On easter weekend I went out drinking with Tom, one of the long term residents at Smarty Hostel.
It was my last night with Magdelena as well, a girl from South Africa that I had met a few nights before in my dorm. We had really hit it off, having some very interesting conversations and becoming fast friends. She had actually already gone up to bed as she had plans for the next day but somehow, when I went up to get changed, I managed to convince her to change out of her jim jams, put mascara on and come out for a few drinks.
Tom took us on a tour of his favourite gay bars of Cologne. Starting at ExCorner which was decorated with lots of detail for easter. It has astroturf all over the roof and bunnies and eggs everywhere. I got my bum squeezed while I was in there. Moving on to Shampanja next, it was literally around the corner. It was a small place and there wasn’t really much of a vibe there that night, we had one drink and hot-stepped across town to the final pre-club bar called Barcelon.
This was not technically a gay bar I don’t think but I did get talking to a guy at the bar as I was having trouble translating the ingredients in each of the cocktails available. Tom was busy chatting to the barmaid as this was one of his regular spots.
Not that many photos but I did get some snaps which are below!
Luckily Magdalena had to go home after these starter bars, because Tom then took me to a gay nightclub called Pullermanns. I was told this is a polite way to say penis in German. I say lucky because it was a men’s only club and they wouldn’t have let her in if she had stayed in our entourage.
I won’t go into too much detail of my experiences in this establishment other than to say upon arrival the man who was running the coat check and tending bar (and actually the owner of the club) was stood there totally naked. We were issued our drinks cards and in we went. Tom explained to me that there was three areas for the club. The drinking area, the toilet area and the cruising area.
The cruising area was, to put it mildly, an all out sex-fest. There was a small maze full of little cubical sized rooms with various doors and viewing spots. Inside these cubicles are a range of interesting sights to behold, including sex swings, bondage clad gentleman and even two blokes going at each other with a small group of additional men just enjoying the show.
I was under Tom’s protection that night so I just did a walk through and then he ushered me back out into the normal drinking area. After that experience it didn’t seem so shocking to spend the rest of the evening drinking and talking while various naked men stood around the room casually sipping on their beers like clothes had never been invented.
I don’t know exactly what my reaction was to the evening. I think it was definitely one of respect. Even though it’s not something that tempts me sexually, I was absolutely into the underlying ideas behind such a place. I have been thrown out of bars before just for rowdily picking up a friend and hugging him. It was refreshing to see a place where people come together and are treated as adults. People who can set their own boundaries without having their hands held and having to be policed and dictated too. Everyone was friendly and I didn’t see any negativity within those walls.
It’s particular flavour is maybe not for everyone but it was a microcosm of an intentionally formed society that the rest of us could learn from.