*You are reading the Needle’s Queer Guide to Berlin.
So what about the ‘queer’ scene in Berlin?
These bars will appeal to a broad range of people: and especially if you are non-binary, non-defining in your sexuality, or poly-sexual on principle. If you hate the idea of a bar where there is not a mix of genders and preferences, if you really don’t like top-twenty commercially-produced music, if you have a highly curated playlist of minimal electronica, if you are no big fan of the codes of conformist and toxic masculinity in the gay scene… these neighbourhoods are made for you. You can spend an evening talking about the misdemeanours and oppressions of conformist gay living whilst in a bar in deepest Kreuzberg or Neukölln.
Where exactly should I go?
Get off at Kottbusser-Tor U-Bahn, and there are several places within a few steps walk: Südblock is a community centre that has evening parties and also does brunch. It’s popular after work for its beer garden. As a community-based centre, it does events for men in wheelchairs, members of minority groups, refugees, etc.. Südblock patrons are found too at Hallo Machen, which is a gay-friendly bar popular with Turkish New Wave emigrants.
Möbel Olfe, named for a former furniture store, is located in the enormously ugly and intriguing NKZ building. The bar is packed with a mix of the industrial and hipster crowd (mostly men) especially on Thursday nights. Tuesdays are popular with women.
Late night is popular at the bar Roses, with its kitschy interior (it’s like being inside a muppet’s vagina, with its ironic pink furry walls. Make sure you don’t touch them) and Berliner Schnautze service. Roses is popular with people of all sexes and proclivities who like to chat with strangers; it’s very communicative, but also can be very cramped and smoky. Earlier in the week (Monday to Wednesday) there’s more of a neighbourhood crowd.
Next to Roses is the club SO36, which is a neighbourhood institution with a number of dedicated nights such as Gayhane (for the Turkish and Arabic queer community) or Café Fatal (same-sex ballroom dancing). There’s even Roller-Disco and Kiez-Bingo (don’t be surprised if, at the latter, you win a sex-toy from a drag queen).
How about Neukölln?
Deeper into neighbouring Neukölln (U-Bahn Hermannplatz), there’s a bar popular especially with queer women, called SilverFuture. It’s on the busy Weserstraße, with one drinking hole after another, so it’s a good place for bar-hopping.
A ten-minute walk, near Hermannplatz, is a dive bar with the intriguing name Ficken 3000. It’s a dark, utilitarian affair, colonised by local hipsters and neighbourhood men on the down-low. In the basement there’s an extensive and often busy dark room. The big nights here (for men) are 2 for 1 on Tuesdays and the arty party Icky on Sunday nights. But you’ll find ‘Ficken’ has something going on most nights of the week.
Community-minded is the club Schwuz, which is welcoming and low on attitude and has dance nights almost every day of the week (all genders). This club is a Berlin institution. Some of the evenings feel like a college party (with an average age to match), others bring out the serious electronic music fans. Plenty to choose from: Popkicker, Plastic, Proxi-Club, London Calling, Madonnamania…
Way out near S-Bahn Neukölln is Griessmühle, which is a much more self-conscious and hip affair, with specific nights such as Cocktail D’Amore (men).
Room for Resistance is a queer collective, with foot-forward politics, that holds events and club nights. They have guidelines of what it means for their space to be ‘safer’, so please read these in advance. If you can’t abide by them, or take them seriously, then choose another party.
The Kit Kat Club is one of the truly poly-sexual venues in the city, with plenty of naughtiness happening inside. Located on the edge of Kreuzberg and Mitte, KitKat has many different parties that are often aimed at very different crowds. Many of the parties, note, involve dressing the part (look at their website, at GEGEN and Revolver for example. Note, the latter is full of muscle boys).
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