You don’t just have to head to Soho for a LGBTQ+ friendly night out (though it is the heart of London’s gay scene). London is one of the most diverse cities in the world, and its bar scene caters to those with many different sexualities and identities.
Whether you’re new in town, a local or just visiting, discover the best gay, lesbian, LGBTQ+ bars in London for good times and inclusive vibes.
Does what it says on the tin. Famous Soho bar and club G-A-Y is spread over three floors and draws young creatives to Old Compton Street for after-work drinks and weekend parties. Follow their Facebook page to keep up with events going on there. 30 Old Compton Street, Soho W1D 4UR
Described as one of London’s secret gems, Retro Bar in Strand is cosy and has a distinct theme of music. Pop a song on the jukebox, admire the music-inspired art, and enjoy the 60s and 70s tunes. 2 George Court WC2N 6HH
Another Soho delight, The Yard has a cool, laidback and intimate vibe. Sit in the courtyard with a bottle of wine, lounge on the furniture on the second floor, and chat with some of the effortlessly cool, like-minded people on the balcony upstairs. 57 Rupert Street, Soho W1D 7PL
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. 349 Kennington Lane, Vauxhall SE11 5QY
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 barmy summer evenings, meet friends for drinks in the outside area. 8 Voltaire Road, Clapham SW4 6DH
From performances to late-night disco, Haggerston’s The Glory is a vibrant setting for a brilliant night out. The two-year old super-pub was the first in the UK to put on a gay Jewish night: Butt Mitzvah. 281 Kingsland Road, Haggerston E2 8AS
London’s only exclusively lesbian club. Don’t try and turn up as a straight woman – it won’t slide here. Bring your queer friends, bring yourself, spend an evening here and enjoy live DJs, cabaret, drag king shows and more. 23a Old Compton St, Soho W1D 5JL
For wxmen, by wxmen. New club LICK opened this July and attracts queer and non-binary wxmen to Vauxhall for their legendary events – the launch of the club was highly anticipated ever since their reoccuring club night three years ago. Head there on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays where resident DJ’s rule the dancefloor as do regular live music nights and performances. Fire & Lightbox Complex, Arch 39-43 Parry Street SW8 1RT
While Dalston isn’t a particularly gay area, it does have some good options for going out. Dalston Superstore hosts great nights with fun friendly atmosphere and a packed bar. It welcomes straight people too so mixed groups can party together and acts as a cosy cafe during the day. 117 Kingsland High Street E8 2PB
The place to go for cabaret. Two Brewers is a Clapham gem with weekend-only dance parties and beautifully colourful and well curated interiors. 114 Clapham High Street, Clapham SW4 7UJ
Colourful and creative, The Apple Tree is a great place to meet fellow LGBTQ+ people, allies and non-conformists. It puts on interesting workshops and themed events such as queer clothes swaps, drag performances and quiz nights. 45 Mount Pleasant WC1X 0AE
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. 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 LGBTQ+ 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. Interested in doing more? Read our pride piece here where we highlight some great LGBTQ+ supportive charities to donate to.