Lesbian and gay London
Иностранные языки, филология и лингвистика
London’s lesbian and gay scene is so huge, diverse and well-established that it’s easy to forget just how much - and how fast - it has grown over the last few years. Pink power has given rise to the pink pound, gay liberation to gay lifestyle, and the ever-expanding gay village of Soho - now firmly established as the gay heart...
Lesbian and gay London
London's lesbian and gay scene is so huge, diverse and well-established that it's easy to forget just how much - and how fast - it has grown over the last few years. Pink power has given rise to the pink pound, gay liberation to gay lifestyle, and the ever-expanding gay village of Soho - now firmly established as the gay heart of the city - is vibrant, self-assured and unashamedly commercial. As a result of all this high-profile activity, straight Londoners tend to be a fairly homo-savvy bunch and, on the whole, happy to embrace and even dip into the city's queer offerings.
Soho is the obvious place to start exploring, with a mix of traditional gay pubs, trendy cafe/bars and a range of gay-run services. There are clubs to cater for just about every musical, sartorial and sexual taste, and while the bigger ones tend to cluster in the West End, there are equally well-established venues all over the city. Gay men still enjoy the best permanent facilities London-wide, but today's lesbian scene is bigger and more eclectic than it has ever been, and the cruisey girl bars which took up prize pitches on the boys' Soho turf a few years ago look like they're here to stay.
The two big outdoor events of the year are Mardi Gras and Summer Rites, in early July and early August respectively. A colourful, whistleblowing march through the city streets followed by a huge, ticketed party in Finsbury Park, Mardi Gras is the UK's biggest annual queer party, and attracts people from all over the country. For up-to-date information, festival plans and transport details, call 020/7494 2225 or visit the Web site: www.londonmardigras.com. The ticketed Summer Rites in Brixton's Brockwell Park offers a similar menu of dance, music, performance and stalls, but has so far managed to remain a more laid-back and local affair. For more information on Summer Rites, check Time Out and the queer press.
If you can't find it here, you can probably find it in the GAY to Z ( www.gaytoz.com), a vast and comprehensive online directory of gay, lesbian, bisexual and TV/TS- friendly organizations and businesses. A 96-page print version is also available direct from Gay to Z Directories, 41 Cooks Rd, London SE17 3NG, priced ?3 in the UK, and ?10 outside the country.
London also boasts several queer-oriented annual arts events. In March, the National Film Theatre hosts the annual Lesbian and Gay Film Festival ; in the last two weeks of June, the Mardi Gras Arts Festival , staged at venues throughout London, leads the run-up to Mardi Gras itself, and in mid-June, there's the unmissably camp National Lesbian Beauty Contest , currently held at the Scala in King's Cross; for information, call 07932 046938; for tickets, call 0870/606 0204.
Elsewhere, queer theatre and live art takes place all year round in the city's many fringe venues, arts centres, galleries and clubs. Details of most events appear in Time Out and in the many weekly, free gay papers and listings guides distributed in bars, clubs and bookshops. The most useful of these are The Pink Paper and Axiom News, which carry news and arts coverage as well as listings; Boyz and qx magazine are frothier and clubbier, with plenty of up-to-date scene information and gossip.
Helplines and information
All the following services provide information, advice and counselling, but the Lesbian & Gay Switchboard is the one to turn to first.
Bisexual Helpline tel 0208/569 7500. Tues & Wed 7.30-9.30pm, Sat 10.30am-12.30pm. Advice, support and information for bisexuals.
Lesbian Line tel 020/7251 6911, or minicom 020/7253 0924. Mon & Fri 2-10pm, Tues-Thurs 7-10pm. Advice, support and information for lesbians and those who think they might be, or who are questioning their sexuality.
London Friend tel 020/7837 3337. Daily 7.30-10pm. Confidential information and support for lesbians and gay men. There's a women-only service on tel 020/7837 2782, every evening except Fri & Sat.
London Lesbian & Gay Switchboard tel 020/7837 7324. Huge, round-the-clock database on everything you might ever want to know, however trivial, plus legal advice, good counselling skills, and good humour. If you can't get through at first, keep trying.
National AIDS Helpline tel 0800/567123. Freephone round-the-clock service for anyone worried about HIV and AIDS-related issues.
Project LSD at the Hungerford Drug Project tel 020/7439 0717; projectlsd@hungerfordII.freeserve.co.uk. Wed 6-9pm. The UK's only lesbian, gay and bisexual drugs project, offering information, advice and counselling on drug use.
Terrence Higgins Trust tel 020/7242 1010. Daily noon-10pm. HIV and AIDS information and advice. For self-referrals to the counselling unit, call 020/7835 1495.
CafA©s, bars and pubs
There are loads of lesbian and gay eating and watering holes in London, many of them operating as cafes by day and transforming into drinking dens at night. Lots have cabaret or disco nights and are open until the early hours, making them a fine alternative to the more expensive clubs. The places listed here are merely a small selection of the most central, although almost every corner of London has its own gay local. Bear in mind that, as ever, "mixed" tends to mean mostly men.
Most of these cafes and bars have free admission, though a few levy a charge for the evening session (usually between ?2 and ?5) if there is music, cabaret or a disco.
Mixed cafA©s, bars and pubs
The Admiral Duncan
54 Old Compton St, W1 tel 020/7437 5300. Tube: Leicester Square. Mon-Sat noon-11pm, Sun noon-10.30pm.
Unpretentious, traditional-style gay bar in the heart of Soho, popular and busy with a post-work crowd, and now fully restored after the blast that ripped through it during a series of bomb attacks around London in 1999.
60 Old Compton St, W1 tel 020/7437 5212. Tube: Leicester Square. Mon-Thurs 8am-5am, Fri & Sat 8am-6am, Sun 8am-2am.
This relaxed, fashionable, but fairly pricey cafe-cum-bar-cum-brasserie is quintessential queer Soho, always packed, and often with a singer or cabaret after 11pm. Balans ' breakfasts are an institution.
13-14 Maiden Lane, WC2 tel 020/7557 9891. Tube: Leicester Square or Covent Garden. Daily noon-11pm.
Bright, modern and fashionable cafe/bar with good food. Mixed, but mostly boys.
45 Essex Rd, N1 tel 020/7688 2882. Tube: Angel. Mon-Fri 3.30pm-midnight, Sat & Sun 2pm-midnight.
Friendly Islington cafe/bar with a pool table, comfy chairs at the back and a local, laid-back crowd.
The Black Cap
171 Camden High St, NW1 tel 020/7428 2721. Tube: Camden Town. Mon-Thurs noon-2am, Fri & Sat noon-3am, Sun noon-3pm & 7-10.30pm.
North London institution, offering drag and cabaret of wildly varying quality almost every night. Mrs Shufflewick's Bar upstairs is quieter, and opens onto a lush and lovely roof garden in the summer.
32-34 Monmouth St, WC2 tel 020/7240 5828. Tube: Covent Garden or Leicester Square. Mon-Sat 11am-11pm, Sun noon-10.30pm.
Popular cafe/bar serving good food for a mixed gay/straight crowd during the day, and becoming queerer as the night draws on.
11 Soho Square, W1 tel 020/7439 1313. Tube: Tottenham Court Road. Mon-Sat noon-1am, Sun 1-10.30pm.
Busy, style-conscious and pricey Soho cafe/bar spread over several floors, although this doesn't seem to stop everyone ending up on the pavement, especially in summer.
52 St Giles High St, WC2 tel 020/7240 8042. Tube: Tottenham Court Road. Mon-Sat 10am-11pm, Sun 11am-10.30pm.
The West End's original gay cafe/bar, and still permanently packed, serving good veggie food at reasonable prices. Upstairs is airy and non-smoking, downstairs dark and foggy. Girl Friday is a busy Friday night pre-club session for grrrls; gay men are welcome as guests.
60-66 Wardour St, W1 tel 020/7734 0071. Tube: Leicester Square or Piccadilly. Mon-Sat 11am-3am, Sun noon-midnight.
Hip, busy cafe/bar, popular with a mixed straight/gay Soho crowd. Great juices and healthy food in the daytime, cocktails and overpriced beer in the evening.
1 Town Hall Parade, SW2 tel 020/7326 5100. Tube: Brixton. Mon-Wed 10am-11pm, Thurs 10am-2am, Fri & Sat 10am-4am; closed Sun.
Bang next door to the famous club of the same name, this hip cafe/bar lets you lurch from pint to party in one fell swoop and attracts a trendy straight/gay crowd.
1 King William Walk, SE10 tel 020/8293 6131. Tube: Greenwich or train. Mon-Sat 11am-11pm, Sun noon-10.30pm.
Right at the gates of Greenwich Park and featured in the hit coming-out movie Beautiful Thing, this mixed, friendly local offers regular discos, cabaret and theme nights.
75 Charing Cross Rd, WC2 tel 020/7437 4303. Tube: Leicester Square. Mon-Sat 4-11pm, Sun 4-10.30pm.
Trendy mixed bar serving a young, scene-conscious clientele. There's candlelight upstairs for those who want to canoodle.
10 Adelaide St, WC2 tel 020/7379 4573. Tube: Charing Cross. Mon-Sat 11am-11pm, Sun noon-10.30pm.
Busy venue, popular with smart besuited post-work boys, with a ground-floor cafe and a basement video bar.
79 Green Lanes, N16 tel 020/7354 2791. Tube: Manor House or buses #73 from Trafalgar Square, or #341 from Holborn or Angel. Tube: Mon-Thurs 5pm-midnight, Fri 5pm-2am, Sat 1pm-2am, Sun 1pm-midnight.
Friendly, spacious local pub with a dancefloor and pool table, recently refurbished and much improved. Hosts a range of mixed and women-only club nights and special events, including the wildly popular Liberte.
Old Compton Cafe
34 Old Compton St, W1 tel 020/7439 3309. Tube: Tottenham Court Road or Leicester Square. Daily 24 hours.
This enduringly busy Soho institution never closes. Strong coffee and a cosmopolitan range of cakes and snacks make it the obvious solution to sudden mid- or post-party wooziness.
Popstarz Liquid Lounge
275 Pentonville Rd, N1 (no phone). Tube: Kings Cross. Thurs 5.30pm-2am, Fri 5.30pm-1am, Sat 5.30pm-3am.
Happy-go-lucky weekend dance bar popular with a young, indie-minded crowd. DJs and reliably cheap beer.
2 George Court, Adelphi Terrace (off the Strand), WC2 tel 020/7321 2811. Tube: Charing Cross. Mon-Sat noon-11pm, Sun noon-10.30pm.
Friendly indie/retro bar playing 70s, 80s, goth and alternative sounds, and featuring regular DJs and karaoke.
50 Rupert St, W1 tel 020/7734 5614. Tube: Piccadilly Circus. Mon-Sat 11am-11pm, Sun noon-10.30pm.
Trendy, busy, glass-doored Soho bar; very boysy, very stylish.
114 Clapham High St, SW4 tel 020/7622 3621. Tube: Clapham Common. Mon-Thurs noon-2am, Fri & Sat noon-3am, Sun noon-midnight.
Long-established and popular South London drag pub, with nightly cabaret in the front bar and a more cruisey dance-floor in the back.
81 Wardour St, W1 tel 020/7434 2124. Tube: Leicester Square or Piccadilly Circus. Mon-Sat 4pm-1am, Sun 4pm-10.30pm.
Elegant split-level cafe/bar attracting more pretty boys than girls.
57 Rupert St, W1 tel 020/7437 2652. Tube: Piccadilly Circus. Mon-Sat 1-11pm, closed Sun.
Attractive cafe/bar with courtyard and loft areas. Good food, weekly cabaret and regular fortune tellers
Lesbian cafA©s, bars and pubs
4 Carlisle St, W1 tel 020/7494 4041. Tube: Tottenham Court Road. Mon-Thurs 5pm-11.30pm, Fri 5pm-2am, Sat 4pm-2am, Sun 6-11pm.
Right in the heart of boys-land, the UK's first seven-day all-girl bar offers a retro-style cocktail bar-cum-pool room upstairs; a noisy, beery, long and narrow ground level cruising bar, and a range of club nights. Gay men welcome as guests.
The Drill Hall
16 Chenies St, WC1 tel 020/7637 8270. Tube: Goodge Street. Mon 6-11pm.
This lesbian-run arts centre offers good mixed queer and international theatre all year round, but has been opening its bar, restaurant and workshops to women only on Monday nights since time began.
35 Stoke Newington High St, N16 tel 020/7249 7543. Dalston or Stoke Newington train, or buses #73 from Trafalgar Square or #67, #76 and #149 from Angel. Tube: Thurs 5pm-midnight.
Hackney is the lesbian capital of London, and Thursday nights are a women-only fixture at this large, friendly mixed gay pub. Packed, beery, leery and fun, with a pool table, and a beer garden open in summer.
The Glass Bar
West Lodge, Euston Square Gardens, 190 Euston Rd, NW1 tel 020/7387 6184; www.glassbar.ndo.co.uk; Tube: Euston. Tues-Fri 5pm-late, Sat 6pm-late, Sun 2-7pm. No admission after 11.30pm.
This friendly and intimate women-only members bar (you become a member once you've found it) is housed in a listed building and features a wrought-iron spiral staircase which becomes increasingly perilous as the night goes on. Knock on the door to get in.
Upstairs at The Conservatory, Centrepoint House, St. Giles High St, WC1 tel 020/7836 8956; firstname.lastname@example.org. Tube: Tottenham Court Road. Thurs-Sat 6-11pm.
London's newest girl bar sets up shop in this prime location at weekends, and it gets busy. Pool table, video screen, cute bar staff and a mostly young crowd. Gay men welcome as guests
Gay men's cafA©s, bars and pubs
3-4 Archer St, W1 tel 020/7734 3342. Tube: Piccadilly Circus. Daily noon-11pm.
Busy, stylish cruise and dance bar on two floors.
41-43 St Martin's Lane, WC2 tel 020/7240 2221. Tube: Leicester Square. Mon-Sat 11am-11pm, Sun noon-10.30pm.
One of the longest-running men's bars in London, recently given a facelift and still hard at it. A popular pre- Heaven or post-opera hang-out (it's next door to the Coliseum); the front bar is light, the back bar dark, and both are busy.
294 Old Brompton Rd, SW5 tel 020/7370 1344. Tube: Earl's Court. Mon-Sat 4pm-2am, Sun 1pm-midnight.
Long-established bar-cum-club that's immensely popular, packed at weekends, and features regular cabarets and PAs.
37 Wharfdale Rd, N1 tel 020/7278 3294. Tube: King's Cross. Mon-Fri 5pm-2am, Sat noon-2am, Sun noon-midnight.
Award-winning community pub on three floors (one of them non-smoking), offering cabaret, cruisey club nights in the Underground basement area, and the UK's only gay sports bar. Not strictly male-only, but mostly so.
Chariots Cafe Bar
Chariots House, Fairchild St, EC2 tel 020/7247 5222. Tube: Liverpool Street. Mon-Sat 11am-11pm, Sun noon-10.30pm.
This large, stylish and friendly cafe/bar adjoins Chariots Sauna and offers regular late-licence extensions, cabaret and good-value food.
City of Quebec
12 Old Quebec St, W1 tel 020/7629 6159. Tube: Marble Arch. Mon-Wed 11am-11pm, Thurs 11am-1am, Fri & Sat 11am-2am, Sun 11am-10.30pm.
Long-established and busy homo haunt with a downstairs disco. Especially popular with an older crowd.
261 Old Brompton Rd, SW5 tel 020/7244 5951. Tube: Earl's Court. Mon-Sat noon-11pm, Sun noon-10.30pm.
Famous, long-established and permanently packed leather and denim bar, bristling with history, muscles and moustaches.
Compton's of Soho
53 Old Compton St, W1 tel 020/7479 7961. Tube: Leicester Square. Mon-Sat noon-11pm, Sun noon-10.30pm.
This large, traditional-style pub is a Soho institution, always busy with a youngish crowd, but still a relaxed place to cruise or just hang out.
79 Charing Cross Rd, WC2 tel 020/7734 0769. Tube: Leicester Square. Mon-Thurs 1pm-2am, Fri & Sat 1pm-3am, Sun 1-10.30pm.
Busy, cruisey men's den on two floors, with industrial decor, late licence and a no-messing atmosphere.
Hungerford Lane (behind Heaven), WC2 tel 020/7278 0995. Tube: Charing Cross. Daily 10pm-5am.
The original late-night cruising pit. Steamy, cruisey and sleazy, offering a diverse seven-day menu of sartorial and musical preferences
Somewhere between a cafe and a club is the institution of the tea dance , a fun and friendly place to try out good old-fashioned partner dancing. Traditionally, tea dancing happens on a Sunday, which means you're unlikely ever to get a serious tea dance habit - although be warned, it has happened. It's best to get there early, especially if you need a class: ring in advance for details.
Gay Tea Dance, The Limelight
136 Shaftesbury Ave, W1 tel 020/7439 0572. Tube: Leicester Square. Sun 6-11pm.
A smorgasbord of 70s, 80s and 90s pop for gay boys and their girlfriends, hosted by Miss Dusty O.
Original Sunday Tea Dance, BJ's White Swan
556 Commercial Rd, E14 tel 020/7780 9870. Tube: Aldgate East. Sun 5.30pm-midnight (tea and sandwiches until 7pm).
Hosted by the legendary tea dancing maestro Jo Purvis, and playing ballroom, cheesy disco and everything in between.
Pink Jukebox, Warren Bar at the Grafton Hotel
130 Tottenham Court Rd, W1 tel 0374/443627. Tube: Tottenham Court Road. Second and fourth Sun of each month, 6-11pm.
Lesbian and gay Latin and ballroom dancing club, with friendly classes for beginners and intermediates.
Ruby's Tea Dance, Ruby's
49 Carnaby St, W1 tel 020/8302 6651. Tube: Oxford Circus. Sun from 5.30pm (4.30pm for beginners).
Ballroom, Latin and line dancing, with free afternoon tea. Profits to Lesbian & Gay Switchboard.
Waltzing with Hilda, Jackson's Lane Community Centre
269a Archway Rd, N6 tel 0793/907 2958. Tube: Highgate. Monthly on varying Sat, 7.45pm-midnight.
Women-only Latin and ballroom dancing club - with a dash of country & western thrown in to keep you on your toes. Beer at pub prices and classes for beginners
Clubs move, change and close down fast, so we've listed only the longest-running and most popular nights here - it's always a good idea to check the gay press, listings magazines and Web sites for up-to-date times and prices before you plan your night out.
Entry charges start at around ?3 or ?4, but are more often between ?6 and ?10. Some places offer concessions for students and those on benefits, and some extend discounts if you've managed to pick up the right flyer. Be aware of dress codes, especially in men's clubs; if in doubt, call ahead and check.
For a guaranteed harassment-free drive home, Freedom Cabs, next door to the Rupert Street bar, 50 Rupert St, W1 (tel 020/7734 1313), offers a conveniently located, reasonably priced, 24-hour gay cab service.
Most clubs kick off at around 10-11pm (although some don't get going until the small hours) and close between 3am and 5am, sometimes later. A fair few of London's gay bars and pubs can offer a good, cheap alternative to the fully fledged clubs, although they usually close earlier: check the listings above to see which have discos, DJs and dancing. Lastly, bear in mind again that "mixed" usually means mostly men
Addiction to DTPM at Fabric
77a Charterhouse St, EC1 tel 020/7251 8778. Tube: Farringdon Road.
This long-running Sunday-nighter can now be found in Fabric's chic surroundings, with three dancefloors offering soul, jazz, funk, R&B, hip-hop, Latino house and progressive to hard house.
Club Kali at The Dome
1 Dartmouth Park Hill, N19 (no phone). Tube: Tufnell Park.
Held on the third Friday of every month, Kali is a huge multiethnic extravaganza offering bhangra, Bollywood, Arabic, swing, Hindi and house flavours for a friendly, attitude-free, mostly Asian mixed crowd.
Club V, upstairs at The Garage
20-22 Highbury Corner, N5 tel 020/7607 1818. Tube: Highbury & Islington.
Every other Saturday, this mock-Tudor venue reverberates to the sounds of queercore and indie tunes spinning for a big, happy, well-lubricated crowd. Regular bands and cheap beer.
Arch 66, Goding St, SE11 tel 020/7278 0995. Tube: Vauxhall.
Four bars, two dancefloors, chill-out areas and plenty of hard bodies make this weekly Saturday-nighter busy, buzzy, sexy and mostly boysy.
Duckie at The Royal Vauxhall Tavern
372 Kennington Lane, SE11 tel 020/7737 4043; www.duckie.co.uk. Tube: Vauxhall.
Modern rock-based hurdy gurdy for "homosexualists", their friends and fans. Regular live-art performances, occasional bouncy castles, and fabulously-titled theme nights.
229 Great Portland St, W1 tel 0956/983230 or 0793/137 4391; email@example.com. Tube: Great Portland Street.
Every other Saturday night, Exilio erupts in a fabulous Latin frenzy, spinning salsa, cumbia and merengue, and featuring live acts.
Fist at Imperial Gardens
299 Camberwell New Rd (entrance in Medlar St), SE5 (no phone). Tube: Oval.
This famously depraved monthly Saturday sleaze pit offers a porn cinema, cruising gallery and chill-out area. Live action and strict leather/rubber/uniform/military/jockstrap dress code.
G.A.Y. at The Astoria (LA1 and LA2)
LA1, 157 Charing Cross Rd tel 020/7434 9592; LA2, 165 Charing Cross Rd tel 020/7734 6963. Tube: Tottenham Court Road.
Of the Astoria 's neighbouring venues, LA1 hosts huge, unpretentious and fun-loving dance nights for a young crowd on Fridays and Saturdays, which are always packed and often feature big-name PAs. There are lots of cheap entry deals to be had at LA2, including the famous G.A.Y. Pink Pounder midweek trash bash - just ?1 for a Wednesday night on the tiles.
Under The Arches, Villiers St, WC2 tel 020/7930 2020; www.heaven-london.com. Tube: Charing Cross or Embankment.
Widely regarded as the UK's most popular gay club, this legendary, 2000-capacity club continues to reign supreme. Big nights are Mondays ( Popcorn), Wednesdays ( Fruit Machine) and Saturdays ( just Heaven), all with big-name DJs, PAs and shows. More Muscle Mary than Diesel Doris.
Love Muscle at The Fridge
Town Hall Parade, Brixton Hill, SW2 tel 020/7326 5100; www.fridge.co.uk. Tube: Brixton.
A regular Saturday night workout for oiled torsos, disco dykes and fag hag friends, this sweaty, eight-year-old all-nighter offers everything from fluffy techno to hard house via Europop. Big stage shows, stunning lights, go-go dancers and a chill-out zone top off the party madness.
Popstarz at the Scala
27 Pentonville Rd, N1 tel 020/7738 2336. Tube: King's Cross.
Ground-breaking Friday night indie club, now in its fifth year and its sixth venue, and with a consistently winning formula of indie and alternative tunes, 70s and 80s trash, cheap beer and no attitude.
Queer Nation at Substation South
9 Brighton Terrace, SW9 tel 020/7732 2095. Tube: Brixton.
Long-running and popular New York-style house and garage night for funksters.
Trade at Turnmills
63b Clerkenwell Rd, EC1 tel 020/7250 3409; www.turnmills.com. Tube: Farringdon.
This legendary Saturday all-nighter (business kicks off at 4am and will see you well through to Sunday lunchtime) is still going strong. Expect techno and hard house from some of the best DJs in the country, lots of lasers and special effects, and some very sweaty hard bodies - of all genders and flavours, but mostly boys
Ace of Clubs
52 Piccadilly, W1 tel 020/7408 4457. Tube: Piccadilly Circus.
A veritable institution, this weekly Saturday night women-only club for all ages, styles and musical tastes has been packing 'em in for years, and shows no sign of losing its appeal.
Flirt! at the Sauna Bar
29 Endell St, WC2 020/7836 2236 or 7494 4041. Tube: Covent Garden.
This'll get you sweating: the return of the lesbian sauna/club night from the successful Candy Bar crew, boasting a jacuzzi with room for 20. Mondays 6pm-midnight.
4 U Girl at The Seen
93 Dean St, W1 tel 0956/514574; www.wowbar.dircon.co.uk. Tube: Tottenham Court Road.
A funky, glamour-dyke basement dive in the heart of Soho, playing house, soul and garage. Gay men welcome as guests.
Gia at Shillibeers
Carpenters Mews, North Rd, N7 tel 020/7607 0519. Tube: Caledonian Road.
Monthly Saturday-nighter for North London grrrls and their gay male friends in a huge multilevel venue with a restaurant, cocktail and champagne lounge and a summer-only barbecue courtyard. Live PAs, celebrity guests, and a playlist of R&B, soul and NRG.
Liberte at The Oak
79 Green Lanes, Newington Green, N16 tel 0956/673293. Tube: Manor House or buses #73 from Trafalgar Square, or #341 from Tube: Angel.
This hot, funky, friendly and wildly popular women-only night happens every last Saturday of the month, spinning soulful grooves, reggae and garage for girls who like to smile while they're swinging.
Loose at Sunset Strip
30 Dean St, W1 tel 020/7494 4041. Tube: Tottenham Court Road.
The only lesbian strip joint in the country, brought to you by the Candy Bar crew. Sit back, get a shot when the tequila girl comes round, order your dollars from the MC and tuck them in where you dare.
Gay men's clubs
28 Hancock Rd, Bow E3 tel 020/8983 4233. Tube: Bromley-by-Bow.
Notorious late-night cruising haunt; think leather, rubber, uniform, skinhead, construction and industrial wear. Phone for membership details.
Chariots Roman Baths
201-207 Shoreditch High St, EC1 tel 020/7247 5333. Tube: Liverpool Street.
London's largest and most fabulous gay sauna features everything you could wish for in the way of clearing out your pores (and much else), and is open late all week and all night at weekends.
Railway Arch 47c, South Lambeth Rd, SW8 tel 020/7735 9972. Tube: Vauxhall.
Weekend cruise bar with leather/rubber/industrial/uniform dress code. Hosts SM Gays every third Thursday.
Underground at Central Station
37 Wharfdale Rd, N1 tel 020/7278 3294. Tube: King's Cross.
The basement of this friendly, three-tiered pub offers sleazy late-night cruising seven nights a week, and is also host to Gummi, Europe's only rubber-only club, every second Sunday of the month. Equally picturesque theme nights take place on other nights: ring for details.
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