Any local will likely point you in the direction of Soho, which has long been acclaimed the centre of London's LGBTQ+ scene. However, many of London's best gay bars are to be found across the whole city, from iconic clubs in Vauxhall and Clapham to gay pubs, karaoke and cocktail bars in east London.
All the best gay, lesbian, trans and queer spots in London become busy on themed nights and weekends, as well as during the annual Pride in London festival.
Looking to let your hair down? Electrowerkz has several regular nights from ROAST to Purple Parlour to appeal to almost every queer crowd in the city.
Where: Islington (Torrens St, EC1V 1NQ)
Venture to north London for a night out at ZODIAC, where the location of this venue makes it a rare find. Enjoy entertainment spanning from usual club nights to drag shows and karaoke – but whatever you’re into, a fun night out is guaranteed.
Where: Euston (Hampstead Rd, NW1 3EE)
Join the crowds that flock to Eagle London, one of the last remaining independent venues in the capital, for its unmissable events including drag performances, wrestling nights and the famous Duckie.
Where: Vauxhall (Kennington Ln, SE11 5QY)
Set beneath a railway arch in Vauxhall, south London, industrial-style nightclub Fire has some of the biggest and best gay nights in London. Combining a quality sound system and laser light shows with some of the capital's top DJs, nights at Fire never disappoint.
Where: Vauxhall (South Lambeth Rd, SW8 1RT)
Royal Vauxhall Tavern
Head down to south London's oldest surviving gay venue and enjoy regular club nights and unique events, including quirky cabaret and drag shows in a vibrant atmosphere. Royal Vauxhall Tavern is housed in a Grade II-listed building, the first to be listed in recognition of its importance to the LGBTQ+ community.
Where: Vauxhall (Kennington Ln, SE11 5HY)
The Cock Tavern
Visit The Cock Tavern, a Georgian come Tiki bar that offers a broad selection of beers, wines and cocktails set within atmospheric surroundings. The perfect option whether you're starting the night or ending it.
Where: Vauxhall (Kennington Rd, SE11 4LD)
Enjoy some of London's best drag and LGBTQ+ cabaret acts at Two Brewers, a renowned gay bar in Clapham. Two Brewers has a long list of fun evening events. Join in for karaoke or salsa nights or test your knowledge at quiz nights.
Where: Clapham (Clapham High St, SW4 7UJ)
A cafe by day and a club by night, Dalston Superstore is a vibrant and trendy hub for LGBTQ+ partiers in east London, and it's one of Dalston's best clubbing hotspots. Fuel up with vegan comfort food from the restaurant and then take your pick from the extensive cocktail list.
Where: Hackney (Kingsland High St, E8 2PB)
Regular club nights at FOLD are the closest you will find to the Berlin scene. Queer crowds flock here for the freeing energy and unbeatable lineups spanning electronic, dance, techno and beyond.
Where: Canning Town (Stephenson St, E16 4SA)
Join the friendly crowd at The Glory, an east London pub with a weekend basement disco. The Glory has a regular schedule of LGBTQ+ performances and events, including cabaret, life drawing classes, and drag queen shows and competitions.
Where: Hackney (Kingsland Rd, E2 8AS)
The White Swan
Journey to long-standing The White Swan, a frequent among the locals where its eclectic mix of weekly entertainment and music in the neon-lit basement club promises a night to remember.
Where: Limehouse (Commercial Rd, E14 7JD)
The lively Admiral Duncan is an iconic gay bar in Soho to enjoy a drink and larger-than-life entertainment. One of the oldest and most famous gay pubs in London, this bar has resident drag queens and puts on regular cabaret nights.
Where: Soho (Old Compton St, W1D 4UD)
Looking for something lively? Look no further than Circa in Soho, where DJs regularly pump out tunes to the young, party-ready dancefloor. Take to the sofas or outdoor seats on Frith Street if you fancy chilling out.
Where: Soho (Frith St, W1D 3JL)
Comptons, one of London's oldest gay bars, is affectionately nicknamed "The Old Dame" of Old Compton Street. The relaxed pub attracts beer drinkers and live sports fans, and the atmosphere ramps up with DJ sets on weekend nights. The friendly ambience at Comptons of Soho means everyone is welcome.
Where: Soho (Old Compton St, W1D 6HN)
Freedom Bar is a sophisticated gay bar and club located in Soho. The downstairs club has more than 200 mirrorballs and two dance poles on the dancefloor, perfect for an atmospheric party and the regular live events. Relax in the trendy upstairs bar with a glass of champagne or cocktail for a more low-key evening.
Where: Soho (Wardour St, W1F 0TA)
An offshoot of the legendary G-A-Y club night at Heaven, G-A-Y Bar on Old Compton Street in Soho hosts regular live music and DJ nights. Collect your wristband from the bar for discounted entry to G-A-Y Late, located just around the corner in Goslett Yard, where the party continues into the early hours.
Where: Soho (Old Compton St, W1D 4UR)
An impressive sound system and light shows span across multiple floors in Heaven, an icon for gay London clubgoers. Regular events include the flagship G-A-Y nights, cheap student nights, drag acts and live music.
Where: Charing Cross (The Arches, WC2N 6NG)
One of the largest gay bars in London and only steps away from Leicester Square, Ku Bar is spread over three floors and has a capacity of more than 500. Enjoy events and DJs in its late-night basement club.
Where: Soho (Lisle St, WC2H 7BA)
The more laid-back sibling of Ku Bar, Little Ku is a great place for romantic drinks or people watching on Frith Street. Cocktails are the speciality at this cosy spot with fabulous decor, but you can also enjoy a refreshing choice of wines, beers and spirits.
Where: Soho (Frith St, W1D 5LB)
Head to Retro Bar, one of gay London's secret gems, and enjoy a small mixed indie bar with plenty of personality. Set in a little alleyway near Charing Cross, the Retro Bar is eclectic, and the decor features photos of iconic rock and pop musicians.
Where: Charing Cross (Frith St, WC2N 6HH)
Rupert Street Bar
The chic Rupert Street Bar in Soho is a relaxed hangout by day that fills out in the evening as the regular after-work crowd arrives for drinks and DJ sets. Complete with subtle lighting and elegant furnishings, this gay bar is ideal for unwinding and meeting new people.
Where: Soho (Rupert St, W1D 6DR)
London's only exclusively lesbian venue, She Soho, is a great place to hang out with girlfriends (male guests are also welcome to join with female friends). As the weekend approaches, expect comedy, cabaret, burlesque, live music, DJs and more.
Where: Soho (Old Compton St, W1D 5JL)
The Duke of Wellington
Head to the spacious two-storey Duke of Wellington gay bar for live sports with a great atmosphere, a quiz night, or simply a relaxing drink with the regulars. "The Welly" has the feel of a traditional British pub, with a friendly atmosphere, a busy ground-floor bar and a quieter upstairs seating area.
Where: Soho (Wardour St, W1D 6QB)
The Kings Arms, Soho
A well-renowned bear bar, The Kings Arms in Soho shows live sport and puts on karaoke nights and live DJ sets at weekends. The emphasis at this gay bar in London is very much on beer, with a good choice of real ales on tap.
Where: Soho (Poland St, W1F 8QJ)
Village was Soho's first gay bar, and it remains one of its most popular thanks to its relaxed vibe, glitzy decor and happy hour drinks specials. Keep an eye out for regular events and live performances at this beloved gay venue, which sits in the centre of Soho's LGBTQ+ scene on the corner of Wardour Street and Old Compton Street.
Where: Soho (Wardour St, W1D 6QD)
Lounge in a courtyard surrounded by fairy lights at Yard Bar. This cosy gay bar is tucked away in a courtyard off Rupert Street in Soho, perfect for a few rounds of al fresco drinks. The welcoming atmosphere continues inside at the loft bar.
Where: Soho (Rupert St, W1D 7PL)