London is a friendly place for an LGBTQ person. There is something for everyone, whether you are looking for a fun club night, queer shows or just a cute hangout spot. While everyone knows the mainstream clubs like G-A-Y Late and Heaven, there is a lot more to explore. Get ready to feel the community spirit at these next seven places every LGBTQ person should know.
It does not matter what you are looking for in terms of your LGBTQ venue – Dalston Superstore has you covered. This is one of the places on the list where every LGBTQ person needs to go. And if you are a big group of diverse characters, all the better. It’s inclusive, fun and quite intimate (since it’s on the smaller size).
It makes a great night out, whether you like having a chat in a booth or dancing the night away. For those more interested in day-time events, the drag brunch will not disappoint. It’s an exciting place for the whole community.
If you are as frustrated with the mainstream club scene as much as the founders of Pxssy Palace, then this is the perfect place for you. Liberating, energetic positive and extremely fun, a night at Pxssy Palace will probably be unlike anything an LGBTQ person would have experienced until now. It’s refreshing to see a space that prioritises queer people of colour and promotes a safe environment, where people can have fun without inhibitions.
It’s very rarely that clubs focus this much on support and comfort. It’s like going to a party at your best friend’s house. And we are all for it!
Royal Vauxhall Tavern
Also known as RVT, the Royal Vauxhall Tavern is one of the venues in London known by every LGBTQ person. With an open-door policy, a very welcoming atmosphere and great music, this is where you’ll want to dance the night away. It has played a key role in popularising alternative entertainment and currently hosts a variety of performances: drag, comedy, theatre, etc.
Thanks to a campaign famously supported by Sir Ian McKellen, Paul O’Grady and Graham Norton, in 2015 RVT was given a Grade II listing providing considerable protection against any changes to the use or look of the building. It is an iconic place and one of the best places an LGBTQ person can go on a night out.
Gay’s The Word
This bookshop was UK’s first (and currently the only surviving) LGBTQ bookshop and it has been standing proud on 66 Marchmont Street since 1979. There is a great variety of books and films, which will interest any LGBTQ person. The staff is welcoming and knowledgeable, prepared to help with queries, offer suggestions or just chat. Their wonderful community atmosphere is maintained with a constant stream of various events and discussions.
The Glory is a pub, which first opened in 2014. It has quickly grown in popularity and hosts cabarets, DJ nights and performance. There is a focus on emerging queer performance with competitions such as LIPSYNC1000 and Man Up. Not only that, but the pub has hosted discussions on important topics such as HIV/AIDS, sexual health services, overturning homophobic legislation and much more. With the basement disco at weekends and shows all week, this Haggerston pub is worth checking out.
The first gay bar to open in Soho is the Village. There are gorgeous Go-Go dancers, bright lights, Instaworthy cocktails, and a fabulous playlist. Look out for their events. Some themes have included Rocky Horror Picture Show (for Halloween), Superhero and Ken & Ken (for Pride). They have 4 bars and three floors.
The rooms have different vibes so be sure to explore and see what works best for you. It’s one of those places you either love or hate, but it’s a classic nonetheless, so give it a try.
BALANS Soho Society
Located on Old Compton Street, also known as the epicentre of gay Soho, BALANS has become a very popular café/bar with the average LGBTQ person. It is open 24-hours, during summer you can sit outside and enjoy the sunshine (if you’re lucky). They are famous for their immoderate brunch and the most photographed item on the menu is probably their High Society Lobster Benedict, which is like regular Eggs Benedict, but with Lobster.
And it’s delicious! Sitting outside is also great for people watching and soaking in the Soho atmosphere.
What places do you think every LGBTQ+ person should know? Share in the comments!
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Currently going into her final year of English and Creative Writing at Goldsmiths, University of London. Gery has been writing in a personal blog since 2014 and has been published in publications StudentVoices and FictionHub on Medium. She debuted her first play 'Liminality' at Edinburgh Festival Fringe and is already planning her next project.