London’s reputation for being a hotbed of nightlife and partying doesn’t just stop at the likes of fabric and Printworks. There’s also a glorious LGBTQ+ scene of nightclubs that champion inclusivity and acceptance amidst thunderous beats and vibes. While London’s queer nightclub scene has seen some sad, untimely departures, such as the Coleherne (briefly the Pembroke), London’s oldest gay bar until its closure, and the Joiner’s Arms, there are still some long-standing venues and new-comers to the scene working hard to keep London’s queer nightlife alive. Here are 14 of the best London LGBTQ+ nightclubs for a night of wild abandon:
1. Heaven, Charing Cross
One of the best-known, most historic gay clubs in London stationed up in its iconic Charing Cross spot. It’s gone from opening in 1979 between the arches of CC station to hosting acid house nights in the 1980s and becoming a world-renowned superclub to rival the likes of New York’s The Saint. Heaven holds over 1,500 people each night, and hosts both live gigs and club nights, boasting past performers such as A-ha, Caroline Polachek, Madonna, Pet Shop Boys, Dorian Electra, and many more. You better believe it’s always full to the brim.
📍 The Arches, Villiers Street, WC2N 6NG. Nearest station is Charing Cross.
2. VFD, Dalston
VFD, better known by its former name Vogue Fabrics to some, is a bijou Dalston club that attracts the top fashion aficionados around London. Here, on top of the incredible outfits you’ll be treated to, you’ll get to attend nights such as Sassitude and witness the famous penis mural that resides in the toilet. How could you not love a night out like that?
📍 66 Stoke Newington Rd, London N16 7XB. Nearest station is Dalston Kingsland.
3. Royal Vauxhall Tavern, Vauxhall
The Royal Vauxhall Tavern is a true slice of LGBTQ+ history in London – a Grade II Listed venue that was infamously raided by police in 1987 amidst over-policing of London’s gay community. Back then, it was a haven for queer people to escape and enjoy themselves. To this day it remains a gloriously fun venue for club nights, cabaret, drag kings and queens, and plenty more. You have to visit, if you haven’t yet – it’s historic!
📍 372 Kennington Lane, SE11 5HY. Nearest station is Vauxhall.
4. ZODIAC Bar, Euston
Launched in the middle of the pandemic, ZODIAC Bar is perfectly situated between the two hotspots of Soho and Camden. It’s just far enough removed from the two places to reduce the tourist-y crowd, but still convenient enough to access for any Londoner. The 250 capacity (!) venue is split across two floors, with people dancing their way through the night downstairs, and performances, DJing, karaoke, and more taking place on the ground floor. Queer owned and managed, ZODIAC is a wholly welcoming night out.
📍 119 Hampstead Rd, NW1 3EE. Nearest stations are Euston, Euston Square, and Warren Street.
5. Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club, Bethnal Green
Scuzzy, dirty, and not at all your typical club venue – the Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club might have the most exciting roster of events to be found at one venue in London. It’s the stuff of legend at this point. Nights range from indie and post punk takeovers, to David Lynch-inspired performances, cosmic bingo, and “hedonistic cabaret-cum-clubnights”. It’s always filthy fun.
📍 42-46 Pollard Row, E2 6NB. Nearest station is Bethnal Green.
6. BJ’s White Swan, Limehouse
Another longstanding London gay bar, which has been going strong for over 30 years, is BJ’s White Swan in East London. Get down to their late-night basement and dance till your legs can’t no more. The monthly house-party vibes when Cybil’s take over the decks are not to be missed!
📍 556 Commercial Road, London E14 7JD. Nearest station is Limehouse.
7. Metropolis, Bethnal Green
Although not quite as boisterous as it may have been in the past, Metropolis still plays host to what they describe as “East London’s naughtiest late-night party.” Every Saturday there’s “A DISCO IN A STR!P CLUB” – smashing up seedy Las Vegas strip club vibes and relentless disco tunes across five floors of revelry. Oh, yeah, and did we mention that the party rages until 4AM?
📍 234 Cambridge Heath Rd, E2 9NN. Nearest station is Cambridge Heath.
8. The Glory, Haggerston
The Glory prides itself in being one of East London’s best gay bars, drag hothouses, LGBTQ+ performance venues, nightclubs, and curators of London shows, festivals, contests and battles. You can find drag shows and LGBTQ+ arts events taking place here most evenings, and smashing late-night parties at the weekend.
📍 281 Kingsland Road, E2 8AS. Nearest station is Haggerston.
9. Circa Embankment, Embankment
One of London’s newer LGBTQ+ venues, Circa Embankment is al about keeping good times flowing and the pumping vibes, well, pumping. Their weekly clubbing events, Radar and Power House, see hands in the air and bodies writhing in the club’s euphoric environs. Expect the biggest DJs in town and a night that will truly transport you away from all your cares.
📍 Hungerford House, Victoria Embankment, WC2N 6PA. Nearest station is Embankment.
10. Dalston Superstore, Dalston
Chilled out brunches by day, raucous fun by night: Dalston Superstore is your go-to destination for great food and smashing parties on Kingsland High Street. Head to the bar and restaurant first, and end the night on the basement dancefloor among a lively, diverse crowd.
📍 117 Kingsland High Street, E8 2PB. Nearest station is Dalston Kingsland.
11. Two Brewers, Clapham
Over at Two Brewers, guests are treated to a whirlwind of a night every single day of the week until late. Whether it’s a buzzing drag show or simply hours of screaming along to pop, this is a night anyone should attend. You’re bound to leave with a smile on your face and no voice left.
📍 114 Clapham High Street, SW4 7UJ. Nearest station is Clapham North.
12. The Eagle, Vauxhall
One thing’s for sure at The Eagle – you’ll never have a boring night out. The spot has been going strong for years, with its New York Meatpacking district-inspired décor and variety of nights attracting all kinds of crowds. Head to their storied weekly Horse Meat Disco night and ‘put your hooves up’ for an evening you won’t forget!
📍 349 Kennington Lane, SE11 5QY. Nearest station is Vauxhall.
13. Ku Bar, Leicester Square & Little Ku, Soho
These sister venues run by the Ku Group are amongst London’s most celebrated LGBTQ+ nightlife spots. Ku Bar at Leicester Square and Little Ku in Soho are both pre-club bars serving cocktails and champagne, as well as nightly DJ entertainment, and early-night parties in low-lit basements.
📍 Ku Bar, 30 Lisle Street, WC2H 7BA. Nearest station is Leicester Square.
📍 Little Ku, 25 Frith Street, W1D 5LB. Nearest station is Leicester Square.
14. She Soho, Soho
Just around the corner from Little Ku you’ll find She Soho, “a venue dedicated to queer women, non-binary folk and their guests”. As one of the few lesbian and women-priority bars in London, it’s also a bit of an institution. Expect DJs, drag, burlesque and even karaoke in an intimate-size venue for a cracking night out until late!
📍 23a Old Compton Street, W1D 5JL. Nearest station is Leicester Square.
15. The Yard Bar, Soho
When summer comes around, you’ll definitely want to make a beeline for The Yard, which boasts a large heated garden courtyard and balconied loft bar with plenty of space. The inside space is just as attractive, and you can expect an extensive cocktail menu served by barmen who, according to their website, are ‘pretty tasty’, too…
📍 57 Rupert Street, W1D 7PL. Nearest stations are Leicester Square and Piccadilly Circus.