London is known for it’s fun and funky gay scene, from chilled bars where you can relax and catch up with friends and racy pubs with drags acts to neon-lit clubs where you can dance the night away to disco tunes with a techno bassline. Here we’ve put together a list of our favourite gay bars from all over the capital, there’s more to be enjoyed in gay London than ever before:
1 – The Yard Bar, Soho
Open and breezy with a laid-back vibe The Yard is perfect for after work drinks or a chilled place to meet friends that’s not too in your face. Perfect during the warmer months as the open ‘yard’ is big, spacious and crammed with beautiful people having a good time with a classy loft bar for relaxed drinking. Weekdays attract a more demure crowd but come the weekend The Yard steps up a gear and becomes party central as the entire venue throbs with testosterone, excitement and more naked torsos than you can shake a rainbow flag at.
2 – The Admiral Duncan
Situated slap bang in the heart of Soho, London’s older and most famous gay pubs is The Admiral Duncan. The bar has been in operation since the early 19th century and is bursting with history, housing a wooden-legged ex-sailor who was shipped off to Australia for hurling stones at King William IV and of course, the well documented bomb attack in 1999. A very popular drinking hole with locals, The Admiral Duncan hosts drag acts and club nights which really get rocking and the bar stocks a wide variety of continental beers, wines and spirits, also, there’s a dancefloor for when you really want to let your hair down.
3 – G-A-Y
G-A-Y is the place to go is you want a young, lively crowd, cheap drinks and plenty of Kylie! G-A-Y is trashy in the best way with young, gorgeous bar boys and girls and TV’s dotted around playing music videos from of the campest tunes that you can’t help but pop a little shimmy too. A bit of a Marmite venue, most love it but some hate the tackiness of such an establishment but if you fancy a giggle it can’t be beaten. Spread over three floors of teeny bopper beats, G-A-Y has hosted some of the biggest names in pop and is home to the famous Porn Idol night… Yep, you read that correctly, PORN IDOL. We’ll leave the details to your imagination!
4 – Rupert Street Bar
A little classier than most of Soho’s gritty offerings, Rupert Street Bar adds something different with it’s industrial-style decor and beefy staff which attracts a more mature crowd and is a popular hangout for after work drinks and socials. Huge wraparound glass windows allow a lot of natural light which is a perfect for a lunchtime drink (you don’t feel like you’re in a cellar) and there’s a few seats outside to catch a few rays in the warmer months.
5 – The Two Brewers
Clapham High Street is a buzzing little gay village with a few gay bars that are well worth a visit if you don’t fancy the slog into central London and you can’t handle the carnage of Vauxhall. The Two Brewers has great deals on drinks and great cabaret acts, including the infamous resident Sandra on a Sunday. Things get a bit wild at the weekend as the club bar out the back is open and the DJ’s spin the best in hard house until the early hours but if that’s a bit much there’s always a bit of Wham! playing out the front (there’s a stage you can dance on too, bonus!)
6 – The Glory
East of the river is the fabulous bar and venue The Glory, co-owned by drag act Jonny Woo. The perfect place to party with cabaret acts, performance pieces and lively DJ nights there’s something for everyone at this Hoxton hangout. There’s a bar for laid-back drinks which is a cool place for more relaxed drinking but the disco room downstairs is where the real fun happens with drag acts, cabaret and even lip sync battles! The crazy cocktail menu is fun, extensive and relatively cheap for such a trendy part of town so if you’re after a giggle and find yourself in the East End, you’ll be hard pushed to find a better venue than The Glory.
7 – The Bridge
A brilliant venue for quiet drinks and an especially cosy choice for dates is The Bridge, quietly tucked away in the arches by Clapham High Street station The Bridge is a classy little snug bar with a super chilled atmosphere that serves delicious sharing plates from an extensive menu. With staff on hand to expertly pick a wine to accompany your chosen dish, The Bridge is the perfect place to relax with friends but come Thursday through to Saturday club DJ’s spin the best floor fillers to gear you up for the weekend, one beat at a time.
8 – Heaven
London’s first gay superclub is still as popular now as what it was when it first opened it’s doors in 1979, bringing acid house and HI-NRG to the capital. Endless rooms and floors of throbbing beats as well as more cheese than you can handle with whole nights dedicated to pop bands of yesteryear as well as attracting hoardes of gay celebrities who wanted to be seen partying and performing here. So much more than just a club, Heaven hosts Camp Attack, Porn Idol, drag acts and some of the most spectacular stage shows you’re likely to see in the city! If your favourite celeb is gigging here, be sure to grab your tickets early as they sell like hot cakes.
9 – The Royal Vauxhall Tavern
One of London’s oldest cabaret venues is The Royal Vauxhall Tavern, showcasing the best in drag talent set in a traditional pub setting with a wide variety of craft beers, ales and wines on tap at reasonable prices. Lily Savage got her big break whilst working behind the bar and it’s not unusual to rub shoulders with Voho (gay Vauxhall village) royalty as you sup your pint. the biggest draw is Amy Lame’s Saturday night club night Duckie, but on any given night you’re sure of a warm welcome and belly full of laughs.
10 – Ku Bar
Just a stone’s throw from the tourist hotspot of Leicester Square, Ku Bar is a gay haven in Chinatown spread over 3 floors of funky beats, sexy artwork and even sexier people. Although the club has a capacity of 500 you’ll find refuge in the cosy champagne bar which is a great option if you’re out to impress before strutting your stuff on the dancefloor. With comedy nights, film screenings and party nights aplenty including the incredibly popular Shinky Shonky on a Wednesday to rev up your week!