Emergency measures in the wake of Covid-19
Sweden has banned public gatherings of more than 500 people, but borders are only partially closed and there are no compulsory quarantines or shutdowns of restaurants, bars, or public spaces. There is an expectation that citizens will take personal responsibility to avoid crowds, work from home, and keep their distance in public, particularly on public transport.
Stockholm’s men — tall and muscular in stature, endowed with meticulously defined jaw lines, and baby soft blond hair — will take your breath away. They seem to grace every corner of the regal city, giving new meaning to the slogan, “Take a liking to a Viking.” Stockholm, one of the world's most beautiful capitals, is built on 14 islands connected by 57 bridges, with handsome buildings, green parks, and water all around -- by far the most pristine of all Scandinavian cities. On every corner there’s another fairy tale setting, and perhaps another Prince Charming.
Spring’s the time when the layers come off in tandem with the rise of the perpetual sun. From May to September, you can watch the gladiators jogging over the bridges that connect the vast archipelago and lose yourself in long ambles through the gingerbread streets of Gamla Stan (Stockholm’s Old Town). By day, visitors and locals are spoiled for choice, with charming boat rides through the archipelago, countless picnic spots through the “European Green Capital” and visits to the city’s first-class attractions: the Kungliga Slottet (Royal Palace), the Vasamuseet (Royal Warship), the open-air Skansen Museum, the National Museum of Art and Carl Milles’ sculpture opus, Millesgarden.
When the weather warms up, the Stockholm party scene rages seven nights a week. The gay community here is out, loud, and proud. Stockholm Pride, a week of spirited partying, is usually held at the end of July and the beginning of August.
Stockholm's Arlanda International Airport is about 26 miles from the city. The Arlanda Express high-speed train service departs every every 15 minutes from two airport stations: Arlanda South (Terminals 2, 3 and 4) and Arlanda North (Terminal 5) Tracks 1 and 2, to arrive in 20 minutes at Stockholm Central Station. There are also buses and taxis available.
Stockholm has an excellent public transportation system. The subway and buses can get you anywhere you want to go, and tickets between the two are interchangeable. See the SL website for details in English. To do as the locals do, bike around the city, this is a city made for it. See Stockholm City Bikes.
Currency and Money
Sweden’s currency is the krona. It is not among the Eurozone countries, but some places here will accept euros - though not always at the best exchange rate. On the other hand, Sweden is rapidly becoming a cashless society, with people increasingly paying even small amounts by app or plastic. Half the nation’s retailers predict they will stop accepting bills before 2025. (Link ©nytimes.com).
Many branches of the country’s biggest banks now keep no cash on hand, but ATMs can still be found in most the usual places. Choosing to be charged in the local (SEK) currency when using the ATM usually costs less than selecting the Dynamic Currency Conversion (DCC) option - ask your own bank before you go - and inform them of your travel plans, to minimize potential problems with both debit and credit card transactions.
Media and resources
QX is the Swedish gay magazine, printed in Swedish but with a lot of English, especially on their website where they have good listings for all the Scandinavian countries.
RFSL, the Swedish Federation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer rights, is a non-profit community services organization with activities that include lectures, café nights, pride celebrations and workshops.
Stockholm Gay Club website "lists all the coolest gay upcoming happenings."
See the website of the Stockholm Visitors Board for what to do and see.
Swedish alcohol licensing laws require many bars to serve food. Several places go the extra mlle to make it good quality while they're at it. Some clubs admit those 18-up but others bar anyone under 23 --check ahead on club websites (follow our links).
Berns (Näckströmsgatan 8, Berzelii Park), hotel, restaurant with gay-friendly cocktail bar and concert venue.
Bitter Pills (Verkstadsgatan 4), gay-friendly/mixed bar and cafe, food, wines and cocktails.
Chokladkoppen (Stortorget 18), gay-popular cafe/bar with outdoor seating at the heart of Old Town, known for delicious hot chocolate, coffees and snacks, hot meals and sandwiches. Local information, gay party flyers, and gay give-away magazines.
King Kong at Guldapan (Mariatorget 1a), Saturday gay/lesbian dance nights, with Schlager/Pop music, mixed men/women. CLOSED - final event August 31, 2019. See Peter & Erik present for the promoters' future plans.
Mälarpaviljongen (Norr Mälarstrand 64), gay popular summertime lakeside cafe, floating pontoon terrace bar.
Patricia (Söder Mälarstrand Kajplats N19), floating restaurant and bar on converted lightship, Sunday night drag shows, pop and schlager music, young gay crowd.
Secret Garden (Kornhamnstorg 59), Swedish restaurant, gay bar/lounge in Old Town; DJ sets, men/women mix.
SideTrack (Wollmar Yxkullsgatan 7), gay restaurant, regular guy beer-drinkers bar, early stop for SLM leather men and bears, underwear parties.
SLM (Wollmar Yxkullsgatan 18), Scandinavian Leather Men, leather, rubber, fetish, uniform party nights, Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, dress code, men-only, 18-plus.
Södra Teatern (Mosebacke torg 1-3), theater, performance art, music, comedy, dance, circus, film, drag burlesque club nights.
The Viking Bears sponsor Stockholm events each month, including Björnpub/ Bear Pub nights, parties, walks, brunch dates, meetings and excursions.
CLOSED: Ambassadeur (Kungsgatan 18), big gay-friendly mainstream weekend dance club; Babs Kok & Bar (Birger Jarlsgatan 37), gay-friendly international bistro - became Bongo Bar; Tank (Kungsgatan15, Östermalm), gay nightclub, DJs, divas, dancing, shows; Wonk Stockholm Wed/Sun gay nights, Fri/Sat gay/mixed dancing -- Wonk Malmo (Amiralsgatan 23), continues Saturdays, with two dance floors and karaoke lounge.
Sauna, Sex clubs and video stores
Both gay saunas closed in late 2017, but cruising and sex play still take place at several cinemas/shops in town.
Blue Vision (Fridhemsgatan 44), gay/bi/curious adult cruise/ play area, dark room, everyone welcome; movies, sex shop, cafe, theme events.
Manhattan (Hantverkargatan 49, Kungsholmen), non-stop porn videos and m2m cruising, several screens, dark rooms, glory holes, noon to 6am daily.
US Video (Regeringsgatan 76), straight and gay adult video DVD store, magazines, toys, cruising, cabins, cinema lounges, open 24-hours every day.
CLOSED: Bronx Sauna (Barnängsgatan 19), saunas, slings, maze, dark rooms, cabins, massage, bears' nights; Texas Sauna (Barnängsgatan 9A), sauna, massage, gym, cruise/ play space, slings, cabins, dark room.