London’s thriving gay scene is world famous, from lavish cocktail bars to rambunctious drag brunches and everything in between. Here, The Resident picks the best LGBTQ+ venues, from Soho to Vauxhall and beyond…
Photo: Elle Soho
1 Liberty Soho
Hugely popular with West End performers, Freedom hosts one of Soho’s most famous cabaret shows, Kinky Kabaret, which takes place on a Monday night.
The upper floor of the venue is opulent and luxurious, with comfortable seating, mirrored walls, and a large bar offering signature cocktails and a generous happy hour.
Downstairs, however, is where the magic happens – expect a full-scale dance floor (with poles, of course), nightly entertainment until 3am, and some of the best drag and cabaret acts from across the UK.
Address: 66 Wardour Street, Soho, W1F 0TA
2 GAY Bars, Soho and Covent Garden
The world famous GAY bar is fun, loud and garish. Expect cheap drinks, loud pop songs and a crowd that never thins.
Spread over three floors, the ground floor is home to the ladies’ bar ‘Girl’s Go Down’, while the upper floor is home to a laid-back vibe.
The venue attracts a younger clientele compared to neighboring venues, although it’s still fun – and if you want to continue your night out, head to sister venue GAY Late, open until 4am, seven days a week. seven.
Address: GAY Bar: 30 Old Compton Street W1D 4UR; GAY Late: 5 Goslett Yard, Covent Garden, WC2H 0EA
3 She Soho
London’s only exclusively lesbian venue stands proudly on Old Compton Street, between Soho House and GAY Bar.
The owners take their position as the only lesbian bar in town seriously, as evidenced by their excellent customer service and warm welcome.
The venue hosts some of Soho’s most popular evening entertainment, such as cabaret, karaoke, quizzes and over 25 nights, and offers a community atmosphere.
Address: 23a Old Compton Street W1D 5JL
4 Dalston Supermarket
This notorious East London venue has proudly served the LGBTQ+ scene for over twelve years.
It calls itself a multi-purpose venue – which is exactly what it is. The nightclub, cocktail bar and gallery’s cafe and gallery serve dishes from its vegan cuisine throughout the day, as well as an ever-changing list of colorful cocktails for nighttime adventures.
The venue also supports the LGBTQ+ community, regularly hosting fundraisers and community events for charities such as ELOP, Gendered Intelligence, and the Albert Kennedy Trust.
Address: 117 Kingsland High Street, Dalston, E8 2PB
5 Vauxhall Royal Tavern
The Royal Vauxhall Tavern is the beating heart of south London’s LGBTQ+ landscape.
The place served as a haven for the community before decriminalization and was where Princess Diana showed up – dressed as a man.
In 2014, property developers snapped up the property, with plans to turn the iconic location into luxury accommodation – but the community refused to let the place die.
Today, the Royal Vauxhall Tavern – housed in a listed Victorian property, hosts performances by iconic LGBTQ artists, as well as drag brunches, pageants, bingo and more.
Address: 372 Kennington Lane, Vauxhall SE11 5HY
6 Two Brewers, Clapham
The Two Brewers is a long-running gay bar in Clapham, and although it doesn’t look like much from the outside, it’s home to legendary club nights, drag shows and quizzes.
The venue attracts a mixed crowd from the area and is open until 4 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, where resident DJs spin a range of music.
Address: 114 Clapham High Street, Clapham SW4 7UJ
7 KU Bar, Chinatown
Regularly topping the charts as London’s favorite gay bar and club, Ku Bar is located in Chinatown.
Not much different from its rival venues Heaven and GAY – although the vibe is a bit more ‘classic’, in a sense the venue attracts a young and fun scene.
Ku Bar is part of the Ku Group, a selection of LGBTQ+ venues in London (they also own She Soho), who are committed to creating warm, friendly and welcoming spaces.
Address: 30 Lisle Street, Leicester Square, WC2H 7BA
8 Arch Clapham
Dubbed London’s hybrid LGBTQ+ social spot, Arch Clapham is a one-stop spot for brunch and coffee, all the way to cocktails and late-night parties.
The venue attracts a hip, fashion-loving crowd, as well as some of London’s top talent who perform regularly on site, including comedy shows, go-go shows, live music and more.
Address: Arch 642, Voltaire Road, Clapham SW4 6DH
9 Friendly Society, Soho
Friendly Society might just be Soho’s best kept secret. Located in a basement just off Wardour Street, guests can expect wonderfully kitschy interiors — bright blue chairs, glitter balls, and real barbies hanging from the roof.
As the name suggests, the staff at this place are friendly and welcoming, and a few drinks here can easily turn into an Uber home late at night.
Address: 79 Wardour Street, Soho, W1D 6QB
10 Glory, Haggerston
A queer pub and performance venue, The Glory is a fun night out, whether you’re attending a drag show or just hanging out.
With very east London vibes, The Glory champions new queer and drag queen artists, as well as more established ones, including shows from venue co-owner Jonny Woo.
Address: 281 Kingsland Road, E2 8AS
11 Sky, Charing Cross
Finally, no list of LGBTQ+ bars in London would be complete without mentioning Heaven.
Internationally renowned since 1979, the venue is now a valuable addition to London’s nightlife.
Past performers have included the likes of Franz Ferdinand, Kylie Minogue and Miley Cyrus, among others. Today, the venue attracts a younger scene, well known for hosting lively parties every night.
Whether you love heaven or love to hate it, the venue has firmly cemented its position as one of London’s most iconic LGBTQ+ venues.
Address: Under the arcades, Rue de Villers, WC2N 6NG
Fun things to do in London in June
Discover the brand new Moët & Chandon champagne bar at Harrods
Grab tickets for the summer edition of the London Restaurant Festival