Both victims were standing with friends outside Coventry Kebab House on New Union Street at around 1am on Sunday 23 December when they were targeted.
The offender approached the men and made a number of comments before punching one of the victims, a 25-year-old man, in the face.
He fell to the ground and was kicked in the chest by his attacker, who then launched an attack on the second victim, a 26-year-old man, who had tried to intervene.
He, too, was punched in the face, knocking him to the ground and then kicked in the chest.
Three of the victims’ friends then intervened and the offender fled from the scene.
Investigating officer, PC Tony Sedgley, from Coventry Police, said: “This is being treated as a hate crime as the attacker made comments wrongly questioning the first victim’s sexuality before launching his assault.
“It was a viscous and unprovoked assault on two victims who were simply minding their own business after having had an enjoyable night out.
“What makes this all the more shocking is that it was seemingly purely motivated by speculation about the victim’s sexuality.
“Thankfully neither of the two men were left with lasting injuries as a result of the assault, but they have clearly been left shaken.”
The offender is described as a dark-skinned man, in his mid 20s to early 30s, between 6ft and 6ft 2ins tall, of broad build with a goatee style beard and short dark hair.
Anyone with information about the assault, or who recognises the suspect, should call Coventry Police on 101 or the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
As an alternative to reporting hate crimes directly to police, victims can report incidents anonymously online at: www.report-it.org.uk