London is one of the world’s largest metropolises and a must-see destination for the LGBTQ+ community. Cosmopolitan and open to the world, the city is a major cultural centre, a fashion Mecca and a city known for its wild and festive parties. As the capital of the United Kingdom, London is also a historical gem with famous landmarks like the Palace of Westminster, the Tower of London or the Tower Bridge. Its gay district is located in Soho, with many establishments around Old Compton Street. Its LGBTQ+ milieu is not limited to Soho, but extends to other areas such as Vauxhall. A superb city to visit.
London is one of the most important cities in Europe. With the addition of its metropolitan area, its population approaches 15 million. London cannot be visited in just a weekend. It is necessary to spend time there to discover all its cultural richness, visit its museums, admire its architecture and soak up its rhythm of life. There are plenty of places to go out. The gay district Soho is located in the West End, which means “hunting cry”. A French quarter of London during the 17th century, it became the “brothel” district at the end of the 18th century. Today, it’s a neighborhood with a lot of charm, and most of the LGBTQ+ establishments are found along and around Old Compton Street. A must-see. But don’t stop there, London has many secrets and there are many other gay establishments all over the city, especially around Vauxhall. Particularly gay friendly, the city and its inhabitants will open their doors to you!
As a cosmopolitan and multicultural city, London is very open and tolerant. The list of film, music or art artists living in London is very long and contributes to this benevolence. The LGBTQ+ population is particularly important because its influence in society is particularly significant.
The situation for LGBTQ+ people in the UK can be described as advanced. Since 2014, gay marriage is allowed in all parts of the kingdom except Northern Ireland. The latter, after several years of blockage, has joined the rest of the country since July 2020. Adoption by a same-sex couple is legal as is the use of IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) for lesbian couples. Gender reassignment is also permitted.
The currency is the pound sterling. Most credit cards are accepted.
The United Kingdom is located in Europe, but the country is no longer part of the European Union since the Brexit and free movement does not apply. Therefore, there is a control at the border between the country and the EU with certain rules to respect, especially on the importation of food or goods that you might have in your possession.
IMPORTANT! For tourists from the European Union who could travel to the UK with a national identity card: this provision will end on October 1st, 2021. From this date, a passport will be mandatory. By the way, here is the link to find out if you need a visa to enter the UK, depending on where you live: Gov.uk
Gay bars in the Soho area or within walking distance:
G-A-Y Bar (30 Old Compton Street). Mythical bar in the heart of Soho on 3 floors. Terrace, music, video, lounge area with a fairly young clientele.
The Yard Bar (57 Rupert Street). Popular Soho bar with a terrace, beautiful plant decoration and good cocktails.
Rupert Street Bar (50 Rupert Street). Large and busy bar in Soho. Catering during the day and djs in the evening.
Friendly Society (79 Wardour Street). Bar that offers excellent cocktails, a must-see for its very original decoration.
Soho Village (81 Wardour Street). Very nice bar on several floors. Each space has its own decoration and atmosphere, ranging from the relaxed lounge to the dance floor.
Soho Counts (51-53 Old Compton Street). Classic bar open for decades with lounge/chair area upstairs.
Duke Of Wellington(77 Wardour Street). Gay bar with a pub atmosphere and British flair.
Freedom Bar(60-66 Wardour Street). Chic disco bar with excellent cocktails, lounge atmosphere and also a dance floor area.
Admiral Duncan (54 Old Compton Street). Gay bar, pub atmosphere. Small stage at the back with drag shows in the evening.
Bar Soho (23-25 Old Compton Street). Brasserie style bar with a good food and drink menu.
Circa Soho (62 Frith Street). Nice bar with a calm and lounge atmosphere, ideal to start the evening.
Little Ku(25 Frith Street). Nice little bar with, upstairs, a nice window to see who’s passing by on the street.
Kings Arms London (23 Poland Street). Popular gay bear bar in Soho and a great atmosphere with theme nights.
Ku Bar Soho (30 Lisle Street). Great bar-disco with good atmosphere, large spaces. Ku Klub on site to finish your evening (the 2 establishments are separate).
Ku Lounge – The Light Lounge (1 Newport Pl.). Right next door to the previous one. Gay bar offering excellent cocktails in a chic, lounge-like setting.
Halfway to Heaven (7 Duncannon Street). Well-known cabaret bar just off Trafalgar Square.
Ziggy’s at Hotel Café Royal (68 Regent Street). Upscale cocktail bar in the Cafe Royal hotel on Regent Street next to Piccadilly that pays tribute to David Bowie.
City of Quebec(12 Old Quebec Street). Brewery type bar with good beers and theme nights.
Retro Bar (2 George Ct). Retro bar with old school queer nights.
She Soho (23a Old Compton Street). Gay/lesbian bar in Soho with beautiful spaces, especially under the metal vault.
Gay bars in London outside the Soho area (for bars far from the centre, the name of the tube station is specified):
New Bloomsbury Set(76a Marchmont St, St Pancras). Famous and cosy cocktail bar located about 15-20 minutes walk from Soho.
Central Station (37 Wharfdale Road, King’s Cross). An established gay bar and cabaret for many years. The establishment also offers a gay friendly BnB.
Proud Embankment Cabaret (Waterloo Bridge, 8 Victoria Embankment). Great cabaret. Very nice place with quite impressive shows.
The Cock Tavern (340 Kennington Road / Metro: Kennington). Bar with an atypical decoration and a very nice atmosphere. Dance floor at the back.
Two Brewers (114 Clapham Hight Street / Metro: Clapham Common). Large and well known cabaret bar with drag shows.
The Bridge Bar(8 Voltaire Road / Metro: Clapham North Station). Bar with a good atmosphere and originally located under an arch.
Royal Vauxhall Tavern (372 Kennington Lane / Metro: Vauxhall). Legendary cabaret located in a historic building. You have to go there.
Eagle London (349 Kennington Lane / Metro: Vauxhall). Bar with a variety of themes including queer disco, bears specials and the famous Horse Meat Disco nights.
The White Swan (556 Commercial Road / Metro: Limehouse). Disco bar with an excellent sound system and theme nights.
The Old Ship (17 Barnes Street / Metro: Limehouse). Gay pub bar with British atmosphere and drag shows.
West Five Bar (Popes Lane, S Ealing Road / Metro: South Ealing). Disco cabaret bar with a great atmosphere in a large space, open for a long time.
The Karaoke Hole (95 Kingsland High Street / Metro: Dalston Kingsland). Colourful karaoke bar with great atmosphere.
Dalston Superstore (112 Kingsland High Street / Metro: Dalston Kingsland). Bar club with food court, bar and dance floor (in the same place).
The Glory (112 Kingsland High Street / Metro: Haggerston). Bar with drag shows and nightclub.
The George & Dragon (2 Blackheath Hill / Metro: Greenwich). Brewery located in South East London with great drag shows.
The Queen Adelaide (483 Hackney Road / Metro: Cambridge Heath). North East London bar with great food and atmosphere.
Away from central London:
CMYK Bar(105-109 The Broadway / Stop: Wimbledon). Sleek bar in Wimbledon with great staff and regular drag shows.
Gay Clubs in London
G-A-Y Late(5 Goslett Yard, Soho). Popular London gay club with a young clientele and current music.
Heaven (The Arches, Villiers St, Charing Cross). Great nightclub with themed nights including the famous G-A-Y @Haven nights.
Circa Embankment Gay Club(Hungerford House, Victoria Embankment). Club with dancefloor and bar area. Good music and good resident DJs.
Gay nights in London (check the dates on the networks).
Beyond @Fire Nightclub (Vauxhall, S. Lambeth Road). Popular hot muscle gay night with great djs, Sunday night to Monday. Opens at 4am.
Bootylicious @Union (66 Albert Embankment, Vauxhall). Gay nights with pop, rnb and hip-hop music.
Wrong! @Union (66 Albert Embankment, Vauxhall). Gay clubbing party with electro house music.
Urban World @The Scala (275 Pentonville Road). Every quarter, gay night at The Scala on 4 dancefloors with urban music.
A:M Afterhours @Lightbox (6-A South Lambeth Place, Vauxhall). Clubbing night at Lightbox which continues until Saturday morning.
Horse Meat Disco @Eagle London (349 Kennington Lane). Disco nights at the Eagle London which take place on Sundays.
Beefmince @Vauxhall Tavern (372 Kennington Lane). Muscle themed evenings.
The evenings below can be held at different locations each time. Check out the event on the parties’ Facebook or Instagram pages.
Pink Glove – BRÜT London – Douchebag Party – The WayOut Club – R & She – Handsome – Club Kali– She.World Transgender Club.
Also find the famous gay parties organized by WE Party.
Gay Cruising in London
Vault 139 (139-143 Whitfield Street). North of Soho (easily walkable) next to the University of London. Big gay cruising club known for its underwear and naked parties.
The Backstreet (Wentworth Mews / Metro: Mile End). Cruising fetish and leather bar in East London.
The Underground Club (37 Wharfdale Road). Cruising bar located in the same building as the gay bar / gay bnb Central Station. The 3 places complement each other well. Mature clientele.
Ted’s Place(305 North End Road, Hammersmith / Metro: West Brompton or West Kensington). Cruising bar in West London also offering trans/trav parties.
The Bunker (217 City Road, Hoxton / Metro: Old Street). A cruising club by reservation with a surprising decor. (By reservation only, so check their website beforehand).
SBN & NBN party @Union (66 Albert Embankment). Mega naked party in London with shows, music and entertainment. Other cruising parties are held at the Union Club, such as the : Hard On.
Block South(65 Albert Embankment, Vauxhall). Considered permanently closed.
Gay Saunas in London
Trolleys(63-64 Albert Embankment / Metro: Vauxhall). Very large and popular sauna in the Vauxhall area.
Pleasuredrome (Arch, 124 Cornwall Road / Metro: London Waterloo East). Also a very large sauna with the largest gay spa in London.
Sweatbox Soho (1-2 Ramilillies Street). Small sauna in Soho with a gym.
The Locker Room(6 Cleaver Street / Metro: Kennington). Sauna with theme nights in South West London.
Covent Garden Health Spa (29 Endell Street / Metro: Covent Garden). Sauna spa with good facilities in Covent Garden.
Sailors Sauna (570-574 Commercial Road / Metro: Limehouse). Sauna with a very nice staff and a big jacuzzi.
Saunabar Portsea (Arch, 2 Portsea, Marble Place / Metro: Marble Arch). Small sauna and massage club.
E15 Club (6 Leytonstone Road / Metro: Maryland). Sauna in Stratford on 3 floors.
800 Sauna (800 Lea Bridge Road / Metro: Walthamstow). Gay and bisexual sauna. It becomes a club for amateurs “legs” at the end of the week.
London is one of the most important gay destinations in the world. Almost all applications are used.
Video source: You Tube – Pride in London Official – June 27, 2020 Live (tribute). Photo credit: licensed by Shutterstock.com / photographer: Pajor Pawel.