A perfect, gay Berlin weekend of culture
You can pursue any passion in Berlin and find like-minded people - whether it's just for a weekend or a longer period of time. That's what Place2be.Berlin author, Sascha Suden, loves about the capital. Born in Cologne, he has lived in Berlin for 20 years. In that time, he has been particularly fascinated by the gay and queer cultural life, where the craziest, most exciting, and most interesting people come together. Here he reveals what a perfect weekend might look like.
Thursday: Arrival and Check-in
On arrival in Berlin, you'll be spoilt for choice from the outset. Numerous hotels and guesthouses are geared up for queer guests. If you want to treat yourself, you could book a room in Soho House. Although you may not be able to actually lie ‘in bed with Madonna’, you might be lucky enough to sleep in a bed that the queen of pop once slept in, because she stayed at Soho House during her European tour. Many other celebrities, including Heidi Klum, Kim Cattrall, Daniel Craig, and George Clooney (who was once spotted in the sauna), have also stayed there. Reese Witherspoon even sat on the sofa next to me once. In addition, Soho House features a pool on the 8th floor and a breathtaking view of the TV tower and the Jewish synagogue. If you don't want to book a room, the restaurant on the ground floor and the shopping area also come highly
Soho House Berlin
Torstraße 1, 10119 Berlin-Mitte
Soho House Berlin's Website
Thursday evening: Hello Berlin! Celebrating your Arrival
Once you’ve freshened up, you’ll be able to experience Berlin’s party spirit on Thursday evening. The legendary Chantal will invite you to the ‘House of Shame’ in the ‘Suicide Circus’ on Warschauer Straße. It is immediately evident why parties have been so sorely missed during the Corona pandemic: people laugh, hug one another and dance together all night on two floors, where both Charts and House are played. Chantal still hosts a drag show there too. Those who hang in there until 6:30am are rewarded with one of the most beautiful sunrises in Berlin - watching the Spree flow by from the nearby Warschauer Brücke and seeing the sun coming up is very romantic!
Chantals House of Shame
Im Suicide Circus, Revaler Straße 99, 10245 Berlin-Friedrichshain
S+U Warschauer Straße
Chantals House of Shame's Website
Friday: Enjoying Great Cafés
After a long night of partying, you should sleep in and then go to a nice café, like Café Kalwil in the gay Nollendorfkiez. The café is a dream, especially for those who love ‘old granny’ cafés with sofas and chandeliers, as well as those who are passionate cake-lovers. The cakes are a delight. Whether it’s grape-blueberry cake or mascarpone-strawberry, every bite is worth the indulgence. If you don't have time for coffee and cake, you should at least try a Vanilla & Marille ice cream at some point during the day. Sicilian pistachio or macadamia with tonka are both a gourmet's dream.
Motzstraße 30, 10777 Berlin-Schöneberg
Café Kalwil's Website
Vanille & Marille
Motzstraße 17, 10777 Berlin-Schöneberg
Vanille & Marille's Website
Friday afternoon: Shopping at KaDeWe
Freshly fortified, Friday is a good day for shopping, as the shops are far less crowded than at the weekend. If you like a little tradition, you can combine two of Berlin's tourist highlights, namely eating currywurst at KaDeWe. On the 6th floor, in the restaurant section, you can buy an original Berlin currywurst for 9.50€ , in addition to oysters, or fantastic macaroons. The great view is a bonus.
Kaufhaus des Westens (KaDeWe)
Tauentzienstraße 21-24,10789 Berlin-Schöneberg
Friday night: Queer night out at Holzmarkt
If you want to stay in the neighbourhood, you can visit the pubs and bars in the Nollendorfkiez between the underground stations Nollendorfplatz, Wittenbergplatz, and Viktoria-Luise-Platz. The Holzmarkt in Friedrichshain, directly on the river Spree, has also developed into a queer hotspot. Cafés and shops are worth a visit, and there are restaurants too, such as Pampa, Spreelunke, and Katerschmaus. After dinner, Club Yaam is a great place to party.
An der Schillingbrücke 3, 10243 Berlin-Friedrichshain
Holzmarkt 25, 10243 Berlin-Friedrichshain
Saturday: Discovering Galleries and Museums
Saturday is all about culture. During the day, galleries and museums invite you to visit them, including Galerie Deschler. There, a tribute to LGBTQI+ icon Volker Spengler, the former Fassbinder actor, is currently on exhibition. In the show, magnificently presented images, photographed by legendary Berghain bouncer, Sven Marquardt, are on display and curated by Nicholas Mockridge. The Urban Nation is currently exhibiting the six-decade retrospective of photographer Martha Coopers, with free admission. We also recommend the Schwules (Gay) Museum, which attracts not only the queer community, but also many straight people, with its captivating exhibitions. In addition to the Irène Mélix show, ‘Lonely Hearts’, there is an exhibition dedicated to HIV: ArcHIV goes on a search for traces of AIDS history, using the thematic AIDS exhibitions from ‘Infectious’(1992) to ‘Intimacy’ (2020). In October 2021, the first exhibition on inter* persons, ‘Mercury Rising’, will open. A spectacular space station with multimedia wall installations has been planned. Artists include Cult of Rae, Rebekka Swan, and Money Mitchell.
Auguststraße 61, 10117 Berlin-Mitte
U Rosenthaler Platz
Galerie Deschler's Website
Bülowstraße 7, 10783 Berlin-Schöneberg
Urban Nation's Website
Lützowstraße 73, 10785 Berlin-Tiergarten
Schwules Museum's Website
Saturday evening: Unadulterated Culture at Performances and Shows
In the cultural metropolis of Berlin, a few museums and galleries are by no means all there is on offer. Because tickets sell out quickly, however, you should plan your theatre and show visits well in advance. Then nothing can stand in the way of an evening with the Geschwister Pfister in the Tipi am Kanzleramt, which is regarded as a classic. The Berliner Kabarett Anstalt (BKA) also has entertaining productions in its programme, with the upcoming ‘Operetta for 2 Gay Tenors’. At the Berliner Ensemble, Barrie Kosky's ‘Threepenny Opera’ is impressive: it has been effortlessly staged with a beautiful stage set ranging from glitter-spangled curtains to silhouette cut-outs. A few metres from the Berliner Ensemble, the largest theatre stage in the world can be marvelled at in the Friedrichstadtpalast. Currently in the programme is ‘Arise’, a spectacular show that echoesthe great revues of the past. It's easy to start a conversation - and perhaps work up a sweat - in Clärchen's Ballhaus. This is one of the last remaining ballrooms from the 20th century, and tango is still taught in its hall of mirrors. Afterwards, you should sample the delicious cuisine.
Tipi am Kanzleramt
Große Querallee, 10557 Berlin-Tiergarten
Tipi am Kanzleramt's Website
Mehringdamm 34, 10961 Berlin-Kreuzberg
Bertolt-Brecht-Platz 1, 10117 Berlin-Mitte
Berliner Ensemble's Website
Friedrichstrasse 107, 10117 Berlin-Mitte
Auguststraße 24, 10117 Berlin-Mitte
S Oranienburger Straße
Clärchens Ballhaus' Website
Sunday: Experience Adventure in the Gay Sauna or in the Parks
If you still have the energy to cruise after all that culture (or just want to relax), you should go to the Boiler. This is currently Berlin's only hip, gay sauna. The pool is sensational. From one of the saunas you can even seeunder the surface of the water. Berlin's parks are also ideal for gay cruising: for example, the Volkspark Friedrichshain at the memorial of the Spanish fighters, the Hasenheide, or traditionally the Tiergarten at the Löwenbrücke.
Mehringdamm 34, 10961 Berlin-Kreuzberg
What's your favourite way to spend your holiday in Berlin? Tell us about it on the Instagram account of Place2be.Berlin!
For lots more up-to-date information on all Berlin weekends, check out the SIEGESSÄULE calendar of events!