Stockholm’s gay hotspots are scattered across its 14 islands, a physical representation of just how well integrated the city’s LGBT population is. It’s a manageable city, and only a short cab ride from the Swedish capital’s favorite summer bar and club, Mälarpaviljongen, on Kungsholmen, to one of the city's oldest gay bar, Torget, in Gamla Stan. But seeing as the SoFo [south of Folkungagatan] are of Södermalm is recognized as Stockholm’s coolest neighborhood, we decided to head down to Urban Deli for dinner.
Set across from a small square, Nytorget, Urban Deli is a restaurant, bar, market, and deli all mixed into one. It’s one of the area’s most popular spots, and was absolutely bustling when we sat down for dinner. Its menu is a blend of Sweden and the world, with an emphasis on seafood and local and seasonal produce. It’s also a huge employer of LGBT youth. Our waiter was only too happy to not only provide us with a gay guide to Stockholm, but his own personal recommendations. Heeding his advice, we headed to Mariatorget after a delicious meal paired with beer brewed in the city itself!
Through a discrete door, and down a winding set of stairs, lies the oldest bar in Stockholm, Side Track. An intimate and electric environment, patrons of the basement bar ranged from aging regulars, to young professionals and even a guy in his teens, who we met on the threshold, debating whether to come inside (he did).
And if the rainbow tiles behind the bar and along the floor don’t give it away immediately as a gay establishment, the massive phallic-shaped handles on the bar certainly do the job. The crowd was friendly, the music atmospheric, and just around the corner was King Kong, the gay nightclub, where we headed as night turned to early morning.