parade, so enjoying the festivities from the off involves no more than stepping out the front door...

For more information on Berlin and the Pink Pillow Collection head to VisitBerlin.de