Stefan Arestis | Aug 29, 2017 | 4
Berlin gay area: bars, clubs and gay hotels in Schöneberg
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.
1. 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 Mostrasse, where the majority of the bars, clubs and cafes are based.
2. WHERE TO STAY 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.
- Juniper is the fabulous restaurant linked to Axel, which is a great place to get a bite to eat and a few drinks before a night out in Schöneberg. On some evenings it features live music, stand up comedy and drag shows.
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.
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…
MID-RANGE: HOTEL CROWNE PLAZA
- The Hotel Crowne is a great mid-range option, near Wittenbergplatz shopping area and walking distance to the gay bars.
- Fast internet, generous buffet breakfast, a pool, spa and excellent modern gym to work out.
- The Crowne Plaza’s in house restaurant, Wilson’s Prime Rib is worth trying. They offer a delicious 5 course menu with accompanying wine for each course, all for only €60 per person.
DIFFERENT: MISTER BNB
- Mister bnb is the Airbnb equivalent for the LGBT community. Unlike Airbnb you know your host is gay (or at least gay friendly) and it’s a great way to connect and meet with locals.
- It is easy to use and also available to download as an app for iPhones.
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 (!)
3. GAY BARS AND CLUBS OF 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. They have a quiz night (in English) on the first Monday of every month. 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).
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.
4. 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.
For a real whacky alternative night out, check out The Club in Neukölln where we saw one the strangest drag shows:
And one club you must (try to) visit in Berlin is the famous and super exclusive, Berghain:
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 door men of 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!
To read more about the best gay bars in Berlin outside of Schöneberg, check out Adam’s 5 best gay bars in Berlin post.
5. 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 cafe hangouts
- 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.
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!
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.
6. WHAT TO DO IN SCHÖNEBERG
Gay events all year round
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.
Learn about Gay Berlin
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 Walks who 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.
The Schuwles gay 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 everyday 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
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
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, then 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.
Romantic stuff 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.
7. TRANSPORT LINKS
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!