Gay & Lesbian
Heading East from Schoeneberg lies Kreuzberg, famous as an area of dissidence. During the time before the Wall fell, this is where free thinkers of all varieties settled. Thousands of pacifists came from West Germany to avoid the mandatory military service, punks squatted in abandoned houses and gays and lesbians found an environment free of repression. Kreuzberg became one of the most open districts in the world, an island ironically isolated within East Germany. Today the feeling is still present and the area well worth seeing. Mehringdam 61 houses three gay and lesbian venues. Up front is Melitta Sundström, a café with a wide selection of drinks and cakes as well used gay books for sale (including a large English section). Out the back of Sundström is the Gay Museum and Schwuz nightclub. A couple of subway stops away in Oranienstr. is SO36, a nightclub & classic Kreuzberg institution. There's not a bad night to go there; highly recommended though is Hungrige Herzen (Hungry Hearts), a gay and lesbian house party on Wednesday nights. Two doors down is kitschy Roses - a tiny bar ideal for a drink at the beginning (or the end) of an evening out.
Oranienstrasse 183, Berlin - Kreuzberg | Tel: 615 31 22, Fax: no fax | U1, U8 Kottbusser Tor | Times: daily from 14:00
Another popular spot on the Oranienstr. crawl, Bierhimmel makes a
great meeting point before a night out. Up front is a more subdued,
well lit cafe with a wide selection of beers, cakes and espresso shots;
in back is the intimate 'Love Lounge´ cocktail bar with low
lights and cozy booths.
Gay Museum, Archive and Library (Schwules Museum)
Mehringdamm 61, 10965 Berlin - Kreuzberg | Tel: 69 59 90 50, Fax:
61 20 22 89 | U6 + U7 Mehringdamm | Prices: € 5 , € 3
(conc.) | Times: Wed - Mon 14:00 - 18:00, Sat 14:00 - 19:00
Located in the courtyard behind Melitta Sundström is the gay
museum. The exhibitions vary in content. Hildegard Knef is the theme
of the next exhibit (7 Dec. -27 Feb. 2006). The archive and library
are upstairs from the museum. The collection of English fiction is
big, and it´s free to read. The only drawback is that you can´t
check the books out. The staff are helpful and speak English. Both
the museum and archive are good resources for learning more about
gay cultural history and current happenings in the gay world.
Mehringdamm 61, 10965 Berlin - Kreuzberg | Tel: 692 44 14, Fax: no fax | U6 + U7 Mehringdamm | Times: Mon-Sun Times: 9:00 - varies, when everyone is ready to go home
Melitta Sundström cafe is, for the most part, a typical Berlin cafe with a menu of espresso, drinks, cakes and an assortment of light food. What makes it stand out from other cafes are the shelves of books on one wall in English, German and French, the gay memorabilia, and postcards all for sale. The books are a bit kitsch with some cheesy titles. The items for sale don´t interfere with the cafe atmosphere where one could easily spend an afternoon reading or chatting with friends. The downside is that the air is a bit smokey.
Oranienstrasse 187, Berlin - Kreuzberg | Tel: 615 65 70, Fax: no fax | U1, U8 Kottbusser Tor | Times: daily 21:30-5:00
Not simply satisfied with plastic flowers, pop art Virgin Marys and other such bric-a-brac, if the decor doesn´t glitter, sparkle, blink or flash at you, you´re not in Rose´s. This classic Kreuzberg bar has taken Kitsch to a higher level. A lively, mixed and unusual crowd packs the two rooms chattering over the sound of classic house tunes. A popular stop before, after or during a night at the So36.
Schoko - Café & Bar for Women
Mariannenstr. 6, Berlin - Kreuzberg | U1/U8 Görlitzer
Bahnhof/Kottbusser Tor | Times: daily from 17:00.
Schoko Café is a long-established women's café/bar which offers a friendly environment in which to meet up with other women for a chat or for a light meal, and also regular events such as parties, concerts, dances, book presentations, talks, and space for various specialist organisations such as a Kreuzberg women's LETS scheme. It is located in the same building as the women's Hamam, near other lesbian and gay (-friendly) pubs and venues along Oranienstraße. The café's decor features mosaics of mirror glass and tiles as well as collages on the tables, giving a certain retro ambience and the kitchen offers a different range of snacks every month.
Mehringdamm 61, 10965 Berlin - Kreuzberg | Tel: 693 70 25, Fax:
no fax | U6 + U7 Mehringdamm | Prices: € 5 - 10 | Times: parties
start around 22:00, check the press for details.
Schwuz is the oldest gay club in Berlin. Now located below Melitta Sundström, it has had many locations. It´s a club which plays mainstream music more than techno. The nightly themes change from House to Oldies to Latin. In the earlier hours of the evening, the crowd is mixed, lesbians, gay men, drag queens and hetero friends. By 2 or 3 o'clock in the morning it becomes a party of mostly men. As is often the case, lesbians seem to go home earlier...
Oranienstraße 190, 10997 Berlin - Kreuzberg | Tel: 614 01
306 , Fax: no fax | U8 + U1 Kottbusser Tor | Prices: € 5 -
10 | Times: check press, parties vary
SO36 has different parties each week. A night of Bingo with some friends at this place is a blast. Even if you´re German is nearly non-existent, you can practise your numbers while watching a fantastic show with two drag queens and their friends. The other nights' themes vary from Techno to Oriental and a gay singles night called "Hungry Hearts." The crowd is a mixture of gay and straight depending on the night.
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