Firstly, some advice: don’t even try to google gay bars and clubs as you’ll mainly find bars that were thriving last decade but no young Amsterdammer would step into now. As for clubs - you might only find one tiny truly gay club but it’s probably just a rock in the pile of party diamonds. I strongly recommend planning ahead and booking your flights to Amsterdam when the best weekly, monthly, yearly and-once-in-a-while parties are happening.
Here they are - the rainbow (in spirit, no flag required) cream of the crop!
Running for seven years, Milkshake is probably the most colourful event in the city for boys who love girls who love girls who love boys who love boys. Expect multiple stages that cater to all the gay tribes: from pop-music loving boys to world-famous drag queens and shirtless circuit boys to hipster techno lovers.
Next edition 28-29 July
A brand new open-minded (meaning: gay) one-day festival in Amsterdam Noord. It’s worth taking a free ferry across to dance with the hipsters to the eclectic mix of electro, pop, and surprisingly popular Balkan hits.
Next edition - May 2019
3 x NYX
Your best option on a Saturday night! This regular weekly party takes place at Club NYX in the middle of the Reguliersdwarsstraat (the gay bar epicentre, or what used to be). Multiple levels and different styles of music - the best is in the bathroom upstairs where the DJ is spinning and people are dancing next to others using the urinals or washing their hands in a penis-shaped sink (yes, really).
Next edition – every Saturday
Funhouse is famous for throwing the biggest XXL edition during Pride Amsterdam for 8,000 partygoers. The venue - the Gashouder at Westergasfabriek- is absolutely stunning and the production, including lasers, is top notch, even if the music is... not so much.
Next edition - Funhouse XXL 4 August
A long-standing circuit party in a former church and my favourite venue in town. Great lasers, impressive production, but you know the drill - that shirtless sweaty crowd is not there for the music. Brace yourself for the repetitive tribal dance circuit samples that never end.
Next edition – 5 August
Probably the best gay techno party around these days. It doesn’t usually attract so many visitors as it’s pretty far from the centre; although the latest editions sold out! It’s known for an amazing lineup, usually hosting headliners from Berlin, and even exclusive club Berghain. Make sure you stay until the very end as DJs often don’t want to leave and play much longer than scheduled until it basically becomes a private afterparty!
Next edition - tba
A mostly gay, mostly techno party. If you believe DJs are all you need for a great party, you will love it. But in case you’re spoiled (as I am) and need great lights, production and lasers, you might be slightly disappointed. The DJs are never announced in advance, but their booking manager does a pretty good job. It’s grown a lot over the past few years and even straight people rate it as one of the city’s best nights out.
Next editions – 3-4 August
Het Weekend at De School
De School is known for techno music, cool hipsters, and face control. Het Weekend is a monthly, weekend-long party that became super gay over time. It’s not communicated that way, but once you’re in that dark basement your doubts will vanish. Music is usually better on other nights (and days), but then the crowd is very different too. To make it past the bouncers, wear overpriced black clothes and go in small groups or alone.
Next edition - tba
This is a strange one, and was completely unexpected to me. Imagine gay boys dancing to songs from the Balkans and the Middle East - as they say ‘honouring the beats from Slovenia to Lebanon’. Certainly not my type of music, but it’s still a lot of fun with what’s probably the friendliest crowd in town. No cool kids, only fun ones!
Next edition - tba
You’ll find this small bar tucked away in the basement of an apartment building - no bar signs and no rainbow flags. It’s only open on Sunday nights from 22:00 until 02:00. Make sure you’re there before 22:00 as it gets packed quickly, and then it’s one out, one in. Switch your phone off - they take that seriously (they noticed when I was trying to add a cute boy’s name to my phone even in the bathroom!) and get in for cheap drinks, lots of talking, some dancing and a lot of making out.
Next edition - every Sunday
Of course, there are many more regular parties in this city, but these are the cherries on the cake that is your weekend – bon appétit! For a more detailed agenda – check the Gay Parties Amsterdam Facebook group, and find more of my recommendations on gaynighter.com.