Canaan Rubin's Gay Stockholm
Name: Canaan Rubin
Profession: Reporter for "Entertainment Tonight" / ETonline.com
City: Stockholm, Sweden
Relationship Status: Single
What is the best date you ever had in this town? Why?
A Swedish model whom I had a huge crush on took me out on his family's speed boat for a perfect summer day. We zoomed all around the city center - easy to do since Stockholm sits on an archipelago made up of many little islands - and we docked at an old historic glass factory and saw traditional Swedish glass being hand blown. After that we docked at a park right in the middle of the city where everyone jumps off rocks or the wooden pier into the water au' natural (yes right in the middle of the city!)
What are some of the things you love most about your city/town?
Stockholm is like my European home. Over the past 15 years I have cultivated numerous friendships and even a few relationships there. The Swedes are gorgeous; they have their own unique style which I would call a sophisticated geeky-chic version of London hip. The Swedes are extremely friendly and all speak English with barely a hint of an accent. When you're a bit tipsy you can forget you're not in the states except for the beauty of the Viking descendents who surround you.
What are some of your least favorite things about it?
Hard one. Probably that it's a 10 hour flight from LA to London followed by a 2 ½ hour flight to Arlanda - the international Airport in Stockholm.
What gym do you like most? Why?
Stockholm has some great old pools and spa's, some dating back to the late 1800's. A favorite is the Centralbadet - which means "Central Pool" and it's right on Drottninggatan - one of the main shopping arteries. Drottning means Queen - gatan means street. Over 100 years old it features saunas, steam, and an indoor pool that hasn't changed since before the First World War. A step back in time and a step into warmth of the saunas during the winter months.
What are some great restaurants for a night out with gay friends there?
Patricia is a trip - and literally a ship! It's an old boat permanently docked in Sodermalm (Soder = Southern, malm = neighborhood). Sunday night's its all gay and the only place to be. The food is delish - and on my last visit a cute blonde twink plopped down next to me and my friends during dinner and asked point blank if I wanted to, um... jump ship! Koh Phangan also in Sodermalm is a Thai restaurant featuring one of those fake rain forests - but it's totally cool and so is the crowd. Kungsholmen is a chic restaurant right on the water, and for Pizzas there are several Ciao Ciao's, the one in Ostermalm is my fave (Oster = eastern) - the Tropicana Pizza has pineapple, ham, curry, and bananas!
What are some great restaurants for a romantic gay date? What about these restaurants appeals to you?
I would grab a bite in the lobby of the Berns Hotel, a very chic boutique hotel in an art nouveau building. This is where Axl Rose was deported for biting a security guard in the leg. While that's not romantic the restaurant is, and the best part is you can dine late enough and let the lobby turn into a hot club right around you.
Is there a particular best place to "people watch" that most people not familiar with your town would find helpful?
Chokladkoppen (Chocolate Shop) in Gamla Stan (Old Town) can't be beat. The small rainbow flag hanging is the only indication it's gay friendly besides the cute staff and customers. Great deserts right in a mid-evil town square where the world passes by.
Are there any famous people from your town?
What are your favorite gay bars and/or dance clubs? What do you like about them?
Torget, very stylish, and the only place you can go any night of the week for a consistently good gay old time. Strong drinks and a great food menu up until 10pm.
What are your favorite gay parties or events, if any? What is the crowd or scene like at those places?
On Friday everyone goes to G, a huge throbbing warehouse under an overpass in Sodermalm. Saturday is dominated by Lino - a great spread out venue with outdoor areas, indoor dancing, several bars that's on a hidden side street in Gamla Stan the old town. Patricia on a boat called 'Patricia' dominates Sunday night - see the description above. At all of these you get a good mix of young, young at heart, and even some older folks. Swedes aren't as age obsessed as Americans which is refreshing.
Where is the best public place for a gay person to make out?
I'm not into PDA but since you've flown all the way to Sweden I can highly recommend making out while skinny dipping anywhere in Sweden.
What is the gay community like in your city? Do you consider yourself to be part of any particular "scene"?
Swedes are very open and gay friendly. Straights like to dance in gay clubs and gays like many of the stylish and sophisticated straight bars.
Do gay men and lesbians hang out in the same places in your town, or is that just a ridiculous notion?!
You see more gay men then Lesbians out and about, but there are a few strong lesbian nights at some of the places I've mentioned.
Are you involved with any LGBT community organizations there? Which ones? What do you like about those groups?
Do you have a particular fashion style? Where do you shop for clothes?
Carling's is a great denim shop. They get style's we never see in the U.S. Swedes love sweatshirts and t-shirts too - anything cozy and Carlings has loads of those. NK is the countries main department store and its right in downtown. Even the mannequins are so hot my friend and I once did a photo shoot with them! NK is a shopper's mecca, like Barneys but with European designers you haven't heard of yet.
Where do you go for other forms of entertainment -- live theater, concerts, movies, art exhibits? Are there any local gay performance groups, bands, or artists that you're a fan of?
Movies are often shown in English, and live music is very popular. People watching is probably the Swedes favorite pass time.
If you had gay friends visiting from out of town for the first time, what are some "musts" that you'd recommend they see or do?
Definitely a night or two at the Berns Hotel, and don't oversleep and miss their delicious breakfast buffet. Drinks at Torget, mid day coffee at Chokladkoppen to ease away your jet lag, and a skinny dip anywhere you can.
(Images: Getty, Centralbadet, Berns Hotel & Matthew Baron)