gay bars munich

Flaunt your fabulousness at Christopher Street Day. (Photo: Alamy)

LGBTQ Travel

The Over-the-Top, Over-the-Rainbow LGBTQ Guide to Munich

While tiny in comparison to Berlin or Cologne, Munich‘s LGBTQ+ scene offers an accessible intimacy that gives it its charm. In this liberal Bavarian metropolis, you’ll have the chance to drink, dine, schvitz and get in touch with your inner kitsch amid Munich’s storied LGBTQ+ stomping grounds.

You’ll likely jump-start your trip in the uber-trendy Glockenbachviertel neighborhood, which today serves as the epicenter of Munich’s LGBTQ+ community and its alternative culture scene.

Replete with a diverse range of hip cafés, restaurants, bars, clubs and boutique shops, you’ll quickly learn that you can find essentially anything here — if you just know where to look.


Café Nil

Located centrally on Hans-Sachs Strasse in the heart of the Glockenbach, Café Nil, named after the Nile River, is decked out with Egyptian-style décor and large, comfy sofas perfect for unwinding after a day of exploring.

This restaurant and bar has been a staple in the gay community for 30 years, drawing in LGBTQ+ locals, internationals and their friends who are hungry for reasonably priced classics, like the massive Cornflake-breaded schnitzels or the goulash soup.


A half-century-old bar that’s seen Munich through much of its recent history, the Ochsengarten, locally known as the “Ox,” was the city’s first men-only, gay venue for jeans, leather and uniform enthusiasts.

Freddie Mercury, as well as other notable gay celebrities, were said to have frequented this veteran, no-frills bar.


Deutsche Eiche Bathhouse

When it opened in 1995, the male-only bathhouse behind the Deutsche Eiche, or “German Oak,” quickly became a draw for men from across central Europe. Still popular today, the bathhouse complex spreads over four floors and includes a Finnish sauna, Jacuzzi, steam bath, massage rooms, a solarium and several relaxation rooms.

The Deutsche is said to be a veritable “playground for men” — complete with privacy cabins, dim lights, sexy toys and twisting corridors perfect for cat-and-mouse flirtations. After mixing it up with the guys inside, head to the rooftop terrace and sip a sparkling wine cocktail as you gaze at a stunning panoramic view of the Munich skyline.

Brunos Store

Brunos Store is a national LGBTQ cultural institution that was first launched in 1981 as a publishing house responsible for a popular gay lifestyle magazine and a best-selling gay travel guidebook.

Today, the retail store’s four branches in Munich, Berlin, Hamburg and Cologne serve as a place to both socialize and to browse gay magazines, toys, and other playful accessories. The salespeople are extremely helpful and friendly and, if you spot something you later regret not buying, you can order from their online store for swift delivery.

Gay Dance Parties

Around the globe, Munich’s storied dance parties have earned the city legendary status in the LGBTQ world. If you have but one party to attend, try to make it NY.Club‘s weekly LUXUSPOP party on Friday nights. Doors open at 10:30 pm, and if you arrive before midnight, your entrance fee includes one welcome drink … just give the cashier the password: Feiern.

Munich insiders vie to attend the monthly Jenny TANZT dance party — said to be the city’s most popular, and known to attract more then 600 people to the events. Hosted by a local nightlife impresario and former owner of the once-famed Jennifer Parks bar, the dance party is normally held at Oberangertheater or at Isarpost Eventlocation (check the website for details).

Other popular events include the Garry Klein gay dance parties held midweek at Harry Klein, as well as regular drag brunches across the city.


Christopher Street Day

Every July, Munich’s Gay Pride Festival, also known as Christopher Street Day, is a fantastic opportunity to take in some fabulous, feathery costumes as well as some seriously experimental lederhosen and dirndl.

Since the 1980s, the festivities annually attract around 200,000 participants to the Marienplatz, in the heart of the Old Town and in proximity to Aloft Munich, which partnered with The Gay Explorer to showcase Munich’s Gay Pride Festival through video. The good times last late into the evening, culminating in a huge party at the stunning neo-Gothic Town Hall building.

Gay Sunday

On the first Sunday of Oktoberfest, Germany’s largest annual festival, revelers make their way to the Bräurosl tent to celebrate Gay Oktoberfest, or “Rosa Wiesn.” Since 2000, Rosa Wiesn has been a place for locals and visitors to show off colorful, campy dirndl and lederhosen, take in high-octane drag shows, and celebrate with a long list of other special events.