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Berlin boring? OutUK's Adrian Gillan samples Germany's sexy south where even the beer's queer in Munich.

Germany's third largest city, punches well above its gay weight. The vast scene is well organised and concentrated in the central area around Sendlinger Tor and Müllerstrasse where it seems every window bears a rainbow flag. And - unlike Berlin - magic Munich is also visibly steeped in history and culture well before the twentieth century, much of it medieval. It's a beauty!

The Munich skyline. Photo : Rudolf Sterflinger
Courtesy: FVAmuc

BAR-HOPPING

The Gay Community Centre boasts Sub, one of the friendliest, youngest bars out on the scene in its own right and a perfect place to start your grand tour. It is swarming with volunteer staff, only too delighted to sketch out the local pink landscape on one of their many queer maps.

Just round the corner, other young, non-cruisy yet stylish bar is Café Paris - it's really good for a quick bite. If you want a more traditional slice of gay Bavaria - both beers and beards - hop into the nearby Edelheiss on the corner. Or skip over the road to the unpretentious Rendezvous. If it's more a quiet drink in cosier surroundings you hanker for, park your sausage at Feuerwache.

For style plus the odd gay pretension, Nil is a bit of a hub, always buzzing with bright young things. Perhaps the main place to preen and be seen on the drinking circuit is Iwan, a sprawling bar on two levels where hoards of pretty boys continually adore themselves and each other.

As with Berlin, there's no shortage of men-only butch and fetish bars, which tend to open later. I'm afraid you'll have to be a real man to visit BAU and especially Ochsengarten or The Stud. But if you fancy a laugh, try Spike, a tough-sounding yet hugely friendly little haunt with motorbikes and engines hanging from the ceiling, and men of all ages squeezed into PVCs exchanging sibilants. Quite a sherry party! It also has a little shrine to Freddy Mercury who, legend has it, used to pop in whenever passing through.

EATING

You're spoilt for choice for munchies. Moro is large and good value with great service and our other favourite is Villanis which is pleasant enough but can get a bit pricy, although maybe worth it for that special occasion.

CLUBBING

Wanna dance? The good news is that clubs in Munich are very cheap to get into, and stay that way once you're in them, with beer by the bucket.

The Hofbräuhaus. Photo : Robert Hertz
Courtesy: FVAmuc
New York is the cheese club in town. With 80s black and white décor, it is covered in mirrors and the occasional flashing neon Manhattan skyline. It still packs them in though. You must try Mrs. Henderson, especially on a Sunday when there's a great drag show - a real Bavarian queer cabaret - perhaps all the more funny if you can't speak German.

STEAMED UP

The Deutsche Eiche is the largest sauna in town, and still attracts the biggest crowds, including more than a few young'ns. You'll be lucky to encounter much life at the smaller Rainbow Club or Schwabinger Men Sauna. For cruising, go to the lower tract of the English Gardens between the Haus der Kunst and Bayer National Museum any time in the early hours. It's considered safe, and it's very popular.
The English Gardens. Photo : Hans Schmied
Courtesy: FVAmuc

SHOPPING

You'll find a range of gay shops in the district selling the usual porn and pouches, but do pop into the Max & Milian Gay Bookshop, if you seek wider stimulation. And, as well as its celebrated sauna, the aforementioned Deutsche Eiche has a gay hotel together with somewhat pricy restaurant.

So, when all is said, the Munich gay scene is huge - the above sketch is by no means exhaustive - and conveniently nestling together. It is also inexpensive and, with most guys all too keen to show off their near perfect English, you're in for a warm Germanic welcome!

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THE LITTLE BLACK BOOK

BAU (Müllerstrasse 41; T: 004989 26 92 08)
Café Paris (Thalkirchner Strasse 10; T: 004989 26 58 02)
Deutsche Eiche (Reichenbachstrasse 13; T: 004989 2311660)
Edelheiss (Pestalozzistrasse 6; T: 004989 26 54 53)
Feuerwache (Blumenstrasse 21a; T: 004989 260 44 30)
Iwan (Josephspitalstrasse 15; T: 004989 55 49 33)
Max & Milian Gay Bookshop (Ickstattsrasse 2; T: 004989 26 33 20)
Mrs. Henderson (Müllerstrasse 1; T: 004989 26 34 69)
Moro (Müllerstrasse 30; T: 004989 23 00 29 92)
New York (Sonnenstrasse 25; T: 004989 59 10 56)
Nil (Hans-Sachs-Strasse 2; T: 004989 26 55 45)
Ochsengarten (Müllerstrasse 47; T: 004989 26 64 46)
Rainbow Club (Landwehrstrasse 3; T: 004989 548 32 261)
Rendezvous (Müllerstrasse 54; T: 004989 260 41 25)
Schwabinger Men Sauna (Düsseldorfer Strasse 7; T: 004989 307 23 42)
Spike (Holzstrasse 14; T: 004989 260 262 37)
The Stud (Thalkirchner Strasse 2; T: 004989 260 84 03)
Sub (in Gay Community Centre, Müllerstrasse 43; T: 004989 260 3056)
Villanis (Kreuzstrasse 3b; T: 004989 260 79 72)

Revised November 2016.

 

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