Global Gayborhoods: Berlin

Some cities, like Tokyo dazzle. Others, like Delhi sweep you through their cultural undercurrents until you surface back home, gasping and delighted. Berlin, more than any, seduces -- and there is a massive queer ex-pat community to prove it!

BY Nikko Lancek-Inagaki

July 03 2008 12:00 AM ET

Berlin's equally
thriving high and underground arts cultures, its
unpretentious and easy sexuality, and its openly gay mayor
-- a sign of the progressive climate as much as he is
a force for it -- are powerfully matched by a cost of
living in Euros that miraculously competes with the
Dollar.

Tips: Getting Around
About eight times the size of Paris, it's not a
terribly good idea to try getting around Berlin
entirely on foot. Thankfully, there is a stellar metro
system and an intricate, yet intuitive series of buses.

At 7-10 euros a
day or 50 euros a week, your feet will thank you for
renting a bike from one of the shops populating most
corners. If it's more your speed, weekly metro/bus
passes are also available for about 27 euros each -- a
steal with a ticket each way costing around 2 euros.

Tricks: Darkrooms and Dancing Bears Like scenes
out of Liza Minelli's Weimar-inspired Cabaret, the gay bars
Barbie Deinhoff's (Schlesischestrasse 16) and
Roses's (Oranienstrasse 187) drip with kitsch
accessories like pink shag walls, vinyl couches, and
oversized disco balls. A good mix of ex-pats and
locals toasts here over powerful drinks every night of the
week.

A rite of passage
for anyone new to the city, Berghain (Wrietzener Bahnhof, near the
Ostbahnhof; Saturdays; 12 euros) is a heavily queer
event located on the border between the Kreuzberg and
Friedrichshain -- hence "Berg + hain" -- neighborhoods
in East Berlin. Revelers famously stomp out it to techno
and house from midnight on Saturdays until mid-afternoon
Sundays at this massive concrete former power plant
with couches for naps in the lobby, a labyrinthine
darkroom in the back, and breakfast served in its garden.

Wednesdays find
bears, otters, and cubs at Möebel-Olfe (Reichenbergerstrasse
177), and the monthly gay Turkish dance party Gayhane
at SO36
(Oranienstrasse 190; 6 Euro) is legendary.

Warning:
darkrooms are a common addition in Berlin's gay clubs!

Tags: Travel

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