Chocolate and cheese, mountains and lakes, money and men: OutUK’s Adrian Gillan
is far from neutral over the dazzling gay Swiss hub that is Zurich, often voted
the world’s best city to live in.
The city of Zurich, a global center for banking and finance, lies at the north end of Lake Zurich in northern Switzerland.
Expensive: but worth it! Zurich gobbles money up as quickly as it makes it, with
prices at least a third higher than even London. Perched on the Zurichsee
at the mouth of the Limmat, it's unquestionably one of the most beutiful gay capitals of the world.
The stunning view from the Quai Bridge on the Limmat river at night.
As is often the way, the gay quarter is located in the old part of town, between
the grand main station and the sparkling waterfront. Amid narrow sloping streets
and market squares and echoing faintly to the gentle toll of church bells, nothing
is much more than a five minute stroll from anything else. |
BARS & CAFES
Start your evening amongst the gay bears at the Predigerhof Bistro Bar for a bit of a snack and
more of the drink. They have marble-topped tables and wood beams inside with a summer garden.
It's one of the most stylish bars in town and is more mixed by day and queer
Zurich offers a wonderful array of places to drink and eat.
Cafe Odeon down by the Limmat Quai is a cosy ‘n chic wood, steel and
leather affair that attracts a young, arty crowd, often fresh out from the opera
down the road. Barfüsser back in the old heart is so chic
it almost hurts, with a comfy array of stools and sofas, beers and candlelit cocktails.
Barfüsser used to be the oldest gay bar in Switzerland - maybe even Europe - before
becoming a leather club and then being reinvented as a red-decked busy Japanese restaurant for sushi &
sashimi, with cocktail menu, lounge & outdoor seats.
Just a few streets away is the real gay cocktail palace in town. Cranberry
is less warm and ambient than the other bars, yet rather more fruity and
fresh and 100% gay 24/7. But beware - even a small Sea Breeze will set you
back seven or eight pounds.
But if you want something a bit more friendly and regular on the gay bar front,
walk five minutes north to the Petra's Tip Top Bar on Seilergraben - a newly revamped,
yet small and cosy room-with-bar where the hearty, bearded manager does his very
best to ensure everyone knows at least something about everyone else in the house
as he does his rounds. They also do a good small-hour, post-club breakfast.
Heldenbar, or hero bar, is now the longest running regular gay event in Zurich. The nights they run are on a non-profit
basis so the drinks are relatively good value. There are always nice crowd of people around but sadly it's only open on
Wednesdays. The music is not really outstanding but it's packed with guys most of the time.
Barometer itself offers a pleasant ambience in the industrial look.
Their offer of drinks and food can also be enjoyed in the small outdoor area. Baroclub their gay pop-up club in the Kernstrasse
no longer operates.
Männerzone Shop und Bar is an adult entertainment store with it's own bar called Men's Zone. It's a contact bar where men who like men,
hunks and bears meet. Here you will find an uncomplicated atmosphere with a garage look. Their shop has fetish and gay articles from the areas of
Leather, Rubber and Army as well as the daily needs of gay men, like lubes, dildos and condoms.
Heaven Club offers dragshows and pop nights which keep everyone dancing at this nightclub known for its eclectic music taste.
It's also in the middle of Zurich's Niederdorf gay district. The clubbers are as varied as the musical program, with some well-known DJs,
talented newcomers, drag queens, crispy boys and shrill guests who make the Heaven Club (Heile Welt AG) a colorful cosmos for all.
Zurich is a very liberal city and it's annual Street Parade, a celebration of love, freedom,
generosity and tolerance has grown to be an event of mammoth proportions with 750,000 people taking part.
Since 1994, thousands of LGBTIQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, inter-queer), with relatives and friends,
have been demonstrating every year in Zurich for equality and against discrimination. What began over twenty years
ago as Christopher Street Day (CSD) Zurich has been called the Zurich Pride Festival since 2009. It takes place in June each year.
Boyahkasha! is a party label that has been storming Zurich clubs with its followers since 2004 to turn them into a Mecca
for the gay party crowd and their friends. Their market-fresh sound, euphoric atmosphere and a good mix of guests are probably the
main reasons why events are still popular after so many years. Lots of scene guys, freaky young transsexuals, over-30s young at heart
and sexy bearded boys are all too happy to cavort at events. The label also stage events at Heaven in the Spitalgasse and
Hiveahkasha in the Geroldstrasse.
ALL STEAMED UP
There are at least half a dozen gay saunas in Zurich, but the best known and
most central are the Paragonya Wellness Club (again, near the Marion) and the Apollo, although
the former has a bit of a reputation for attracting rent boys during the day
if that’s your want.
Moustache Sauna in the Engelstrasse is another sauna offering fun and relaxation in a pleasant atmosphere.
Reductions for Teenies under 20, Young guys under 25 and Partners under 30 on Tuesdays. They have a
finnish sauna, bio sauna, video steam bath, bubble bath and whirlpool, plus recliners, a dark room and video cabins.
Gay Sauna Renos Relax is a gay and mixed sauna in the heart of Zurich. The sauna is open to all genders every Tuesday and Friday, and
gay the rest of the week. They offer a Video Booth, Playground, Swings, Crusing Area as well as two Sauna, Cold Bath, Anal Shower, Water World and Spa.
Sauna Mylord may not be the biggest, but is an intimate and comfortable sauna right in the heart of Zurich. Here you will find gays, bisexuals
and married men who value discretion. Everyone is welcome here, whether student or pensioner, whether bear or hairless. You can treat yourself to a
massage by one of their in house masseurs or join their popular nude yoga for men! Mondays at 12.30 p.m.
The lovely Arboretum park, a ten minute amble from the
gay district around the bay is a well-known place for evening cruising.
Macho Cityshop (yet again, back by Marion) sells the usual pile of
pink pap and queer trash.
OutUK's online Bookings service has a selection of
gay-friendly mainstream hotels in all price ranges at special discount rates.
Gay-friendly hotels from Bookings
Zurich is a great place for lovers, not just clubbers. The cobbled streets of the Old Town leading to towering churches
and the swans adorning the Lake Zurich shores, make Zurich an idyllic place for romance.
Browse the world-class Kunsthaus gallery, especially its fine collection of impressionist and early
twentieth century paintings... sit and gaze down on the town from the lofty
Lindenhof terrace... or just drift aimlessly around the bay promenade of that mighty lake.
Photography courtesy ST/swiss-image.ch
THE LITTLE BLACK BOOK
Apollo Sauna (Seilergraben 41; T: 0041 (0) 1 261 4952; Website)
Barfüsser (Spitalgasse 14; T: 0041 (0) 1 251 4064; Website)
Barometer (Brauerstrasse 48; T: 0041 (0) 76 387 90 94; Website)
Boyakasha (Badenerstrasse 109; Website)
Cafe Odeon (Limmatquai 2; Website)
Cranberry (Metzgergasse 3; T: 0041 (0) 1 261 2772; Website)
Gay Sauna Renos Relax (Kernstrasse 57; T: +41 44 291 63 62; Website)
Heaven Club (Spitalgasse 5; Website)
Heile Welt AG (Spitalgasse 5; T: +41 78 667 80 01; Website)
Heldenbar (Sihlquai 240; Website)
Hiveahkasha (Geroldstrasse 5; Website)
Macho Cityshop (Häringstr. 16; T: 0041 (0) 1 251 1222; Website)
Männerzone Shop und Bar (Kernstrasse 57; T: +41 43 243 30 43; Website)
Moustache Sauna (Engelstrasse 4; T: 0041 (0) 44 241 10 80; Website)
Paragonya Wellness Club (Mühlegasse 11; T: 0041 (0) 1 252 6666; Website)
Petra's Tip Top Bar (Seilergraben 13; T: 0041 (0) 1 251 7822; Website; facebook)
Predigerhof Bistro Bar (Mühlegasse 15; T: 0041 (0) 1 251 2985; Website)
Sauna Mylord (Seebahnstrasse 139; Website)
Zurich Pride Festival (Website)
Revised December 2022