Friday, 7 September 2007

Georgia Gay Guide

country overview, useful info, gay institutions and venues

*last reviewed: 18 July 2010

As I already mentioned on this blog, even though homophobia is widespread in Georgian society, the attitude towards gay people in Georgia, especially Tbilisi, is more open-minded and gay scene is more developed than in surrounding countries. This was rightly pointed out by Spartacus International Gay Guide (2007). In fact, Georgia was the first country in South Caucasus to decriminalise gay male sex in 2000.

However, recent events in Georgia (here and here) surrounding failed attempts by Council of Europe to promote "All Different - All Equal" campaign which was considered by some as 'gay rally' and, therefore, forced to get cancelled, show that Georgia has a long way to go in terms of human rights / gay rights and equality.

For more Georgia related news and posts, click on Georgia or Tbilisi labels.

I decided to publish this Guide on my blog since the on-line resources on LGBT life and gay scene in Georgia are scarce. There is a sizable Armenian community there, and many gay Armenians visit neighbouring Georgia for various reasons.

Unlike Armenia (Armenia Gay Guide), I do not have much personal insight into the gay scene in Georgia. This Guide represent mainly the information taken from the Spartacus (+ Gay Batumi), with some input/additions from me. I will update this Guide as soon as I learn new info. For convenience, I put easy access link to Georgia Gay Guide under 'South Caucasus LGBT Links' of this blog.

Country overview

"Even under the Soviet Union, Georgia was known to be one of the "gayest" regions. However, a gay scene in the western sense of the word hardly exists. Even in the capital Tbilisi the venues that are listed in this guide are mixed, but they are popular with the community as well. Gay behaviour like holding hands and kissing is accepted in the larger cities only [I would be particularly cautious with this suggestion by Spartacus - even in larger cities you may encounter more than problems with the open display of same-sex affections. As in case of Armenia, although you will see men (and women) holding each other's hands in public or kissing each other when they meet or part, this is not necessarily an indicator of sexual orientation but rather established tradition].

On the other hand, gay related violence still exists, notably in the countryside. In September 2001 a journalist was killed by the mafia because of his alleged homosexuality. We also advise to be cautious with cruising: most of the areas in this guide are observed by police cameras. The recordings are said to be used to force gays to work for the police. Unfortunately, the current government has more urgent matters to deal with than the acceptance of sexual minorities."



Street: 3, Vashvlovanis Street
Description of Location: In Perovskaia district
Commentary: Once very stylish place, nowadays casual cruising bar, frequently visited by straight people.

Street: 18, G.Akhvlediani Street
Postal Code: 0108
Description of Location: Former Perovskaia St.
Phone: 93 53 83
Commentary: DJ bar, with very friendly staff and visitors. Open until the early morning.


Cafe Cala
Street: 8-10, Erekle II Street
Postal Code: 0107
Description of Location: In Chardin area
Commentary: Good Georgian food, many artistic people hanging out, live jazz performances, frequented by gay people.

Le Cafe
Street: 4, Vashlovani Street
Description of Location: Opposite the Success bar in Perovskaia district
Commentary: Quiet place with European cuisine. Friendly staff.

Rue Chardin 12
Street: 12, Chardin Street
Postal Code: 0108
Description of Location: In old town Chardin area
Commentary: One of the most popular dining out places. A place to sit and be seen in the heart of old town. The smallest street in Tbilisi is home for number of upscale places that attract many community people. One can also find many other cafes in this area.


Street: 2, Right Bank
Postal Code: 0108
Description of Location: In Chardin area
Phone: (reservations) 32 30 30 30
Commentary: Upscale restaurant, very friendly. Offers traditional and fusion cuisine. Has chillout section with Kalian.

Street: 8-10 Chekhov st. (On the left bank of old town)
Phone: (reservations) 995 32 77 55 20
Commentary: Belle-view terrace. Hotel restaurant with extensive menu and good service. Tarace offers one of the best views of old town.


Coloured Bathhouse
Street: Square in front of the Sulphur Springs
Description of Location: In Abanotubani (Bath district)
Opening hours: 10-20h
Commentary: Number of traditional bathhouses with natural sulphur spa. Traditional massage and scrub with traditional gloves (Kisa). Public section is very cruisy especially by evenings. People basically pick up each other and leave together. For more discreet acts one can rent a cubicle. Coloured baths were favourite of A. Pushkin and A. Dumas.

Fitness Studios

Vake Fitness
Street: 49b, Chavchavadze Avenue
Commentary: Huge fitness complex with gym, olympic swimming pool, spa, sauna, gymnastics, solarium etc. Upscale workout place.


Sheraton Metekhi Palace
Street: 20, Telavi Street
Postal Code: 0119
Phone: 77 20 20
Fax: 77 21 20
Commentary: Luxury hotel with 182 rooms with data port, safe, TV, phone, mini-bar and bathroom phone. Cruisy sauna.

Marriott Tbilisi
Street: 13, Rustaveli Ave.
Phone: 77 92 00
Commentary: 5 stars luxury hotel.

- Underpass in front of the circus (dangerous)
- Rustaveli Ave. daytime cruising.
- Central station (Metro Vagzliss Moedani)
- Tchelouskin bridge (In the centre of the city, between central station and the
- Blumentrasse (Boulevard between central station and the circus)
- Underpass in front of the circus (Dangerous)
- Pushkin park (Metro Thavisouphlebis Moedani)
- Exit Metro Rustaveli
- Baratachvili bridge (first level, Mutual masturbations, Piss and Scat)
- Between Liberty Square, “Thavisouphlebis Moedani” and Avlabari street
- Metro Issani (near the military barracks, ideal for those who like soldiers)


Batumi gay life is most active during high summer season. There are no dedicated gay bars or clubs in Batumi, but most of them (especially on a boulevard) are gay friendly.

- Alley between boulevard and beach (the best)
- Beach close to the lighthouse in pishcheviki area
- Around old railway station



Theatralouri (opposite the National Theatre)

- Park opposite the National Theatre


- Lenin park

National Groups

Inclusive Foundation (in English and Georgian)
The first openly LGBT rights organisation in Georgia and in South Caucasus, ILGA member. Main areas of work is advocacy and lobbying information and public awareness campaigns, study and research, empowerment of LGBT community, HIV/AIDS and STI prevention.

National publications

"Me" magazine (quarterly; in Georgian, with English summary)
Available to download here

Georgian National Gay Resource (in Georgian)

Other useful links:

ILGA-Europe: Georgia Country Guide

Georgian Young Lawyers Association (GYLA)
Advocacy, lobbying, individual legal counselling, surveys

Information and Counselling Centre "Tanadgoma"
Psychological and health counselling, HIV/AIDS/STI prevention measures, surveys

Centre for Training and Consultancy (CTC)
Organisational development, trainings for organisation staff and volunteers

Women Initiative Support Group (WISG)
Women programme, surveys

*source of pictures: Spartacus (cover page); Lonely Planet (map of Georgia); Wikipedia (flag of Georgia)

No comments: