Monday, 31 August 2009

gay clubs and bars in Thessaloniki, gkei clubs and bars in θεσσαλονικη,

Here we have a more complete and up-to-dte lists of gay clubs and bars in Thessalonik with telephone numbers and opening times.

Gay bar
Εli- Ela G L
5, L. Vyronos, Diagonios
Gay and lesbian. Open all day.

Stretto G L
18, Karolou Diehl, Downtown
Open all days, morning to late at night. One
of the oldest gay-friendly spot in the city.

Da.Da Club
4, Peristeriou, Ladadika. Tel: 2310 510000
Mainly gay men. Open everyday after 23:00.

En ola club G
19, Valaorito (2nd floor)
Mainly gay men. Open everyday after 22:00.

Βigarοon G L
44, Pavlou Mela, Downtown
Tel: 2310.267727
Gay and lesbian. Open everyday,
morning to late at night.

Βar Μe
3, Agiou Mina
Gay and lesbian. Mainly bears and
middle-aged men. Closed Mondays
and Tuesdays. Open after 21:00.

Sunday, 30 August 2009

Reworks Festival Thessaloniki 18 - 19 September 2009

Reworks is an annual two-day festival of music and the arts held annually in Thesslaoniki and it is now rated one of the six most important concerts of its kind globally. 
This year it will feature performances which include reggae, soul music, hip-hop and electornica as well as art installations and performances. It will be held in the port  area of the city where many of the old warehouses have now become museums and cultural sites. A photographic exhibition called  "The Wanderer" will also be staged. This exhibition which has toured Europe shows the images of cities under the theme that whereever you are the language of art and culture is the same. Below just some of the bands which are scheduled to participate at Reworks Festival 2009:

Τhe Stereo MC’s ( Island Recs, UK)
Dennis Ferrer (Objectivity , USA)
DJ Mehdi (Ed Banger, France)
Parov Stellar + band (Etage Noir, Austria)
Daedelus (Ninja Tune, USA) ( Mobilee, NON, Greece)
Cayetano + band ( Etage Noir, Greece)
Paul Kalkbrenner (Bpitch Control, Germany)
Heidi (BBC Radio 1, Canada)
Martinez Brothers (Objectivity, USA)
Sven Vath (Cocoon, Germany) 
Oliver Huntemann (Ideal, Germany)
Beardyman ( !K7, UK) 
Shlomi Aber (Be as One, Israel)
Actor One  Bloop, NON, Greece)
For for information on the Reworks 2009 Festival in Thessaloniki visit the festival website here.

Saturday, 29 August 2009

Gay beaches in Halkidiki near Thessaloniki

There are few known gay beaches around Halkidiki or Thessaloniki. The map on the left shows what local gays from Thessaloniki would consider gay beaches, i.e cruising areas outside the city. The largest is the  gay beach at Epanomi and quite close to this is the gay beach at Nea Iraklio which is even closer to the city.But it has to be said that the area is not like the super paradise beaches of Mykonos.
A common question often asked is if either of the universities, Aristoteles or Macedonia university have gay associations or clubs. To the best of my knowledge the answer is no  but you may be well advised to ask in the gay bars or clubs in Thessaloniki as things could have changed.

Friday, 28 August 2009

Visiting Mount Olympus, Greece

Mount Olympos, the highest mountain in Greece is about 100 kilometers south of the city of Thessalonki.. It is best to hire a car to get there as I know of no public transport. In Thessaloniki you folow the signs for Athens  and take the main highway to Athens. After passing Katherini you should see signs (in English) for the Mount Olympus national park and the town of Litochoror. From Lirochoro a small mountain village, access to the park and Mount Olympus is close. This is a picture of Mount Olympus taken from Litochoro. There is a small fee to drive into the national park and once there my advise in to drive as far as you possibly can - i.e.  until the road stops before you start out on foot to the summit. By the way, summer is the time to climb this mountain as it tales more than one day to get up and down again and the overnight refuges close with the first snow - usually at the end of October. There are a number of routes to hike to the summit, Mytakis, situated at 2 919 meters.   The view is undescribable.

Zeus, Hera, Poseidon, Demeter, Ares, Hermes, Hephaestus, Aphrodite, Athena, Apollo, Artemis, Hestia.

Thursday, 27 August 2009

In Thessaloniki - places within reach?

If you stay in or around Thessaloniki you are ideally situated to visit many different sites in the north of Greece. Indeed, the infrastructure has improved immensely over recent years, particularly with the new Odos Egnatia highway. It used to take 6 hours of tortuous driving to get to Corfu from Thessaloniki. Last week my friend's brother managed it in two and a half hours. Depending on the time you have in Thessaloniki and if you have hired a car rental or not, I would advise the following trips.
For day trips

A day trip to Mount Olympos,
A day trip to Halkidiki which has a number of gay beaches,
A day trip to Kavalla, a city north of Thessaloniki on the coast,
A day trip to Vergina - if you are interested in Greek history and Alexander the Great,
Two days or longer

Trip to the islands of Skiathos and Skopelos taking the ferry from Volos,
A trip to the island of Thassos - taking the ferry from Kavalla,
In up and coming postings I shall devote a post to each of these trips.

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Some tips of cheap fares to Thessaloniki

I have been moaning on many times about the lack of information for gays visiting Thessaloniki. Even on the web, which usually has the most up to date information, I just discovered that one of the many gay organisations in Greece, last updated their information in 1997 on bars and clubs in Thesslaoniki. It lists many bars which sadly no longer exist. Other info still has prices in Greek drachmas. So what is the best way to get to Thessaloniki?
On account of the importance of Halkidiki as a holday area for tourists from the more northern parts of Europe, particular in summer there are hundreds of charter flights to Thessaloniki's Macedonia Airport. This is not the case duriing the winter months. Recently no-frill air companies such as Easyjet offer daily services to and from London Gatwick. The company also flies four times a week from Berlin Schoenefeld to Thessaloniki. If you are coming from Germany there are many choices as the Greek national airline, Olympic Airways, also offers frequent services from Berlin, Stuttgart, Frankfurt and Dusseldorf. The German charter airline, Air Berlin, also offers flights form many German cities as does GermanWings.
As scheduled airlines are also competing now you should also check the fares from your European destination with both Hungarian Airlines, Malev and the Czech airlines, CZA, as they fly from most European capitals with a change of aircraft in either Budapest or Prague.

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

BAR ME - gay bar/club in Thessaloniki

BAR ME opened just a few years ago in the Ladadika district of the city which is about 5 minutes walk from the center of the city. The following map shows you how to get there. It really is hard to beat as a meeting place in the city; the music is great and the atmopshere electric - particularly at weekend. The bar also has special events, for example on 5 September this year it is Bear Night.
A word of warning though, it is shut Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. Opening hours are as follows:

Sun-Mon-Tue : Closed

Wed-Thu-Fri-Sat : 23:00 - 05:00

And of course the same applies here as everywhere else in Greece, go before Midnight and you will be keeping yourself company. By the way, Bar Me is just around the corner from Enola Gay so drop past on your way for a drink. Bar Me also seems to attract a slightly older crowd than Enola but it will get just as loud as the night goes on.

The best way to meet gays in Thessaloniki

Frankly, the answer is gaydar - it seems unlikely but it is true. Even gay friends of mine from Athens will use it to meet up with gays here in Thessaloniki. It just seems to be the most efficient means of communication. Particularly as a foreigner going to some of the gay clubs and bars I mentioned I think your chances of meeting up with the local crowd are slim. Firstly they usually go out in company and if you are non Greek speaking I do not see you getting very far.
Gaydar also makes the whole business of meeting up a whole lot easier. You will have seen a picture of the people you want to meet, you will know what they are in to and you will be sure that they speak English. It does not seem awfully romantic I admit but it is a simple fact.

Saturday, 22 August 2009

DA DA Club Thessaloniki - hot and gay

New to Thessaloniki, Holidaying in Thessaloniki and looking for the gay scene. On a Saturday night my tip would be the DA DA Club if you want crowded dance floors and great music. Address is Peristeriou 4, Ladadika. Not worth looking on the map, just go to the centre and ask anyone where Ladadika is - Try not to ask a tourist - eh? The club opens around 12:30 a.m. so don't get there before 1:00 a.m. and be prepared for a late night. The DJ plays the music and things get hot as the night progresses.
Drinks are normally priced for Greek standards but if I can give you a tip about Greek clubs - NEVER ORDER SPIRITS. Why? They are usually doctored. Like cheap whiskey in a Johnny Walker Black Label bottle. Drink beer - at least you know what is in the bottle or wine if that is more your taste - avoid whiskey, gin, vodka etc. as you are just asking to get ripped off.

Deon magazine in Greece

If there is one person who has furthered the gay cause in Greece, it is definitely Paul Sofianos. He is creator and owner of the website gaygreece and in addition runs a number of publications and events thoughout the country. Mr Gay Greece, which takes place annually on Mykonos is also part of his work. The main gay magazine which by the way is by no means a cheap porno publication, appears every month. Click here for the latest edition of the biggest and best gay magazine in Greece..
I like the magazine - some of you will say because it is the only gay oriented one in Greece, I do not have much choice. Breaking the clichee there is a good article in the current edition about a gay bouncer. Someone I would not have an argument with.

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Civil Union - Greece and the European Court of Human Rights

While Greece still plods along refusing to recognise that same sex unions could be a pending issue, considering the state of affairs in other Euroepan countries, it would do well to reflect that it is sibject to the judgements of the European Court of Human Rights. Basically any citizen can take recourse to the latter if he/she feels his/her rights as an individual are being violated.
Indeed it only takes one case of Greek same sex civil union to go to the Court in order for the matter of civil union to be settled in Greece for once and for all. The rulings of the European Court of Human Roghts overrule national rulings.
New Democracy or any governing party in Greece would do well to bear this in mind as the chances of victory for those seeking civil union are basically a foregone conclusion. Indeed, Greece, or for that matter any country, could be forced to accept such a ruling. That is the great thing about being part of a larger community, even the European Union. You cannot take the parts you like and simply avoid the parts you do not want.

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Gay Greek Google ?

One of the reasons I started this blog is simply the lack of information on gay life in Greece, in general. When I put "gay Thessaloniki" into g00gle the results are more than depressing. After the first page of ten results - basically all with the same information about clubs, cafes, etc, - the rest is just a conglomeration for gay dating sites etc. which has absolutely nothing to do with gay life in Thessaloniki.
This could lead one to believe that there is no gay scene in Thessaloniki or that gay life here is so non-existent there is nothing to write about. Or maybe it is secret information just for Greeks so we should try the search in Greek - not much more success I'm afraid.
Even when I go to and look up Thessaloniki all I get is a blank page AND gayscout is on the first page of google for "gay Thessaloniki". Oh dear, things are not looking so good, are they? AND without wanting to name and shame some of the info sites are simply out of date. For example, the cafe PASTA FLORA where one site says - mostly young gay and lesbian crowd. This is utter nonsense, it was the case some years ago but definitely not so today. Pasta Flora's owners' decided to loose the gay image.

Sunday, 16 August 2009

Dont ask - don't tell - gay Greek

From the many years I have lived in Greece, it is clear to me that the motto of the US army in regards to gay soldiers, applies here in social and in particular in family life. There seems to be a certain unspoken agreement about the subject of sexual orientation.

I have many gay Greek friends and acquaintances and yet none of them are out in that their families know. Well actually this is not strictly true. Of course their families know - they just prefer to pretend they don't. So there seems to be some precarious unspoken social contract. Let's ignore this uncomfortable topic and then it simply does not exist.
This, of course, does anything but put the issue of gay rights on the political agenda.

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Gay night life in Thessaloniki

As I said do not go out too early otherwise you will end up talking to yourself. Should you decide to take my advice and try Enola (not before midnight, remember!) then before going there why not stop by Elvis on the main promenade of the city, Nikis Avenue. Personally I find the music (like everything else in this country) a bit on the loud side but the clients are stylish, gay and VERY in. This is one of the places to see and be seen on the Thessaloniki gay scene.
. If you prefer something a little more laid back then on Paula Mela, about five minutes walk from the promenade, Nikis Avenue, walk straight up towards the St Sofia Church and ask for PAVLO MELA (As I spell it you promounce it). At the top on the right hand side you will find a bar which functions as a coffee shop during the day, BIGAROON (PAVLO MELA 44) and is mixed gay/lesbian. Even more laid back is the trendy and intellectual Spirto at PAVLO MELA 33 which is also open all day and it is quire pleasant to take a table on the sidewalk and watch the world go by.

gay clubs and bars in Thessaloniki, Gay guide Thessaloniki, Salonica, Salonico, gay Greece

To be honest there is nothing particularly openly gay-friendly about this city. OK it is a very young city on account of the two universities, Aristotle University and the University of Macedonia giving the city, I believe, over 70 000 students but if you want to find the gay clubs and bars you need to look. There is no gay area as such in Thessaloniki.
The best gay bar and club I know is Enola. Beware, like everywhere else in Greece, night life does not begin before midnight in this city so go too early and yu will end up keeping yourself company.<

Enola is situated in Valaoritia Street which you can locate on any tourist map and is only a few minutes from the central Aristoteles Square. The club/bar is on the first floor and just follow the boys to get there. It is a very decadent, Victorian style but comfortable atmosphere and at week-ends after 1:00 a.m. you basically cannot move. Music is very mixed and drinks are normal prices for any club. The clientele also covers all ages so you won't think you are at a children's birthday party. Fantastic atmosphere!

Monday, 3 August 2009

Gay Flight 001 Athens to Albania - put your watches forward 200 years.

Well done Albania, you have decided to legalise gay marriages in stark contrast to your southern neighbour Greece. Yes, believe it or not - and frankly I am surprised - the Albanian government has just announced this. Although Prime Minister, Sali Berisha, from the democratic party has said it will not be a popular decision, the government has decided that homosexual couples should have the same rights as hetersexual (Greece decided exactly the opposite last year).
Well I bet the Greek government will be a little more than embarrassed about the bovine intellect of their own current political parties here who pathetically refuse to recognise any gay rights. The country of Albania is mainly of Muslim origins with important Orthodox Christian and Catholic minorities. Anyway it would seem that although practicing religion was not allowed under the Communist regime from 1944-1990, it has made their minds larger not smaller.