Some of London's bars have reopened for outdoor drinking only, following the phased easing of coronavirus restrictions. Reopened bars and pubs have various safety measures in place, including socially distanced tables, reduced capacity, ordering by app, pre-booking and hand sanitising stations.
Indoor drinking is not available until 17 May at the earliest; while nightclubs remain closed until 21 June at the earliest.
Many of London's gay bars are clustered around Soho, the traditional centre of London's LGBT+ scene. However, the range of lesbian and gay bars and clubs in London spans the city, from Vauxhall and Clapham, to gay bars in east London. All the best gay bars in London become busy on themed nights and weekends, as well as during the annual Pride in London festival.
Ku Bar - Leicester Square
One of the largest gay bars in London and only a few footsteps from Leicester Square, Ku Bar is spread over two floors and has a capacity of more than 500. Enjoy its exclusive champagne bar, The Klub, in the basement on select nights.
One of oldest gay bars in London, Comptons is affectionately nicknamed "The Old Dame" of Old Compton Street. The relaxed, pubby drinking spot attracts beer-drinking bears and live sports fans, and the atmosphere usually ramps up with DJ sets on selected Fridays and Saturdays. The friendly ambience at Comptons of Soho means anyone is welcome.
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. G-A-Y Late is just around the corner and is usually where the party continues into the early hours; however, as with all bars in London, it's currently required to close at 10pm.
Royal Vauxhall Tavern
Head down to south London's oldest surviving gay venue and enjoy regular club nights and unique events, including quirky bingo and drag shows in a vibrant atmosphere. The Royal Vauxhall Tavern is housed in a Grade-II listed building, the first to be listed in recognition of its importance to the LGBT+ community.
Discover She Soho, primarily a ladies bar (although gentlemen are welcome with female guests). A standalone bar for the lesbian community, with fresh decor and an indoor garden, this is a great place during the week to hang out with girlfriends. As the weekend approaches, expect comedy, cabaret and burlesque acts, live music and DJs.
A cafe by day, club by night, Dalston Superstore is a vibrant and trendy hub for gay and straight party people in east London, and usually one of the area's best clubbing hotspots. Fuel up with vegan comfort from midday during the weekend or 5pm Tuesdays to Thursdays and take your pick from the extensive cocktail list.
Dark and seductive, this eclectic townhouse-style bar and dancing venue features everything from seats styled in the form of baths, to a bar adorned with old books within it's two floors – it's certainly one of the quirkiest gay bars in Soho. You'll find a host of classic and unusual cocktails at Bar Soho alongside wines, beers and drinks offers.
With three floors, an impressive sound system and light shows in the main room, Heaven is an iconic London nightclub for people who really want to party. Cheap student nights usually run throughout the week with the flagship G-A-Y nights taking up residency on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays with drag acts and live music events.
Although it cannot currently operate as a nightclub due to the latest government regulations for coronavirus, Heaven has been transformed into the UK's largest LGBT+ bar since reopening after lockdown.
Freedom Bar is a sophisticated gay bar and club located in central Soho. The downstairs club has more than 200 mirrorballs and two dance poles on the dance floor, perfect for an atmospheric party and the regular live events. For a more low-key evening, relax upstairs in the trendy bar with a glass of champagne or a cocktail from the extensive drinks menu.
Circa is one of the livelier gay bars in Soho with regular DJ sets pumping out commercial dance tunes. Although primarily frequented by a young crowd, anything goes at Circa, so sit back on one of the comfy sofas and look out for the eye candy.
Rupert Street Bar
This chic Soho gay bar is a relaxed hangout by day that fills out in the evening as the regular after-work crowd arrives for drinks offers and DJ sets. Complete with subtle lighting and elegant furnishings Rupert Street Bar, located just off bustling Brewer Street, is ideal for unwinding and meeting new people.
The Duke of Wellington
This spacious two-storey Soho gay bar has the feel of a traditional British pub with a friendly atmosphere, offering a busy downstairs bar and a quieter upstairs seating area. Head to "The Welly" for live sport with great atmosphere, a quiz or bingo night, or simply a relaxing drink. Come summer, you'll usually find the streets around The Duke of Wellington packed with regulars.
Soho's first gay bar remains one of its most popular due to its relaxed vibe, glitzy decor and happy hour drinks specials. Keep an eye out for regular events and live performances at the Village, which sits in the centre of Soho's LGBT+ scene, on the corner of Wardour Street and Old Compton Street.
Little Ku Soho
The more laid-back sibling of the popular Leicester Square hangout, Little Ku Soho 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.
The Two Brewers
Enjoy some of London's best drag and LGBT+ cabaret acts at this renowned Clapham bar The Two Brewers. You can usually join in the karaoke or salsa nights, test your knowledge at quiz nights and rehydrate with great value drinks.
Situated in Soho, the lively Admiral Duncan is an iconic place to enjoy a drink and larger-than-life entertainment. One of the oldest and most famous gay pubs in London, named after an admiral who defeated the Dutch fleet at the Battle of Camperdown in 1797, the pub hosts popular music nights every Saturday, and on selected weeknights. Temporarily closed due to the coronavirus pandemic
Set beneath a railway arch in Vauxhall, south London, industrial-style nightclub Fire comes complete with multiple rooms and an outdoor bar, hosting some of the biggest and best gay nights in London. With a sound system that will rattle your bones, a laser light show and some of the capital's top DJs, nights here never fail to disappoint. Temporarily closed due to the coronavirus pandemic
Head down to one of gay London's secret gems and enjoy a small mixed indie bar with plenty of vibrant personality. Set aside in a little alleyway near Charing Cross, the Retro Bar's music is eclectic, and the decor features photos of many iconic rock and pop figures. Look out for 80s tunes and quiz nights for something a little different. Temporarily closed due to the coronavirus pandemic
The Kings Arms
A well renowned bear bar, Soho's The Kings Arms shows live sport and usually hosts karaoke nights as well as 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. Temporarily closed due to the coronavirus pandemic