Out UK's Adrian Gillan admires Norwegian wood in Oslo, the capital and the most populous city in Norway.
Norway is one of the most progressive countries in the world when it comes to gay
human rights, with equalities legally enshrined across the board from age of
consent, which is 16 for all, to entry into the armed forces.
However, in the land of the
Midnight Sun and the Nobel Prize there are still conservative attitudes to
change beyond the big cities and in Norway's own Protestant bible belt.
Church blessings for gay relationships and adoption rights
are still issues for some people and the country has never joined the European Union.
Up for it at the Oslo Sommer Parade.
Nature and culture collide at the far end of a mighty fjord that is Oslo and nowhere
less so than in the small but perfectly formed gay scene at the city's very heart,
between the railway station and Royal Palace. But before losing yourself there, there
are two world-class artistic attractions that only a dumb queer would miss - the
awesome and occasionally erotic nude Vigelands Sculpture Park just west of centre
and the Edvard Munch Museum (he of "The Scream" fame) just to the east.
REFRESH YOUR SOUL
Build up your strength with fine modern dishes at the one-price-fits-all menu pallet
in eatery Det 11 Bud, part of a gay restaurant-lounge-club complex on Kirkegata
near the Cathedral. It's worth remembering that drinks in Oslo are not
cheap and like so many countries now smoking is banned in all public places in Norway.
Ett Glass is popular with the gay crowd although not exclusively gay. The cafe inside serves
all-day meals and drinks and it's especially popular for pre-dinner cocktails on the weekend.
Cesar Bar & Cafe is a fairly new gay cafe bar in the centre of Oslo next to the famous Court House. Cesar
serves lunch and drinks and features live DJ on Friday and Saturday nights.
Then skip around the block to sit at the stools in Chair on CJ Hambros Plass, a
lively and fairly young hostelry with a small open dance-floor. It's not exclusively
gay and attracts a mixed crowd who enjoy the best Gin & Tonic you'll find in Norway!
The vast and cavernous London Pub beneath Chair unfortunately still strangely stinks
of stale bear and pre-ban smoke and attracts an older, hairier, be-leathered crowd
to its dark and spacious basement chambers. The more hardcore meet several times a month at SM and uniform club
SLM on Gronlandsleiret, just east of the train station and somewhat out on a limb.
Feet first at the SLM Club.
In terms of bars, Elsker in Kristian IVs gate 9 first opened in 2006. The name means 'love' in English, and
it's a favourite hangout for Oslo gays and lesbians. The bar serves food and gets busy on the weekends with young crowds
dancing to pop and Eurovision songs. It's a great place to chill out, have a few drinks and make friends.
Bob's Pub is more of a traditional bar, catering for the mainly older gay crowd. It serves food and has outdoor seating
during the summer months.
Saunahuset Hercules is often known as Club Hercules and is the only gay sauna in Oslo. It's conveniently located
a short walk noth east of many of the bars. It has 4 floors and
features dry sauna, jacuzzi, steam room, TV room, maze, private cabins, solarium, and bar. They provide towels which few
people actually wear as most of the time guys are naked. Condoms are provided.
Close by the sauna are some gay sex shops which are worth a visit including Big Boy on Schaeffers Gate which has all
the usual shelves of toys and vids.
Oslo has its own gay beach - Paradisbukta - a short bus-ride (No. 30) out of town,
which fills up on sunny days. At nights - which hold their light well in the summer
months - there are several city cruising grounds. Try the small Stens (pronounced "stains")
Park or, even better, check Vigelands Sculpture Park, in bushes just beyond the main
central monolith - note condom dispensers nailed to the trees!
Oslo Pride is known as "Skeive Dager" in Norwegian, Oslo Gay Pride is the largest cultural event for Norway's lesbian and gay
Events include a film festival, some concerts and exhibitions, entertainment, political debates and a large
festival area on Rådhusplassen, by City Hall.
Annual Parade in Oslo.
Norwegian operates direct flights to Oslo Airport Gardermoen from London Gatwick, Edinburgh and Dublin. The journey from the
UK takes less than two hours. You can also book special fares online on British Airways and SAS through
ebookers who all fly direct to Oslo.
We have a great selection of gay-friendly hotels in Oslo at special online rates through our
THE LITTLE BLACK BOOK
Big Boy (Schaeffers g 1; T: 0047 21 92 43 27)
Bob's Pub (Gronland 3; T: 0047 404 70 863) Website
Cesar Bar & Cafe (C. J. Hambros plass 2; T: 0047 22 20 90 30) facebook
Chair (CJ Hambros pl 5; T: 0047 22 70 87 00) facebook
Det 11 Bud (Kirkegt 34; T: 0047 22 33 35 70)
Elsker (Kristian IVs gate 9; T: 0047 915 17 793)
Ett Glass (Karl Johans gate 33; T: 0047 223 34 079) Website
London Pub (CJ Hambros pl 5; T: 0047 22 70 87 00) Website
Saunahuset Hercules (Storgata 41; T: 0047 22 11 11 13) Website
SLM (Gronlandsleiret 73; no phone) Website
Revised October 2017.