The capital of South Australia, Adelaide was named after a queen, and there’s plenty for contemporary queens to get up to in the city – if you know where to look.
This warm and welcoming little city boasts several cultural festivals including the forward-thinking Fringe Festival (the largest arts fest in the southern hemisphere) and the annual queer-themed Feast Festival. There are also several gay-friendly venues along with its popular gay nightclub Mars Bar.
Adelaide is close to several long beachfronts. Take the Glenelg tram from the centre of the city and in 20 minutes you’ll be on the sand. Head 40km south of the city for Maslins nudist beach.
Foodies will enjoy a wide range of taste on offer in the city, which even has its own Chinatown. Locals recommend the Art Gallery Restaurant, fancy cupcakes at the Just Tickled Pink café, and drinks at the Wheatsheaf Hotel.
Here’s our guide to what’s hot and happening in the capital of South Australia.
Open Wednesday-Saturday nights, Mars Bar is Adelaide’s dedicated gay nightclub and your one-stop-shop for drinks, drag shows, dancing and hooking up. Expect commercial europop and retro danceables. Entry costs up to $10 at the weekend, with live shows and DJs. Find Mars Bar at 120 Gouger Street, or on the web here
Adelaideans also recommend Sugar and Garage nightclubs for your big nights out – both attract gay-friendly, mixed crowds.
Held in November each year, Adelaide’s Feast Festival is a showcase of all that’s good and queer in the city, including parties, cabaret, films, sports meets and community events. Inside the fest is also a mini Bearstock range of events for the city’s bear community. The festival opens with a Pride March and concludes with a family Picnic in the Park. The 2010 Feast Festival program is out now on its official website.
Adelaide Fringe Festival
Happening over almost a month of summer nights, the largest arts festival in the southern hemisphere is on each February/March, including comedy, music, dance, culture, and a parade through the streets of the city aiming to showcase the wide diversity of South Australia’s citizens. Find out more on the Festival’s website.
Adelaide Sleaze Ball
Happening in late November this year, the annual Sleaze Ball is a chance for people of all persuasions to dress up and let their imaginations run wild. An action-packed party full of shows, entertainers and favourite DJs is planned, designed especially for LGBT punters. It’s an important fundraiser for the AIDS Council of South Australia. The Old Queens Theatre will be packed – find out more on the party’s website here.
Locals recommend checking out the friendly Hampshire Hotel for a quite drink or meal in its lovely outdoor seating area. This gay-owned venue located 110 Grote Street is close to the central markets, and is open from 11am Tuesday to Sunday.
Adelaide has two all-male sex-on-premises venue options. Pulteney 431 Sauna (431 Pulteney Street) includes a spa, sauna, steam room, TV lounge, maze and snack bar. Ram Lounge (348A King William Street) is popular with the bear crowd and features a sauna, cruising area and darkroom. Play safe boys!
As far back as 1975, South Australia was the first state in the country to allow legal sexual conduct between men. These days, the state defends its LGBT citizens with anti-discrimination legislation, but adoptions of children by same-sex couples are currently banned. Currently no gay marriage or civil unions are legal, but it is relatively easy for same-sex couples to prove they are in a defacto relationship and receive many of the same rights opposite-sex couples do.
Blaze glossy magazine is free to pick up every two weeks from gay and gay-friendly venues across the city. Its website also features a great guide to LGBT clubs and groups around Adelaide. Check it out here.
Community groups and support
The newly-established Festival City Bears group plans fun social events for hairy gay male Adelaideans. Join them here.
Singers unite regularly at rehearsals for the Adelaide Gay and Lersbian Qwire group, a loud and proud flamboyant choir which welcomes new members. Get in touch here.
Worried about coming out, having relationship issues, or simply needing information about Adelaide’s local LGBT community? Talk to Gay & Lesbian Community Services, on (08) 8422 8400 for free, confidential and non-judgemental support 7pm-10pm every night.
For information about safe sex, HIV, and sexual health, or to book a sexual health check-up, contact the Gay Men’s Health service on (08) 8334 1617.
Enjoy your stay in Adelaide and South Australia! Let us know your city tips by leaving a comment below.