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
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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!
Book discount flights to Munich online with
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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.