When someone tells you that London is a gay city, believe them! And that goes for every sense of the word. It's a “gay” since it's lively and energetic, full of diverse people, bustling districts, and lots of energy. At the same time, it's also a “gay
” city as members of the LGBTQ+ community will feel right at home here. For years, the British capital has served as the center of queer culture in the UK. They're most evident in the best London gay bars such as The Royal Vauxhall Tavern, Halfway to Heaven, The Karaoke Hole, Dalston Superstore, and She Soho, to name a few.
Source: The Royal Vauxhall Tavern Facebook Page
The Royal Vauxhall Tavern
Let's start this list with The Royal Vauxhall Tavern, located in South London. Not only is it one of the best gay bars in the city, but it's also one of the oldest LGBTQ+ hotspots in the city. The place dates as far back as the 1860s, a time when homosexuality was still considered a crime. And as early as 1975, it started hosting drag shows, cabaret performances, and the like. For its history alone, any member of the queer community has to visit The Royal Vauxhall Tavern at least once!
Located in the chic SoHo neighborhood in London
, G-A-Y Bar is as straightforward as they come. It's already in the name, and when you get inside, you'll see more colors than on the rainbow flag! And though it's a party bar—offering up three full stories of music and dancing, it's technically not a nightclub. There's a separate G-A-Y Late-Night Club where you can really turn up just right around the corner. Either way, both places offer a good time!
Source: Wikimedia Commons
Anyone who's gay in London needs to check out the Ku Bar on Leicester Square. Or perhaps its second branch, Little Ku in SoHo. Either of the two will work fine for some pre-game madness. If you're planning a night out on the town with your queer friends, this is the best first stop you'll take. The drinks here will give you the right amount of buzz, turning you up just enough for you to have a good time but not go totally wild yet.
Source: Wikimedia Commons/ Ewan Munro
The Karaoke Hole
Anyone who wants to watch a drag show in London
would do well to go to The Karaoke Hole on Kingsland High Street. This is where the drag queens and kings turn the party up, not just putting on one amazing show after another, but letting the people join in on all the fun too. As its name says, The Karaoke Hole lets people sing their hearts out. This time, the drag queens are cheering you on instead of just the other way around.
Source: The Karaoke Hole London Facebook Page
If you've been to The Karaoke Hole, you might as well check out the Dalston Superstore too. Also on Kingsland High Street, pretty accessible via public transport
than The Karaoke Hole, it's one of those London gay bars that always guarantee a good time. Even when it's pretty early in the day! On certain days, the Dalston Superstore hosts its famous drag brunches, letting local queens amp up the vibe as you enjoy your mid-morning meal. Then later on that night, the DJ turns the music on and it's time to party till dawn!
Source: Dalston Superstore
Fans of Drag Race or of just drag in general would do well to visit the Freedom Bar at SoHo. Another of the most prominent drag bars in London, this is where some of the best queens in the city perform. Some of them have even gone to RuPaul's Drag Race UK and gained international fame. And even if you don't know the queen performing on the night you went, there's still a good chance that she might enter the reality TV series competition too!
Source: Freedom Bar Soho Facebook Page
Halfway To Heaven
Although Halfway To Heaven is also one of the many drag London gay bars, it's totally different vibe compared to the other hotspots mentioned on this list. In fact, it's safe to say that this place is more like a traditional pub that hosts drag shows rather than a bonafide drag bar. Halfway To Heaven still gets its fair share of thrills, don't worry, but for the most part, the vibe is chill and low-key.
Source: Halfway To Heaven
The Bridge Bar
Nestled under a railway arch, The Bridge Bar is another chill gay bar in London where you can just hang out, enjoy some drinks, and have a good time. Located in Clapham, even though it looks underground, it's not necessarily a rave hotspot. Things turn up every now and then, sure, but for the most part, people who go here simply indulge in the drinks, chat with their friends, or perhaps even find someone new to spend the night with.
Source: The Bridge Bar Clapham Facebook Page
The Yard Bar
No list of the best London gay bars is complete without The Yard Bar on Ruper Street near Leicester Square. More than just your average bar or pub, the place boasts a fabulous courtyard and loft areas that serve as balconies overlooking the rest of the hotspot. You can see with how fairy lights brighten up the space and the kind of drinks they serve that it's a pretty posh space. This is the kind where you'd want to just relax, hang out with friends, or even host an elegant cocktail party.
Source: Yard Bar Facebook Page
Finally, there's She Soho, the premier lesbian bar in London. This basement bar is the place to be when you're a woman who loves women, be it romantically, platonically, or even downright sexually. The hotspot hosts parties that are practically raves, often going as wild or even wilder than the other London gay bars. And while it's a female-centric bar, men are still welcome here too. But don't forget that this is a women's space. They're the ones who rule this domain!
Source: She Soho Facebook Page
Check out some of the best London gay bars and discover just how amazing the LGBTQ+ nightlife scene is in the British capital. They're part of why the city is such a popular place for the queer community!