Welcome to THEGAYUK’s Lost LGBT Scene project.
We’ve created this archive to remember and pay tribute to the gay bars and LGBT+ spaces that have closed. There’s no denying that the scene went through a heydey back in the 80s and 90s but as technology and other factors have slowly become essential in connecting the LGBT+ community, since the 00’s, many bars have fallen by the wayside.
At one time the LGBT bar was one of our only safe spaces. It was where many of us could feel at home, be ourselves and with people who understood our journey. They were and still continue to be a hugely important part of our community.
We’re looking for your contributions to make this an essential archive of the LGBT scene in the UK. If you have memories, photos or even stories of some of the venues listed please click on it and add your content in the comment section. We will then add these to the main article.
Although this list currently only has London venues listed at the moment, we’re keen to expand to include the rest of the UK. Please use the comment section below to draw our attention to closed bars in your area.
(Click on the name to go to the venue’s page)
- 3 Monkey: Greenwich
- The Angel: a cabaret bar in Stratford.
- The Anvil: rather sleazy bar within the Shipwrights Arms in Tooley Street
- Artful Dodger: in Highbury and Islington.
- The Bar: a large style cafe bar in Shoreditch.
- Bar Aquda: on Maiden Lane near Covent Garden.
- Barcode Vauxhall: cruisy bar in Albert Embankment. 1996 – 2015
- Barcode: a dancey bar in Soho which late 00s.
- Bar Fusion: in Islington.
- Bar Titania: Was on Charing Cross Road on the site of the old Ku Bar next to Manbar/CXR. Closed 2016.
- The Birdcage: A traditional friendly pub in Chiswick which closed in 2006.
- The Black Cap: legendary North London drag bar and club which closed in 2015. 1965 – 2015
- The Black Horse: East end gay bar near Stepney Green.
- Blackout: an Art Deco style cocktail bar on Molton Street
- The Blush Bar: a lesbian bar in Stoke Newington. 1997 – 2015.
- The Boltons: Corner of Earls Court Rd & Brompton Rd
- The Box: relaxed cafe on Seven Dials near Covent Garden.
- Brewery Tap: a friendly local gay bar in Stockwell
- Brewers Tap: Walthamstow
- The Britannia: a different themed night every night in Leytonstone
- Brief Encounters
- The British Prince: An intimate east end boozer near Limehouse
- Bromptons: Big and cruisy was once part of the now-defunct Earl’s Court gay scene. Is now being turned into flats. 1984 – 2008.
- Buzz Bar: Bar in Clapham Junction
- Cafe Au-Reole: gay bar set on two floors, was part of the Earl’s Court gay scene.
- Central Station, Walthamstow: gay bar with nightly entertainment in Walthamstow.
- Candy Bar: London’s number one Lesbian bar – had a brief reopening, but closed again in 2014. 1996 – 2014
- Catch 22: short-lived gay bar in Wood Green, the most northern gay bar in London.
- Citrus Grove: Fridays only in Gipsy Hill.
- The Champion: long-running and unpretentious in Notting Hill.
- Copacabana: Disco bar in Earls Court closed in the late 90s
- Cock: a traditional pub in Kennington which closed in 2005.
- Cock and Comfort: large gay boozer in Bethnal Green
- The Coleherne: bar which tried to rebrand in 2008 becoming the Pembroke. It was London’s oldest gay bar until its closure.
- The Coronet: described as a stylish east end bar, near Stratford, now apartments
- Compass: Islington
- Crews: Central London, on St. Martin’s Lane. Read a story about why Crews was opened.
- Crown and Anchor: a gay and mixed pub in Bromley North. Closed in 2006 and reopened as a non-gay bar and told customers who were looking for a gay bar to go to Stonewall bar in Lewisham – also now closed.
- David Warriors A Bar: for men with attitude – men only in Southwark
- Due South: in Stoke Newington
- Dukes: a gay bar which was very popular with bears in Vauxhall It now operates as Eagle London, which is still a gay venue.
- The Duke of Clarence: Lesbian bar on Rotherfield Street, just off Essex Road, Islington.
- The Duke of Wellington: mixed and friendly bar in Islington.
- Edge, The: 4 Storey gay bar perched on the edge of Soho Square.
- Embassy, The
- Escape: Popular dance bar with student night in Soho, closed in 2014. 1998 – 2014.
- Fallen Angel: Islington. Bar with rooms upstairs where support groups would meet. Has now been turned into flats.
- Flag, The, Finsbury Park
- The Fort: a cruisy gay bar in Elephant and Castle. Was reported closed in August 2011. 1997 – 2011.
- First Out Cafe Bar: legendary gay venue lasted 25 years before closing in 2011. 1986 – 2011.
- The George Music Bar: Cosy bar in Isleworth.
- Goose and Carrot: a gay-friendly mixed pub in Croydon
- Gladstone Arms: gay bar in Borough which had regular themed nights.
- Gloucester, The: Gay bar featured in Beautiful Thing
- The Green: Swanky, an upmarket bar on Upper Street, Islington. 2007 – 2012.
- The Green Carnation: Upper market wine bar on the edge of Soho. Closed in 2015.
- The Green Man: Traditional and mixed in Harlesden.
- George And Dragon: in Shoreditch was forced to close after a dramatic price hike in its lease.
- Golden Lion, Kings Cross
- The Halfway House: described as east London’s friendly gay bar in Bethnal Green.
- Harpoon Louis: The bar upstairs, Harpoon Louie’s (later Harpo’s and later still Banana Max), was until the late 1980s among the most popular gay bars in London. It is now a Wagamama restaurant. Above the Copa in Earls Court Road, it was the largest gay bar in London, on 3 levels with an extensive garden. Opened in 1983 and closed in 1997 (thanks to John for the info)
- The Hoist: cruise and sex venue for guys in Vauxhall. Closed in January 2017 after 21 years in business
- The Horns: cruise bar at London Bridge.
- The Joiner’s Arms: Long established LGBT space which closed in January 2015 1997 – 2015
- The Jubilee Tavern
- Two8Six: Was a pub formerly known as Stonewalls, it closed in 2012. The 1960s – 2012
- Kazbar: Announced it would close at the end of 2016. Was one of two gay bars in Clapham, the other being The Two Brewers.
- Kensington Roof Gardens: had a gay night on Sundays.
- King Edward IV: in Islington closed in 2011. 1966 – 2011
- Leinster, The: The pub opened in 1998 and closed in 2005 on two floors, a traditional gay pub for the “Chelsea crowd” The pub which was on the corner of Ossington St has since been demolished. (Thanks to John for the info)
- Limelight, On Charing Cross Road, near the Palace Theatre. Was a Sunday night evening event.
- The Little Apple: traditional gay pub closed in 2014. 1993 – 2014
- Lo-Profile: a gay bar started by the dating site, Gaydar, closed in 2013.
- London Apprentice: Old Street, North London
- Lower Ground: a basement bar in West Hampstead.
- Lounge: iconic lesbian night which closed and then reopens and then closed again.
- Macbeth, The: gay run pub near Old Street.
- Madame Jo Jos: famed Drag venue which closed in 2014. 1966 – 2014
- Manbar: the bar that went on to replace CRX79 on Tottenham Court Road.
- The Market Tavern: Islington.
- Molly Moggs: a friendly and brash central London pub, famous for its larger than life drag queens, karaoke and friendly staff. One of the oldest LGBT pubs in the UK. Molly Moggs has now reopened. Update 2019 It is now closed and reopened as another bar, which isn’t LGBT.
- The Navy Arms: a Friendly pub in Deptford.
- Nelson’s Head: a traditional pub in Horatio Street. 2007 – 2015.
- The Oak: lesbian bar in Manor House. 1994 – 2013
- Old Ship: East end gay pub near Old Street.
- The Orange: Described as a large boys space, with themes every night.
- The Outback Bar: next to Buzz Bar, also closed in Clapham Junction.
- Penny Farthing: A favourite Hammersmith hangout.
- Play Pit: A sleazy barroom cruisy bar in Kings Cross
- Profile: a cafe and bar opened by dating gurus Gaydar, closed in 2013 along with the sale of their radio station Gaydar Radio. 2007 – 2013.
- Prohibition Cafe Bar: gay owned, a gay-friendly pub in Streatham.
- Princess Of Wales: Friendly gay bar in Woolwich.
- Queens Arms: closed in the early 2000s and turned into flats. It was a smart, upmarket pub.
- Queens Arms: a homely pub in Hounslow Central.
- Queens Head: Chelsea gay/straight pub that was unable to negotiate a new lease due to increased costs in 2016.
- Ram, The: Islington with legendary party nights.
- Rocket: Two bars in one, in Acton.
- Roebuck: a bar situated in Rennell Street, later called Bar Phoenix which was eventually demolished.
- Rose and Crown: Greenwich
- Red Stiletto: in Vauxhall.
- Racecourse: The a friendly mixed pub in Crouch End.
- Route 73: traditional gay bar in Stoke Newington.
- Rush Bar: a lesbian bar which closed in the mid-2000s.
- Salisbury: St Martins Lane, WC1 (yes it is still there, but now straight).
This was pub frequented by actors and gay men in the 1950/60s becoming completely gay in the 1970s. It ceased trading as a gay pub in 1985 with the opening of a new gay bar across the road (Brief Encounter). It was featured in the film “Victim” with gay leading actor Dirk Bogarde. The film made in 1961 told the story of the culture of blackmail in the gay community.
The film set in motion the legalisation of homosexuality in 1967. (thanks to John for info)
- The Salmon, in Islington
- Shadow Lounge: A members dance club/bar that allowed guest listing announced it was to shut in September 2016.
- Skinners Arms: a Traditional gay pub in Oval.
- Soho’s Strippers
- Southopia: a lesbian bar in Kennington.
- SW9: a stylish cafe bar in Brixton.
- The Stag
- Star And Garter: a traditional pub in Bromley. 2006 – 2014.
- Stokey Stop: a lesbian bar in Stoke Newington
- West Central
- White Horse: a mixed pub on the Westferry DLR.
- Woolwich Infant: Plumstead
- Y Bar: On Essex Road in Islington.
- 79CXR: manly bar on Tottenham Court Road. 1994 -2015
- Adams Club: In in Leicester Sq.
- Area: Dance club in Albert Embankment 2006 – 2014
- Atelier at The End: Weekly lounge-style event near Tottenham Court Road.
- Benjy’s 2000: a Sunday night club night for gay men, near Mile End.
- The Block: A Bromley by Bow dress code, cruisy club night.
- Catacombs: A bar in Earl’s Court, which never sold alcohol. Read a story from the Catacombs.
- Coco Latte: every Friday night at the Chocolate Bar.
- Club V: a popular gay indie night every other Saturday in Islington.
- Club Kali: at the Dome, a bi-monthly Bhangra bash in N19.
- Club Tranvesties: A Stepney night for “TVs/ TSs” every Sunday near Aldgate East
- Chaguaramas Club: Neal St, closed in 1970
- Crash: late night club from 10.30 in Vauxhall. Closed in 2007. It now operates as Union, which is still a gay event.
- El Sombrero: (Yours or Mine) Kensington High Street
- Extreme: Sunday afternoon clubbing from 1 PM till 9 PM.
- FF was at Turnmills
- Fist: described as a “sleaze pit” with a strictly enforced dress code.
- G-A-Y: at the Astoria: 1993 – 2008 Moved to Heaven.
- Gay Tea Dance: at the Limelight on Shaftesbury Ave.
- Ghetto: Cult Soho dance club with a mixed clientele of club freaks, artists and international A-listers. Legendary nights included NagNagNag, Misshapes and The Cock (thanks to LWellsted). 2001 – 2008
- Long Yang Club: a gay night for Southeast Asians.
- The Masquerade club: On Earl’s Court Road
- Napoleon: A club on Bond street
- Off The Hook: at Velvet – mixed Monday night club.
- The Phoenix: clubbing on Saturdays near Oxford Circus.
- Popstarz: mixed club night which used to be held in Kings Cross closed in November 2014.
- Reflections: an intimate gay night in Stratford.
- Reflex: attitude-free clubbing in Kingston Upon Thames.
- Sadie Masie: at the now-defunct London lesbian and Gay Centre in Cow Cross Street, Farringdon. (Thanks to John)
- Shadow Lounge: A members club in the heart of Soho famous for its light-up dance floor and VIP sections. Closed 2016.
- Silks Club: A club in Shepherd’s Bush shopping centre
- Spats club in Oxford St.
- The Spiral: gay-friendly club near Old Street.
- Substation South: late night club, with different themes each night of the week in Brixton.
- Substation Sound-Shaft: on Hungerford Lane – cruisy late night club/bar – Thursday nights were called Twisted and Fridays were called SPUNK.
- Subway: Leicester Square
- The Lounge: described as a “gentleman’s” club with bar and restaurant.
- The Masquerade Club, In Earl’s Court
- Trade: Techno club night at Turnmills. 4 AM till 1 PM in Farringdon. Last night was held in October 2015.
- Trash Palace: In Soho, set over three floors down the road from Ku Bar.
- The Tube: Late night club and cruise bar on Saturdays was called Wigout.
- Turnmills: Clerkenwell
- Voltz: Was beneath the Roebuck in Lewisham.
Biograph: A cinema were gay men went, but didn’t spend much time watching films. Read a story about a young man’s first sexual encounter at Biograph.
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