Saturday, December 28, 2013

Stockholm: Europe's Grown-up, (But Still Fun) Gay Uncle

You know that older, endlessly single guy in the family who spent the 80's and 90's partying it up? Well now (since he survived all the drugs & HIV) he's gay-married, owns a posh house in the best part of town and maybe even adopted. That's Stockholm for you. It's possible he'll feel rowdy sometimes - so he'll go party outside Sweden. He's more conservative now, makes good money (he also better be paying if you come visit him). The preppy but-not-arrogant town is an uber post-modern gay place & most boys are looking for more than one night! I'm happy to report they still have fun gay parties - but the gays often travel south, even in the summer, for warmer fun.

Tel Aviv Pride Pic - via Sweden gay mag QX!

While everyone must visit Stockholm, I definitely recommend summer when its beautiful & the warmest - and especially for Pride (if you buy tickets now - it's 2 for the price of one!). The city is clean and quaint with endless pastel-colored blocks, historic promenades and a respected royal family (including at least one gay former king). Furthermore, the people are friendly and helpful if you're lost, if not entirely warm (I'm from Minnesota - I know how we can be "nice"). For all your gay questions, refer to QX magazine - where I was excited to be featured (not surprisingly, they covered Tel Aviv Pride!).

This perspective shows the large the
museum required to display this
incredible 17th Century ship!
Spend a warm summer Saturday relaxing in Rålambshovsparken and have an evening drink nearby at the gay-owned & operated Mälarpaviljongen (the first Ugandan married same-sex couple work here; Sweden granted their asylum). Or if its a cooler day (or weekday) visit the single-largest man-made craft still intact (above water), the Vasa - a ship raised from the seabed of Stockholm harbor 633 years after it sank! Then walk the historic Strandvägen along the harbor and wander the beautiful cobblestone streets of Gamla Stan - the old city and Royal Palace area.

Chokladkoppen "gay" cafe
As you meander the small isle, get coffee at the touristy (but advertised as gay) Chokladkoppen and evening drinks at Torget a popular bar - on weekends you can cross the bridge south to Kolingsborg for Paradise/Garage. Unfortunately, the club will relocate soon from the grungy-industrial Slussen area as the city slowly pushes to renovate this '30s-era transport hub (over protests from ABBA). Also formerly in Slussen, party boat, Patricia - with gay Sunday nights - already relocated up-river, but you still can watch (very early) sunrise over Stockholm harbor while you chase beautiful blondes. Don't be fooled - there are plenty of latin & even middle-eastern gay boys to choose from in this white-washed, but still open & welcoming country (Minneapolis is also not too far off in this respect!).

Also party options not to miss include the monthly, queer underground "Mums Mums" party (you might need a local or use for the latest info). Zipper is a cute trashy club with competing pop dance rooms not far from the center. Schlagar music - (i.e. campy Euro-pop songs) are popular with many Swedes - and clubs typicaly have a room or a night devoted to gettin' down Euro-vision style. I can attest, there is nothing quite like spinning, rocking out - or just plain grabbing the one you love (or nearest guy you like) to Loreen's "Euphoria" - the 2012 winning song from Sweden! And while I may have said that Stockholm is your gay uncle - he's still able to party until 4-6am.

View from City Hall
Swedes may be one of the most "Americanized" EU countries, but only culturally - these people might be kind of like Minnesotans - but I can't imagine any of the people I've met living in the US! They sound American - but not if you start talking politics. Come to Sweden for the sights, blonde flirtatious (but not necessarily fluzy) boys - but wait until you have some cash to burn (or a real gay uncle) only Oslo is more expensive.

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Mural from Stockholm City Hall

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