Pride Festival 2019 runs from 8 June until 6 July, culminating in Pride weekend over the 6-7 July. As the huge London-wide celebration of diversity builds to a crescendo, The Resident picks out 11 of the best ways to celebrate…
Lead image: Glitterbox: A Deeper Love
1 Pride in London Parade, from Portland Place
The huge Pride in London parade takes place on 6 July, sweeping through the streets of central London in a riot of colour to celebrate diversity and activism. This year, Pride celebrates 50 years since the birth of the modern LGBT+ rights movement. The parade sets off from Portland Place at midday on Saturday 6 July, moving down Oxford Circus, along Regent Street to Piccadilly Circus, then Lower Regent Street, Pall Mall and passing Trafalgar Square before finishing on Whitehall around 5.30pm. The route is long, raucous and packed in places, so if you fancy beating the crowds and taking it all in in comfort, bag yourself a seat at the Pride in London Grandstand on Waterloo Place (tickets £20-£50).
2 Glitterbox: A Deeper Love Party at W London, Leicester Square
W London will be joining the Pride parade aboard a show-stopping golden float featuring iridescent metallics with neon flashes and a towering sculpture of megaphones calling for us to Love Out Loud. A 50-strong troop will be in tow, kitted-out in glam outfits by Irish fashion designer Derek Purcell of London based studio BANG London, who’s dressed the likes of Beyoncé and The Spice Girls. Later on, W London will throw the Glitterbox: A Deeper Love party at The Perception, where Glitterbox DJs and performers will shine for the LGBTQ+ community and Café Belvedere will transform the REVOLVE disco-ball room into a Soho Espresso Martini pop-up. Admission is free but you need to reserve tickets via the link below. 5pm-late.
10 Wardour Street W1D 6QF; designmynight.com
3 Queer Carnival at Flat Iron Square, Southwark
Little Gay Brother, THE LGBTQIA+ club night and festival collective, is hosting a massive 13-hour Queer Carnival taking over Flat Iron Square and Omeara club to celebrate Pride on Saturday 6 July. The event honours Stonewall UK’s 30th anniversary, with a percentage of ticket and bar sales going to the charity. Queer Carnival will feature an internationally renowned music line-up across multiple glittering indoor and outdoor stages, with dance shows from Little Gay Brother, glamorous performers on treadmills, colourful decor and mouth-watering food vendors. Headline acts include internationally renowned DJ and electro clash pioneer Kittin and Berghain/Panorama Bar resident Massimiliano Pagliara. They’ll be joined by Nimmo, Doppelgang, Gaff E, Reece Sooner as well as Little Gay Brother residents, Maze & Masters, Chaka Khan’t, and a live performance from Aaron Porter.
64 Southwark Street SE1 1RU; flatironsquare.co.uk
4 John Lewis Roof Fest Celebrates Pride, Oxford Street
John Lewis & Partners Roof Fest London will be celebrating Pride in London 2019 with a programme of festival activities and live entertainment across the final weekend of Pride. On Saturday 6 July, Britain’s Got Talent’s Sheila Simmonds will host a #BusyLady takeover from 3.30pm-9.30pm complete with comedy songs and Pride favourites, sofa sessions, fun bingo and more, while a pre-show DJ set by Jonjo Jury will warm up the crowd and Bobbi Brown offers complimentary festival-inspired makeovers. The roof garden will continue its festivities throughout Sunday with Storm Hooper, one of the UK’s leading hula hoopists, performing from 2pm-5pm followed by Drag Queen and recent winner of Superball Amsterdam’s New Upcoming Talent 2019, Aria Knightly, performing from 5.30pm-8pm. Roof Fest London will be collecting for akt (The Albert Kennedy Trust), the national LGBTQ+ youth homelessness charity, providing safe homes and better futures to LGBTQ+ young people.
300 Oxford Street W1C 1DX; johnlewis.com
5 Pride Celebrations at The Curtain, Shoreditch
Celebrate Pride weekend at Shoreditch-based hotel and members’ club The Curtain, which is hosting a programme of events from cabaret shows to sets by some of the biggest LGBTQ DJs. On 4 July, The Curtain kicks off with a Pride Warm Up Cabaret on the rooftop LIDO, complete with vogueing sailors, mermaids and more, before LP, The Curtain’s nightclub, swings into action for an epic afterparty (RSVP here). On5 July it’s time for OKHA, the queer + black book club, which provides a space for African, Caribbean and Afro-Latina book lovers to come together and share perspectives, learnings, and experiences. Poet Yrsa Daley-Ward will be reading an extract from her book BONE, which explores her life experiences as a queer woman of West Indian and West African heritage (RSVP by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org). Finally, on 6 July, DJ Miguel Dare hosts GET LIT, a blow-out Pride party in the LP nightclub bringing together diverse crowds from music and fashion from 9am-2am (book tickets via email@example.com).
45 Curtain Road, Hackney EC2A 3PT; thecurtain.com
6 Pride Block Party at The Blue Posts, Chinatown
The Blue Posts pub in Chinatown is celebrating Pride with a Block Party featuring two rooms of live music and entertainment on Saturday 6 July. The pub will once again be completely redecorated using Pride’s signature rainbow flag, while DJs Aaron and Wayne, the duo behind famed 90s and 00s club night Rhythm of the Night, will be onsite playing a mixture of the best house, dance and remixes from 2pm-12am as drag queens mingle. Upstairs, The Mulwray cocktail lounge will be transformed into a rouge back-lit boudoir to match the bars vintage aesthetic. Open from 6pm-12am, the bar will have three specially created cocktails on offer each inspired by some of history’s greatest drag moments, while the DJ spins pop and party classics. Entry is free. Sign up for the guestlist here or grab a wristband on the door.
28 Rupert Street, Chinatown W1D 6DJ; theblueposts.co.uk
7 Costa del Soho at St Martins Lane Hotel, Covent Garden
Gayzpacho Presents Costa del Soho, a multi-layered event around the theme of a Mediterranean cruise boat. After sailing around the Med, Gayzpacho Cruise Company are mooring at la Costa del Soho, a fictional floating paradise where passengers can expect a celebratory evening filled with Euro-pop disco, live flamenco performances, drag shows, Go-Go dancing, and the collective’s staple Tomatina tomato wrestling, hosted by Toma Tina Turner. Elsewhere, with waters full of sharks, Gayzpacho will put guests’ safety first with a team of ‘Boywatchers’ on the lookout. Free to attend with a suggested donation towards Switchboard, the LGBTQ+ helpline, on the day. Also, temporarily replacing the Philippe Starck designed long rug in the lobby area, St Martins Lane will present a specially designed rainbow-coloured catwalk, and St Martins Lane Kitchen Bar will be serving a special cocktail with a layered concoction resembling the rainbow flag. 4pm-9pm. Reserve you tickets here.
45 St Martin’s Lane, Charing Cross WC2N 4HX; morganshotelgroup.com
8 Pride Party & Hangover Brunch at The LaLiT London, London Bridge
5 & 7 July
Pan-Indian dining destination Baluchi is hosting an evening of drag, dining and debauchery with either a decadent four-course dinner (£130pp) or a selection of canapés (£60pp) and 90 minutes of free-flowing prosecco, wine or beer. Star studded acts include trans icon Amanda Lepore, and the wildly distorted and ever avant-garde Hungry, plus many more (£2 from each ticket sold will be donated to Pride in London – book here). Then, on Sunday 7 July, it’s time to recover with the The LaLiT London’s Hangover brunch where you can choose up to eight dishes from the special Pride menu, featuring the likes of samosa chaat and slow-braised pork belly with honey and chilli glaze, alongside two hours of bottomless prosecco (12pm-2pm priced £40pp, book here).
181 Tooley Street, London Bridge SE1 2JR; thelalit.com
9 Rainbow Brunch Party at VIVI Restaurant & Bar, Bloomsbury
VIVI is throwing the ultimate rainbow brunch party on Saturday 6 July to celebrate Pride weekend. Get set for the parade by sitting down to brunch at 11.30am with colourful dishes and bottomless bubbles, Bloody Marys or Aperol Spritzes, served up with live music from London’s hottest DJs playing the best of Cher, Gaga and more. Tickets are £35 for the three-course brunch, and you can go bottomless for £17.50 extra. VIVI will donate £1 from each ticket to LGBTQ+ youth homelessness charity akt. Book here.
Centre Point, 11 St Giles Square, Bloomsbury WC2H 8AP; vivirestaurant.co.uk
10 Pride Celebrations at Sea Containers London, South Bank
Sea Containers London will be illuminating its Thameside front with the Pride flag and hosting two special events to celebrate Pride weekend. On 4 July, award-winning film The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert starring Guy Pearce, Terence Stamp and Hugo Weaving will be screened in the hotel’s intimate 56-seater Curzon at Sea Containers cinema. Tickets are priced at £14.50 with all proceeds from the ticket sales donated to Stonewall (book here). Then, before heading to watch the parade on 6 July, pop into Sea Containers London’s new gallery space where vibrant south east London hair studio and ‘clown hair sculptors’, Tuttii Fruitii, will be offering Pride hairstyles and makeovers. Appointments are available on a walk-in basis from 9am-1pm with a ‘pay what you can afford’ system based on the timescale required. Again, all proceeds will be donated to Stonewall.
20 Upper Ground, South Bank SE1 9PD; seacontainerslondon.com
11 Bottomless Brunch Pride Party at The Rooftop at The Trafalgar St James
The Rooftop at The Trafalgar St. James is celebrating Pride weekend with a bottomless Prosecco or Mimosas brunch and unparalleled views of the official parade. You’ll be so close to the action that you’ll be able to hear the music and celebrations from Trafalgar Square below, while enjoying a luxurious rooftop vantage point and upbeat party atmosphere. The brunch menu features sharing style starters including Asparagus, Herb Vinaigrette with Lemon Crumb, Parmesan & Truffle Arancini and Tomato, Mozzarella & Pesto Salad, and a choice of main courses including Eggs Royale with French Fries, Croque Madame with Rocket Salad & French Fries or Flank Steak Tagliata with Rocket Salad. There’s also an optional Pride Rainbow dessert menu for just £5 per dish and a Pride cocktail priced £13. The Pride Brunch is served in two sittings, 12pm-2pm & 2pm-4pm, priced £49pp. Tickets available here.
2 Spring Gardens, Trafalgar Square SW1A 2TS; trafalgarstjames.com