From the Soho scene to Vauxhall's infamous clubs, here's your ultimate guide to going out gay in London, with tips on where's hot to stay and play
London has to be one of the best cities in the world for gay people, with a huge nightlife scene and plenty of hot guys from all over the world living and partying here.
On arrival in London, you need to head into any local gay bar close to your hotel and pick up a Boyz or QX magazine. Both come out mid-week, with listings for the coming weekend; they are also available online from Wednesday. The magazines contain regulars such as 'musts and maybes', which will give you an idea about what is going to be hot.
Where to stay
You will also want to check in to a hotel close to the action. Where this is will depend on what your scene is. If you are into restaurants, bars and cafes, you may want to consider being close to Soho. There are a whole range of differently-priced hotels in the West End. One of the cheapest is Piccadilly Backpackers, which although not gay is in the heart of gay Soho, has 24-hour access and is only £12 a night! Perfect if you don’t plan on sleeping much and just need a space to shower and change. At the top end is the Soho Hotel, again in the heart of Soho, with many famous gay people being seen there. St Martins Lane is also gay-friendly, full of beautiful people and has a cool bar.
If, however, bars and clubs are your thing, you may want to stay closer to Vauxhall. The best hotel in the area has to be the Park Plaza Riverbank. On the River Thames, five minutes from the Vauxhall clubs, it has a funky bar and a fabulous Asian fusion restaurant. For those on a tighter budget, there is the Comfort Inn Vauxhall on South Lambeth Road, again just a couple of minutes from the action.
Where to play
So once you have your place to stay, and your listings magazines, you need to work out which party will suit you best. If you are into fashion, performance art or live music, then the Hoxton scene may be what you are looking for. But one of the alternative scene favourites has to be Horse Meat Disco, on Sunday nights at The Eagle on Kennington Lane in Vauxhall.
If you have come to London for the legendary club scene, then you should start your night in BarCode Vauxhall, free before 10pm. It has a dance floor at the back with amazing glitter balls everywhere; it also has some of the scene's best DJs, and it is all at bar prices. You will soon find out from the crowd if one of the big production nights such as Matinee or supermartxe is on. Alternatively, there is men-only MegaWoof for the bears. These are always followed by after-hours clubs that keep going all morning!
If Soho is more your thing, you are spoilt for choice. My recommendation for coffee has to be The Box in Covent Garden. For dinner, Randall & Aubin on Brewer Street has amazing seafood, great music and really hot staff! For more budget eats, Walk to Wok next door is tasty, as are Satsuma and Wagamama. There are literally hundreds of bars, but for ultra-camp, try GAY Bar and for the under-25s, try KU Bar. BarCode Soho is good for friendly hot guys and a more laidback vibe, and The Shadow Lounge is perfect for the most glamorous of you all!
There isn’t much of a club scene in Soho. However, GAY often has live performances from various pop stars, so check out who is performing the weekend you are here.
It is also always worth checking out if there are any additional events such as London Pride, The Milk Festival Vauxhall or Out In The City Soho, as these are often followed by the biggest nights of the year!