Berlin is one of the most gay-friendly cities in the world. A vast and diverse set of gay scenes, thoughtful civic amenities and tourist-friendly pricing make Germany’s capital a popular destination. The city is a mecca, and not only for gay people. Berlin also boasts an openly gay mayor, Klaus Wowereit, elected in 2001, now in his second term.
Prices here are reasonable compared to other European capitals, but catching up. Still, people from other EU countries and beyond are flocking in, creating an ever-more-cosmopolitan ambiance. English is firmly established as the second language of most people, especially in the west, so English-only tourists will have little trouble communicating.
Berlin’s — and the country’s — most notable monument is the Brandenburg Gate. Restored over a two-year period, starting in 2000, this iconic structure, located west of the city centre, served as the entrance to the city palace of the Prussian monarchs. The square immediately behind, Pariser Platz, is home to embassies and the luxurious Hotel Adlon Kempinski, which offers a two-star Michelin restaurant, a luxury spa and an outdoor terrace overlooking the gate. Sunday brunch is a sublime culinary experience.
Located in the middle of the Spree River, which flows through the city center, is the famous Museum Island, consisting of five internationally significant museums: the Old Museum, the Old National Gallery, the Bode Museum, the New Museum and the Pergamon Museum. The entire complex, worth a trip for the buildings themselves, was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999. Once you get through the extensive collections, or if you need to rest, you can escape by way of the charming cobblestone paths to the island’s hidden gardens, quality restaurants and boutiques to recharge.
Look no further than KaDeWe for your shopping pleasure. Located in the city center, close to the Wittenbergplatz U-Bahn station, KaDeWe is Continental Europe’s largest department store. In addition to the usual retail departments, the upper floors offer a wide variety of gourmet foods and tempting buffet selections to tuck into. The surrounding area features an array of exquisite shops, wonderful restaurants and quaint parkettes. Other shopping districts include Alexanderplatz, Friedrichstraße, Hackescher Markt, Kurfürstendamm, Tauentzienstraße, Spandau Old Town, Schlossstraße and Schönhauser Allee. Flea markets are also very popular and can be found throughout the city.
Gay life is easily found in the Schöneberg, Friedrichshain, Kreuzberg, and Prenzlauer Berg neighborhoods. Best known to tourists are the quiet tree-lined streets of Schöneberg, a little south of the area between Wittenbergplatz and Nollendorfplatz U-Bahn stations. It has a well-established, multifaceted gay community, and you’ll often see same-sex affection and leathermen in full regalia alongside families and kids on bikes. It is also the location of the big summer street events: the Stadtfest lesbian and gay festival and the Christopher Street Day celebrations.
Many of the gay bars, clubs and shops are located in Schöneberg. Christopher Isherwood, who wrote so evocatively of Berlin, lived in this neighborhood (at Nollendorfstraße 17) more than 70 years ago. As in other German cities, the straight folks blend right in. A few minutes’ walk from Nollendorfplatz station Mann-O-Meter is a queer community center with information on gay Berlin.
The U-Bahn (U2) will take you from Schöneberg to Eberswalder Straße and Schönhauser Allee stations, in what was once East Berlin. Around and between the two stations, the Prenzlauer Berg district is full of interesting sights. East German gay society emerged from an alternative art and political milieu, which came of age under the old regime behind the wall. The district retains, almost a generation later, a distinct appearance and atmosphere from that of the former West Berlin. There are gay sex shops, saunas, restaurants and bars here, but gay sensibilities and perspectives owe less to American and Western European models than to their own historical roots.
Kreuzberg and Friedrichshain districts also have an alternative feel and are growing in popularity with gay people looking for lower housing prices and a more multicultural mix. Some of the biggest dance clubs are located here, along with plenty of small neighborhood party bars and men's haunts, including the most recent sauna opening.
There are many beautiful parks scattered throughout Berlin, not least the cruisy Tiergarten, where one can enjoy the summer sunshine without a stitch on and raise nary an eyebrow — not surprising in one of the most gay-friendly cities in the world. There’s a network of public swimming pools with saunas, water cascades, and wave makers. In winter they provide a warm and cozy indoor retreat. In summer, open-air pools and lakes offer relief from hot weather. For info on pools see Berliner Bäder. For nudist-friendly times at the pools, look for the “FKK” designation.
The two Berlin airports Schönefeld and Tegel will eventually be replaced by Berlin Brandenburg, expanding the area where Schönefeld is now. Re-scheduled several times since 2012, their website is not now giving an opening date, but probably it won't be before 2014. See Berlin Airports for more information. In the meantime there is easy and inexpensive public transit access from Schönefeld by S-Bahn (S9) into town, or to switch to the U-Bahn for your final destination. From Tegel there are easy buses connections direct to Zoo Station (Zoologischer Garten) on routes X29 or 109. Tickets can be good for transfers to a train, tram or bus.
Long-distance rail lines connect Berlin with all of major German cities and many more in neighboring countries. Regional rail lines provide access to the surrounding regions of Brandenburg and to the Baltic Sea. From Hauptbahnhof, Berlin's main station, Deutsche Bahn operates trains to domestic and international destinations.
For bus/coach services to and from Berlin, see the many companies operating out of the Zentraler Omnibusbahnhof or ZOB, a short walk from either the Kaiserdamm Süd U-Bahn, or the Berlin Messe Nord S-Bahn stations.
The S- and U-Bahn public transit networks are part of a unified fare system, but with different operators. Run by DB, the S-Bahn has 15 lines across and around Berlin. Along with the mostly underground U-Bahn trains of BVG, (also with buses and trams), they form the backbone of Berlin's public transit system.
Full single trip fares cost €2.60 for trips within the central AB zones, with 2 hours of access on any train and/or bus combination (except round-trips). Short trip tickets (3 stations or less) cost just €1.50. You can also buy a 4 full-fare ticket pack for €8.80. Pay in machines (multi-language instructions) on the platform or at station kiosks. Validate your ticket in one of the little yellow boxes nearby, before boarding the train, and hold it until leaving the system in case you're asked to show it.
Day tickets cost €6.70 - good until 3am the day after you first use the ticket. Seven consecutive day tickets (from day of validation) cost €28.80, ending on the seventh day at midnight. Dogs, except those carried in a lap pet container, must be leashed, muzzled and have a ticket costing €1.60. Fines of €40 may be imposed on anyone within the station platform area without a valid ticket.
The Welcome Card premium ticket provides unlimited travel for 48 hours (€18.50), 72 hours (€25.50) or 5 days (€32.50) with all public transport services in the city (AB zones), plus up to 50% discounts on 200 tourist highlights. See Visit Berlin for more information.
Berlin, with a system of roughly 620km of bike lanes, has about half a million daily bike riders. Bike rentals run €8-12 per day from shops and hotels all over town. One of the big outifts, with a choice of 6 models, BerlinBke rents for €10/day or €50/week. Bicycles may be taken on marked cars of the S-Bahn, U-Bahn and tram for an extra €1.70. If you need someone else to do the work, see the guys with pedi-cabs at BikeTaxi. Their website is German-only, but you can usually see one waiting at places like Potsdammer Platz or Checkpoint Charlie.
In Germany for awhile and want to see the whole country? Consider the German Rail Pass to use the entire DB Bahn network for for 3 to 7 or 10 days within a month starting at 193 Euros. The pass also provides free travel on some Rhine and Moselle River boats, plus shopping discounts.
Media & Resources
Local gay magazines such as Siegessaeule (their Out In Berlin website has an English option), and Blu, have maps, business and events listings along with articles and photos of the scene here.
Du&Ich is a national gay glossy, and L.Mag is a lesbians' publication with news, events and lifestyle articles.
Gay Schöneberg has updated listings and links to all the gay places on this side of town.
Disco Damaged website has up-to-date nightly gay bar events, and upcoming party listings, in English.
BerlinBear website has the scoop on where the bears are gathering in Berlin and other German cities, with weekly listings for the bars, plus special events.
The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence or Orden der Schwestern der Perpetuellen Indulgenz, the local queer nuns, do volunteer community work, spread universal joy and expiate stigmatic guilt, giving hugs and blessings, distributing safer sex material and raising funds for those with HIV/ AIDS.
Manometer (Bülowstraße 106), is the local GLBT community, health and information center, at Nollendorfplatz U-Bahn station.
Tip Magazine lists all the city nightlife, concerts, films, television and events each week, in their print and online versions.
Good Food in Berlin is an English-language restaurant guide to the city. Gastroshot and GastronomieGuide have A-Z listings of restaurants in Berlin and other cities, in German.
Visit Berlin is the official city tourism site, with lots of information, in a dozen languages. The official BerlinCity site also has an introduction and a guide to the city, in eight languages.
For internet access or cheap international calls without your own computer, pad or phone, the long-time Nollendorferplatz shop, previously on the corner near Goya, moved to Maasenstrasse 10, across from Cafe Berio. For copying and printing services see the CopyCenter (Ansbacher Straße 8) in Wittenbergplatz.
Schöneberg Postbank/Post Office locations include: Joachimstaler Str 41 (at Kantstrasse near Zoologischer Garten); Kleistrasse 23-26 (at Martin-Luther-Straße near Wittenbergplatz); and Potsdamer Straße 134 (near Kurfürstenstraße U-Bahn).
For map locations and website links to businesses listed below, see our gay Berlin listings pages.
Art Hotel Connection (Fuggerstraße 33), above Prinzknecht and Connection clubs, is minutes walk from Wittenbergplatz and other neighborhood bars. They have 15 newly renovated rooms, wide-screen televisions, DVD-players, laptop safes, Wi-Fi andiPhone docking stations. Breakfast is served on request 8am-4pm. For those a little kinkier they rent a toy-filled SM playroom.
For the upscale gay traveler, the elegant, stylish and comfortable Axel Hotel Berlin (Lietzenburger Straße 13/15) is close to everything in the Shöneberg area. They also now have a Hamburger Mary's restaurant with daily buffet breakfast, lunch, dinner until 11pm, sky bar vistas and weekend drag shows.
Gay-owned, straight-friendly, the Arco Hotel (Geisbergstraße 30) turn-of-the-century building has 23 rooms with private baths or showers, phone, and cable TV, near the gay hangouts, the famous Ku'damm, and Wittenbergplatz. Rates are moderate and include breakfast buffet from 8-11am -- in the breakfast room or outside in the garden. For laptop luggers, there's Wi-Fi throughout the hotel, and they'll rent you a machine if you're traveling light.
Frauenhotel. Artemisia (Brandenburgische Straße 18, K'damm), women-only hotel, moderate rates, sun deck, breakfast, women's art displays, WiFi.
RoB Berlin Leather Apartments (Fuggerstraße 19), has private fetish playrooms, PCs, DVD players, and guest discounts at their leather store.
Tom's Hotel (Motzstraße 19), at the heart of everything in Shöneberg, offers apatments for singles from €45 per night and doubles from €55, plus doubles' rooms from €99, all with TV, DVD player, free Wi-Fi, and private bathroom. Tim and Mario are wonderful hosts, and guests receive discounts from many local gay businesses.
Tom's Hotel Gay Hostel (Motzstraße 28) has modern and immaculate single, double and shared rooms at the center of everything at fabulous rates from €22 per bed a night. Television, storage lockers, towel and linen, fridges, microwaves, free coffee and W-iFi are provided.
Schall Und Rauch (Gleimstraße 23) just off Schönhauser Allee, Prenzlauer Berg is where many Brits and North Americans, curious about the old GDR and East Berlin like to stay for a taste of more laid-back lifestyles and youthful energy. An inexpensive pension of seven rooms, each with bathroom, shower, and internet access, they also have one of the area's hippest bars and restaurants street level (see below). City Guesthouse Pension (Gleimstrasse 24) is next door, with large comfortable rooms, all with TV and bath.
All the gay options full up? The family-run Hotel Ambiente (Gossowstraße 11) with moderate prices, the old-world style BB Hotel Berlin (Fuggerstrasse 13), and the Sachsenhof Hotel Berlin (Motzstraße 7) are mixed but gay-friendly alternatives in Schöneberg, convenient to all the bars and restaurants.
See links for these and more hotels at our map & listings tab.
Ebab and RoomGallery both list GLBT-friendly accommodations in Berlin and elsewhere in Germany - book online too.
For those on tight budgets, or travelling in groups, HostelBookers lists of dozens of hostels with beds as low as €8 per night in 4 to 8-man dorms, private single rooms from around €20 (higher Fridays and Saturdays) and private doubles or quads for a bit more. Establishments range from small and homey, to alternative and funky, to huge ultra-modern complexes with bars, restaurants, movies and games rooms. Bathrooms and showers can be like those at the old YMCA, and the majority of guests are young men, but older people and women mix right in. Some places have female-only dorm options.
WG-Gesucht lists sublet apartments, a long-time rental tradition here for people who head out of town for weekends, weeks or sometimes months. Costs can usually beat the price of either hotels or hostels, and you have all the comforts of home. Pick up an inexpensive cell phone (about €30) to give out in your e-mail enquiries and make the search process easier (local incoming calls are free).
- bars, cafes, & dining
Berliners party hard and late, and while many bars seldom get busy before midnight, some start earlier, building a crowd by eight or nine o'clock. But with no regulated times for bar closings there isn't a rush, so events can take their own course.
Café Adam (Kleiststraße 7), 24-hour gay cafe, bar; summer patio cocktails and BBQ, TV sports and events, smokers area.
Cafe Berio (Maassenstraße 7, Nollendorfplatz), locals' favorite with sidewalk tables, see and be seen by passers-by any warm afternoon or evening over Ice cream, pastries or morning breakfast coffee. Now open 24-hours a day.
Der Neue Oldtimer (Lietzenburger Straße 12), locals' bar, regular mixed gay crowd, near Axis Hotel.
Die Kleine Philharmonie (Schaperstraße 14, Wilmersdorf), neighborhood piano bar, jazz nights, vocalists, theater skits, writers' nights.
Dreizehn (Welserstraße 27), small gay pub near Axel Hotel, open daily from 10am to open-end late; mostly older guys.
Fritz & Co., the rainbow-flag adorned stand for quick currywurst and french fries, by Wittenbergplatz U-bahn on the way to Shöneberg.
Hafen (Motzstraße 19), cavorting for years, good vibes from owners, staff and customers, easy conversations with strangers, wild DJs, drag shows, performances, games, and special events.
Hamburger Mary's (Lietzenburger Straße 15), Berlin branch of American gay hamburger chain at Axel Hotel, daily buffet breakfast, lunch, dinner until 11pm; sky bar wine, beer and cocktails, Friday/Saturday drag shows.
HarDie's Kneipe (Ansbacher Straße 29), long-time locals' gay neighborhood bar, men/women mix; cafe drinks, cake/ torte snacks.
Heile Welt (Motzstraße 5), fun-loving and friendly crowd, cute bartenders are smiley and fluent with the fluids. Outdoor seating, weather-permitting. Busy front bar, upscale modern lounge extends far into rear. Wednesday through Sunday casual cruising.
Incognito (Hohenstaufenstraße 53), small neighborhood gay locals' party bar, older men/women mix, holiday specials, drag shows.
K6 (Kleiststraße 3-6), cheap drinks, laid-back old-fashioned vibe, older crowd, large beer garden, drag shows, men/women, dancing, Schlager to Pop music.
Lieblingsbar (Eisenacher Straße 3), new gay party bar, theme parties, live music, drag shows.
More Cafe (Motzstraße 28), restaurant and bar, busy afternoons/late evenings; creative and delicious breakfast, lunch, Sunday 10am-4pm brunch buffet, dinner daily; generous portions. Leisurely afternoon tea, coffee, drinks at the bar or sidewalk tables, heated on cool days.
Neues Ufer (Hauptstraße 157), laid-back gay cafe/bar, sidewalk tables, breakfast to late-night drinks.
Pizza Luna (Martin-Luther-Straße 21), great little pizza and pasta place on busy corner; chicken, filets, stroganoff and more. Take-out, deliveries, open until 4am on weekends.
Pussy Cat (Kalckreuthstraße 7), neighborhood women's bar, open 6pm-6am.
Romeo und Romeo (Motzstraße 20), gay coffeehouse, coffees, drinks, snacks, cakes on busy corner in building with long gay history; eat here/ take-out. Former Eldorado location.
Zsa Zsa Burger (Motzstraße 28), 21 varieties of specialty/artisan 200g burgers, soups, salads, desserts, full bar.
- men's turf
Many are the opportunities for sex in Berlin clubs. Besides the video arcade options and backroom or cellar dark rooms, many bars and dance clubs have naked nights and sex parties to surprise and delight North Americans accustomed to more regulation. Sexual opportunities are so common as to be unremarkable here, and even in the kinkier, serious fetish venues, it's usually playful and casual.
Ajpnia (Eisenach Straße 23) casual sex parties for regular guys, Wednesday - Saturdays, naked & pos nights.
Apollo Splash Club (Kurfurstenstraße 101), large men's steam/sauna, whirlpool, foam, cabins, darkroom/maze, cruise area, massage services, bar.
Blond (Eisenacher Straße 3a), bright open bar, sidewalk tables serving breakfast mornings 10am; cocktails afternoons and late into evening, younger crowd, free Wi-Fi.
Blue Boy (Eisenacher Straße 3a), doorman buzz-in, late-night hustler bar, friendly diverse multinational mix of young and old -- not just a pick up bar (that too) but social hang-out too.
Böse Buben (Sachsendamm 76-77), butt-play sex club, spanking and naked parties, leather/fetish S/M, rubber and sports nights.
Bull (Kleiststraße 35), 24/7/365 men-only afterhours fetish and sex playspace/ darkroom; special parties.
CDL Bar/Lounge Club (Hohenstaufenstraße 58), men's sex club/bar, naked, jock, and underwear nights, open-end nightly hours, live porn sex events, slings, cells, mask and shoes only events.
Connection (Fuggerstraße 33), long-time gay-favorite dance and cruise club, good sound system, international DJs, special event shower shows. Connection/Garage shop, cruise cinema, and basement darkroom maze.
Jaxx (Motzstraße 19), porn cinema, cruising area, darkroom; erotic shop toys, accessories, magazines, newspapers, books and guides, DVD rentals and sales.
Mutschmann's (Martin-Luther-Straße 19), serious leather-and-fetish men-only bar with dedicated following. Large cruising area, late-night busy backroom; naked sex parties. Popular Wednesday no dress code 2-4-1 happy hours.
New Action (Kleiststraße 35), sex club, kinky fetish men-only crowd, casual to strict dresscode events; action continues until 7am on Fridays and Saturdays.
Pinocchio (Fuggerstraße 3), cozy and sociable tiny nook, sidewalk tables share overflow from Tabasco next door.
Prinzknecht (Fuggerstraße 33), sidewalk seating and indoor darkrooms, original art on the walls. Wednesday sunset two-for-one 7-9pm happy hours attract big spill-onto-street crowd.
Reizbar (Motzstraße 30), men's cruise bar, naked, erotic and fetish events, fog and dark areas; bukkake, spanking, dancing, theme parties.
Scheune (Motzstraße 25), longtime favorite for butch men and admirers. Leather and uniform, though popular, not strictly enforced. Cruisy video bar and downstairs darkroom. Naked safe-sex Sunday parties on Sundays, special events throughout the year.
Tabasco (Fuggerstraße 3), self-proclaimed "hustler bar," pool games, heavy eye-contact. Friendly doorman keeps an eye on things to keep trouble away or arrange meetings for those too shy or without language skills. International mix, special event strip shows, good weather sidewalk seating.
Tom's Bar (Motzstraße 19), famous for heavy rear darkroom action, cruisy vibe, DJ sets/parties, hot videos, horny male crowd.
Tramps (Eisenacher Straße 6). neighborhood men's bar with early opening hours.
Woof (Fuggerstraße 37) is home to the German Mr. Leather events, and pulls a good crowd of leather and fetish guys and bears most every night. Regular naked parties take place Thursdays and Sundays.
The Tiergarten (park) is not far away, and near the Siegessaeule (Victory Column) there's a legendary cruising spot and nude sunbathing. There's also action around the Lowenbrucke (Lion Bridge).
Schöneberg - shopping & services
Bodyworker (Nollendorfstraße 26) offers man-to-man, hand's-on work with sensitive erotic techniques and tantric traditions; massage that's both turn-on and deeply relaxing physical therapy.
Boys-r-us ( Maaßenstraße 8), men's fashion store in Nollendorfplatz with all the top brand names.
Brunos (Bulowstraße 106, Nollendorfplatz), a giant block-long store, one of several in Germany from the publishers of Spartacus travel guides and the Bruno Gmunder photo books, magazines, and calendars. They also carry porn DVDs, books, and magazines from far and wide. A second Bruno's Berlin store is in Prenzlauer Berg (Schoenhauser Allee 131).
Centro Delfino (Nollendorfstraße 20), relaxing physiotherapy, Swedish, Ayurveda, and Shiatsu procedures among others, classic whole-body oil massages.
Galerie Janssen (Pariser Straße 45), men's gallery of imagery, large assortment of gay video DVDs, photo books, magazines, and cards spanning a wider and deeper range of male erotic themes than found most anywhere else -- from art to raunch, several eras, for many varied tastes.
Garage Store and Movies (Fuggerstraße 33), leather ("hard and not-so-hard wear") clothing and accessories, plus flicks. Erotic video arcade of international porn movies, along with other diversions such as subterranean labyrinth, one of the best in the city, for rapid relief.
Gear (Kalckreuthstraße 13) owner Rob and his staff are outgoing and helpful at this central, spacious, comfortable store. They stock an imaginative line of leather, rubber, and urban sports wear, footwear and accessories, plus cards and photo books.
Military Store (Eisenacher Straße 114), military surplus store, provocative display windows, clothing, accessories, gear.
Mister B (Motzstraße 22) -- the leather, rubber, and accessories store with roots in Amsterdam. From cockrings to leather chaps, all the famous, well-designed Mister B items, plus cards, videos, and magazines of interest, plus their own brand of lubes and slippery sex-enhancers. Sponsors of leather/fetish "Perverts" parties -- large affairs twice a year. See Perverts, or stop by the Mister B store for tickets.
Prinz Eisenherz Motzstraße 23), now on the gay block near Nollendorfplatz, large gay-and-lesbian bookstore, friendly, English-speaking employees; local gay press and maps, large assortment of gay books of every kind, magazines, videos, postcards, and photography from world-over. Good English language section, espresso coffee bar.
RoB Berlin (Fuggerstraße 19), another Amsterdam transplant to Berlin, store full of leather clothing and accessories, helpful and engaging staff, apartments for rent.
Nearby sex video arcades and sales outlets include: City Men (Fuggerstraße 26), Duplexx (Martin-Luther-Straße 14), and Pool (Schaperstraße 11). Out a bit from the center there's Maze World (Kurfurstenstraße 79).
Heading east - Prenzlauer Berg / Friedrichshain / Kreuzberg
Prenzlauer Berg & Mitte - bars, cafes
The large district to the northeast of Schöneberg was once in East Berlin behind the wall. It's easily accessible by U2 trains and has lots of sidewalk cafes, restaurants, little shops and a fair number of gay businesses to explore.
Besenkammer (Rathausstraße 1, Alexanderplatz) small neighborhood gay bar since GDR days, inexpensive drinks prices.
Betty F*** Bar (Mulackstraße 13, Mitte), cosy, open-minded hideaway bar; mixed people, kitchy drag parties, mixed drinks/cocktails and "Kölsch" beer from Cologne. Open daily 9pm-late.
Flax (Chodowieckistraße 41, Prenzlauer Berg), fun young crowd, Wednesday pasta buffets, topless service-boy Fridays, big Sunday brunch buffetS. First Fridays each month karaoke party for younger guys.
Marienhof Bar & Cafe (Marienburger Straße 7, Prenzlauer Berg), Pop & Schlager party bar, shows, BINGO, terrace seating, theme nights, young gay mix.
Naherholung Sternchen (Berolinastraße 7, Mitte), old GDR bar, new ArtSpace, events venue: comedy nights (in English), film, concert performances.
Nina Queer “Irrenhouse” at Comet Club (Falckensteinstraße 47, Kreuzberg), Nina Queers' drag show and party night, from 11pm each third Saturday.
Perle (Sredzkistrasse 64, Prenzlauer Berg), cozy neighborhood bar, Mediterranean bar food snacks, classic and creative fruit juice cocktails.
Privatleben (Rhinower Straße 12, Prenzlauer Berg), relaxed atmosphere gay bar, men and women mix.
Schall Und Rauch (Gleimstraße 23, Prenzlauer Berg), guesthouse, restaurant, sidewalk cafe/bar. Menu to please all, including vegetarians. Weekend/holiday breakfast buffets, daily noon lunch, daily specials, tea-time pastries and 20 kinds of tea. Typisch Deutsch specials, good old fashioned German fare; over 100 cocktails, special holiday celebrations.
Sharon Stonewall (Kleine Präsidentenstraße 3, Mitte) - CLOSED - gay bar at the center, well-balanced mix of gay men and lesbians.
Sonntags Club (Greifenhagener Straße 28, Prenzlauer Berg) bar and cafe is also a meeting house that dates from the GDR days, and retains some of that ambience still.
Stiller Don (Erich-Weinert-Straße 67, Prenzlauer Berg), charming relic of old GDR days, plush chintz decor, gay/bi boys mix, old-time jazz night.
Prenzlauer Berg - men's turf
Several area shops, bars, clubs and tubs are male territory.
Bärenhöhle (Schoenhauser Allee 90), cozy cave for bears, many years providing comfort and converstation space for a broad cross-section of guys, expecially those big friendly ursine ones.
Cocks (Greifenhagener Straße 33) - CLOSED - men's sex club, naked, underwear, and masked party nights.
Darkroom (Rodenbergstraße 23) cruisy neighborhood bar option, video arcade, DVD store, sex parties, naked/ underwear nights, dark room.
Gate Sauna (Wilhelmstraße 81), just 300 meters from the Brandenburg Gate, the other bathhouse on the east side, cozy, intimate, often frequented by bears and their cubs.
Greifbar (Wichertstraße 10), men's cruise bar with sexually charged atmosphere, porn videos, DJ sets.
Leathers (Schliemannstraße 38), leather clothing & accessories, erotic shop, online sales.
Stahlrohr 2.0 (Paul-Robeson-Straße 50), diverse, uninhibited sex and fetish parties; men's sex party bar, underwear, naked, sports, sneakers and BJ nights.
XXL-Berlin (Bornholmer Straße 7), video arcade, sex shop, DVD sales, cruise area.
Friedrichshain / Kreuzberg / Neukölln bars & cafes
Besides the big dance venues, the area has several smaller gay clubs to check out:
Arman (Mehringdamm 45, Kreuzberg), casual young international mix, Indian meat or veggie meals, good prices, brunch, cocktail happy hours.
Barbiebar (Mehringdamm 77), cafe and bar, home-style fresh cakes and cookies, coffee drinks, cocktails.
The Club (Bieber Straße 14, Neukölln), queer bar, art exhibits, music concerts, poetry readings and drag shows on front room stage, living-room style back lounge.
Drama (Mehringdamm 63, Kreuzberg), cafe and bar with gay and alternative artsy crowd and 1920's vibe.
Herz (Weichselstraße 15, Neukölln), new women's and queer alternative bar, casual ambience space, with films/videos, various gatherings and music events.
Möbel Olfe (Reichenberger Straße 177, Kreuzberg), coffee, juice spritzers, young hip crowd comes late, big on Thursdays, music, strong vodkas, Polish beers.
Monster Ronson's Ichiban Karaoke (Warschauerstraße 34, Friedrichshain), karaoke bar in several rooms, seven private karaoke cabins, gay and alternative young mixed crowd.
Rauschgold (Mehringdamm 62, Kreuzberg), mixed neighbourhood party bar, drag cabaret shows, early before-the-clubs warmup crowd.
Roses Bar (Oranienstraße 187, Kreuzberg), small bar, kitschy faded glamour decor, mixed local & international crowd.
Sanatorium (Frankfurter Allee 23), gay café/bar lounge, DJ music, games, party nights.
Serene Bar (Schwiebusserstraße 2, Kreuzberg), women's neighborhood bar, "Girl's Dance" every Saturday.
Silver Future (Weserstraße 206, Hermannplatz), locals' bar for "Kings & Queens & Criminal Queers" - as they put it; film screenings, craft beers.
Sofia (Wrangelstraße 93, Kreuzberg), gay neighborhood party bar, playful drag shows, theme events.
Südblock (Admiralstraße 1-2, Kreuzberg), new queer/str8 mixed locals' day cafe/ night karaoke bar; poetry readings, accoustic concerts, eclectic and unusual music mixes.
Suicide Circus (Revaler Straße 99, Wegbeschreibung), Wednesday - Sunday dance parties, performances, artists, bar & bar-b-ques.
Suzie Fu (Flughafenstraße 25, Neukölln), near Templehof Field, informal lesbian crowd, home-style stews and snacks, beer and coffee, WiFi.
Friedrichshain / Kreuzberg - men's turf
There's outdoor cruising at Friedrichshain's Volkspark around the Marchenbrunnen (water-fountain area), both day and night, but be cautious after dark. A half dozen indoor men's meeting places are scattered around the districts.
Boiler Sauna (Mehringdamm 34, Kreuzberg), modern new sauna facilities, cafe/bar, massage services. YoungStars 2nd and 4th Wednesdays for ages 18-28.
Club Culture Houze (Gorlitzer Straße 71, Kreuzberg), erotic playground for just about any taste, or gender; men-only Naked Sex Mondays.
Ficken 3000 (Urbanstraße 70, Kreuzberg), near Volkspark, a sparky little bar, also with darkroom sexual adventures.
Grosse Freiheit 114 (Boxhagener Straße 114, Friedrichshain), popular gay drinkers' pub, darkroom cruising 'til dawn Tuesdays-Sundays; mix of types/ages male crowd.
Lab.oratory (Am Wriezener Bahnhof, Friedrichshain), gay bar and sex club where few acts are left unexplored. Naked, fetish and piss nights; also monthly crossover party with mixed genders, DJs and live action.
Quälgeist (Mehringdamm 51, rear), men's S&M leather/rubber fetish sex playspace; St Andrew’s Cross, cages, rack, wall bars, hoists/ pulleys, hanging cage, slings and more.
Triebwerk (Urbanstraße 64, Kreuzberg), gay sex club/bar on two floors with DJs, darkroom, St. Andrew's Cross, video cabins, sling, and naked sex parties over 250 times per year.
For film lovers Berlin has lots to offer.
Arsenal (Potsdamer Straße 2, Potsdamer Platz) has a focus on independent and experimental film, with screenings, lectures, workshops, plus a gallery and archives.
Berlinale is the Berlin International Film Festival, a huge affair with screenings in two dozen venues around town of around 400 films each year, of every genre, length and format.
The CineStar IMAX, at the Sony Center in Potsdamer Platz, screens mainstream films in their original languages -- which usually means English.
Deutsche Kinomatik, also at the Sony Center in Potsdamer Platz; permanent exhibitions on German film history and German television, plus special exhibitions.
Gay-Filmnacht, is an ongoing series of gay film nights at Cinemaxx Potsdamer Platz; see the website for upcoming screenings in Berlin and 20 more German cities.
Hollywood in Berlin is a walking tour with an insider's perspective, of the city as backdrop for blockbuster movies with stars such as Liza Minnelli, Matt Damon and Tom Cruise.
Videodrom - Filmkunst Videothek (Friesenstraße 11, Kreuzberg), DVD and BLU-RAY video rental store, vast selections, mostly foreign-language films --read: English-language films or German/other with English subtitles.
Videothek Negativeland - Das Filmarchiv (Danziger Straße 41, Prenzlauer Berg), 17,000 DVD and VHS video rentals, 500 director sections, classics, documentaries, music, movies; wide international selection includes rare titles from era of GDR and other Easter Bloc countries. Player rentals too.
PornFilmFestival Berlin takes place each October; see their website for schedules.
Berlin's Gay/Lesbian cinema Xenon Kino (Kolonnenstraße 5-6, Schöneberg) is like a year-round gay film-festival with new films weekly from around the world.
Yorck has a list of interesting films around town including those at Mongay, the gay Monday night cult movie screenings at Kino International (Karl-Marx-Allee 33), the former GDR's classiest cinema.
Elsewhere in Germany, in Cologne, Dortmund, Düsseldorf, and Oberhausen, Homochrom does year-round GLBT screenings and an annual GLBT film festival -- October in Cologne.
Several big gay annual events in summer and autumn bring everyone out into the streets and parks of Berlin. See dates and locations for these and more at our events tab.
Part of Gay Pride festivities, Schöneberg hosts the annual June site of Gay Stadtfest, Europe's largest queer open-air event. Main stages attract the largest crowds, but the surrounding streets, clubs and beer gardens in the vicinity of Nollendorfplatz will be packed in all directions.
The June Christopher Street Day parade typically includes a hundred floats that proceed from the Kurfurstendamm to the Siegessaeule with half a million or so people, and more than a few playful shenanigans in public.
Hustlaball, with it's "world of hustlers, hookers, pimps, streetwalkers, flesh-peddlers, porn stars and other scandalous sorts," swings through Berlin in October, an annual festival of sex and dance parties at KitKat, Connection, Malzfabrik, New Action, Apollo-Splash-Club and Hamburger Mary's at Axel Hotel.
Parkfest Friedrichshain, a big gay/lesbian annual mid-August party for Friedrichshain and Kreuzberg, takes place in Volkspark with thousands in attendance and lots of food and local talent.
QueerBoot is another August event, since 2006, a summer boat party on the waterways of Berlin.
Folsom Europe in September, one of the world's biggest leather/fetish/skin/rubber events. Parties include the men-only PERVERTS and PIG nights, and events all over town in bars and bathhouses. They also do a big streetfair for everyone, on Fuggerstrasse too.
Berlin has many, constantly changing dance venues, exploring new entertainment concepts or revisiting and reinventing the old ones, at various venues around town.
About Blank (Markgrafendamm 24, Friedrichshain), underground dance parties, summer garden, young queer and mixed crowd.
Berghain (Radersdorfer Straße at Wriezener Bahnhof), techno-partier's dream in spectacular former power plant. Gay and mixed crowd dances midnight Saturdays until Sunday afternoons. Long lines, selective door. Also Panorama Bar here is gay-friendly on Fridays.
Die Busche (Warschauer Platz 18, Friedrichshain), young gay/mixed crowd, weekend dancing, talent shows include erotic amateur strip. The former Haus B.
Chantals House of Shame at Bassy Club (Schönhauser Allee 176; Senefelder Platz), queer Thursday nights, shows at around 1am with Super Zandy, Gloria Viagra Laura Levasconcelos, and a young crowd.
Connection Club (Welserstraße at Fuggerstrasse) is the long-time Schöneberg Friday and Saturday gay dance club, with DJ fresh faces, and cruise labyrinth.
GMF gay dances at Café Moskau (Karl-Marx-Allee 34) big party appeals to a broad cross-section of people, at this Alexanderplatz venue on two levels and roof terrace.
Kitkat Club (Kopenickerstrasse 76), the "socially, political, experimental techno club & fetish event playground for the enlightened, and uninhibited" as they put it. Dress code encourages erotic flambouyance for young and old, gay and straight of all classes, and several genders -- a "complete sensual and multi-sexual focus."
Klub International at Kino International (Karl-Marx-Allee 33), big first Saturday monthly gay dance party on four floors of one of Berlin's most attractive venues. CLOSED September 2014.
Peaches & Cream monthly gay party, previously at What!?, moved to new venue Bang Bang Club in December.
Peverts, industrial-style leather/fetish Matinee dance party from Barcelona, with their team of DJs and hot go-go boys, and a big crowd of men, to close Folsom Europe events in September. Basement by Mister B with dark rooms, wet area, sling, and chill-out area.
Pet Shop Bears, a monthly 4th-Friday disco dance party for bears at Berghain Kantine, playing Pop, House, and Classic Disco music.
Propaganda, a big gay dance every first Saturday night, now at the Imperial Club @ Admiralspalast, (Friedrichstrasse 101), with go-go dancers and table dances. Formerly at the now closed Goya, Nollendorfplatz.
Schwuz (Rollbergstraße 26, Neukölln), favorite weekend gay dance option for young Berliners. Music and shows for many tastes, and styles. Men-only naked sex parties sometimes. Moved from old Kreuzberg location to new address, near Rathaus Neukölln.
SO 36 (Oranienstraße 190, Kreuzberg), ever-changing variety of events, shows and dance nights including techno fests, Turkish and Arab music events. Every Sunday gay tea-dance dubbed Cafe Fatal features Deutsche Schlager (German pop) and rare, unlikely mix of folk. Gayhane "HomOriental party" takes place on last Saturdays, playing Middle East music.
Spy Club theme parties took place once a month, Saturdays at Department, (Auguststraße 5A, Oranienburger Tor) for the fashion set. Inactive now, but "will return" they say.
Tresor Club (Köpenicker Straße 70, Friedrichshain), mixed rave parties on three floors, experimental music, top DJs, Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday.
What! (Karl-Liebknecht-Straße 11, Mitte), complex of several bars, smokers' room, DJ music, dancing, underground style. Monthly Secret gay dance parties continue from December 2014.
ZMF after 11 years of gay-friendly and improvised underground dance parties at Moebelfabrik, now in Wedding at Brunnenstrasse 70 (off the U8 Voltastraße, near Mauerpark), plus events at an open-air site in Neukölln, and other venues.
Our map & listings page has locations and more webslinks for all the above. For even more party nights, see the nightlife page at local gay magazine websites such as Siegessaeule in German and English, Out in Berlin also in both languages, or Blu in German. Disco Damaged has party listings for all the various scenes. Check out ChromaNova to hear whats playing in the clubs.