With Eurovision 2020 on it’s way, gay bars in Rotterdam are competing with straight bars, pretending to be gay. So, support your community and spend your euros at the bars that have always been there for you, and with your help will always be. That’s why I’ve put together a list of all gay bars and gay friendly venues in Rotterdam.
Would you like to have a map with all these on it, please leave a comment below and I’ll start looking for an illustrator to help me out. (Or send me a message if you are one and would like to create this together.)
That being said: welcome to Rotterdam! I’ve been living here for almost 20 years and I love this city. It is not your average European or Dutch city. No old buildings, no boats on canals, and no British tourists being drunk all the time. Instead ,Rotterdam is know for it’s modern architecture, alternative vibe and great choice of museums: Rotterdam is hot and happening.
Gay Rotterdam isn’t very noticable on the streets, it’s more subtle. That is also why Rotterdam’s gay bars are not as crowded as you might expect from a city with a population of over 600.000. Nevertheless as a gay couple, or single gay traveler, you’ll probably have a great time whereever you go in the city.
I’ve listed all Rotterdam gay bars below (in a random order), with a short description of the atmosphere and crowd, but I’d love to hear from you about your experiences. Oh, and just so you know: bars are usually open until 2, 4 or 5 am, so nightlife in the weekends starts around midnight.
Gay bars in Rotterdam
Ferry (Click to open location on Google Maps) – This bar opened a few years ago and became the best place to go to. The music is diverse, as are it’s visitors. Ferry is a large bar and on crowded nights the two floors are packed with all kinds of guys. They serve great cocktails and GT’s and during the day you can also eat here.
Bonaparte – Ring the bell at Bonaparte and step into a night where you’ll forget what straight life looks like. Since 2019 under new management, this bar is my current favorite. It’s small, but has special nights with drag performances (and bingo nights!) and great atmosphere. It’s fairly close to Strano and popular Belgian Beer Cafe Boudewijn. Don’t arrive before midnight.
Strano – This bar has been around for decades and is still one of the most popular ones, attracting mainly guys in their 20s and 30s. Expect Christina Aguillera, Britney Spears, Dua Lipa and an occasional Whitney Houston. Sometimes Strano has a club vibe, though it’s small and if you smell something weird, it’s not your neighbour but their sewage system. Also a popular hangout for hen-do’s.
Regenboog – Next door to Strano, Regenboog is also one of my favorites. It’s camp, but the music is great: sing out loud with all the hits you know and dance to the ones you don’t know (probably Dutch classics). The fog machine and mirror balls make every night a party. The drinks at Regenboog are stiff and the staff is super nice. Only downside: you’ll have to hang your coat for 1 euro. Don try to skip that, because the bouncer will come after you. Also a popular hangout for hen-do’s.
Loge 90 – This bar is an attraction in itself: tacky and outdated, but man, can you have a nice time here! Go here if you want to chat with locals and are not judgemental about the looks of the bar or it’s crowd. LOL Saturdays around 5pm this place is a popular hangout after shopping downtown.
Keerweer – The best gay festival in Rotterdam is called KeerWeer-parade, named after the street and bar that hosts it. The little bar Keerweer has two entrances, so if you find one closed, you’ll have to find the back of the building to enter. The bar is tiny, and usually you won’t arrive here before 2 am. To be honest, I only come here when I’m completely wasted because otherwise I get too claustrofobic in here. If you don’t have an issue with crowded places, than don’t worry: KeerWeer is fun!
Gay Cruising Rotterdam
Since gay cruising has been banned in our gentrified society, it’s a shame that the city doesn’t provide new sex permits for new cruising bars and saunas. So you’re stuck with your apps and the few venues where excitement still can be found.
The Moods Bar – The nights can get wild at this 3 floors cruise bar. Wednesday- and Fridaynight and Sunday afternoon are reserved for a men only crowd. You’ll find gloryholes, video cabins, slings and cabins on two of the three floors. The bar is on the ground
Kralingse Bos – Near the lake in the north of the city there’s a larger outdoor cruising area. Sometimes it can be hard to figure out where the action is going on, but usually it’s close to the parking area.
Gay Sauna Finland – The only gay sauna in Rotterdam has a nice clean cruising area upstairs. The sauna itself isn’t the reason why you would go here. If you prefer the latter, without action, get at day pass at David Lloyds gym.
Kralings Plas – The north parth of the beach at the city lake has a small nude beach area. Don’t expect too much of it, but at least it’s nice if you want to have a full body tan.
Gay Parties in Rotterdam
Gay Clubs in Rotterdam
The true revolution of being accepted for who you are, means you also accept others. In Rotterdam gays and their allies share the best parties. So check out these places and find the music you love, to meet the people you like.
Mono – A bit alternative, but great techno and club nights.
Toffler – Underground club, in the literal meaning of that word. This club is below one of the busiest roads in the city center.
Perron – Party like a club kid!
Biergarten – definitely the best outdoor pub in Rotterdam, where you can drink, dance, eat and chat all night.
Bird – Soulful bar and club in one the arches below the former railway.
Now & Wow – The most popular and legendary club for hipster and dance lovers, in the industrial area with a great view just around the corner.
Maassilo – Party hard in this old factory.
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I would love to make a list of gay owned businesses (shops and B&B’s for instance) in Rotterdam. So if you want to be mentioned and your business is interesting for LGBTQ’s, please let me know.