Our south London LGBTQI+ community is very much split into two in South London with clusters of queer life mainly situated around Vauxhall and Clapham and recently Wimbledon
Long before the gay village of Vauxhall as we currently know it, Vauxhall was rich in gay highlights, stretching back to the original Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens, situated just behind where the RVT sits, on the edge of the Vauxhall Cross. Opening in the 1600’s The Pleasure Gardens were a place Londoners would go to enjoy music and entertainment and go to have fun and party.
Moved forward to between 1860-62 when the Royal Vauxhall Tavern was constructed, originally as a music hall and public house. This historic building has been the home to queer people and drag entertainment dating back to the 1950s and became the epicentre of the village in Vauxhall, often a naughty secret, it produced its own grassroots star Lilly Savage with an 8-year residency from 1988. As the late 90’s hit, the clubbing revolution began, The Market Tavern was already a packed nightspot, with very popular cabaret and dancing, then starting with Crash and Crash Afterhours, South Central down the road becoming what we now know as the Eagle and the host of the worldwide success, Horsemeat Disco, Club Colleseum hosting the famous afterhours. Beyond before it moved to Fire, a huge superclub, Barcode, and Area, all hosting parties starting on Thursday with Gravity at Fire, touring around Vauxhall, Ultra at Area, Juicy, Later and then back to the RVT for the famous Dame Edna experience on a Sunday and not forgetting The Hoist, for something darker, the home to a whole leather community.
Vauxhall is still going through a massive transformation, a lot of development and change. It still remains a thriving queer centre although we have had the closure of many venues, like Crash, Hidden, Factory, Chariots, The Hoist, Counter and Paris Gym.
The Eagle and RVT remain super popular and host fantastic clubs like Beefmince and Horsemeat Disco amongst many others, as well as parties at Union and Fire by Jamie HP events, Trough and Hard On, plus don’t forget the Fetish Freak store in Oval, the perfect place to get your fetish gear, so if its a dance, a horny purchase or sexier club, get your move on and get to Vauxhall.
The Bridge has become one of Clapham’s most popular gay venues, famous for its fantastic cocktails, regular pub quizzes and any Clapham gay worth their salt will vouch for the sun trap that is their large picnic benched beer garden in Summer.
Now very well placed next to the new Fetch Shop and Arch Bar & Restaurant, now is the time to get your pastel vest n flip flops on and get down to The Bridge.
The George & Dragon
The George & Dragon is a late-night bar in the traditional British pub style, offering a variety of the best drag cabaret at weekends and on special occasions. During the week, they’re open until 2am for a late-night tipple and a game of pool, and whatever night you choose to visit, you can be sure of a friendly welcome. Watch our for amazing performances by the Queen of the George, none other than “The Duchess”.
The Two Brewers
Proudly serving the gay community of Clapham for over 30 years. One of South London’s most famous cabaret venues, with cabaret on offer 7 days a week, karaoke and pub quizzes throughout the week and separate VIP areas for party bookings.
Friday and Saturday nights, their very own nightclub is open, so whether it’s a weeknight after-work drink or a party weekend, the Brewers has it all. With very warm and friendly bar staff and fabulous drinks offers daily. Mines a Mojito!
While many of London’s LGBTQ+ venues are bars or nightclubs, Taco Queer is a rare exception. As the name suggests, it’s a taqueria that specialises in Mexcian cuisine, although you can order a pretty mean frozen margarita here as well. Throughout the week, there are special offers, including bottomless tacos on Wednesdays and bottomless margaritas on Thursdays. Add to that a drag night every Friday during which local queens entertain diners and you’ve got a buzzy queer space in a corner of Lewisham that has been short of one for quite some time.
Address: 26 Loampit Hill, Lewisham, SE13 7SW
Tel: 020 8694 0899
The Cock Tavern
The current owners of The Cock Tavern were once in charge of the much-loved Nelson’s Head close to Columbia Road, but they made the jump across the Thames in 2017 and took over a 200-year-old tavern around the corner from Vauxhall. This isn’t your average Georgian boozer, though – the previous occupants ran a tiki bar and many of the tropical remnants have been kept in place. There’s no kitchen, so the focus is very much on the booze with a fab cocktail menu and choice of local beer. As such, it’s fair to say that there’s no such thing as a quiet night here and DJs take to the decks on Fridays and Saturdays to keep the dancefloor pumping until the early hours.
Address: 340 Kennington Road, SE11 4LD
An iconic landmark on London’s club scene, Eagle London stands proudly as London’s most eclectic and inclusive venue that the city has to offer.
Whether it’s dancing, drinking with your mates, shooting pool or watching a show in the new Eagle Theatre Garden or listening to live artists, Eagle has something for everyone.
Home to the Sunday night internationally renowned Horse Meat Disco and a host of Saturday night parties (Debbie, Athena, SOS), Eagle aims to cater for every taste and to give their visitors a good time, right in the heart of Vauxhall. Since 2003 Eagle London has stood out as a destination of choice for London’s nighttime crusaders, Vauxhall locals and for visitors to the city. They welcome all to join them and have a fantastic time with the best live entertainers, DJs and performers that the capital has to offer.
As anybody who paid attention in their English classes will be able to tell you, Oberon was the King of the Fairies in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. It’s also the name of a new bar in Elephant and Castle that shares much of the play’s whimsy and mischief. Take a peek at the cocktail menu and you’ll find a selection of Shakespeare-themed tipples that are practically begging to accompany a second date, while there’s also an eclectic list of events that happen throughout the week, from boozy painting sessions and live Latin bands to queer DJs laying down banger after banger at the weekend – a perfect evening sesh to get you in the mood before heading off to one of the nearby late-night haunts in South London.
Address: 16 Draper House, Elephant and Castle, SE1 6TH
Tel: 020 7403 8124
The Honor Oak
There’s thought to have been a pub on the current site of The Honor Oak for more than a century, but it’s safe to assume that the drag brunches and showtune singalongs are more recent innovations. This is the South London establishment at its campest, but there are also standup comedy nights, live jazz music and DJs at the weekends to tempt you down to Forest Hill for a visit. The menu of burgers, brunches and Sunday roasts is another reason, as is the large garden with a few heated booths ready and waiting for the winter months.
Address: 1 St Germans Road, Forest Hill, SE23 1RH
Tel: 020 8690 9222
One of the most famous gay-friendly venues in London, hosting all types of events but with mainstay Gay and mixed nights such as AM, and the world-famous afterhours BEYOND.
Now upgraded as one of London’s leading nightclubs offering a multi-roomed quality programme of local and international bespoke events covering cutting edge house, techno, bass and more. Out-door terrace and bars covered queuing, late licenses and all music powered by Funktion 1 Sound. The party never stops.
Their idea was simple, to bring everything fashion, fetish fun under one roof. The Fetch team wanted to create a store that had something for everyone, that was inclusive and put the customer first. At a time when many retailers were closing their doors, they saw an opportunity to create a brand experience unlike any other. Putting it simply, They made FETCH Happen.
The London store opened in Clapham on the 26th January 2018. Located close to both Clapham High Street overground and just a few minutes walk from Clapham North underground at the heart of the gay community in Clapham.
In July 2018 Fetch launched an industry-leading 3-hour delivery service to selected London postcodes. Nobody delivers like FETCH. With another store in Vienna, Austria, it really is now a growing global brand, recognised by EAN magazine EROTIX AWARDS as Retailer of the Year for 2019.
The Locker Room
Operating in the heart of Kennington and fresh from a comprehensive refit, the Locker Room is one of London’s best-kept secrets. They have a long history of welcoming discerning locals and travellers who wish to add a little flavour to their evenings in a safe and relaxed environment. Welcoming men who want to connect with men without inhibition in an attitude-free zone.
The Locker Room is famous for offering high-quality facilities at the best level of service. From the moment you walk through the door, they guarantee good vibes and even better company.
The Lord Clyde London
Anybody fond of some of London’s raunchier club nights may be familiar with Mitch Winn – he’s the man behind popular events such as Paunchy, Bold and Come to Daddy. In 2022, he decided to take the big step of opening his very own cruising venue and The Lord Clyde London is the end result. Spread over two floors, you’re greeted by a laid-back bar as soon as you walk through the front door, but the steamier action takes place down in the basement, complete with a darkroom, sling and play areas. Some of Winn’s own events will now be happening in the newly fitted-out space and there are also new parties intended for students and the trans community, as well as those into spanking and corporal punishment.
Address: 9 Wotton Road, Deptford, SE8 5TQ
Ministry Of Sound
Located in the famous Elephant and Castle. Ministry Of Sound is probably one of the most famous clubs. With a fabulous outdoor terrace holding some amazing outdoor summer parties as well as inside a state-of-the-art club. Home to parties like Matinee, The new Revolver, and B:EAST Club nights as well as a number of Gay nights over the years like Le Troya.
The Royal Vauxhall Tavern
ICONIC… !! We don’t really need to say anything else. We do really, I’m not sure any other venue has as much history as this corner of Vauxhall.
Former victorian music hall turned gay mecca, host to cabaret mosts nights of the week and clubs on a weekend, from Sunday social to Beefmince, Bar Wotever to live performances from stars like, Sonia, Liberty X, The Dame Edna Experience.
The Royal Vauxhall Tavern has been known as an LGBTQ+ cabaret venue since the 1980s and since October 2005 has operated exclusively as a performance venue providing cabaret shows, live music, panto, dance performances stand-up comedy, musicals, club nights and more from every area of the LGBTQ+ community as a licensed premise. In short, many people have the best memories of the time they spend here. It’s a magical place and one we couldn’t recommend enough.
Under an arch along the famous Vauxhall strip. Union plays hosts to nights from Hard On to Bootylicious to techno and Dance nights
Walk-in and straight away, you feel the dark underground new york vibe, right under the nose of MI5. I think that makes it even more exciting.
With regular drinks offers, parties and all-nighters, there’s always something fun going on.
Address: Arch 124 Cornwall Road (corner of Alaska Street), Waterloo, London SE1 8XE. WEBSITE
Tel: +44 (0)20 7633 9194
Pleasuredrome is a world-famous spa for gay and bisexual men. Gay-owned and managed, Pleasuredrome attracts more than 15,000 guys per month of all types and ages from London and across the world. This award-winning spa is unique in being open24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year. Pleasuredrome is the only gay venue in the UK that never closes.
The team at Pleasuredrome are so excited to welcome you all, with a multimillion-pound refurbishment, new bar, pods, seating and places to explore, this already luxurious spot promises to be even better, we can’t wait to go!
The Fetish Freak store is totally independent, bringing you the very best range of fetish gear available. Jonathan will always give you a warm welcome and be at the helm offering his unique friendly service. Fetish Freak stocks all the essentials such as aromas, condoms and lubes.
Often with stock a bit different from everyone else, with a very interesting Twitter account. You should check both out!