Robert Hampton

Another visitor! Stay a while… stay forever!

11th June 2012

Ich gayer nach Berlin
Posted by at 7.56pm | 2 responses | Gay, Out and About

Naturally any visit to Berlin would not be complete without sampling its gay scene. While the days were spent sightseeing, most nights Andrew and I ended up in and around Fuggerstraße.

The gay district is not just big, it’s open and in-your-face in a way I’ve never seen before. A giant rainbow flag hanging outside Nollendorfplatz U-Bahn station indicated that the city cherishes its gay community. And the welcome extends beyond the immediate area: we found this poster in a bus shelter in a random suburb.

Respect Gaymes

There’s no ambiguity whatsoever about the nature of the area. Rainbow flags hanging from various poles (stop it), shops selling all sorts of… interesting stuff.

Hampo outside a specialist goods store Berlin Sling King advert

There are bars and clubs catering to every taste. My mother will be pleased to know that we skipped the more exotic bars, such as Reizbar (“DRESSCODE: NAKED”) in favour of something a bit more traditional.

Blond was excellent. Really laid back, and friendly staff (MerseyTart approved). It was so excellent, in fact, that we went back there on Saturday night for a second go, and not just to take advantage of the free wi-fi.

Blond bar, Berlin

We visited a bar called Eldorado on Friday night. Only stayed there for a short time (this was the day of our Berlin Wall walk which had left us both exhausted) but saw plenty of comings and goings while we were there. A bit of after-the-event research explained why: apparently that this bar is popular with escorts to pick up customers. Oops.

Prinzknecht was our final stop. I was a little bit reluctant to go in, but I’m glad Andrew dragged me in there, it was a really good atmosphere inside. The toilets had some interesting decor, and at the back there was what I thought was a staircase leading down to a fire exit. Well, I assumed it was a fire exit because it was dimly lit. It turned out to be something else entirely (no, I didn’t go down the stairs).

Prinzknecht bar, Berlin

Anyway, the best thing about bars in Berlin: they serve you at your table! No fighting your way to the front of a crowded bar, just sit back and let the staff come to you. In Blond they gave us a tab and we paid up just before we left. That would never happen in Britain – people would just walk out without paying!

Bad thing: smoking is still permitted indoors, and plenty of people were taking advantage of that. The smoke wasn’t too obnoxious, but for someone who has been in smoke-free environments, it takes a bit of getting used to.

Amidst all the frivolity, there is a bit of seriousness: a memorial commemorating all those who died of AIDS.

Berlin AIDS Memorial

In summary: Berlin’s gay district is exciting, vibrant and welcoming. A must-see for any homosexual gentleman. I came away with a lot of fun memories, not to mention a little memento from Prinzknecht’s leaflet rack and an idea for something to wear at this year’s Liverpool Pride. The theme this year is “nautical”, you know…

Berlin GMF leaflet Sailor uniform

Tags: , , , , , ,

2 Responses
  1. Comment by Tredwell Stairs
    12th June 2012 at 12:10 am

    Did you see the Christopher Isherwood plaque?

  2. Comment by Robert
    12th June 2012 at 5:49 pm

    Oh no! I knew there was something I wanted to see but I completely missed it.

    Guess I’ll just have to go back to Berlin soon! 🙂