Crowd at She Soho

London's Best LGBTQ+ Friendly Bars

London’s thriving gay scene is world famous, from plush cocktail bars, to rambunctious drag brunches and everything in between. Here, The Resident picks out the best LGBTQ+ venues, from Soho to Vauxhall and beyond...

Photo: She Soho

1 Freedom Soho

Widely popular with West End performers, Freedom is home to one of Soho’s most famous cabaret shows, Kinky Kabaret, taking place on a Monday night.

The upstairs of the venue is opulent and luxurious, with plush seating options, mirrored walls and a large bar boasting signature cocktails and a generous happy hour.

Downstairs, though, is where the magic happens - expect a large scale dance floor (complete with poles, of course), nightly entertainment until 3am, and some of the best in class drag and cabaret acts from across the UK.

Address: 66 Wardour Street, Soho, W1F 0TA

Website: freedombarsoho.com

Freedom Soho interiors

Freedom Soho - Freedom Soho

2 G-A-Y Bar, Soho & Covent Garden

World famous G-A-Y Bar is fun, loud and garish. Expect cheap drinks, loud pop songs and a crowd that never thins.

Spread over three floors, downstairs is home to women’s bar ‘Girl’s Go Down’, whilst upstairs is home to a laid back vibe.

The venue draws a younger clientele in comparison to its neighbouring venues, though it’s always fun - and if you want to carry on your night, head to sister venue G-A-Y Late, open until 4am, seven days a week.

Address: G-A-Y Bar: 30 Old Compton Street W1D 4UR; G-A-Y Late: 5 Goslett Yard, Covent Garden, WC2H 0EA

Website: g-a-y.co.uk

3 She Soho

London’s only exclusively lesbian venue stands proudly on Old Compton Street, between Soho House and G-A-Y Bar.

Owners take their position as the city’s only lesbian bar seriously, as is shown through stellar customer service and a welcoming feel.

The venue hosts some of Soho’s best loved entertainment evenings, such as cabaret, karaoke, quiz and over 25 evenings, and boasts a community feel.

Address:  23a Old Compton Street W1D 5JL

Website: ku-bar.co.uk

She Soho interiors

She Soho - She Soho

4 Dalston Superstore

This notorious East London venue has been serving the LGBTQ+ scene proudly for over twelve years.

It calls itself a multipurpose venue - which is exactly what it is. The nightclub- cum-cocktail bar-cum cafe and gallery serves food from its vegan kitchen throughout the day, and an ever-changing list of colourful cocktails for nighttime adventures.

The venue also supports the LGBTQ+ community, regularly throwing fundraisers and community events for charities including ELOP, Gendered Intelligence and the Albert Kennedy Trust.

Address: 117 Kingsland High Street, Dalston, E8 2PB

Website: dalstonsuperstore.com

5 Royal Vauxhall Tavern

The Royal Vauxhall Tavern is the beating heart of South London’s LGBTQ+ landscape.

The venue acted as a safe haven for the community before decriminalisation, and was the venue where Princess Diana turned up - dressed as a man.

In 2014, property developers got hold of the property, with plans to develop the iconic venue into luxury accommodation - but the community refused to let the venue die.

Now, the Royal Vauxhall Tavern - situated in a listed Victorian property, is home to performances from iconic LGBTQ performers, as well as drag brunches, competitions, bingo and much more.

Address: 372 Kennington Lane, Vauxhall SE11 5HY

Website: vauxhalltavern.com

Royal Vauxhall Tavern exterior

Royal Vauxhall Tavern - Royal Vauxhall Tavern

6 Two Brewers, Clapham

The Two Brewers is a long-standing gay bar in Clapham, and although it might not look like much from the outside, is home to legendary club nights, drag shows and quizzes.

The venue draws a mixed crowd from the local area, and is open until 4am on Fridays and Saturdays, where resident DJ’s play a range of music.

Address: 114 Clapham High Street, Clapham SW4 7UJ

Website: the2brewers.com

7 KU Bar, China Town

Regularly topping the charts as London’s favourite gay bar and club, Ku Bar is situated in China Town.

Not dissimilar to its rival venues Heaven and G-A-Y - although the vibe is somewhat ‘classier’, in a sense, the venue attracts a young and fun scene.

Ku bar is owned by the Ku group, a selection of LGBTQ+ venues in London (they also own She Soho), who are committed to creating warm, friendly and welcoming spaces.

Address: 30 Lisle Street, Leicester Square, WC2H 7BA

Website: ku-bar.co.uk

KU Bar interiors

KU Bar, China Town - KU Bar

8 Arch Clapham

Dubbed as London’s hybrid LGBTQ+ hybrid social venue, Arch Clapham is a one stop spot for brunch and coffee, right through to late night cocktails and parties.

The venue attracts a cool, fashion loving crowd, as well as some of London’s very best talent who regularly perform at the venue, including comedy shows, gogo shows, live music and much more.

Address: Arch 642, Voltaire Road, Clapham SW4 6DH

Website: archclapham.co.uk

9 Friendly Society, Soho

Friendly Society might just be Soho’s best kept secret. Situated in a basement just off Wardour Street, guests can expect wonderfully kitsch interiors - from bright blue chairs, glitter balls and actual barbies hanging from the roof.

As the name suggests, staff in this place are friendly and welcoming, and a few drinks here can easily turn into a late night Uber home.

Address: 79 Wardour Street, Soho, W1D 6QB

Website: facebook.com

Friendly Society interiors

Friendly Society, Soho - Friendly Society

10 The Glory, Haggerston

Pub and queer performance venue, The Glory is a fun night out, whether you're catching a drag show or having a night out. 

With very east London vibes, The Glory champions new queer performers and drag queen, as well as hosting more established acts including shows by the venue's co-owner, Jonny Woo.  

Address:  281 Kingsland Road, E2 8AS

Website: theglory.co

11 Heaven, Charing Cross

Lastly, no list of LGBTQ+ bars in London would be complete without mention of Heaven.

Having been internationally famous from 1979, the venue is now a valued addition to London’s nightlife scene.

Past performers have included the likes of Franz Ferdinand, Kylie Minogue and Miley Cyrus, amongst others. Today, the venue attracts a younger scene, well known for throwing rambunctious parties on a nightly basis.

Whether you love Heaven, or love to hate it, the venue has firmly cemented its position as one of London’s most iconic LGBTQ+ venues.

Address: Under the arches, Villers Street, WC2N 6NG

Website: heaven-live.co.uk

Heaven, Charing Cross interiors

Heaven, Charing Cross - Heaven

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