Berlin gay area: bars, clubs and gay hotels in Schöneberg

Stefan Arestis

Berlin is super gay. Gayness is so well accepted in every aspect of society that you'll find sprinkles of it everywhere.

Schöneberg is the heart of the gay community and has been since the 1920s when it became the first ever gay village – in the world.

Although it was all heavily repressed during the Nazi era, it was reborn after the Berlin Wall was erected in the 1960s and has continued to thrive ever since.

Alternative gay scenes have started to spring up in the East over the past 20 years since the Wall came down, particularly in Kreuzberg, Neukölln and Friedrichshain.

But Schöneberg nonetheless remains the Queen of the Berlin Scene. To get a locals' perspective, check out our interview with cutie Marcel from Berlin about gay life in Germany.

Don't forget…

To maximise your enjoyment and avoid queues at the ticketing machines, it's definitely worth investing in a Visit Berlin WelcomeCard before you arrive. It will give you unlimited access on the metro (from 2 to 6 days) and discounts on various attractions.

Where is Schöneberg?

Schöneberg is located in the centre west of Berlin, close to the Zoological Garden and Tiergarden Park. It has everything you need: shopping centers, restaurants, high end hotels, transport links and of course, the bulk of the gay scene is right here.

The gay action happens around Fuggerstrasse and Motzstrasse, where the majority of the bars, clubs and cafes are based.

To reach Schöneberg from the airports, check out our guides for both Tegel airport and Schönefeld airport.

Gay hotels in Schöneberg

Whether you're gay, lesbian, transgender, bisexual, dressed in leather or simply curious, people don't care. In Berlin, you can come just as you are.

There are many excellent gay friendly hotels in Schöneberg, which will welcome you with open arms. Here's a few of our favourites:

GAY: AXEL HOTEL

  • Axel is a very cool gay “hetero friendly” hotel.
  • The rooms have a modern design with darkened lighting to give it that sensual atmosphere. Look out for the famous “DO DISTURB” signs you can put on the door if you want some attention!
  • Axel is located right in the heart of Schöneberg's lively gay area and also has a popular Jacuzzi, sauna and steam room.
  • The hotel also has a restaurant and bar attached to it, which is a great place to get a bite to eat and a few drinks before a gay night out in Schöneberg. On some evenings it features live music, stand up comedy and drag shows.
Axel gay hotel in Schöneberg Berlin
That moment when Stefan almost thought he was finally going to get that elusive wedding ring at Axel's Jacuzzi… and the lovely Miss Epiphany at the Axel restaurant

STAY WITH A GAY LOCAL

Misterb&b is the Airbnb equivalent for the LGBTQ community. Unlike on Airbnb, you know your host is gay, avoiding any nasty surprises when you check in. It is also a great way to meet gay locals and discover the underground gay scene. Click below to get 10 € (or $10) off your first booking.

LUXURY: HOTEL PALACE BERLIN

  • Hotel Palace Berlin is a 5* luxury option, based right in the heart of the main shopping area, opposite the Zoological Garden, minutes walk away from Schöneberg gay scene and OMG: the cute footballers of the home team Hertha Bsc stay here when they play a home game!
  • The rooms are spacious and the beds very comfortable, with the choice of 3 pillow types.
  • The Hotel Palace has an excellent Lounge area for business use as well as a gym, a sexy pool and a Jacuzzi.
  • This is the place to come and truly spoil yourself.
Hotel palace berlin, gay friendly hotel
Sebastien enjoying our room and Stefan relaxing in the Jacuzzi before a day of sightseeing at the Hotel Palace Berlin

BE INTIMATE: HOTEL Q

  • Hotel Q is a small boutique hotel conveniently located in Kurfürstendamm, the main shopping boulevard.
  • They have a restaurant serving yummy Asian food and delicious signature rum based cocktails.
  • The rooms are very intimate with an open jacuzzi bath right next to the bed. You can also order their Sex Toys package: a special Secret Passion box full of toys and prizes to spice up your stay…
Hotel Q gay hotel Schöneberg
Stefan wondering what's inside Hotel Q's Sex Toy package.

BUDGET: GAY YOUTH HOSTEL

  • This is a good budget option if you're travelling alone and want to make friends.
  • The Gay Youth Hostel is located in the heart of the gay scene in Schöneberg, minutes away from all the bars and clubs.
  • They offer rooms and dorm beds for up to 8 people starting from €22. We just loved their marketing for what goes on in their dorm rooms (!)
Gay youth hostel in berlin perfect for budget travellers
Party time at the Gay Youth Hostel's dorms

Gay bars and clubs in Schöneberg

Schöneberg has a whole bunch of bars and clubs to choose from. Whatever you are into, you will probably find it in Schöneberg. One tip is to look out for the bars offering 2 for 1 drinks promotions because these will be the most happening places on that particular evening.

For drinking fun

Here's a few of our favourites for drinks, fabulous cocktails and just to hang out at with friends:

  • Heile Welt: our favourite gay bar in Schöneberg, very friendly crowd and they do yummy Pisco Sour cocktails. Look out for the wall decoration – it is literally made out of Chewbacca! Heile Welt opens every day from 7pm until 3am.
  • Hafen: small bar, but always busy, going strong since the 1990s. Opens in the evening until late in the night (well after 3am).
  • Prinzknecht: just around the corner of Axel Hotel, this is a popular bar especially on Wednesday evenings when they have a 2 for 1 drinks promotion. Opens from 3pm until 2am.
  • Stagger Lee:  this gem is not technically a gay bar, but perfect for a romantic drink or more relaxed gathering with friends. It's traditionally a speakeasy bar and does delicious and innovative cocktails. Opens everyday from 7pm until 2am (closes at midnight on Sundays).
Stagger Lee speakeasy gay bar of Schöneberg
Stefan with a delicious cocktail at speakeasy Stagger Lee

For some naughty fun

Berlin is well known for having a very diverse and no taboo gay-scene. If you're looking to unleash your wild side, check out these clubs:

  • Tom's Bar: not as popular as it used to be but definitely worth going on Monday evenings for the 2 for 1 drinks promotion.
  • WOOF: the HQ for bears and otters. Tuesday is the busy evening when they have a 2 for 1 drinks promotion.
  • Mutschmann: ideal for leather aficionados, but they also feature many other fetish nights.

Gay bars and clubs outside of Schöneberg

Gay Berlin is not just in Schöneberg, it is everywhere. Areas in East Berlin such as Kreuzberg, Prenzlauer Berg and Neukölln are also popular gay hangouts.

There's a handful of excellent gay clubs and bars to check out like Möbel Olfe in Kreuzberg and SchwuZ in Neukölln.

And one club you must (try to) visit in Berlin is the famous and super exclusive, Berghain:

Berghain gay club Berlin Kreuzburg
The famous Berghain club of Berlin. This former railway warehouse is now an extremely exclusive club

Berghain is a huge former railway warehouse, turned cool, nightclub in Kreuzberg, for electronic music lovers. It opens on Friday evenings and continues right up until midday on Monday. It's always full, with hour long queues to get in.

The bouncers of the Berghain are notorious. Their word is final, no matter who you are! Even Britney and Macklemore were famously turned away. This is the ultimate clubbing experience to check out in Berlin – if you can get in!

Gay friendly cafes and restaurants in Schöneberg

Foodies will love the culinary offerings in Schöneberg. There's a plethora of excellent offerings to suit even the pickiest of palates:

Gay cafes in Schöneberg

  • Romeo und Romeo cafe: popular gay cafe with excellent WiFi…and rainbow vegan cake! All those boys you saw the night before in Heile Welt will be hanging out here during the day.
  • Cafe Kalwil Kunde: another quirky gem with fancy Victorian-esque decor, perfect for a romantic brunch or coffee with a group of friends. We loved their Breakfast Heinrich, which comes with sparkling wine.
Cafe kalwil, gay cafe in Berlin
Kalwil cafe, a quirky little cafe in Schöneberg, serving breakfast with bubbles

For a little snack

  • Fritz & Co: one of food stands outside Wittenbergplatz metro selling the famous Berlin spiced sausage: currywurst.
  • Except this is no ordinary currywurst. This is a gay currywurst, sprinkled with fabulousness!
Fritz & Co gay currywurst food stand gay guide Schöneberg
Welcome to gay Schöneberg, where even the currywursts are fabulous

Restaurants in Schöneberg

  • Maharadscha: this Indian gem is famous and highly rated by just about everyone. It is open only for dinner, and gets really busy, so best call and book ahead.
  • Raststätte Gnadenbrot: this is a gem for good hearty German food like Schnitzel Tegernsee and Bavarian Leberkäse (beef and pork loaf served with fried egg and potatoes).
  • Frida y Diego: Mexican restaurant with very sweet charismatic waiters.
  • Zsa Zsa Burger: the ultimate hangover food serving up the tastiest burgers in Schöneberg.
Zsa Zsa burger gay restaurant Schöneberg
The perfect hangover food – showing off our delicious burgers at Zsa Zsa with our friend Dave

Gay events in Berlin and Schöneberg

Berlin hosts the biggest gay events in Europe, all year round, for everything and everyone. The most popular are:

  • The Lesbian and Gay City Stadtfest Festival: around June/July, this is the largest street festival for gays and lesbians, taking place around Nollendorfplatz. The festival attracts more than 400,000 visitors each year.
  • Berlin Gay Pride (Christopher Street Day): in July, hundreds of thousands of people march for LGBT rights with a great parade, extravagant floats, and crazy music.
  • BLF Berlin Leather Fetish: Berlin kicks off the Spring with the Easter Fetish Week, perfect if you're into leather, skins, punks and…puppies!
  • Folsom Europe: this is the largest fetish party in Europe going strong since 2003, held every September. The highlight is the popular Folsom Europe Street Fair, whch takes place at Fuggerstrasse and Welserstrasse, close to Wittenbergplatz.

Activities to do in Schöneberg

Go on a queer walking tour

Queer Walk gay things to do in Schoneberg

Berlin walks offers a queer walking tour to learn about the history of Schöneberg, the first gay district in the world which dates back to the 1920s. We did a tour with Finn McCool from Berlin Walkswho we highly recommend. He's a fountain of knowledge about everything to do with queer Berlin and the city in general. Finn also offers his own private tours to places like the gay concentration camps: the Nazis took the gay boys to Sachsenhausen camp and the gay girls to Ravensbrück.


Visit the Schwules gay museum

Learn about Berlin's gay history at the Schwules museum

This is an excellent museum in Schöneberg, dedicated to the history and culture of LGBTIQ communities. It was founded in 1985 and is now the world's largest institution for the queer community. It's open every day except Tuesdays and features a variety of different exhibitions throughout the year, like SuperQueeroes – the famous queer comic heroes/heroines.


Prepare your wallet for some serious shopping

Gay guide to Berlin shopping in Schoneberg

If you like shopping, Schöneberg is the place for you. The high end shopping mall KaDeWe is based right outside Wittenbergplatz metro. The Kurfürstendamm Boulevard is like the Champs Elysees of Berlin with all the popular high street retailers like H&M, Zara, Lacoste and many more. Other shopping malls in the area include the Bikini Mall and the Karstadt shopping centre.


Discover Berlin on a Bike

One of the most fun ways to explore Berlin is via a bike tour

If you're heading to Berlin, you will no doubt want to embrace its rich heritage and learn about its history. Berlin is a large flat city, with the sites spread out, so what better way to see everything, than by bike? We did a private tour with Sascha of Berlin on Bike who showed us the main sites like the iconic Brandenburg Gate, remains of the famous Berlin Wall, the Bundestag and more.


Other things to do in Berlin


Explore the Berlin Wall and Checkpoint Charlie

One of the most popular tourist attractions in Berlin is Checkpoint Charlie

A historic ‘must-see’ for us when we visited Berlin was the infamous Berlin Wall. Whilst most of the wall has been removed, parts of the original wall have been retained as a memory, particularly by the Berlin Wall Memorial and Checkpoint Charlie – the most famous crossing of the wall during the height of the Cold War.


Visit Charlottenburg Palace

One of the coolest things to do in Berlin is have dinner at Charlottenburg Palace with musicians in period dress.

This was our favourite date night in Berlin! Charlottenburg is the largest palace in the city, surrounded by beautiful gardens and woodland. The interior is also stunning, with lavish baroque and rococo styles. We came for a three-course dinner and classical music concert performed by musicians in period costume! We definitely recommend this for gay couples looking for a romantic and alternative night out!


Dine at the Berlin TV Tower

Berlin's TV tower is a great attraction for seeing the city and it's even more romantic to have dinner there

The Fernsehturm Berlin is a television tower that was constructed in the 60s. Originally meant to be a symbol of Communist Power and Berlin. Today it is a popular tourist attraction and our favourite spot for some of the best views across the city. Towards the top is the revolving Sphere restaurant, which makes for another super romantic date night. We recommend booking a VIP-dinner at the Sphere restaurant, particularly at sunset.


Watch a show at the Friedrichstadt-Palast

The VIVID Grand Show is a must-see when in Berlin

The Friedrichstadt-Palast is the largest and most famous theatre in Berlin. The shows here are loud, lavish and full of colour. They involve an extravaganza of acrobatics, music, dance and incredible costumes. The storylines are quite quirky, but let's just say you come here to be dazzled! Highly recommend fitting this into your Berlin bucket list.


Explore Museum Island

Berlin has a whole mini island full of museums that's definitely worth exploring

Depending on how much time you have you may only be able to see a couple of the Berlin museums, but there are so many great ones to choose from! Luckily the 5 best ones very close together on Museum Island, which makes it easy for you to see a few in a short time. Even from the outside, the buildings themselves are beautiful to marvel. So much so that the entire Museum Island is a UNESCO world heritage listed site. Make sure you have a look at the museum's website overview to decide which ones you want to visit.


See the Berlin Cathedral

Gay travel to Berlin - make sure you visit the gorgeous Berlin Cathedral

The Berliner Dom (Berlin Cathedral) is also located on Museum Island and is a gorgeous renaissance/baroque piece of architecture. It was damaged during WWII but has since been restored and is now used for church services as well as being a popular tourist site. You can enjoy stunning 360-degree views from the dome as well as learn about the history of the cathedral in the on-site museum.


Memorial to the murdered Jews of Europe

The Holocaust Memorial in Berlin is a sobering place that should be experienced at least once

What is your first impression? Not every piece is the same right? This fascinating outdoor memorial was designed to confuse, showing a supposedly ordered system that has lost touch with human reason. As well as being an important site to visit, we also found it very unique, like no other touristic site we've ever visited.


Go on a free street art walking tour

See a different side of Berlin on an alternative or street art walking tour

We always seek out free tours in every new city we visit. We love them because they're usually run by local students, looking to make some cash from the tips given. In Berlin, we found the Alternative Berlin Tours who offer street art tours as well as other offbeat options, such as craft beer, green city and nightlife tours. It's one of the best ways to orientate yourself in a new place, from the eyes of a willing local. Just remember to tip generously!


Cruising and nude sunbathing in Tiergarten Park

Tiergarten Berlin is a good place to relax or explore during your trip

Tiergarten is a large beautiful park on par with Hyde Park in London or Central Park in New York City, full of lush open space, the Berlin Zoo…and lots of bushes! And where there are bushes, there are lots of frivolous gentlemen waiting to socialise!!

Tiergarten is the oldest gay cruising park in Berlin. Weather permitting, there is a nudist sunbathing area called “gay meadow”. Next to this is the main gay cruising area, located along the Bremer Weg. Another gay cruising spot is around the Lion’s Bridge.


Romantic things to do in Berlin

If you and your other half are looking for some serious romance, Berlin has a lot to offer: for some inspiration, check out our 5 romantic things to do in Berlin guide.

To read more, check out Wander Tooth's guide about the best neighbourhoods in Berlin and also read why we think Germany is one of the most gay friendly countries in the world.

Gay guide Berlin Brandenburg sightseeing
A Brandenburg romance…a moment of love by this very iconic building of Berlin

 

PRACTICAL TIP: transport tips

Moving around Berlin is easy. In Schöneberg itself, you're never far from a metro station to catch the U-bahn or S-Bahn.

To maximise your enjoyment and avoid queues at the ticketing machines, it's definitely worth investing in a Visit Berlin WelcomeCard before you arrive. It will give you unlimited access on the metro (from 2 to 6 days) and discounts on various attractions.

TIP: remember to stamp-validate your ticket in one of the machines before you board a train. It's easy to forget, allowing the unforgiving plain clothes inspectors to fine you!

Gay guide to Schöneberg Berlin WelcomeCard
Our Berlin WelcomeCard served us well

Happy travels are safe travels

We recommend you always take out travel insurance before your next vacation. What happens if you suffer from illness, injury, theft or a cancellation? With travel insurance, you can have peace of mind and not worry. We love World Nomads travel insurance and have been using it for years. Their comprehensive coverage is second to none and their online claims process is very user friendly.

Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means that if you book your accommodation, an activity or your insurance, we’ll earn a small commission. There is never an extra cost to you for using these links and it helps us keep the site going.

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Pinterest gay travel guide to Berlin
 
Stefan Arestis

Stefan is the co-founder, editor and author the gay travel blog nomadicboys.com. As a travel nerd, he has explored more than 80 countries across 5 continents. What he loves the most about travelling is discovering the local gay scene, making new friends and learning new cultures. His advice about LGBTQ travel has been featured in Gay Times, Gaycities, Pink News, Gay Star News, Attitude and Towleroad. He has also written about gay travel for other non-gay specific publications including Lonely Planet, The New York Times, The Guardian and The Huffington Post. Stefan is also a qualified lawyer, having practised as a commercial property litigator in London for over 10 years. He left his lawyer days behind to work full time on Nomadic Boys with his husband Sebastien. Find out more about Nomadic Boys.

48 thoughts on “Berlin gay area: bars, clubs and gay hotels in Schöneberg”

  1. Hello designers and writers of this web page….I find the information very helpful. I just never realize how much Berlin and Germany in general have so much to offer for Gays, wow. I would like to visit the recommended sites in the future trip there. One problem is that I do not know how to speak German, let alone, that I have partial hearing loss. Are there Deaf and Hard of Hearing gays in Germany, specifically, if there are clubs, associations, or groups for Gays to hang out and meet? How about website for the Deaf Gays in Germany? Thank you so much for the wonderful works you do on your web page.
    Sincerely,
    Pedro

  2. The HAFEN Quiz night is not more.

    You might also want to check out the BLOND bar. International, mixed, relaxed gay crowd. On Tuesdays they have Karaoke.

  3. Hi Stefan,

    Wow what a hopping scene!

    And you guys are always having fun too.

    Great post, great presentation, as always 😉

    Ryan

  4. My favorite place to stay in Schöneberg is ArtHotel Connection. Right on Fuggerstrasse. Funky. Friendly staff.

    Glad you mentioned Scwules Museum. One must-see you left out, the gay holocaust memorial, in Tiergarten directly across the street from the main (Jewish) holocaust memorial. A must see for any gay visitor to Berlin.

  5. A great and really comprehensive guide. Informative too! I’ve never been to Berlin but it’s high on my list.

    Liked the fact that AirBnB is present there. Those hostels, not for us but yes liked perspective. 🙂

  6. Again you’ve managed to find some of the best food in town too. I like the look of this place. It looks really fun. But then, you guys have a way of making everything look fun.

  7. A sex toy box? In a hotel? OMG. I’m so curious now :)))))) Looks like you guys had a LOT and I mean a LOT of fun! As always you have the most awesomest photographs that make me chuckle every time! And those hotels…………keep living the dream guys! You’re doing it right.

    P.s.: What was in the box??????

  8. What a great guide. Definitively saving your tips and recommendations. Didn’t know about Mister Airbnb – about time 🙂 Looks like you guys had a really great time! Great read 🙂

  9. Well apparently I missed all the fun stuff in Berlin! Wow, what a great guide. I had no idea that Berlin was the first ever gay village. Never would have guessed in a million years. You guys have so much fun! Take me along some time! 😉

  10. What a terrific comprehensive guide! I never even knew there was a Mr. bnb. That is a great idea and I’m sure has helped many gay travelers feel more comfortable. I’ll have to pass that tip along to my friends. That drag show looks so fun!

  11. This post is super original! Love the whole idea of writing about and for the gay community. And yes, I agree that Berlin is a really good place to mingle around and meet new people whether you are gay or not. I loved this city, its “openess” and its diversity.

  12. Great guide! Really comprehensive and informative. I’ve never been to Berlin (yet!) but it’s high on my list. Two questions….
    1. what was going on in that drag show?!
    2. what’s the secret to getting in to Berghain??

    • Ha ha ha ha thanks Katja – 1. ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA!!!!! 2. Luck – or dress like a hipster and speak German apparently but no one really knows…!

  13. I love this. Great information which will help a lot of people I’m sure. The photos are great and made me laugh.

  14. wow what a great guide!!! I am so going to use this for my Berlin trip. I never been so everything on this list would be fun to try. So i am curies how naughty things get in the naughty places?? Do you recommend going to Berlin by yourself or with a friend?

  15. Thank you so much for this new post! I love Berlin. Great gay destination in Europe. Love places. Love bars. Love festivals and many more. Nice job my friend! Each time, your post was excellent. Thank your for your blog. It’s appreciate. Really! See u 🙂

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