London Gay Bars


London Gay Bars

London’s gay scene is one of the most exciting and diverse in Europe – whether you’re into old-fashioned pubs, swanky cocktail lounges, gritty basement bars, or arty cafés, London has a gay bar for you.

Although a night (or a few) in Soho is an absolute must-do for any gay visitor, you’ll need to venture beyond the West End to get a real feel for the variety on offer. Vauxhall has some of the best late-night venues, while the East End areas of Dalston, Hoxton, and Shoreditch offer the latest in edgy, anything-goes queer nightlife.


Bars start getting busy at around 8 PM – a little earlier during the week, as most bars and pubs will close at 11 or midnight on week days. People usually head out to clubs at about 1 or 2 AM.

The ultimate place for gay London bar-hopping is Soho, with dozens of amazing bars and clubs within a 15-minute radius of Leicester Square. That said, there is also some good bar-hopping to be found in areas like Dalston and Vauxhall.

Londoners, like most British people, love a pint of beer. Most bars will sell a combination of international lagers and local craft beers – look out for drinks by Camden Town Brewery, Beavertown, and The Five Points Brewery.

Of course, London also has one of the world’s most exciting cocktail scenes, with innovative creations popping up every day – when in doubt, ask the bartender what’s popular.

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Venue Sub-Neighborhood
Weekend dancing in Soho

A popular stop for any Soho gay bar crawl, Rupert Street hosts regular drag cabaret nights and fills up on weekends with their live DJ sets. A fun night out, but be warned – it’s a small space, and it can get fairly crowded.

Facilities: Bar, Live music, Drag Show, Music
Soho’s sexiest staff & crowd

CIRCA Soho prides itself on having some of the hottest eye candy behind the bar. It’s not all about the boys, though – the outside terrace is a great spot for a few drinks to start off a night, and there’s plenty of fun to be had with regular DJ nights, shows, and events. Be warned – the vibe can sometimes be a bit snooty.

Facilities: Bar, Live music, Dancing, Music
Rub shoulders with Soho elite

Freedom Bar is a favorite with the beautiful and fashionable, and it’s one of the best gay bars in London for a bit of celebrity-spotting. That said, the vibe is friendly and fun, with a chic cocktail bar on the ground floor and a club downstairs – the decor might be elegant, but the impromptu pole dance you’ll be doing at 1 AM probably won’t be.

Facilities: Bar, Live music, Dancing, Drag Show, Music
London’s favorite bear bar

The King’s Arms was one of Soho’s first ever gay bars, back when they were euphemistically called “gentlemen’s clubs”. Nowadays, it’s a friendly and welcoming spot for all sorts, although it’s especially popular with bears. There’s DJ’s on the weekends, plus pub quizzes, karaoke, and drag acts throughout the week. This Soho’s oldest gay bar is only a short walk to London’s most popular gay sauna Sweatbox.

Facilities: Bar, Live music, Dancing, Drag Show, Karaoke, Music
Drag meets East End boozer

Classic East End boozer with regular cabaret and drag shows, DJ’s, quizzes, and other entertainment. Cheap and friendly, with a welcoming and inclusive atmosphere – that said, the occasional old-fashioned blunt service is part of the experience.

Facilities: Bar
A must-do in gay London

The Royal Vauxhall Tavern is an absolute must-visit for any gay visitor to London – this grandiose club and performance venue is beautiful on the outside and a whole lot of fun on the inside. Try to catch one of their cabaret shows if you can, or simply rock up for an epic club night with a diverse, friendly, and open-minded crowd.

Facilities: Bar, Drag Show, Cabaret show, Music
Historic gay boozer for pints

One of Soho’s original gay bars and once a secretive gay-popular hotel in the 50s, “The Grande Dame Of Old Compton Street” has been welcoming crowds of gay men for longer than most. Expect a more mature crowd sipping pints rather than the usual trendy Soho crowd.

Facilities: Bar, Live music, Dancing, Music
Trendy spot with awesome beer garden

Although the trendy decor and cute shirtless barmen may tempt you to stay inside, The Yard Bar’s real highlight is, well, its yard. Perfect for both warm summer evenings and chilly winter ones (hooray for heaters), this is a great place to drink, chat, and – for some – smoke the night away.

Facilities: Bar, Music
Young, dumb, and camp

G-A-Y Bar is almost synonymous with London’s gay scene – although the crowd may skew a bit young, it’s a fun and rowdy night out for those who don’t mind partying with the Gen Z. It gets very busy on weekends – go on a week night if you want the G-A-Y experience with less hassle.

Facilities: Bar, Music
Cheap drinks in cabaret Heaven

Located in Charing Cross, a short walk from Soho, Halfway To Heaven is one of the best places in London to catch a cabaret or drag show. The bar upstairs is cheap, cozy, and friendly, and the daily shows never disappoint – look out for special events like karaoke and Drag Race viewing parties.

Facilities: Bar, Drag Show, Cabaret show, Karaoke, Music
London’s only Georgian Tiki bar

One of the newer additions to the London gay scene, The Cock Tavern has classic upscale pub vibes with a twist, with a carefully curated “Georgian Tiki” decor. Staff are friendly, and the crowds tend to be 30+. Good for chat and drinks during the day, becoming a rowdier, anything-goes sort of place when the DJs start playing.

Facilities: Bar, Live music, Music
Friendly and unpretentious mixed bar

A cool and quirky basement bar – yes, those are old barbies hanging from the ceiling – with a mixed crowd of gays, lesbians, and friends. As the name indicates, the vibe is friendly and laid-back, with pop tunes playing all night.

Facilities: Bar, Music
Edgy East End arts venue

This cool mixed-arts venue hosts all types of events, from gigs to art exhibitions, club nights, and drag shows. It’s not specifically gay, but many of its events are queer-oriented. A great choice for exploring the edgier, more experimental queer scene of London’s East End.

Facilities: Bar, Live music, Dancing, Music
Upscale cocktail bar in St Pancras

This sleek and trendy is located in St Pancras, ideal for when you want to get away from the busy streets of Soho but don’t want to leave Central London. Excellent, creative cocktails and incredibly friendly staff make it worth the visit, as do the regular drag cabaret and DJ nights.

Facilities: Bar, Drag Show, Cabaret show, Music
Go-go boys galore

VILLAGE is one of Soho’s most iconic gay bars, and a must-visit for the sexy staff alone. Choose whatever vibe you like – pop tunes and go-go boys on the main floor, techno and house in the basement, or a quieter cocktail lounge for chatting upstairs. It gets very busy on weekends, so get ready to squeeze in.

Facilities: Bar, Live music, Dancing, Drag Show, Go-go show, Music

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