The capital of Bavaria, Munich is framed by snow-capped peaks of the Alps. It’s known for its many museums, distinctive architecture, and of course, its endless varieties of beer. Germans say Munich has the country's best quality of life, making it the city where they'd live if they could. Most gay people here would agree. They greet newcomers with a smile and a hearty Grüss Gott.
The Isar River is among Munich's greatest charms. Allowed to run naturally, its tributaries create little islands edged with sand or pebble beaches. All kinds of people come out to the water on warm summer days: families with children, tattooed teens, and gay couples. Nude sunbathers turn golden brown, kids and dogs frolic, and lovers — straight or gay — get wrapped up in their own private worlds.
Englischer Garten, bigger than New York's Central Park, is another sprawling park in the middle of the city. Modern visitors flock to the Greek temple by Leo von Klenze (a distinguished local architect), the Chinese tower with its adjacent beer garden, and the Japanese teahouse and garden on its own small island.
Munich's single biggest party is the annual Oktoberfest, held each September and October. A subway ride to Theresienwiese or Goetheplatz U-Bahn stations will get you to the festival's giant tents with costume parades and carnival rides. There are many gay events, including Gay Sunday in the Bräurosl beer tent, and OktoBEARfest, a party for Munich’s bear community - both in September.
Munich's Christopher Street Day, held in mid-July, includes a parade through the gay neighborhood and a street festival at Marienplatz. The annual celebration has party after party, including a blowout at the historic city hall. In August, the Hans-Sachs Schwules Strassenfest is an annual community street festival specific to this very gay area.
The Verzaubert International Queer Film Festival does an annual tour of the cities of Munich, Cologne, and Frankfurt. See their website for details on screenings .
Munich Franz Josef Strauss Airport about 18 miles northeast of the city, Germany's second largest by passenger count, is one of Europe's best. Most people call it simply "Munich Airport." A shopping, business and recreation area that connects the two terminals is full of people from around the world as flights here originate from most every corner of the globe.
The S-Bahn S1 and S8 trains will get you to both the Hauptbahnhof or Ostbahnhof central rail stations in 33-53 minutes, depending on which train you take. Each takes a different route, so for points in-between consult their website.
There's also bus service to various destinations. The main information desk is staffed 24-hours at Central Area level 3. Information desks are also located in each terminal building, from at least 5:30am to 10pm.
Munich’s historic center, largely closed to traffic, is very walkable. It’s great for bikers because most major streets have designated lanes. There’s a network of buses, trams, and U-Bahn and S-Bahn trains at your disposal. Trams offer late-night service, making the perfect for getting home after a night on the town. Inexpensive one- and three-day visitor passes are available at the stations and at many tram stops. See MVV for public tranportation info in five languages.
To get around in the principal gay area, around Müllerstrasse and Hans-Sachs Strasse, you needn't stray far from stops on tram routes 17 and 18, or the vicinity of the Sendlinger Tor U-Bahn station.
Dozens of gay bars, clubs, restaurants, bathhouses, hotels, and shops are located in the areas between Karlspatz /Stachus, past Sendlinger Tor, down Müllerstrasse and along streets that intersect it, such as Hans-Sachs Strasse. Most locals are either somewhat or completely competent in English, but don't be shy in trying some German, people are happy to help.
Currency and Money
Germany is part of the Euro Zone, so the euro is the accepted currency. There are plenty of ATMs in the downtown area.
The gay cruising trails along the Isar River aren't hard to spot. They’re among the trees of the larger island just beyond the footbridge. The Schönfeldwiese ("Beautiful Meadows") area of Englischer Garten is famous for its nude sunbathers, and it can be quite cruisy, too.
Media and resources
The local gay glossy magazine for Bavaria is Leo, with an informative but German-language website. A nationwide online source for gay listings and club events, RomeoLiebtJuliet.de has extensive coverage of Munich.
To get locally oriented, try the GLBT center, Sub (Müllerstrasse 43), open daily from 7 p.m. This all-volunteer operation has flyers, maps, free guidebooks, and friendly advice. Sub also has a large library (much of it in English).
Muenchen.de has visitor information, both general, and of specifically gay interest.
Deutsche Eiche (Reichenbachstrasse 13), 30 modern, comfortable rooms, five-star suite; reasonable rates, delicious breakfast, restaurant seating indoors and out, traditional Bavarian food all day. Also huge basement gay sauna. A former hangout of Werner Fassbinder and other Munich glitterati, the Eiche ("Oak") has friendly, helpful, knowledgeable staff; maps, guides, and gay mags. Convenient to gay district, short walk through Viktualienmark stalls and beer gardens to Marienplatz.
Other gay-friendly hotels nearby include: H'Otello Advokat (Baaderstrasse 1), a casually upscale business hotel near Isartor; the Hotel Olympic (Hans Sachs Strasse 4), next to Cafe Nil; and the Carat (Lindwurmstrasse 13), close by Sendlinger Tor.
Other convenient local hotels are two Seibels (Seibel-hotels-munich.de): the Hotel Seibel (Theresienhoehe 9), near the Oktoberfest site; and Pension Seibel (Reichenbachstrasse 8) near the Viktualienmarkt. The Hotel Viktualienmarkt (Utzschneiderstrasse 14) is a comfortable and inexpensive general-clientele hotel near the Deutsche Eiche and the Eagle.
Some bars are effectively men-only zones, including, but not limited to those into leather, fetish, uniforms, and bears. Others are quite mixed, gay/staight and men/women. Smoking restrictions tightened in August 2010 at all establishments that serve food.
Cafes & pubs
Cafe Nil (Hans-Sachs-Str. 2), gay favorite lounge, red and sand decor, all ages and types; host and crew pamper, entertain, and tempt with homemake goodies.
Cafe Rendez-Vous (Müllerstrasse 24), unassuming sidewalk bar and cafe, great spot to watch comings and goings of Müllerstrasse.
Cafe Rubin (Thalkirchner Str. 10) coffeehouse, bistro food, baked goodies, full bar, cozey winter lounge, big summer terrace popular afternoons and evenings, crowd of all kinds and many ages.
Jennifer Parks (Holzstrasse 14), mixed crowd Thursday/Friday lounge, men and women, DJs, Saturday dancing.
Kr@ftAkt (Thalkirchner Strasse 4), cool and casual, youth-favored, straight-friendly central bar, restaurant and cafe; omelets and Mediterranean inspired fare, reasonable prices, internet access for customers.
Moro (Müllerstrasse 30) restaurant and bar, eclectic menu, local favorites such as schweinebraten, pastas, salads, Thai and other international fare, daily specials, sidewalk tables, Sunday brunch.
Weinbar Vinobel (Westermühlstraße 39) wine bar, wine connoisseurs meetings and tastings; over 150 wines from France, Italy, Spain, Germany and Austria; French pâtés, rillettes, pies, quiches, jazz evenings.
Zur Feuerwache (Blumenstrasse 21a) around for 26 years, at heart of gay scene, cosy, friendly neighborhood bar, good prices. Open until 3am weekends, re-opens 6am for after dance club nightcap, or breakfast.
For other restaurant options, plus locations and website links for businesses on this page, see our maps & listings tab.
Alexander's (Utzschneiderstrasse 4), one of oldest in Munich gay scene, relaxed tolerant vibe, full bar, pizza, mostly older men and young guys looking on -- some for pay.
Bar Jeans (Blumenstrasse 15) Levi, country and western men's neighborhood bar, darts, porn videos.
Bau (Müllerstrasse 41), where the tap never runs dry and staff make you feel like family. Parties, blockbuster movies, drink specials, levi-leather, rubber, uniform, fetish and foam parties. Locals and visitors cavort in downstairs dark bar.
Camp (Reisingerstr. 15), Levi-leather, men-only cruise bar, large dark room, porn videos.
Edelheiss Cafe (Pestalozzistrasse 6) bears, beards, Levi-leather bar men's neigborhood bar with rustic ambience, outdoor tables.
Energie (Maistrasse 63), men-only cruise naked bar, lounge, videos.
Ochsengarten (Muhlerstrasse 47) men's fetish bar: spanking, bondage, naked, leather, sneaker, rubber, uniform and dance nights. Many from the old crowd at Teddy Bear (closed late 2011) moved here.
Pop As (Thalkirchner Strasse 12), pils ("beer") bar, local institution hosted by charming owner. Many from Levi-leather fraternity, but men of all ages and leanings; good conversations, occasional cabaret shows, big Christmas party.
Underground (Hans-Preißinger-Strasse 8). Club closed January 2012 - men's weekend leather/fetish/naked parties and Bavarian Mr. Leather events looking for new location.
8 Below (Schützenstrasse 8), live bands venue, special theme party nights, Saturday Pink Jimmy gay/lesbian events, young crowd.
Cafe am Hochhaus (Blumenstrasse 29), small, trendy mixed dance club, young and alternative, nightly events include "Queer Sundays."
Candy Club at Rote Sonne (Maximiliansplatz 5) Karlsplatz, gay/lesbian dance parties, pop/retro/electro, see website for dates.
Catch Club at NV (Residenzstrasse 3), weekly Friday gay dance night on three levels, mostly men, go-gos, destination themes, 500 euros prizes.
Garry Kelin @ Harry Klein ( Sonnenstrasse 8), top techno dance club, Wednesday night gay glam/trash party, singers, erotic male dancers, fetish performers.
Hanoi Bar (Theklastrasse 1), Friday and Saturday gay "underground" dance nights. Top DJs, serious dancing, Garage, Deep House, Electro.
NY.Club (Sonnenstrasse 25), with a new make-over, the long-poplular gay dance club reopens June 1st. High-tech dance floor, stylish lounge area, dark room cruising. Open Fridays and Saturdays 11pm until whenever.
Prosecco (Theklastrasse 1), cozy neighborhood bar, small dance corner, Schlager (German Pop) and dance music, jam-packed on weekends, mixed crowd, mostly guys, all ages.
Sinners at Alte Kongresshalle (Theresienhöhe 15), big circuit-style dance parties, many bars, big floor, elaborate shows.
Largest, busiest Munich tubs, Deutsche Eiche (Reichenbachstrasse 13), complex on three levels, has large, clean whirlpool, maze-like layout, many cruisy areas; steam and sauna, cabins, TV, video screening lounges, cafe and bar, private therapeutic massage from talented pros.
M-54 Sauna Club (Müllerstrasse 54), young clientele brims with energy. All amenities: dry, steam, bio saunas; solarium; massage services; cabins; darkroom, video lounges. Also cafe, bar and free internet.
Massage Munich (Tal 3, 4th floor), foot reflexology, traditional Thai massage, pulsation and spinal coumn therapy, Nuru Body sensual massage; central studio, or at hotel, by appointment.
Schwabinger Men-Sauna (Düsseldorfer Str. 7), a bit out from the center, long-time locals' social hangout, Finnish sauna, steam, massage, darkroom playspace, cabins, TV lounge and snacks.
Shopping and more
Bruno's (Thalkirchner Strasse 4), erotic DVDs for sale or rent, art-photo mags and books, tools and toys. One of a national chain of stores from folks at Bruno Gmünder, publisher of Spartacus Guide.
Buddy (Rumfordstrasse 11a), gay sex-shop near the Viktualienmarkt; two "kino" video arcades; leather, latex, magazines, toys, and other gizmos for sale; sex parties.
Cut Glass Piercing (Müllerstrasse 54), some of the best perforators in Bavaria, plus Halloween Gore Store with novelties, tricks, and treats.
Diburnium (Thalkirchner Strasse 5), fetish and SM emporium: leather, rubber, and army clothing for sale.
Duplexx (Theresienstrasse 130), cruise space, sex parties, private cabins, glory holes; also DVD video sales and rentals plus toys.
The Gay bookshop, Max & Milian (Ickstattstrasse 2), closed this past year. The website they shared with Eisenberz of Berlin, Erkönig in Stuttgart, and Mannerschwarm of Hamburg, is still online at Gaybooks.de.
Spexter (Müllerstrasse 54), made-to-order leather, rubber, uniforms, fetish and bondage wear, plus clothing for skinheads; jewelry, magazines, multi-region DVD sales - online store too.
Out of town
An hour south of Munich, in Bavarian Alpine countryside, the secluded gay-owned country inn and restaurant Moosbeck Alm (Moos 38, Rottenbuch; Moosbeck-alm.de) offers affordable luxury, large, modern sauna, outdoor heated pool and hearty Bavarian meals. With a car, visit nearby Oberammergau and Garmisch. No car? -take the train. Staff will pick you up at the station. Tour by bicycle for peaceful, relaxing time-out. Wi-Fi access in the day-room.
A bit north of Munich, in Pleinfeld Bavaria, Riedel's (Nürmberger Strasse 3; Riedels-cafe.de) is a short walk from Brambach Lake. Their shady beer garden by a brook is perfect for a break in your travels. Homemade ice cream is a specialty of the host. On cool or wet days it's warm and friendly inside. Summer swimming and bicycling and winter sledding make this a year-round attraction.
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