Gay Brussels Guide: The Essential Guide To Gay Travel In Brussels Belgium 2019
One of the most progressive and liberal places in Europe, Gay Brussels is one of the leading gay cities in the world with a rich history, thriving nightlife, and delicious cuisine.
In a city where 30% of its residents are foreigners and it seems at times everyone is in some way involved in the EU or politics, it should come as no surprise people here have to find a way to let off major steam.
The result? An extensive gay village, packed bars, gay events every night of the week and not to mention the absolutely legendary La Demence monthly gay dance parties..Yes, it’s like Amsterdam, Paris, London, and Berlin all rolled into one…
If you want a bit more than just the diverse gay nightlife Brussels gay scene also offers up a variety of cultural events, the biggest of which is the annual Belgian Lesbian and Gay Pride in May and then the Brussels Gay and Lesbian Film Festival in January. There is also plenty of smaller events throughout the year you can find out about by picking up a copy of the popular gay magazines Bruce and Tribu when you arrive.
Throw into the mix a distinctly French vibe, plenty of traditional museums, historic buildings, the Grand-Place and daily flower market (between March and October) and you begin to understand why so many gays are flocking to Brussels.
Whether it’s for a night, a week or to live full-time queer travelers can feel at easy in this liberal society and free to express themselves in any way they want!
Gay Brussels Guide: The Essential Guide To Gay Travel In Brussels Belgium 2019
Obviously being gay does not define which attraction most of us will want to see in each city and most queer explorers will simply want to check out the top things to see in Brussels during the day! Brussels is a very safe city but still, all travelers should take caution in less-developed areas with valuables.
Gay visitors in Brussels do not need to take any extra precautions in terms of public displays of affection in this very tolerant and progressive city and should have no issues exploring this beautiful and diverse city.
Things To Do in Brussels
Manneken Pis – Is any trip to Brussels really complete without swinging by this iconic 17th-century fountain of a small ball pissing. Yes, you probably know his clothes are changed almost daily, but did you know there is a secret Jeanneke Pis (girl pissing) to be found nearby!
Marc’s Belgian Beer Tour – Pleasure your palate with the rich taste of Belgian beers on a beer-tasting tour of Brussels. Accompanied by an expert guide, discover why Belgium is famed for its effervescent ales and gain insight into ancient brewing traditions; visit a variety of popular bars and cafes and sample rich meats and creamy cheese alongside different types of beer. Enjoy an intimate atmosphere on this small-group tour, where numbers are limited to ensure a better experience.
Atomium – built for the 1958 Brussels World’s Fair this ridiculously oversized monument to progress now houses a museum and viewing platform (not that you really need to do more than just see it from outside).
Cinquanternaire – A beautiful 19th-century park fuelled with art and military museums and a popular place for locals to relax in the summer.
Brussels Chocolate Walking Tour and Workshop – Learn about the history of Brussels and its love affair with chocolate on a walking tour led by a guide. Walk past the Royal Palace and art nouveau architecture of Brussels and stop in exclusive chocolate boutiques for tastings as you go. After sampling truffles, pralines and more, attend a chocolate-making workshop where you learn the secrets behind the sweets.
Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium – It wouldn’t be a European Capital without an insane amount of rare art, and here in this mega-complex of museums, you can find over 20,000 works including paintings, sculptures and drawings…At least enough to fill up a day, if not more!
Guided Art Nouveau Tour – Learn about the origins and the development of the Art Nouveau architectural style in Brussels on a 3-hour guided tour. Travel to the Bailli district to see several of the most important Art Nouveau houses in the city and finish at the incredible Victor Horta Museum.
Belgium Waffles – An attraction in their own right as far as we are concerned. Every local will have their own opinion on the best flavors and places to go – but everyone can agree the waffles found in Belgium are the best in the world. If you need more encouragement, here is a complete guide to the best waffles in Brussels!
Antwerp Half-Day Trip – Immerse yourself in the historical charm of Antwerp on an enriching 5.5-hour tour of the stunning city from Brussels. Accompanied by an expert guide, absorb the medieval majesty of Market Square; gaze at the beguiling beauty of Baroque facades created by treasured artist, Rubens; and marvel at the outstanding architecture of Antwerp railway station. See the Diamond Pavilion and the excellent exhibits of the Museum Aan de Stroom at the end of your enriching excursion.
Maison Arc-en-Ciel / The Rainbow House – The biggest organizer of Brussels’ LGBT+ activities with events such as movie nights, interesting debates, lectures and art exhibitions. A great community with regular mixers held at their bar – there is no better place to start when looking for tips on Gay Brussels when you arrive.
Brussels Card – The Brussels Card is the key to discovering the sights and visiting the attractions of the city of Brussels. This user-friendly card puts the city at your fingertips with access to some of the best museums, tourist attractions, tours, shops and more. Enjoy free access to 41 of Brussels’ museums, including all highlights and benefit from discounts on tourist attractions and tours
Belgium Bear Pride – Taking place annually in October and is a hugely popular celebration of all things furry with club and sauna parties, dinners, talks, and the popular Mister Bear Belgium competition. Newcomers are always welcomed, because – well, bears may come in all shapes and sizes but there is always kindness in their hearts.
Belgium Pride – The highlight of any Queer Brussels events calendar taking place annually in May. There are so many components to this multi-week celebration but one of the biggest events of the Belgian Pride Festival is the exuberant and colorful Pride Parade routed through the heart of the city. Numerous delegations provide atmosphere, party and stimulating messages and this is once spectacle not to be missed. There is also a Pride Village on the Mont des Arts and the Rainbow Village in the Sint Jacobswijk / Quartier Saint-Jacques, with surprising numbers, of surprising acts, music, culinary specialties and the market where LGBTI + organizations present themselves. So grab your cutest Pride outfit, book your flights and see you there?
As a world leader in LGBT tourism, pretty much every hotel and hostel in Brussels can be considered gay-friendly – after all, being a gay-friendly it not all about upscale luxury, but about providing friendly and open service and welcoming everyone with open arms!
Having said that, everyone likes to be surrounded by people with common interests, and as such a there a few well-known hotels in Brussels that are known hot spots for gay travelers to stay! The best locations for gay travelers is the Brussels Gay Village / Saint Jacques neighborhood in the city center near the Grand Palace – close to all the attractions by day and night.
Brussels is a big city, and with many locations worth visiting. Don’t be afraid to explore outside your neighborhood – either with the effective metro or bus system or using a ride-sharing app (which is cheaper than taxis, safer and you can preset your destination so nothing gets lost in translation!)
The following gay-friendly hotels in Brussels are only the most popular with gay travelers but there are hundreds of other hotels in Brussels if you don’t find quite what you are looking for. Whether you want a fun and social hostel, a cheap place to crash after a night of partying or a chic designer option to sip cocktails and surround yourself with fabulous people – Gay Brussels as something for everyone!
Rocco Forte Hotel Amigo ☆☆☆☆☆ – A contemporary hotel with unique decor and modern detailing housed in a historic red-brick former prison in found in the heart of central Brussels. Wonderfully gay-friendly, this is a great splurge option (and check out the top-level suite and it’s outdoor terrace views!). Hotel Amigo seamlessly blends art, culture, heritage, and creativity. Hotel Amigo has been a home away from home for the world’s great and good, who have flocked to Brussels for its world-class contemporary art, historic and cultural sights, the financial district, and the European Parliament. From chic rooms to presidential suites, Hotel Amigo’s effortlessly elegant design marries contemporary creature comforts with fine art and superlative service.
Warwick Brussels ☆☆☆☆☆ – Refined and utterly elegant – but a bit too stuffy for our liking – the Warwick Brussels deserves a mention as the preferred partner hotel of the La Demence once because of their location in the gay area, and a short walk from Fuse club. Expect plenty of queer company over big LGBT event weekends, but not the best pick at other times.
Thon Brussels City Centre ☆☆☆☆ – A gay-friendly hotel with modern, yet conventional design, popular due to it’s association with the La Demence gay dance parties.
The Dominican ☆☆☆☆ – A gay-popular luxury boutique hotel in the city centre of Brussels with a mixed of vibrant and classical vibes. We loved the attention to details, full breakfast and happening bar.
Marriott Hotel Grand Place ☆☆☆☆ – Well known for its #LoveTravels campaign, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender customers will feel welcomed at this swanky central city hotel with upscale rooms, city views and authentic Belgium hospitality.
Hilton Brussels Grand Place ☆☆☆☆ – A sophisticated international chain hotel known to court the Pink Dollar. No surprises here with a reputation for quality, the on-site cocktail lounge is also a great place to meet and socialise.
9Hotel Central ☆☆☆ – Stylish, industrial-chic with exposed bricks and a central location, the 9Hotel Central is a gay-popular hotel in Brussels with plenty of discounts on the weekend.
Hotel Agora Brussels Grand Place ☆☆☆ – The top-rated 3-star hotel in Brussels, this non-discriminating hotel offers modern rooms, vaulted ceilings in a historic building and a three-minute walk to the Grand Palace Square.
Aloft Brussels ☆☆☆ – Contemporary hotel with minimalist rooms and a distinctly high-tech feel. Buzzing bar and DJ fill of suits so that action comes to you!
Boutique Hotel Saint-Géry ☆☆☆ – A contemporary hotel housed in a 19th-century manor house with modern design, unique rooms and plenty of art. Great vibes and attracts an interesting crowd of guests.
Residence Les Ecrins ☆☆ – A low-key gay-popular hotel in Brussels center with spacious rooms and walking distance to most attractions by day or night. One of the cheapest hotels we came across – without comprising on cleanliness!
Heart of Brussels B&B ☆☆– A comfortable gay-owned B&B in the historic center with three small guest rooms. Close to all the action.
Train Hostel ☆ – For the gay with a slight train obsession (there are quite a few right?), how about sleeping a night in an authentic and renovated train carriage the roof-top of the Brussels Train Museum. An utterly unique stay, LGBT-friendly and with both dorm and private options. Not your cup of tea? Well, thankfully there are many other gay-friendly hostels in Brussels to try…
Gay Nightlife in Brussels
Brussels is well-known one of the most gay-friendly cities in Europe, and of course, it has plenty of gay nightlife to cater for any kind of mood.
Gay Brussels offers some of the biggest gay dance parties in Europe and there are a ridiculous amount of Brussels gay bars to choose from located around the Gay Village / Saint Jacques neighborhood in the city center.
Cash is king here, and pickpockets are sadly rife throughout some venues we visited – just be careful, leave your non-essentials at home and just take what you are actually going to use on the night.
Pay special attention in bars and dark rooms as – well, easy targets are those literally with their pants down. We have largely focussed on explicitly gay venues here, but Brussels and Belgium are so liberal don’t feel like you can’t make out with your partner in most bars or clubs here!
Gay Bars & Gay Clubs in Brussels
Le Baroque – A small but popular bar that often overflows onto the street outside. Colorful and fun with a friendly atmosphere and plenty of bears. Right in the heart of the Brussels Gay Village pumping out pop and club / euro-trash tunes on weekends but no dance floor.
Amalgame – Trendy gay bar with a busy dance floor, an oh-so-cool atmosphere, and great bartenders. Centrally located, the long bar makes it easy to socialize if it’s quiet – though Amalgame is more famous for it’s Flash After-Party on Monday mornings if you just don’t want your weekend to end!
La Boule Rouge – Great for dinner and a drink while being entertained by fabulous drag queens, cabaret or karaoke (look up the night’s events in advance). Kitsch yet fun, the resident queen La Diva makes sure everyone is having a great time!
Le Detour – Simple a classic gay bar in the heart of it all and open from 4pm so perfect after a day of sightseeing. Friendly service and a great place to meet up.
L’Homo Erectus Classicus – Next door to Le DeTour, you have to just go for the name alone right. Great atmosphere but very small and intimate.
Le Bélgica – Cute bartenders, drink speaks, a small dance floor and a live DJ make this the most popular gay bar in Brussels with a great mix of people heading for after-work drinks or on the way to the clubs. A Belgium gay bar institution since the 1980s – and still going strong!
La Reserve – A true gay pub in Brussels and one of the oldest gay establishments in Brussels. Sociable atmosphere, and close to everything else when you inevitably want to move on after a few beers.
Station BXL – A fun retro gay bar that draws a large crowd with its out-door area and tempting selection of beer and cocktails. Popular with bears and more mature guys – this is great place to meet friends or make new ones.
Le Dolores– A small gay bar recently re-opened after a hiatus with local vibes and popular thanks to its outdoor terrace – especially in summer. Small but plenty of pretty young things.
Chez Maman – A men-only popular gay bar which is standing room only and famous for its bar top drag show. You have to knock to be let in – and leave your fruit flies at home.
Gay Parties In Brussels
Flash Tea Dance @ You Night Club – Every Sunday this trendy club is taken over with club pop, lesbians and twinks – or really anyone that has nowhere to be on a Monday. A different concept every week and everyone goes all out on their costumes. Check their Facebook page for inspiration.
Cat Club– A fully inclusive pop-up event that takes place sporadically in the most bizarre views – think dilapidated, abandoned or about to be torn down. Check their Facebook page for the next big event.
La Demence Gay Party – One of the biggest gay dance parties in Europe and worth planning an entire trip around – La Demence is an epic gay event occurring monthly at Fuse nightclub with three floors, four bars, international DJs, multiple dance floors and a dark room. Does it get even better? Yes – it’s strictly only men and the darkroom is absolutely packed.
Revelation – The first big kinky & all fetish party concept in Brussels with at least one party a month, including two dance floors with international DJs, go-go shows, strippers darkrooms and more. Revelation hosts guys from all over Europe and the world so not only you will you hear many languages spoken, but the mix of different styles partying together will also amaze: leather boys, fashion victims, muscle queens, drag, young and old – in total in excess of 1500 gays having one hell of a party together. What is your fetish? Fancy leather, sportswear, rubber, neoprene, army, police, uniforms or simply skin? Then this is the place for you…
Cave @ SteelGate Club – A new underground party offering freedom and fun in Brussels for electronic music lovers, LGBT or friends. Everyone is welcome as long as they come for dance and enjoy, respecting others with a good mood. The team here really cares about the music and offers up the best selection of locals and international DJs, playing non-mainstream perfect for dancing all night long. Taking place every few weekends, there is a big dance-floor, a chilling and smoking room and an epic sound system.
Haus – A new dirty pop party series taking place most Saturdays. Just getting off their feet, this new weekly funhouse takes place every Saturday in Brussels. A place where you can be your unapologetic self. Welcome to your new HAUS!
Gay Saunas in Brussels
Those who are interested in the gay sauna Brussels has to offer will no be disappointed by the options served up – and in such a foreign-friendly city you should have no issues visiting any Brussels gay sauna. If you are a bit shy you can try our first time in a gay sauna guide, or maybe ask someone from the gay hook up apps to meet you there …
It appears gay prostitutes in Brussels are becoming increasingly common in many of the smaller establishments though. If gay saunas are not quite your thing, Argos Video Club, RoB Brussels @ Man2Man and Boris Boy are gay sex shops in the Brussels gay Village around the Saint Jacques neighborhood and are well-known cruising spots for those looking for a bit more kink!
Gay sauna or not, in any sexual encounter, please take adequate precautions. No matter what your intentions are in while traveling, you should bring your own condoms and lube to play it safe. Take home a hot guy or a hot memory, not an STD.
Besides, you never know what other fun surprises your trip might have in store for you...
Macho Sauna – The biggest and most popular gay sauna in Brussels, now operating under new management with a revamped bar. Famed for its 8 am after-parties for those who left the La Demence monthly gay parties wanting more. Plenty of young beautiful things, and events every night of the week if you’re after something specific. Complete with all the expected services including bar, jacuzzi, pool, sauna, video area, and mystery room.
Sauna La Griffe – A small sauna in the center of Brussels, with a relaxed vibe and general more mature gays – and those who love them. With relaxing private cabins, a fabulous Turkish steam bath, and both wet and dry sauna – just take it slow and let the action come to you.
Oasis Sauna / L’Oasis – A small sauna with questionable cleanliness but known for Bear Day on the first Friday of every month. Includes dry sauna, video room, pool, private cabins, and bar.
Sauna Club 3000 – A six-story sauna, cinema and adult shop complex open 24/7. Despite its appeal, reports from readers suggest it is filthy, now mixed men/women with little action and filled with plenty of rent boys waiting for their next pay-day. Facilities, however, include a dry and steam sauna, video room, darkroom, and private cabins. Not a great option but might be right for some people.
Stamm Bar – A popular cruise bar with industrial details, a long bar and plenty of dark rooms. labyrinth and cruising spaces. Open nightly with a special Sunday afternoon session. Most popular with the bear, otter, and admirers. Different themes each night. Not quite a bar, not quite a sauna.
Just add an adventurous attitude and plenty of smiles - they go a long way - and that about covers it all! Now go out, find your global rainbow family and don't forget to share your best gay stories with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram...We'd love to hear from you!