There’s absolutely no doubt that Berlin is a city that lives and breathes diversity and has got an LGBTQ+ community like no other in Europe.
The German capital has a progressive population, an underground vibe and a massive LGBTQ+ scene which has been thriving for years, including Berlin gay bars, gay clubs, gay museums, gay saunas, gay-friendly hotels and hostels as well as countless gay events and festivals. Even the world’s 1st gay magazine, “Der Eigene”, was published in Berlin back in 1896.
Did you know that when the Berlin Wall fell in 1989 the popular movie “Coming Out” was released and the city got an openly gay mayor, Klaus Wowereit, in 2001?
Berlin is considered one of the greatest gay cities in the world and one of the most open-minded ones. The “official” gay neighborhood of Berlin is Schöneberg whose LGBTQ+ community goes back to the roaring 1920s decade.
#1 Museum Stroll
With its rotating exhibitions, interesting archives and rich library regarding gay, lesbian and trans history, the Schwules Museum is one of the world’s biggest institutions for researching and preserving the history and culture of queer communities. After your stroll, don’t miss the quiet café the building has for all of you in the mood for something more low-key.
#2 For Sauna Fans
Kreuzberg’s “Der Boiler” is a sauna which is super famous among the Berlin LGBTQ+ community and is well-known for its vivid steam room and labyrinth-like private areas. You can find cabins, saunas and relaxing spots there as well as cool, contemporary interiors which are worth your time.
#3 For Film Buffs
Check out the XPOSED Queer Film Festival Berlin, established in 2006 by Bartholomew Sammut, in order to create queer film programs as well as to promote queer filmmakers around the globe. According to their own website:
“You can only be you when you are truly XPOSED. This festival, in the end, is about and for you.”
Also, don’t miss out on MonGay: unique films of specific interest to LGBTQ+ film audiences are screened every Monday night at 10 PM at the popular Kino International.
#4 Best gay Bars in Berlin
- Zum Schmutzigen Hobby, found in a building once a fire station, is run by the local legend, Nina Queer, and offers an easygoing, friendly ambience for all LGBTQ+ members as well as local bohos, hipsters and occasional celebrity guests, such as Tara Reid and Rupert Everett. Get there as early as possible because it can get very busy.
Address: Revaler Str. 99, 10245 Berlin, Germany
- Möbel Olfe is interestingly squeezed among Turkish snack bars in a 1960s housing development, has a wide range of brews on offer and hosts its infamous Thursday nights. Be there!
Address: Reichenberger Str. 177, 10999 Berlin, Germany
- Betty F*** is one of the few gay bars left in Berlin’s Mitte neighborhood while remaining a gays’ and fashionistas’ favorite.
Address: Mulackstraße 13, 10119 Berlin, Germany
#5 For Karaoke Lovers
Don’t be shy. Even if you think that karaoke isn’t your cup of thing, Monster Ronson’s Ichiban Karaoke dedicated to queer culture will definitely change your mind. With a massive selection of songs, 14 karaoke booths, a big karaoke stage, vivid dance floors and special parties every day of the week, including of course, drag nights, this is the place to be.
Address: Warschauer Str. 34, 10243 Berlin, Germany
#6 Best gay Clubs in Berlin
- SchwuZ Club, founded in 1977, is famous for its signature mix of indie, modern pop, retro-kitsch, techno and electro music, art installations, LGBTQ+ talks, live music, gay parties and drag shows with international queens. Enjoy all three dance floors.
Address: Rollbergstraße 26, 12053 Berlin, Germany
- GMF has everything: from ultra-pop rooms to hard techno and everything in-between. Don’t know what to do on a Sunday night in Berlin? GMF will get you dancing right away. Keep in mind that every Sunday the club has a different theme and during Berlin Pride it host the biggest pride parties.
Address: Ritterstraße 26, 10969 Berlin, Germany
- KitKat Club is perfect for all the wandering travelers visiting Berlin. A colorful and lively club
,where less is more. Start exploring a world of freedom, dancing and techno music. If you’re looking for an exclusively gay-men-only night, don’t miss the Revolver Party which KitKat hosts once a month.
Address: Köpenicker Straße 76, Brückenstraße 1, 10179 Berlin, Germany
- Lab-oratory is found underneath the world-famous Berghain Club. Are you intrigued? Walk past the queue for people waiting to enter Berghain, find the door to the Lab-oratory and…knock. *Hint: Berghain is right next to one of our hotels in Berlin!
Address: Am Wriezener bhf, 10243 Berlin, Germany
#7 Berlin’s Gay Pride
The LGBTIQ+ highlight of Europe’s queerest city is the annual so-called Christopher Street Day or CSD, with the first one having taken place in Berlin back in 1979. More than 50 decorated floats and more than 750,000 people parade every year through Berlin as far as the Brandenburg Gate as both a demonstration for equal rights and a huge queer party.
Join the fun street festivals, glam parties, voguing balls and techno nights all across pride and gay Berlin.
#8 Embrace the Fetish Side of Things
Established since 2003, FOLSOM is Europe’s largest gay, BDSM event with large street fairs and many parties to attend every year in September. You’ll see thousands of people in leather and fetish gear walking down the streets of the Schöneberg district while collecting money for charitable organizations in Berlin.
#9 Gay Berlin: Neighborhood Guide
Where to go for brunch, dinner or a drink?
Berlin has several exciting LGBTQIA-friendly neighborhoods to check out: Schöneberg, Kreuzberg, and Friedrichshain just to name a few.
The heart of Berlin’s LGBTQ+ community is Schöneberg. Back in 1897, the world’s first-ever LGBTQ+ organisation, the “Scientific-Humanitarian Committee”, was founded right there.
Schöneberg is home to some of the oldest gay bars, such as Tom’s Bar, Prinzknecht, Heile Welt and Hafen. After a night out we recommend you stop by one of these hip cafes: Romeo & Romeo, Cafe Kawil Kunde or Cafe Berio. When it comes to a delicious lunch or dinner you should definitely check out Fritz & Co or Sissi.
Kreuzberg is yet another popular district for the LGBTQ+ community. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, Kreuzberg resurfaced from the ruins and started to attract more and more unique individuals over time. Today it hosts one of the largest LGBTQ+ communities in the city, as well as amazing gay bars like Möbel Olfe and Roses, trendy cafes like Südblock and a gay museum as well – the Schwules Museum.
The popularity of Kreuzberg amongst the LGBTQ+ community grew so big that the “cool kids” started moving further to the south – to the Neukölln neighborhood. Gay bars worth a visit here are Cafe Melitta Sundström or SilverFuture. If you’re looking for a nice place to grab a quick bite, check out Café K-Fetisch or Alaska.
👉 Prenzlauer Berg
In the 1960s, Prenzlauer Berg was famous for being the hub of East Germany’s gay scene. Here you will find trendy gay bars like Flax and popular gay brunch spots like Schall & Rauch.
Friedrichshain – the raw and underground district of Berlin – is the neighborhood where you’ll definitely find some of the best clubs in the entire city.
Gay Berlin: LGBTIQ+ Guide for Berlin: FAQs
How significant is Berlin's LGBTQ+ community in Europe?
Berlin boasts one of the most vibrant and diverse LGBTQ+ communities in Europe. The city is renowned for its progressive populace and has a rich LGBTQ+ history and culture.
Is there any historical significance of Berlin in the LGBTQ+ community?
Yes! The world’s first gay magazine, "Der Eigene", was published in Berlin in 1896. Moreover, after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the film “Coming Out” was released, and in 2001, Berlin elected its openly gay mayor, Klaus Wowereit.
Where is the "official" gay neighborhood in Berlin?
Schöneberg is considered the "official" gay neighborhood of Berlin, with its LGBTQ+ history tracing back to the 1920s.
Tell me about the Schwules Museum.
The Schwules Museum is one of the world's most prominent institutions dedicated to researching and preserving the history and culture of queer communities. It offers rotating exhibitions, a vast archive, and a library centered around gay, lesbian, and trans history.
Can you recommend some gay bars in Berlin?
Absolutely! Some top recommendations are "Zum Schmutzigen Hobby," "Möbel Olfe," and "Betty F***".
I'm a fan of karaoke. Any spots for that in Berlin?
Yes! Monster Ronson’s Ichiban Karaoke is dedicated to queer culture, offering a huge selection of songs, karaoke booths, and special parties.
Tell me about Berlin's gay clubs.
Some of the best gay clubs in Berlin are SchwuZ Club, GMF, KitKat Club, and Lab-oratory. Each offers a unique vibe, from indie music and art installations to techno and exclusive parties.
What's Berlin's most significant LGBTQ+ event?
Christopher Street Day or CSD is the most significant LGBTQ+ event, a grand annual parade that started in 1979. It's both a demonstration for equal rights and a vast queer party.
Any unique events in Berlin that celebrate the fetish culture?
Yes, FOLSOM, Europe’s largest gay BDSM event, is celebrated annually in September. The event features street fairs, and attendees often dress in leather and fetish gear.
Can you guide me through some LGBTQ+ friendly neighborhoods in Berlin?
Sure! Apart from Schöneberg, other LGBTQIA-friendly neighborhoods include Kreuzberg, Neukölln, Prenzlauer Berg, and Friedrichshain. Each of these neighborhoods has its own unique vibe, history, and venues to explore.