Gay Bars of Soho – SCRUFFy Guide to Gay London
Gay Bars, gay clubs… So much to do, so much to see in London!
London really has a vast offer: you could be overwhelmed! So I thought it could be useful for you, my lovely Scruffy Peeps, to have some suggestions on where to have a drink or two in the amazing gay scene of London, the Gay Europe Capital, based on my personal tastes. This is the first part of my personal Scruffy Guide to Gay London: my very favorite places! This first post of the series will give a glimpse to my 5 favorite Soho bars.
Gay bars of Soho
Traditionally, most of the gay scene of London happen around Soho, a central neighborhood very close to Piccadilly Circus.
Soho Square is a small yet lively central square of London: it is well packed at lunchtime with gay and friendly professionals who work in the area. In a sunny day you can enjoy a few nice sights of shirtless sexy guys, trying to get a suntan.
Around Soho Square there is an extensive choice of gay bars, gay restaurants, gay shops. Although unfortunately the process of gentrification in the center of London is spreading out very fast and too quickly, and many venues have been led to closure in the last few years, due to steady increase in the rent, there is still plenty of places left to choose from. Most of the Soho bars are on or around the two main gay streets of London: OId Compton Street and Rupert Street.
Duke of Wellington
The Welly, as it is nicknamed in the London gay community, is by far the best SCRUFFy bar of London. According to Scuffy Gios of course. Bears, musclebears, bearded men, their twink friends and their admirers flock to this classic British gay pub in the middle of Soho virtually every evening of the week (weekends included of course). Its chilled, relaxed, friendly atmosphere will make you feel home! If you want to celebrate your birthday (as I usually do), tell the managers in advance: they will be able to book a reserved area for you and your party on the upper floor.
The Yard is a more stylish pub located on Rupert Street. This bar is definitely the right choice in a sunnyish day, or not too cold night. Its own private courtyard with outdoor heaters help make the atmosphere even more friendly and enjoyable. The crowd is pretty mixed and relaxed. Youngsters, sporty men as well as hot SCRUFFy professionals, like to enjoy a drink or two in the late afternoons / early evenings before heading to a different bar or to dinner in one of the many restaurants Soho offers. Last point to mention: the bar staff is friendly, and, most of the time, shirtless!
The Old Comptons is a very classic venue in the gay scene of Soho. The bar opened with a different name (The Swiss Tavern) in the ’50s. At that time homosexuality was illegal, even in England. Today, this bar located in Old Compton Street is still very popular, with a more mature crowded than most of the bars of the area. If you are in London for a long weekend and still have room in your stomach for more booze, you can’t miss Comptons’ Monday special offers. In fact on Mondays this traditional pub’s discounted prices attract a larger crowd than the usual!
This bar, located not far from Soho Square, is very popular with a younger (and usually very fit!) crowd. It gets busy later in the evening. My suggestion is to get there before 10 PM, especially on Fridays and Saturdays: the venue is not too big, so you better get there early to make sure to squeeze comfortably in. The music is amazing, a good mix of pop and dance music, played with class by great DJs: being such a small place, sometimes it is a bit difficult to find room to move, but the worst it can happen is to rub the back of some hottie… not too bad I suppose!
A little bit further from the center of Soho, this is my favorite place to start the evening, and to finish it. It is on Lisle Street, in Chinatown, near Leicester Square. Ku Bar is very relaxed, with pop music and hot bar staff. It is very popular in the early evenings, soon after work, and at night. After 11 pm Ku Club, the downstairs club, opens its doors: different DJs play 7 nights a week, and locals and tourists alike flock into this bar. The music is excellent and the cocktails too: it is my favourite choice for a mid-week night out!
I hope my personal SCRUFFy suggestion about Soho bars will help your next visit in London… Let me know what you think, in the comments below or feel free to send me a message.