Chocolate and cheese, mountain and lake, money and men: Adrian Gillan is far from
neutral about the sizzling Swiss scenes in federal capital Bern and lush lakeside Lucerne.
A steep-banked UNESCO world heritage site set in a tight loop of the River Aare,
complete with name-sake bear pit; a world-class Paul Klee Centre
about to open in June 2005, featuring 4000 works by the great Swiss artist; and
Einstein's House, where the genius scientist developed his Theory of Relativity
and helped discover Toblerone (no joke): that's Bern - the small, unassuming,
almost nonchalant, capital of Switzerland.
Bern, Switzerland's capital, sits astride the Aare River.|
FOOD & DRINK
Check out the classy, ambient downstairs bar, and fine Swiss-Italian cuisine upstairs,
at gay-friendly Lorenzini on central Hotelgasse. Or try trendy Cinématte on quiet
Wasserwerkgasse down by the river with its stylish bar and lounge, cinema screening arty
Euro films and light and airy eatery.
Tummy primed, sink some drink! Drop down into the lively Comeback bar on parallel
Rathausgasse plays much the same trick. |
For something on a far grander scale, mixed
Kornhauskeller on nearby Kornhausplatz offers a huge, vaulted cellar with giant barrel
at one end and a sea of tables from which to preen and be seen.
Check out the restaurants on the Kornhausplatz|
Photo:Stephan Engler. Courtesy:ST/swiss-image.ch
When toes start to twitch, the small dance floor and modern refit of old gay Belmondo
club still cuts it on Aarbergergasse, a little back towards the train station, pulling
in young boys with pop, house and trance. And next door at weekends, Prinzclub is
the newest and biggest weekly queer bash in town - colourful and fresh with chill-out
room and dance floor playing music to suit most tastes.
Otherwise, there's less frequent gay clubbing fare, yet all worth the wait. Tolerdance,
where drinks are cheap, dishes out trance and pop every fourth Saturday; infamous Bubennacht
delivers gay house nights five times a year, next on Saturday 11th December 2004; and True
Colors - over 2 dance floors and several bars and lounges - is undoubtedly Bern's biggest
gay event, again held five times a year.
If dancing's not your thing, try books and boy toys at gay sex shop Loveland on Gerechtigkeitsgasse;
or enjoy the short tram ride to Aqualis sauna on Brunnmattstrasse - especially on a "Swiss Fist"
night, don't ask; or cruise the delightful Rose Gardens by night, just over the river up on the
hill to the left of the aforementioned bear pit - or the barren Grosse Schanze parkland just
behind the main station. As ever, beware.
Bern is home to the annual Queersicht every November, the
celebrated Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, with screenings of movies from Switzerland
and around the world at cinemas across town.
We could definitely recommend gay-friendly Hotel Allegro on Kornhausstrasse, just
across the river on one side of its bend - a classy 4-star designer affair with amazing
rooms-with-views, a fab health spa and scrummy restaurant: easy walk to Old Town and
scene, or just roll out of bed into adjoining casino. You can book online through
our hotel partners
Less than 40 miles east of Bern is lovely lakeside Lucerne with its antique wooden
bridge, ruinous city walls and Old Town murals, plus several major art galleries,
the most prominent of which is undoubtedly the amazing Rosengart Collection,
crammed with Picasso and yet more Klee!
If peckish, old queer-loving Wirtshaus Taube on central Burgerstrasse cooks up authentic
Or, to munch on high, ascend to gay-wooing Art Deco Hotel Montana -
a short tram ride along by the lake and ultimately reached by its own private funicular.
This amazing hotel and restaurant offers fantastic views over Lucerne in a restored,
Ski-ing near Stoos 1900m above the lake.|
Photo:Robert Boesch. Courtesy:ST/swiss-image.ch
Gay action happens just south of the River Reuss which flows, mid-town, into Lake Lucerne.
The stylish Shine, mere streets away on Sempacherstrasse,
is mixed but gay-dominated: as is the nearby club Penthouse which can be found on
Pilatusstrasse just round the corner.
The River Reuss flows into Lake Lucerne.|
Photo:Christof Sonderegger. Courtesy:swiss-image.ch
If you've got the horn, steam into Discus sauna on Geissensteinring on streets behind the main station; or
cruise the cottage at the southern tip of the parkland by nearby Inseliquai, on the
banks of the lake, open all hours.
We can massively recommend sumptuous yet minimalist gay-friendly 5-star The Hotel on
Sempacherstrasse, right next to Shine and who's lounge lobby bar is a bit of a queer
haunt in its own right. Rooms all have huge images of scenes from art-house movies
on their ceilings, gazing down; service is professional yet sexy; and the basement
restaurant is out of this world!
For more information on Switzerland check out
MySwitzerland.com or call the
Switzerland Travel Centre on freephone 00800 100 200 30; alternatively, visit
www.bernetourism.ch or www.luzern.org.
SWISS International Air Lines fly to top Swiss destinations:
www.swiss.com/uk. For details of getting around Switzerland on its legendary rail system, including
the great-value Swiss Pass: www.rail.ch.
Get special deals at gay-friendly hotels and book online with
THE LITTLE BLACK BOOK
Lorenzini (Hotelgasse 10; T: 0041 (0)31 311 78 50; Website)
Cinématte (Wasserwerkgasse 7; T: 0041 (0)31 312 21 22; Website)
Comeback (Rathausgasse 42; T: 0041 (0)31 311 77 13)
Kornhauskeller (Kornhausplatz 18; T: 0041 (0)31 327 7272; Website)
Belmondo (Aarbergergasse 35; T: 0041 (0)31 311 88 03; Website)
Prinzclub (Aarbergergasse 35; Website)
Tolerdance (At ISC, Neubrückstrasse 10; Website)
Bubennacht (At Du Theatre, Hotelgasse 10; Website)
True Colors (At Gaskessel, Sandrainstrasse 25; no phone; Website)
Loveland (Gerechtigkeitsgasse 41; no phone)
Aqualis (Brunnmattstrasse 21; T: 0041 (0)31 382 6969; Website)
Hotel Allegro (Kornhausstrasse 3; T: 0041 (0)31 339 5500; Website)
Wirtshaus Taube (Burgerstrasse 3; T: 0041 (0)41 210 07 47)
Art Deco Hotel Montana (Adligenswilerstrasse 22; T: 0041 (0)41 419 0000; Website
Shine (Sempacherstrasse 16; T: 0041 (0)41 211 26 26; Website)
Penthouse (At Hotel Astoria, Pilatusstrasse 29; T: 0041 (0)41 226 88 88)
Discus (Geissensteinring 26; T: 0041 (0)41 360 88 77)
The Hotel (Sempacherstrasse 14; T: 0041 (0)41 226 8686; Website)
Gay-friendly hotels from Bookings
Revised July 2016.