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The Gay Berliner

Berlin budget summer guide: Queer edition

The Gay Berliner is back to give you tips on how to enjoy a great queer Berlin summer on a budget!

Christopher Street Day, one of the highlights of the queer summer calendar. Photo: IMAGO / Müller-Stauffenberg

If you’ve got your hands on this hot summer issue, you know it’s all about summer thrills. Well, hell knows I can be cheap and I’m ready to drag you down with me. For all the queers out there, long-time Berliners or just visiting for the summer, here are the spots and happenings that won’t cost a pretty penny. And you don’t even have to tip me for them.

CSD Berlin

In Germany, Gay Pride is called CSD or Christopher Street Day, referencing the 1969 Stonewall Riots that most point to as the beginning of the gay liberation era, instead of any number of things that happened here instead. But no matter! On July 23, you can find out just how cheap this event can make you feel. It takes a lot of money to greet the potential one million visitors welcomed in 2019 (pre-pandemic). Companies from MasterCard to Bayer to Facebook have doused their logos in rainbow flags to buy your loyalty. All slagging aside: it’s free and I cast no shade nor guilt in your direction for going. Slip into a mesh Tee and get down to the Partymeile if you want! Be on the lookout for alternative Prides, of which Berlin has many, too. None have been announced as of print, but one is sure to pop up.

Outdoor queer screenings

They aren’t any cheaper than non-queer screenings, but as entertainment for every rainbow stripe, you can’t beat Berlin’s open air cinemas at a price of approximately €9-10 for movies under the stars and bring along all the beer or snacks you want (of course, the concessions on-site are always great too). Here are the queer highlights this summer:

At Freiluftkino Kreuzberg, catch Nico (Jul 3), X-Posed International Queer Film Festival Open Air Shorts (Jul 6), Ammonite (Jul 11); at Open Air Kino Mitte: Neubau (Jul 4 and Aug 3), X-Posed Open Air: The Ole- anders (Jul 10 and 11), Call Me By Your Name (Aug 1), Portrait of a Lady on Fire (Aug 7).

All films in English or with English subtitles.

Grab a drink

If all you’re looking to do is mix and mingle, there’s still more than a handful of queer spots in Berlin to do so, most with outdoor seating options. Südblock on Kottbusser Tor is the OG at this point, but not to be overlooked. Café Kotti (also on, well, Kotti) isn’t explicitly queer, but the evening crowds increasingly seem to be so, albeit leaning on the Gen Z side. Leaving the confines of Kreuzberg, newcomer Tipsy Bear in Prenzlauer Berg has been the place to be over the last couple of years. And there’s always cozy Curly bar in Wedding as well. Either way, the beers are as cheap as the queers in these joints.

Queer Summer Splash

Teufelsee, the not-so-secret queer bathing tip. Photo: IMAGO / Emmanuele Contini

The not-so-secret queer Berlin bathing tip for the past years has always been Teufelssee, but its excessive popularity coupled with rounds by the Berlin police enforcing corona measures have made the spot as relaxing as a trip to the Ausländerbehörde. But you’ve got to get your tits wet somewhere… and closing the summer out at Siegessäule’s Queer Summer Splash on August 28 is the best way to do that. It gets crowded but for good reason… you only have to go as far as U-Bhf Prinzenstraße and this time the Sommerbad Kreuzberg public pool is full of splish-splashing LGBTQ* peeps drunk on beer and good vibes. All this convenience and fun for the cost of regular entry: €5.50!

Cheers queers! Have a cheap summer!