Zurich's gay and lesbian scene
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Zürich has a thriving gay and lesbian scene, probably the best established and most diverse in the country. Although no hotel will turn a gay or lesbian couple away, the Goldenes Schwert is the only one to make a selling point of its gay- and lesbian-friendliness; handily enough, it occupies the same building as T&M, one of the best gay bar/cabaret/disco venues in the city, dark, campy and cruisey. The huge Barfüsser, Spitalgasse 14, is Europe’s longest-running gay bar, established in 1956 and embracing all scenes, while Cranberry is a more relaxed, talkative meeting place for non-scene types. The “Bermuda Triangle” is a cruisey area around Mühlegasse, epitomized by Emilio’s Bagpiper (“where you meet the right people”) at Zähringerstrasse 11. Labyrinth, Pfingstweidstrasse 70, is a hugely popular gay/straight techno club. Lesbians must rely on a smaller scene, focused around the Venus women-only bar, and the Thursday women-only nights at the Xenix bar and cinema. Tabu, Josefstrasse 142, is a lesbian-owned café-bar that attracts a lot of lesbian and gay customers (closed Sun & Mon).

For more information, contact HAZ (Homosexuelle Arbeitsgruppen Zürich), at Sihlquai 67 (Tues–Fri 7.30–11pm, Sun 11am–2pm). Zürich’s magazine for gays is Cruiser (01/450 19 89; www.cruiser.ch), for lesbians BOA (01/291 26 01), and you can pick up the Columbia Fun-Map, pinpointing gay-owned and gay-friendly businesses in Zürich and eastern Switzerland, at all the bars above. The gay helpline is 01/271 70 11 (Tues & Thurs 8–10pm); the lesbian one 01/272 73 71 (Thurs 6–8pm).

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