East London’s Gay And Gay Friendly Bars

It’s time for part three on our look at England’s capital. Nothing says entertainment like the east.

As ever, you can look at our colourful interactive map here.


Wentworth Mews, E3 4UA

Tube: Mile End

Prepare for extremes. This venue is really down a backstreet, and is only for the hardcore. It’s an underground gay bar. This isn’t for any pop princesses. Dress in your finest grunge/leather and be prepared to be stripped down to your undies…if you’re wearing undies..

BJ’s White Swan

556 Commercial Rd, E14 7JD

Tube: Stepney Green

One of our favourite East End hotspots, and rightly so. It’s an infamous gay boozer (with a name like BJ it’s to be expected) where Sir Ian McKellen used to come after he came out of Gandalf’s closet. Long and impressive history aside, the pub isn’t what we’d call close and cosy. Time Out have described it as a “rough and soulless space”. We wouldn’t exactly go that far, but it’s certainly a bit barren, though the inclusion of soft-porn videos  broadcast from TV screens above the bar certainly adds to the decor. A definite positive is the rowdy and energetic crowd, as well as the usual amateur strip contests held on Wednesdays. Those who want to don their birthday suits for cash. On Friday and Saturday nights expect strippers or drag queens, who entertain customers until the night begins with chart tunes and commercial house.

Dalston Superstore

177 Kingsland High St, E8 2PB

Tube: Dalston Kingsland Station

This isn’t an obvious gay bar. Dalston is technically in the north east of London and is best known for its uber cool and arty residents. On Mondays to Thursdays there’s free entry before 10pm, and after on Thursdays to Sundays there’s a £5 entry fee. This venue hosts all sorts – it’s difficult to predict what you’ll find. They’ve got music, food, art and a section called “culture”. Probably best to call up in advance to find out what’s goin’ awn.

A list of their music events can be found here.

George & Dragon

2 Hackney Road , E2 7NS

Tube: Hoxton

Welcome to where the cool kids come – Shoreditch and Hoxton. Not strictly gay, but certainly welcoming this place gets busy at weekends. If you want to bag yourself a table, we suggest arriving early, otherwise you’ll be on your feet all night. The crowd usually consists of the fashion concious and future artists dressed in skinny jeans, plimsoles and donning black eyeliner. Vintage is a necessity, and sums up the bar – a bit of a scruffster but totally unique and intriging. We love the use of twinkly lights adding a sense of the magical to the cosy venue, as well as the random ornaments that wouldn’t look out of place at a jumple sale. On Saturday nights expect cheesy pop, but who doesn’t like that? Vintage tunes fill the venue as visitors slurp from plastic cups.

Joiners Arms

116-118 Hackney Rd, E2 7QL

Tube: Hoxton

This is a bar of two halves. There can be times where you’ll experience a friendly, gay crowd and enjoy regular entertainment and continuous happy hours. This is the pub we like. At other times, the atmosphere changes into a club-type-thing, with blaring base, house music, a thick, sweaty air and club goers. If you’re into that sort of thing, then this pub/club won’t present a problem to you. Note – the toilets are grim, and there’s usually a long queue when it starts to get busy. There’s generally friendly vibe, with tough lads crowding around the pool table. We say, pick your moment to visit.

Nelson’s Head

32 Horatio Street, E2 7EH

Tube: Hoxton

We have to say that we LOVE the interior design in the Nelson’s Head. Mini chandeliers, dark blue walls, a mixture of wooden chairs and tables, as well as leather bound seats. In short, we could sit here forever. Did we mention the white china? Well, there’s white china. Anyway, it looks great, serves alcohol and the company ain’t half bad either.

Old Ship

17 Barnes Street, E14 7NW

Travel: Limehouse station

Another cosy and classic pub. More importantly, queens are most definitely invited.

To keep you occupied, take a look at the cabaret list for May:


12th May – Mitzi Macintosh

19th May – Candy Slag in Drag

26th May – Cookie Monstar

If you want to go we suggest signing the petition on the pub’s website.

Star Of Bethnal Green

359 Bethnal Green Rd, E2 6LG

Tube: Bethnal Green

This is the place for a young, enthusiastic crowd who enjoy a good edgy music night. The layout’s intimate, with a karaoke room available to hire. Found along a road of predominantly white, traditional looking East London watering holes, the Star is a welcome retreat. It hosts a selection of locally based brews, a fantastic kitchen and food menu. Monday’s offer two for one pizzas, and on Sunday’s you can enjoy a fine, traditiona roast and Blood Mary until 10pm.

Keen to know what’s on? Head to their events page.


South London’s Gay and Gay Friendly Bars

North London’s Gay and Gay Friend Bars


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