I don’t want to go into a history lesson here so I’ll just say that, since the wall came down in 1990, when we talk about Berlin now we talk about both East and West Berlin combined. However the city still has various districts and they are each as diverse as each other, but the news is that gay people are generally accepted in most of them and you can often see gay couples walking hand in hand and enjoying a relatively accepting society. This is particularly true in districts such as Kreuzberg, Schoneberg, Mitte and Friedrichshain. However if you travel to the eastern districts of the city there is a certain right wing element there which means you have to be more cautions and probably less public in your affections.
If you are visiting Berlin and are a bit of a culture vulture then you’ll be pleased to know there are many museums and galleries, plus the cathedrals and other architectural sites to visit. Including the Gay Museum which also has an archive of mainly English language and gay related books that you can browse, on site. schwulesmuseum.de is their website is you want to take a look.
But that might be jumping straight in; first you’ll need somewhere to base yourself for your visit. out-in-berlin.com/hotels has a comprehensive list of places to stay. This site is in German and English and you can easily follow the links to the individual hotels where you will find locations and prices to suit you. Staying with that site you’ll see lots of information about things to do after dark. There are many gay cafes, restaurants, bars and clubs in Berlin though no one area where you find them all together as as you might in say Soho, London or Canal Street Manchester, UK. That means there is no gay â€˜ghettoâ€™ and, some people think, this adds to the individuality of the city as each business does its own thing and each district has its own vibe.
Check out the Mitte (central) area of e city as this is where the trendy and the young hang out at the new and sleek Sony centre with free wi-fi, open air and crowded with hip tourists. The Maritim ProArte is a recommended hotel in this district, it features original artwork on each of its 11 floors and the nightlife of Schoneberg and Kreuzberg is only five minutes away by cab. In these areas you will find some of the oldest and most notorious of Berlin’s clubs, such as SO36 and Eldorado. There’s a saying that cameras are not allowed in many of Berlinâ€™s clubs for a reason and you can probably guess what that reason is!
But it’s not all sex clubs in Berlin, there are other, dance and chill out places too. It’s just that you might have to go searching for them. One of the biggest party nights in the city can be found at Club Weekend (week-end-berlin.de for up to date opening times) but it takes place in what looks like an office building. As gaytravelnews.com says, these wild clubs are often hidden in plain sight.
And staying with that site there’s some very handy tips on having a good time listed there. Such as: The various nights and dates of certain events can change and you need to be known to know where and when the party will be. Remember out-in-berlin.com which will have the details on the nightlife or nachtleben as the Germans call it. Also don’t forget the gay museum schwulesmuseum.de and the various cultural events that the city hosts including the Love Parade, a giant street party you’ll see loveparade.net. And as for getting there LTU offers nonstop flights from NY, LA and Las Vegas, see www.ltu.com/world.
As usual that’s only a quick dip into a huge city that is teaming with varied night (and day) life and loads of gay things to do and see. Check those websites, there are many more too if you use your search engine and keyword “gay Berlin” for example. But one thing is for sure: if you are planning a European vacation then Berlin needs to be on your itinerary.
LabOratory / Berghain
There are few gay nightlife experiences in the world that compare to LabOratory. If you are just visiting or a local, this is one gay nightlife spot that you must experience. Lab, as the locals call it, is probably not for the novice or faint at heart gay explorer.
Lab has a motto of“Anything goes” and a very cool location inside an old East Berlin power station. What an amazing atmosphere! It also houses Berghain and Panorama Bar (separate entrances). To get to Lab, walk by the hundreds of people trying to get into Berghain and go to a hidden entrance on the northern side of the building. Men play hardcore here so you may will catch yourself in the middle of cages, glory holes, slings, private areas/cabins, and dark rooms. On a place like this you can also expect to have access to showers, paper towels, free condoms and lube.
Make sure to check LabOratory’s website for specific themed parties. Each party has a special dress code that you should adhere to if you want to get in. Some of these parties sell out way in advance (if they are “ticket only”). Some don’t require advance purchase. Tip: Do not wear strong perfume. You will not be admitted. And obviously pictures are not allowed inside.
As you walk in, you are expected to get into your outfit which could be your birthday suit, sports clothes, rubber, jockstrap, leather. After that they will give you a bag for your “normal clothes”. You then check in the bag and they write a number on your shoulder. This number is used for billing your drinks at the bar. Friday nights are popular with 2 for 1 drinks and “no dress code required”.
You just hop on the subway to Ostbahnhof and walk for about 7 minutes or use an Uber Taxi since they don’t have Uber in Berlin. Address: Am Wriezener Bahnhof 1 Berlin
Upcoming circuit events in Berlin include the Hustlaball held in October at the Kit Kat Club. Gay pride comes around the end of every June with half a million people attending between Ku’damm and the Siegess.