No trip to London is complete without diving deep into one of Europe’s most lively gay scenes. A city where grit and glamour collide, London’s LGBT scene is a constantly evolving mix of old-school bohemia and new-fangled glam.
The heart of gay London is found in the West End. Though gentrification has turned some areas into less-than-gay-friendly zones, Soho remains a vibrant gay destination where bars and clubs line Old Compton Street. The area still carries some of the gay community’s oldest traditions with clubs and pubs like Admiral Duncan, Shadow Lounge, and G-A-Y.
Located just south of the Thames, Clapham remains an important gay area in its own right. The neighborhood has a more upscale, chic vibe than Soho and boasts a slew of lesbian nightclubs like Two Brewers and Kazbar. For those looking for a more laid-back nightclub scene, Brixton is just a short cab ride away. The gay bars and clubs here have a more mature crowd, but still host drag cabaret.
In the north of the city, Islington is a popular destination for gay men. The neighborhood’s upmarket village feel and fine housing stock have made it a hot spot for older gay residents, while its close proximity to the center of town makes it an attractive option for younger blow-ins or those forced out of other areas by high rents. The area still hosts some great alternative clubs and bars, including Y Bar on Thursday nights.