Another London Gay Bar Is Closing – Here’s Why It Matters

By Kerri Stolerman

6 months ago

Explore London's buzzing LGBTQ+ bar scene


London’s queer nightlife is dwindling – and dwindling fast – making it all the more important to support the venues we still have. As it stands, you don’t just have to head to Soho for a LGBTQ+ friendly night out. Whether you’re new in town, a local or just visiting, discover the best LGBTQ+, queer and gay bars in London for good times and inclusive vibes.

NEWS: The Glory Is The Latest Gay Bar To Leave London’s Dwindling Queer Scene

It’s been a tough month for London’s LGBTQ+ community. Following the news not too long ago that iconic queer bar G-A-Y Late (the third instalment to venues Heaven and G-A-Y Bar) would be closing due to several external pressures, including building works, parking and safety concerns, it’s come to light that another popular venue, The Glory, will also be closing it doors before 2024.

‘It’s with much sadness that we shall be closing the doors of The Glory, as we know it, on 31st January 2024,’ The Glory’s owners, Jonny Woo, John Sizzle and Colin Rothbart, said in a statement released on the venue’s Instagram page. ‘For us all, the staff, performers, DJs AND our much-valued customers, we know this is upsetting, but we have decided to relocate as our building is finally being redeveloped and we simply can’t continue to operate as we’d like.’

 

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While the owners of The Glory expressed they would be relocating in the future, there’s no news on when or where that will be – and G-A-Y Late is closing for good, according to its owners.

Independent nightlife venues are some of the hardest hit in the UK, with an NME study revealing that 35 are lost each week. But, in London at least, it seems to be queer venues taking the brunt of the loss – especially when safety concerns have been perpetuated by a general rise in hate crimes against LGBTQ+ people over the last year.

It’s important we support our LGBTQ+ venues while we still have them. For some queer individuals, this is the safest space they have in their local area.; it’s a space that they can be themselves in without fear of judgement.

Want to know how you can support London’s queer and gay bars? We’ve listed some of our favourite venues below, so you can plan out your next night out in style.

The Best Queer & Gay Bars In London

Retro Bar

Described as one of ‘London’s secret gems’, the Strand’s cosy Retro Bar is any music enthusiast’s place-to-be. Pop a song on the jukebox, admire the music-inspired art, and enjoy the eccentric 70s and 80s tunes.

VISIT: 2 George Court WC2N 6HH. retrobarlondon.co.uk

A performer dancing in a gay bar with confetti

Heaven

This famous Soho bar – with its equally as famous club night, G-A-Y – is spread over three floors and draws young creatives to Old Compton Street for after-work drinks and weekend parties. Follow its Facebook page to keep up tabs on upcoming events.

VISIT: 30 Old Compton Street, Soho W1D 4UR. g-a-yandheaven.co.uk

Admiral Duncan

This buzzy venue is recommended by Damian Kerlin, founder and host of podcast Memories From The Dancefloor, which celebrates LGBTQ+ venues. ‘The Admiral Duncan is your typical local boozer, a friendly pub in the heart of the capital,’ says Damian. ‘Think the Queen Vic but queer. The vibrant bar staff match the eclectic range of customers, so they have something to every-bodies’ taste. Check out their social media for their range of event nights catering for anyone and everyone.’ 

VISIT: 54 Old Compton Street, London W1D 4UD. admiral-duncan.co.uk

Halfway To Heaven

‘Loved and cherished by the LGBTQIA+ community since 1991, Halfway to Heaven is the perfect pairing of local bar upstairs and magical cabaret venue downstairs,’ says Damian. ‘This little gem is jam-packed with fabulous, flamboyant cabaret, seven days a week, from the best in the business.’

VISIT: 7 Duncannon Street, London WC2N 4JF. halfway2heaven.net

A lit up passageway

The Yard

Another Soho delight, The Yard has a cool, laidback and intimate vibe. Relax in the twinkling courtyard with a bottle of wine, lounge with a cocktail on the second floor furniture, and chat with an array of effortlessly cool, like-minded people on the balcony upstairs.

VISIT: 57 Rupert Street, Soho W1D 7PL. yardbar.co.uk

Eagle London

Head to Vauxhall’s LGBTQ+ hub The Eagle on a Sunday night when a stylish young crowd flock to dance and enjoy Horse Meat Disco, one of the best club nights in town.

VISIT: 349 Kennington Lane, Vauxhall SE11 5QY. eaglelondon.com

The Bridge Bar

The Bridge

Petite and modern, this wine bar is a great option to take a date. Sit on a leather sofa, talk and dance the night away under the arch. On balmy summer evenings, meet friends for drinks in the outside area. Follow their Facebook page for extensive events.

VISIT: 8 Voltaire Road, Clapham SW4 6DH. bridgewinebar.com

She Soho

She Soho is a London club dedicated to queer women, non-binary folk and friends. Spend an evening here enjoying live DJs, cabaret, drag king shows and more.

VISIT: 23a Old Compton St, Soho W1D 5JL. Stay up to date on their Facebook page.

 

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LICK

‘For women, by women’, LICK attracts queer and non-binary womxn to their legendary events, which often come to London. Expect incredible DJ’s, live music and performances, and generally incredible vibes.

VISIT: Stay up to date on Instagram. everythinglick.com

The Best Gay Bars in London | LGBTQ+ London

Dalston Superstore

Dalston Superstore hosts great nights with a fun friendly atmosphere and a packed-out bar. It welcomes straight people too so mixed groups can party together, acting as a cosy café during the day.

VISIT: 117 Kingsland High Street E8 2PB. dalstonsuperstore.com

Two Brewers

The place to go for cabaret. Two Brewers is a Clapham gem with weekend-only dance parties and beautifully colourful and well-curated interiors.

VISIT: 114 Clapham High Street, Clapham SW4 7UJ. the2brewers.com

Before you go…

…and enjoy your visit, if you don’t identify as LGBTQ+ it’s important to check how much space you’re taking up in these places – and we’re not necessarily talking about physical space. LGBTQ+ violence and hate crimes are rising in London, and these bars are safe places specifically designed and created for LGBTQ+ people. It’s wonderful for non LGBTQ+ people to go, experience the queer scene, and to take an interest. However, before you go, we recommend reading Stonewall’s tips on being an ally for the community. It’s all about being respectful and knowing your place as a visitor in that space.

Featured image: Alexander Grey, Pexels