A-Beginners-Guide-To-LGBTQ-Nightlife-In-Berlin

A Beginners Guide To LGBTQ Nightlife In Berlin

There’s something for everyone in the “poor but sexy” capital of Germany.

From the notorious party scene of the Golden Twenties to the fetish club nightlife of today, Berlin has long stood at the forefront of LGBTQ culture, providing a safe haven for people across the globe. Characterised by acceptance and diversity, Berlin’s nightlife rarely focuses on just one aspect of the LGBTQ experience, instead of celebrating queerness as a whole, but there’s still something for everyone, regardless of where your interests might lie.

Prince Charles

Prinzenstraße 85f, 10969 Berlin

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Berghain

Am Wriezener Bahnhof, 10243 Berlin

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Schwules Museum

Schwules Museum, Lützowstraße, Berlin, Germany

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Chantals House of Shame

Chantals House of Shame, Schönhauser Allee 176a, Berlin, 10119

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Griessmuehle

Griessmuehle, Sonnenallee 221, 12059 Berlin, Germany

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Zum Schmutzigen Hobby

Bar Zum schmutzigen Hobby, Revaler Str. 99, 10245 Berlin, Germany

Kit Kat Club

Kit Kat Club, Köpenicker Str. 76, 10179 Berlin, Germany

SchwuZ

SchwuZ, Rollbergstraße, Berlin, Germany

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Monster Ronson's Ichiban Karaoke

Monster Ronson's Ichiban Karaoke, Warschauer Str. 34, 10243 Berlin, Germany

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Roses

Roses, Oranienstraße 187, 10999 Berlin, Germany

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Möbel Olfe

Möbel Olfe, Reichenberger Str. 177, 10999 Berlin, Germany

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Sudblock

Südblock, Admiralstraße 1-2, 10999 Berlin, Germany

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Facciola

Facciola, Forster Str. 5, 10999 Berlin, Germany

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Connection Club

Connection Club, Fuggerstraße 33, 10777 Berlin, Germany

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Bars

The first destination for LGBTQ tourists is usually Nollendorfplatz and for good reason too. Since the world’s first gay demonstration was held there in 1922, the Schöneberg Kiez has historically been the centre of queer activity in Berlin thanks to a wide range of gay-owned bars – and it even contains the city’s biggest darkroom in Connection Club. It’s easy to just pop over for a few hours and end up bar-hopping the entire night away in a glitzy, rainbow-fuelled bender.

 

 

However, much has changed in Germany’s capital since reunification and now LGBTQ party locations can be enjoyed across Berlin in almost every neighborhood. Chief among these is Kreuzberg, which plays host to venues like the lesbian-owned wine bar called Facciola and the Südblock space at Kottbusser Tor. Both provide a genuine local experience while hosting a number of queer events that appeal across the spectrum. These include Queerblock with its focus on female hip-hop and meet-ups for the disabled community.

 

 

That’s not all Kotti has to offer though. The bar Möbel Olfe should be a mandatory stop on any night out thanks to its quirky furnishings and the kind of chilled vibes that welcome crowds both straight and gay. Trust us when we say that you’ll end up there anyway after a few minutes chatting to someone local on Tinder, so you might as well seek it out first and see for yourself why gays from far and wide love to date there.

 

 

If you can tear yourself away from there for long, walk on over a few minutes to another legendary nightlife spot, Roses, which is possibly the kitschiest place in all of Germany. One satisfied customer recently described their first visit as something akin to “walking into a tacky vagina”. Whether you can relate to that experience or not, it’s hard to deny that this perfectly sums up the kind of debaucherous fun that a night out in Roses can bring.

 

 

No matter what day of the week it is, be it a Friday night, Sunday afternoon or even just a casual Tuesday, there’s always somewhere to celebrate any hedonistic yearnings that you might desire. The aforementioned bars are pretty much open all weekend and throughout the week too, but at some point, you should also head on over to one of Berlin’s many, many LGBTQ clubs where the dress code is always casual, unless, of course, there’s no dress code at all. As any local knows, there’s nothing more freeing than a clothes optional party in Berlin, even in winter.

Clubs

As you might imagine, every kind of party you could hope for can be found here in Berlin, whether you’re looking for a techno mecca like Berghain, the fetish thrills of Gegen at Kit Kat Club or the camp delights of SchwuZ, which puts on a Divas night every month to celebrate music royalty. Somehow book your flights to accommodate the regular Madonnamania party if you want to enjoy an entire night dedicated solely to the Queen of Pop.

 

 

Those who are serious about trying to get into Berghain should brush up on their German and rock up on a Sunday morning to avoid the eternal queues. It’s not easy, but it’s more than worth the effort. You’ll never forget your first night in this hedonistic paradise and if the industrial decor or numerous dark rooms aren’t to your liking, they even sell ice cream to enjoy on your way to the dance floor.

 

 

However, if you’re on the hunt for a more intimate clubbing experience, you should also consider Zum Schmutzigen Hobby in Friedrichshain. Although it’s rather on the small side and the heat in summer can transform the club into a literal sweatbox, the fabulous music and schlocky atmosphere are equally welcoming to locals, tourists and celebrities alike. Another big draw is the surprising lack of queues outside, something which might appeal particularly when the harsh Berlin winter kicks in.

 

 

It’s impossible to list all of the best queer clubs that Berlin has to offer and this, in turn, is part of the city’s appeal, but we’d also be remiss to ignore other standout parties like Cocktail d’Amore at Griessmuehle, Pornceptual at Prince Charles and drag Thursdays at Chantals House of Shame. While the music might vary from club to club, each is worth partying the whole weekend away for, surrounded by cheap drinks and all of the sweaty queers that you could ask for. After your first visit any one of these places, you’ll never want to see daylight again.

Alternative Queer Spaces

Like most cities, the LGBTQ nightlife in Berlin still revolves predominantly around gay men, but unlike any other city, there are plenty out there fighting for this to change, including the Room 4 Resistance collective, which strives to celebrate intersectionality and build safe spaces for queer femme and non-binary people. Look online for events organised by them on a monthly basis.

Long before Rupauls Drag Race found a mainstream audience, Berlin’s very own drag scene added even more variety to the city’s nightlife and continues to do so today. Neukölln, in particular, is a growing hotspot for the drag scene with artsy bars. In fact, you won’t find a friendlier space in all of Berlin and after one visit here, you might even be tempted to try out drag for yourself too.

 

 

If you do want to join in and perform on stage, then we also recommend you check out the queer-friendly programme at Monster Ronson’s Ichiban Karaoke in Friedrichshain. Here, you can sing privately in karaoke booths or snatch wigs live on stage with public renditions of your favourite pop hits. Oh, and yes, don’t worry. Britney’s entire discography is accounted for. We already did the hard work and sang them all ready for you.

If you need a break from all this but still want to keep things LGBTQ, there are also plenty of world-class saunas and walking tours, as well as the world’s first museum devoted exclusively to queer history. Once you’re done with Schwules Museum, you can then go out and make some history of your own by soaking up everything that the LGBTQ nightlife of Berlin has to offer.

 

Cover Picture Courtesy of Jörg Wendt-Gaudreault (Flickr Creative Commons)

David Opie is a British journalist who has taught English in Korea, written about movies in Germany and eaten Spätzle in Austria.
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