Germany's largest port, the bustling metropolis of Hamburg is famous for its earthy sensibilities. There lingers here, as in most old ports of call, a tolerance for pleasures of the flesh craved by generations of sailors on leave. Things have cooled down with fewer sailors in these days of modern container vessels, but a magnificence persists in the fading glory of Hamburg's sleaze.
The city is still renowned for its nightlife; ever-changing and sustained by a large and vibrant music and arts community here. Berliners, with an impressive club roster of their own, often come over for weekends of debauchery. St Pauli and St Georg both have clusters of gay bars and clubs, and people of all proclivities mix together in the underground clubs that appear and disappear overnight, promoted by word of mouth or text-messages - never making it to guide book pages. Around the Reeperbahn, or one of the cafes on Lange Reihe you'll hear of the happening club of the week.
Hamburg-Fuhlsbüttel Airport is about 7 miles northwest of the city. Shuttle buses run nonstop between the airport and the city's main train station. Airport buses stop in front of the main train station. Buses for Ryanair connections at Lubeck terminate at the nearby ZOB bus station. A taxi to the center will cost about 20 euros.
The local U-Bahn and S-Bahn metro system will get you around quickly. It’s especially convenient for late-night partying, as it runs around the clock on weekends. See HVV for information. If you’re downtown, in either of the two main neighborhoods, Hamburg is a very walkable city.
Much of gay nightlife is concentrated in the St. Pauli neighborhood, specifically on the famous Reeperbahn, and in St. Georg, the district close to the main train station.
What to do
The annual Spike Leather Party is held each year in August. Hamburg Pride events take place each year in late July and early August. The city’s Lesbian and Gay Film Festival screens every year in October.
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.
Outdoor frolics can often be found in the Stadtpark near the planetarium, near the S-Bahn station. See Squirt.org for more local cruising information.
Media & Resources
Also see MONO online magazine for gay lifestyle, clubbing and other events listings, with daily updates.
The gay community center in Hamburg is the Magnus Hirschfeld Centrum (Borweg 8), named after the famous early 20th-century gay rights activist. Hein und Fiete (Pulverteich 21) is a local gay HIV/STD prevention and health information center with get-togethers and movie nights.
For website links to businesses listed below, and more, see our map & listings page for Hamburg.
Nightlife St. Georg-Lange Reihe
East of Hauptbahnhof, Lange Reihe is a trendy low-rise villlage of cafes and shops, popular with young, gay, and fashionable people.
Bellini (Danziger Strasse 63) sleek little basement bar, just off Lange Reihe, young and pretty gay crowd, long; tall windows - so as to see and be seen.
Cafe Central (Lange Reihe 50), and Cafe Uhrlaub (Lange Reihe 63) are two more mixed, gay-friendly cafes, with outdoor summer sidewalk seating.
Cafe Gnosa (Lange Reihe 93), the grand dame of queer cafes, delicious food, homemade cakes, variety of cultural events, sidewalk seating at heart of the the Village.
Cafe Uhrlaub (Lange Reihe 63), gay-friendly cafe/ "bistrothek," outdoor summer sidewalk seating.
Generation Bar (Lange Reihe 81), slick modern hangout, big windows overlooking street, young clientele around tables chat, drink, watch passers-by.
Kyti Voo (Lange Reihe 82) mixed young crowd bar/cafe with big sidewalk terrace on busy street.
M&V Bar (Lange Reihe 22), pub ambiance, booth seating, cheese and sausage to go with your drinks. A young mixed crowd jams the place on weekends.
Nightlife St Georg - Rostocker to Pulverteich
Further down Danziger, around Rostocker Str. beyond the square, there are edgier, fetish-oriented establishments, and some small cellar bars, packed to the walls with locals of various gay tribes.
Contact (Danziger Strasse 51), men's bar, Sexplosion naked, underwear, jocks, sports cruise nights; former Strictly-Men location.
Daniel's Company (Kreuzweg 6), popular gay party bar, big weekend crowd; men/women, all kind and age mix.
Extratour (Zimmerpforte 1), younger guys play darts and drink beer, decor spiced with large framed photo nudes.
Pick Up Bar (Zimmerpforte 2), small gay bar, mostly men, open daily from 3am, wide international mix of all ages and types.
SLUT Club (Rostocker Strasse 20) friendly, kinky, jaw-dropping den of iniquity - always a blast. Sexy events, naked, fisting, Mega Slut, Full Rubber nights, all kinds of men, red-lit dark rooms, special leather/fetish events.
La Strada (Rostocker Strasse 8) gets going early evenings, frequented by all types; including stately older men, and sharp-eyed younger ones -- perhaps just off the train.
Thomaskeller (Rostocker Strasse 14) locals' basement bar, packed with noisy party people, rainbow flags blazing out front.
Tom's Saloon (Pulverteich 17), men's Levi/leather basement bar since 1974, popular cruisy darkroom/cruise-maze, sling, glory-holes, showers to clean up afterwards. Sex parties moved, see above Contact.
St Pauli, and beyond
Just ten minutes by U-bahn (U3) from St. Georg, the St Pauli district nightlife, around the famous Reeperbahn, spills noisily onto wide sidewalks. Several gay clubs in the mix attract a varied mix of folks.
136grad (Reeperbahn 136), big gay/mixed Saturday night events dance venue, top DJs, upstairs Boudoir Lounge.
Flickenschildt (Mundburger Damm 63) trendy artist hangout, bar and restaurant by Ernst-German Theatre.
Freudenhaus (Hein-Hoyer-Strasse 7-9), once a Chinese brothel, now a good German restaurant; what you expect and then more. With sensual decor, they do dinner parties, gay weddings, even arrange for the strippers.
Hasenschaukel (Silbersackstrasse 17), off Reeperbahn, mixed, mostly young, artsy crowd into folk and Indie music, and political discourse.
Kir (Barner Str. 16) Altona station, mixed dance club with open-end weekend closing after-hours.
Toom Peerstall (Clemens-Schultz 43), Hamburg's longest-open gay bar, mature mix, men and women, a bit out from the tumultuous Reeperbahn, but bustling with full schedule of nightly events.
Olivier Jones Bar (Grosse Freiheit 35) drag diva's opulent lounge, open to all Thursday through Saturday, cheap drinks, drama aplenty.
Piccolo Paradiso (Bruederstrasse 27), wine bar - 50 varieties by the glass, good fresh healthy food.
Pulverfass (Reeperbahn 147), longstanding show bar, general pulbic-popular female impersonations right on the main "drag."
Schmidt/Tivoli (Spielbudenplatz 27), large general public complex, cabaret shows, musicals, theater, solo performances, music concerts, and more at center of Reeperbahn nightlife.
Wunderbar (Talstrasse 14), hot red walls, high-energy young crowd, busiest after midnight. So packed weekends, people dance where they stand, instead of in small backroom dance floor.
Apollo Sauna (Max-Brauer-Allee 277), some distance from the center, open daily noon to 10pm, bear nights every Friday.
Dragon Sauna (Pulverteich 37), dragon leitmotif decor, extensive sauna facilities, bar, lounge, cruise areas, massage, hot meals, discount specials, open 24 hours on weekends
Men's Heaven Spa (Steindamm 14) recently totally refurbished, full sauna facilities, rental cabins and cruise play spaces with sling; bar, internet access stations, Centro Delfino massage services.
To stay where you play, there are several good options around St. Georg. See our listings for two dozen more hotels & guesthouses, in addition to these listed below.
The Hotel Galerie Petersen (Lange Reihe 50), art-hotel extraordinaire, eclectic, distinctively furnished rooms and suites in the middle of the Lange Reihe district.
Hotel Koenigshof Novum (Pulverteich 18), not the gay hotel it was, but modern, stylish, and right at the center of St Georg.
Hotel Village (Steindamm 4) St Georg central location, 20 rooms near train and bus stations, and gay bars. Baroque plush decor harks back to this building's days as a brothel.
Mr. Chaps Apartment (Greifswalder Strasse 23) self-contained digs with all the amenities of a hotel, plus kitchen, reasonable rates, a few minutes' walk to gay bars, in St. Georg.
Shopping, kinos, saunas, and events
Bruno's (Danziger Strasse 70), Bruno Gmunder's gay media location, lots of porn DVDs and photo books, among the many items.
Männerschwarm (Lange Reihe 102) gay bookstore, magazines, cards, queer books in German and English: fiction, history, politics, photo books and gay comics. Porn and gay cinema DVDs.
Mr. Chaps (Greifswalder Strasse 23), leather/fetish community center, quality made-to-order and off the racks leather clothing, uniforms, military gear, rubber, and latex wear; lubes, condoms, knick-knacks, cock rings, fetish toys, magazines, DVDs, bargain hunter's corner. Also online sales.
Kinos and sex shops
Cinemas, or kinos, sell porn DVDs and show videos in arcades. Displays up front show what's playing in back before you enter, or have vast digital libraries to choose from. On and around Reeperbahn these include:
Boutique Bizarre (Reeperbahn 35) big sex department store, toys, gallery, fetish items, fashions, SM / bondage gear, literature, games, DVD movies.
Erotixx Hamburg (Hamburger Berg 35), nationwide chain, retail, cruising, sex; sling, dark room, 500 digital video channels, just off Reeperbahn.
New Man City City (Pulverteich 8) is among several sex shops and porn kinos on and around Steindamm in St Georg.
Theaters and Performance
Deutsches Schauspielhaus (Kirchenallee 39, St Georg), Germany's largest theatre, stage productions, performances.
Docks (Spielbudenplatz 19, St Pauli), live music concerts, special events dances, festivals.
English Theatre of Hamburg (Lerchenfeld 14, Uhlenhorst), professional theatre company, plays in original English.
Grete (Margaretenstrasse 33, Sternschanze), games, live music, art exhibits, lectures; garden bar & pond.
Hamburg State Opera (Große Theaterstraße 25), classic opera performances, with Philharmoniker Hamburg.
Kampnagel Internationale Kulturfabrik (Jarrestraße 20), performance and art space, festivals
Kulturbeutel Hamburg (Benzstrasse 2b), Hellbrook gay theater group.
Laeiszhalle | Hamburger Symphoniker (Johannes-Brahms-Platz 1, Neustadt), North German Radio Symphony Orchestra, and Elbphilharmonie Konzerte performances, music festivals, vocalists, quartets, guest orchestras; Kulturecafé talks, jazz and coffeeshop.
Markthalle (Klosterwall 11, St Georg), all-genre alternative cultural space/ creative arts center.
Metropolis Kino (Steindamm 52/54, St Georg), cult, foreign and art-house cinema, cafe.
Schmidt Theatre | Tivoli (Spielbudenplatz 27-28, St Pauli), theater stage, musicals venue; food and drinks, hotel complex.
Thalia Theatre (Alstertor 1, Center), 1843 theater, stage productions, concerts, special parties.