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 Travel Article Travel Article Archive  
July 2006 Email this to a friend

Frankfurt

By Michael LaBelle

Pulse, Frankfurt
Manfred (c) with staff at Pulse

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Frankfurt!

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See our Frankfurt article with map, updated in September 2010 - click the bar at top of this page for the new Guidemag.com.

Located in the Hessen area of Germany, Frankfurt-- or "Bankfurt," as it's sometimes dubbed-- is the country's financial hub. Fortunately for Frankfurters, the gay scene is vibrant, and after leaving those sleek downtown skyscrapers, Frankfurters turn on the juice for an active and sophisticated gay nightlife. Frankfurt's many gay attractions are near the intersection of the Zeil pedestrian mall and Konrad Adenauer Strasse. A good first stop is the information center and cafe Switchboard (Alte Gasse 36, near Konstablerwache), open from 7pm.

Right around the corner from Switchboard is the ever-popular Pulse (Bleichstrasse 38a). This restaurant, bar, lounge, and disco has a summer garden (and a winter garden-under-glass!) and draws a crowd that combines urban gay chic with a friendly openness toward newcomers. Pulse also includes a place next door called Piper Red Lounge. Downstairs, there's yet another dance floor with unique, more hard-core, music. Wednesday nights are packed for special dress-up events, and there's always a good crowd on the weekends. This venue puts Frankfurt's gay scene on the map!

Mr. Dorian's Club (Alte Gasse 34) and Comeback (Alte Gasse 33) are the two most popular boy bars in town. Under the watchful eye of Norbert and Sascha, you're sure to have a lot of fun.

Unpretentious and brimming with gaiety,Zum Schwejk (Schäfergasse 20) is for men of all ages and inclinations. Dietmar, better known as "Linda," is a center of attraction here, serving a lively crowd from late afternoon on.

Enjoy coffee or a quick snack on the terrace at Lucky's Manhattan (Schäfergasse 27), for nearly a quarter-century one of Frankfurt's premier gay bar/cafes. This summer, the people behind Lucky's are opening what will be Frankfurt's first gay hotel. The "hetero-friendly" Downtown Hotel Frankfurt (Schafergasse 27, +49-69-83-1022) will be above Lucky's and should be open in time for Frankfurt's CSD events, this year from July 28th to 30th (www.frankfurt.gay-web.de/csd). For a gay-friendly hotel, also a short walk to the bars, try the intimate business-hotel-with-charm, Villa Orange (Hebelstrasse 1; +49-69-40-5840).

Stall (Stiftstrasse 22) is the most popular bar in town for leather and uniform men. Porn videos heat up an already steamy back room. Once every four weeks on a cruisy Saturday night (check local publications for exact day) there's a special party in The Stall's darkroom.

Blue Angel (Brönnerstrasse 17) is a Frankfurt institution that's been continuously popular on weekends for over 20 years. This dance club is open Wednesday to Sunday from 11pm daily, and draws a late crowd, 18 to 30 years old. A historic bar in the basement fills with revelry on weekends. And there is a darkroom to coddle manly needs!

Birmingham Pub (Zeil 92), a late-night hangout that's decidedly gay after dark (the gay flag is displayed on the window come sundown) but straight during the daytime, is another popular hangout, not least because they serve food late, which is hard to come by in Frankfurt.

Last but not least, a new bar opened up in Frankfurt that I was unable to see but looks like a hit. It's called Maurice (Vibelerstrasse 27) and is inside a rather chic-looking courtyard mall of shops, right in the Pink Triangle.

Frankfurt also has a great gay and lesbian bookstore called Oacar Wilde Bookshop (Alte Gasse 51). Owner Harald is quite sociable and frequently offers customers a cool drink and a nice chat about the goings on in Frankfurt and beyond. The store, located in the thick of all things gay, also offers many scheduled book readings by prominent authors and has a lot of nice gift items.

Finally, the aforementioned Centro Delfino network of professional masseurs also operates out of Frankfurt.

Dining

Serving authentic, award-winning Thai cuisine, Suvadee Thai (Baumweg 19 and Steinweg 7) is a gastronomic orgy and quite gay-friendly. Authentic Thai interiors and a friendly staff complete the experience.

Open 365 days a year, Zur Schönen Mullerin (Baumweg 12) is one of Frankfurt's oldest apfelwein restaurants (apple wine is a popular local brew in Frankfurt). Gay-owned-and-operated, it draws a good mix of gays, lesbians, and those who breed! The cuisine is Hessen-style and leans heavily towards meaty treats (sample the ever popular Hessen Schnitzel). Prices are reasonable, and there's plenty of outdoors seating available, which helps as this is one restaurant that fills up early.

Sex, shopping, and saunas

Frankfurt is no stranger to gay video haunts or "kinos." But for the biggest collection of adult DVDs for sale or rent, it's definitely the venerable Skyline An der Stafen (An der Staufenmauer 5). Skyline has a knowledgeable staff that will steer you to what you're looking for, and offers more than 8500 original DVD titles in its large and well-organized emporium of sex.

Club Sauna Amsterdam (Waidmannstrasse 31), located a 10-minute ride from the Zeil on the subway, is nestled in a large villa on an unassuming, residential block. There are cabins, steam and sauna rooms, whirlpool, plus a restaurant and bar tucked in this monument of sex. Two other gay saunas complement the scene; the modern Saunawerk (Eschersheimer Landstrasse 88), complete with swimming pool and jacuzzi, and, in the center of the gay area, Golden Gate (Braubachstrasse 1), a clean facility on three floors with sauna, steam bath, and rooms.

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