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May 2010 Email this to a friend


By Staff reports

Nobiz, Amsterdam

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NOTE: This is an archive article. For an updated and expanded Amsterdam article click DailyXtraTravel

Earlier this year, dozens of demonstrators wearing shocking-pink wigs stormed out of a church in Holland. Their grievance? The week before, a local priest had denied communion to an openly gay man.
The Dutch Catholic Church backed down immediately, saying it would no longer judge whether gays were worthy. If that's hard to imagine happening in the US, it's because they do things differently in the Netherlands.
This is a live-and-let-live kind of place, which explains why it was the first country to allow same-sex marriage. People here don't look kindly on an institution, whether it's a political party or a religious denomination, telling people what they can't do.
What does this refreshing attitude mean for gays? You won't find police roughing up gays in the cruising spots; in fact, one local park, De Oeverlanden, actually has signs pointing to the cruisiest section.
As far as nightlife goes, there are plenty of cozy cafes, lounges and dance clubs for every taste. You can be as wild as you want with live sex shows, backroom cruising or group gropes at naked parties. Circuit parties roll into town for gay holidays, especially Pride Day, Queen's Day, and leather events in the fall.

Getting there
Amsterdam's Schiphol International Airport is several kilometers from the city center. Speedy direct trains cost a few euros and depart from the airport every 10 minutes.

Getting around
The bicycle is the favored mode of transportation, with designated lanes along many streets. Watch them whiz past, or join them; bikes can easily be rented. Public trams and trains are frequent and convenient. They don't run all night, but few nightspots will be far from your hotel room. A discount strip card, sold at stations and convenience stores, is inexpensive and valid throughout the Netherlands.

For most leather and sex bars, check out the Warmoesstraat and Nieuwezijds Kolk areas, where you'll find them amidst the coffeeshops, porn stores and take-out eateries.
Where Warmoesstraat meets the Zeedijk, picturesque gay pubs draw sexually mixed crowds, from the maturely sophisticated to the young and artsy.
On streets leading to Rembrandtplein from the Amstel canal, there are some lively local gay bars.
A block south of the flower market, Reguliersdwarsstraat is lined with many bars, restaurants and shops. On summer nights, this pedestrian street fills with young gays.

Gay media
The Bent Guide offers colorful critiques of "everything not straight in Amsterdam." Gay Krant is in Dutch, but you'll be able to figure out a lot of the contents. Grab a free Gaymap from almost anywhere to find your way around the city. Gay News and Gay & Night magazines are in Dutch and English, each with maps and nightly events.

Event planner

Koninginnedag, on April 30, 2010, celebrates the Queen's birthday as streets line with people, canals bob with boats and circuit parties throb. Open-air concerts are generally free to the public. The Reguliersdwarsstraat and Amstel areas and the Roze Wester Festival at Westerkerk draw big gay crowds.

Memorial Day, held each year on May 4, includes a gay ceremony at the Homomonument.

Amsterdam Gay Pride is a weekend of partying in the bars and the streets, featuring the world's only gay Canal Parade on the Prinsengracht and the Amstel river. See their website for events August 5 to 8, 2010.

Amsterdam Leather Pride Weekend will be held October 28-31, 2010, with celebrations at all leather venues. Specific event details will be posted to their website as they take shape.

Near Liedseplein
Amistad Hotel (Kerkstraat 42; 20-622- 9997) helpful and efficient service, stylish rooms, luxurious apartments, all with computers, breakfast to 1pm, afternoon/evening internet cafe, gay mags and maps.
Golden Bear (Kerkstraat 14; 20-627- 0164) comfortable gay guesthouse in 1737 buildings, spacious rooms, breakfast until noon, helpful reception staff.
Hotel NL (Nassaukade 368; 20-689- 3225) 'straight-friendly' design hotel overlooking Singel canal, casually sophisticated ambience, breakfast, full amenities include cable TV and internet access.
Triple Five Guesthouse (Prinsengracht 555; 31 20 428-3809) two comfortable private rooms overlooking the canal, convenient to museums, shopping and gay nightlife.

Near Warmoesstraat/Central Station
Anco Hotel (O.Z. Voorburgwal 55; 20- 624-1126) canal-side lodging just for men, cruisy halls, internet access, breakfast in the bar, gay mags and maps.
Barangay B&B (Droogbak 15; 62-504-5432) relaxed comfort from two friendly guys, 1777 era building near Central Station by Singel & Prinsengracht canals.
Black Tulip (Geldersekade 16; 20-427- 0993) the 'leather Ritz Carlton,' close to Central Station.

Near Spui/Dam
Amsterdam Boutique Apartments (Singel 401; 20-707-7954), at Spui between Dam and Reguliersdwarsstraat gay clubs, style, comfort and privacy in monumental canal house, five-star amenities.
Blue Moon (Singel 401; 20-428-8800) central location opposite the Rijksmuseum, two rooms, enhanced amenities, en-suite baths, in-room or roof terrace breakfast.

Other gay-friendly lodgings
Amsterdam B&B (Roetersstraat 18; 20 624-0174 ), SE central Plantage neighborhood by Amstel River, private suites, separate entrance, from 90 euros.
Hotel de L'Europe (Nieuwe Doelenstraat 2-14; 20-531-1777) quality classic hotel, luxury and elegance, fine dining, perfect location overlooks Munt Tower, stroll to shops, museums, gay nightlife.
ITC Hotel (Prinsengracht 1051; 20- 623-0230) small 20 room hotel, 18th-century house on quiet stretch of Amsterdam's grandest canal. Breakfast buffet until noon.
Freeland Hotel (Marnixstraat 386; 20- 622- 7511) cozy, gay-friendly old house, fifteen single, double and triple rooms, named for flowers, all with bath and TV.
Radisson Blu (Rusland 17; 20-623-1231) large, modern, central hotel, fitness facilities for sauna, workout, or tan, concierge services, secure parking.
Sasenfras Hostel (Utrechtsedwarsstraat 79; Radioinn.nl) art gallery and dorm on tramline, off-season beds from 15 euros, lockers, no curfew, internet access.

Click HERE for links to these and other room options.

Bars: Leather and Sex Bars
For most leather and sex bars, check out the Warmoesstraat and Nieuwezijds Kolk areas, where you'll find them amidst the coffee shops, porn stores, and take-out eateries. Also check out the leather shops on either side of the Damrak.
Argos (Warmoesstraat 95) local favorite of leather lovers and bears.
Cockring (Warmoesstraat 96) dark, hot bar and disco with sex shows, jack-off parties, naked nights, big dick discounts.
Dirty Dick's (Warmoesstraat 86) a.k.a. the 'Sleaze Pit,' darkroom, cubicles, golden-shower parties last Thursday of the month.
Eagle (Warmoesstraat 90) pool table, darkroom, backroom with cubicles, Sunday fisting events, busy late.
Cuckoo's Nest (Nieuwezijds Kolk 6) big place, fully equipped SM cellar, videos, cabins, busy night and day.
Web (Jacobsstraat 4-6) venerable leather bar, roof garden, 'not too dark' darkroom, earlier cruising, popular Sunday.

Bars: Warmoesstraat/ Zeedijk
Where Warmoesstraat meets the Zeedijk, ornate, picturesque gay pubs draw sexually mixed crowds, maturely sophisticated to young and artsy.
Cafe De Barderij (Zeedijk 14) hip vibe, mixed crowd, romantic pub popular Sunday evening.
Cafe t Mandje (Zeedijk 63) popular for many years, reopened during the Queen's Day celebrations this past year, looking much as it always did.
De Engel van Amsterdam (Zeedijk 21) high-energy cafe and pub packed with shirtless men, canal-side seating on terrace.
Getto (Warmoesstraat 51) bar and restaurant, specialty cocktails, exotic beverages, free internet.
Queen's Head (Zeedijk 20) beautiful interior, canal views, popular for their exuberant variety of evening events.

Bars: Amstel/ Rembrandtplein
On streets leading to Rembrandtplein from the Amstel River there are some lively local bars. See Amstelpodium.nl about the Pride Weekend street party.
Amstel Fifty Four (Amstel 54) lively happy hours and late nights, tourists mix easily with locals, summer terrace.
Cafe t Leeuwtje (Reguliersdwarsstraat) tiny but lively bar, diverse crowd mixes with casual aplomb.
Cafe Reality (Reguliersdwarsstraat 129) diverse crowd, tropical setting, hip-moving music from warmer climes.
Cafe Rouge (Amstel 60) mature atmosphere.
Entre Nous (Halve Maansteeg 14) mixed bar, gayer as nearby bars close.
Club Roque (Amstel 178) open Wednesday to Sunday for cocktails and dancing.
Het Wapen van London (Amstel 14) favored by Czech expats.
Hot Spot (Amstel 102) young crowd, mixed, open late.
Mix Cafe (Amstel 50), draws men and women.
Montmartre (Halve Maansteeg 17) good daily happy hour, popular later, young locals, old Dutch tunes.
Music Box (Paardenstraat 9) East European youths accept drinks and other offers -- watch your drink at this hustler bar.
Lellebel (Utrechtsestraat 4) bends gender with live shows, theme nights, nightly events.
Vivelavie (Amstelstraat 7) tiny corner bar and restaurant, intense crush of young women, popular late weekend nights.

Bars: Reguliarsdwarsstraat
A block south of the flower market, Reguliarsdwarsstraat is lined with many bars, restaurants, and shops. On summer nights this pedestrian street fills with young gays. See Reguliers.net for the many events.
April (Reguliersdwarsstraat 37) closed for renovations, to debut in July.
ARC (Regulierdwarsstraat 44) spacious, ultra-modern lounge where dance crowd gathers early.
Pub Soho (Reguliersdwarsstraat 36) spacious old-time pub, three-story interior has ornate wood banisters.
Exit (Reguliersdwarsstraat 42) four-story disco, multiple bars, mostly men, cruisy darkroom, weekends only.

Bars: Near Leidseplein
Club Church (Kerkstraat 52) nightly theme events, including naked, leather, rubber, bears, piss and SM.
Habibi Ana (Lange Leidedwarsstraat 93) a little Istanbul in Amsterdam.
Spijker (Kerksstraat 4) beer busts, big-jackpot bingo, pool table, backroom, darkroom, porn and cartoons

Bars: Off Spuisstraat
Cafe 't Sluisje (Torensteeg 1) bar, restaurant, with drag song, three course dinner shows.
Club Stereo (Jonge Roelensteeg 4) weekend late-night dance club near the Dam, young crowd.
Fresh (Nieuwezijds Kolk 25-27) Saturday dance club.
Prik (Spuisstraat 109) bar and cafe, just off Dam Square, frisky young crowd, popular on weekends.

Bars: Outside the center
De Trut (Bilderdijkstraat 165) basement dance party on Sunday night, fills up fast, young crowd, cheap beer.
Trouw (Wibautstraat 131) fashionable restaurant/dance club in old newspaper building.

Thermos Sauna (Raamstraat 33) five- level complex, free cabins, pool, gym, bar and lounge, hot tub, theater, sun deck, shop and restaurant with dinner nightly. Great Sunday afternoon crowd.

Prostitution is legal and regulated in Amsterdam. Many websites offer attractive young men. There's one club with a no-cover bar/lounge where you can mingle before getting down to business.
Boys Club 21 (Spuisstraat 21) handsome, sensual guys, ready and willing. Wednesday and weekend strip shows. Rates set by the house.

These escort services generally operate between 1pm and 1am.
Boys Club 21, (020-622-8828) guys seen at their club of the same name.
Boys Only (020-626-9468), mainly locals, ages 18-22.
Gay Fantasy Escort (020-626-9468) more experienced guys.
Gay Muscle Escort (020-622-8036) muscular men, ages 22-40.
Guys International (020-420-0640) pan-European selection.
People Escorts (People.nl) ages 18-35, 'any place, any time, anywhere.' Pay web site features photos.

Cruising spots
Nieuwe Meer (Anton Schleperspad) day and night, can be muddy, sometimes attracts gay bashers.
Vondelpark (near Leidseplein) day and night, at the rose garden in the center of the park.
Oosterpark (by Tropenmuseum) cruisy after sunset, park gets very dark, popular with local Arab guys.

Cinecenter (Lijnbaansgracht 236, near Leidseplein; Cinecenter.nl) gay-friendly art-house cinema with screenings in original languages
Pathe de Munt (Vijzelstraat 15) international classic gay movies every first Wednesday 9pm. Admission 7.50 euros.

Eating out in Amsterdam is an experience as varied in flavors as the residents and foreign tourists alike with creative chefs and every cuisine imaginable. Some gay favorites follow. Click HERE for others chosen for being central, acclaimed, unusual and/or good but inexpensive.
ARC (Reguliersdwarsstraat 44) big and trendy, fun finger food.
Coffeeshop Downtown (Regulierdwarsstraat 31) handy location, busy inside and outside for lunch.
Garlic Queen (Reguilersdwarsstraat 27) everything made with healing and aromatic garlic, including ice cream.
Getto (Warmoesstraat 51) 'serving hungry homos since 1996,' home cooking, cuisines from Louisiana to Paris, Sunday brunch.
Golden Temple (Utrechtsestraat 126) vegetarian international cuisine, many vegan options.
Hemelse Modder (Oude Waal 11) French and Italian food with an Asian twist; 'heavenly mud' is chocolate mousse.
La Margarita (Reguilersdwarsstraat 47-49) Caribbean fusion restaurant, tropical cocktails, salsa and merengue music.
Other Side (Reguilersdwarsstraat 6) friendly gay coffeeshop, pre-rolled hash, potent pot, munchies, hot chocolate.
Pygma-lion (Nieuwe Spiegelstraat 5a) exotic safari fare like crocodile, zebra, antelope; also vegetarian dishes.
Saturnino (Reguliersdwarsstraat 5), authentic Sicilian restaurant, inexpensive wine list, gracious host.
Cafe t Leeuwtje (Torensteeg 1) drag show dining with two seatings.
Supperclub (Jonge Roelensteeg 21) reclining couches, in-house DJs, fun cast of characters, five- course set meals.
Walem (Keizergracht 49) gay- friendly vibe, canal-side terrace.

Sex spaces
Club Church (Kerkstraat 52) erotic events include Ladz fetish parties June 27 and August 29.
Same Place (Nassaukade 120) Monday night men-only sex parties.
SM Bunker (DeGarage, NDSM terrain, Neveritaweg 15) fetish party, hardcore to the max, second Sunday of month.

Shopping: Books
On Fridays Spui Square fills with bookseller stands from far and wide.
Athenaeum Bookshop (Spui 14) titles in many languages.
Boekhandel Vrolijk Gay & Lesbian Bookshop (Paleisstraat 135) extensive Dutch and English selection, academic works, art-house movies.
Intermale (Spuisstraat 251) male-oriented store with international book and DVD selection and hard-to-find titles.

Shopping: Clothes
The Fabulous Stringslip (Reguliersdwarsstraat 59) club fashions and accessories.
Shirtshop (Reguliersdwarsstraat 64) dress to impress when you hit the clubs.

Shopping: Gifts
Gays & Gadgets (Spuistraat 44) gay-theme cards and art.
Pink Point (Keizersgracht at Westermarkt) gay and lesbian information kiosk near the Homomonument with tips and souvenirs.

Shopping: Leather
A world center for leather clothing and equipment, Amsterdam has top-notch stores and services. Look first to the heart of the leather scene under the black-and-blue flags in Warmoesstraat.
Mister B (Warmoesstraat 89) fine leather/rubber retail store, accessories, toys, piercing, tattooing, art.
Mister B (Van der Madeweg 5b) like the retail store, but for traders, shop owners andiInternet stores.
Black Body (Lijnbaansgracht 292) rubber socks to body bags, good prices on jeans, chaps, shirts, vests.
Rob Leathers (Warmoesstraat 71) famous leather maker's flagship store, custom-made items and accessories.
Robin & Rik Leermakers (Runstraat 30) tailor-made jackets, pants, caps, shirts, fast made-to- measure articles.

Shopping: Sex shops
Amsterdam is a center for gay sex shops and cinemas with wide selections, on-site screenings, cruising and DVD rentals.
4Men (Spuisstraat 21) gay porn videos for many tastes, theater, darkroom, cabins, sex toys, accessories, mags.
Adonis Cinema (Warmoesstraat 92) magazines, screenings, cabins, dark rooms.
Bronx Video and Bookshop/Cinema (Kerkstraat 53, near Leidseplein) magazines, books, DVD sales/rentals, video cabins, internet.
Drake's (Damrak 61) magazines and videos, peep booths, glory holes.
Le Salon (Nieuwendijk 20-22) plenty of things to read and watch, peep booths, glory holes.

The many gay sports teams include
Gay Swim Amsterdam, and the Gay Rugby Club.
Het Marnix (Het Marnix, Marnixplein 1) has mixed male nude swimming on Tuesdays 9-10:45pm (for eye candy, not sex).
Splash Fitnessclub (Looiersgracht 26- 30) is a gay-popular gym where you flex more than the love muscle.

Canal boat hires or bicycle tours over hundreds of miles of well-marked paths can get you around or beyond the big city. Trains are the most convenient and inexpensive way to get to neighboring towns.
Delft, a small medieval town with canal-lined streets, is famous for its blue-and-white ceramics.
Gouda has cheese and the St Janskerk Church with its amazing stained-glass windows.
Den Haag is the seat of government and has its own classy ambience.
Keukenhof Gardens, near Leiden, is the world's largest garden.
Maastricht, an old Roman town sandwiched between Germany and Belgium, has a charming old quarter and lively cosmopolitan feel.
Rotterdam, a dynamic metropolis, buzz with the North Sea Jazz Festival. The Curacao Festival will be July 9-11, 2010. See their website for performers and more dates.
Zandvoort has a nude beach to the west of the more family-friendly downtown beach.

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