People of alternate sexual orientation have always tended to congregate in certain areas of those cities. In the earlier days while this was in order to escape ostracism from the mainstream straight society, now it is increasingly about celebrating another way life and often associated with liberal cultural and artistic values. Here are ten places in London which are great for meeting other gay men.
- Sweatbox Soho
One of the most popular venues for gays coming together is the gym. While in the days of the closet, the image of the limp-wristed weakling was a common gay stereotype, these days gays have become much more conscious of health and fitness which is why many of the can be seen sporting chiseled torsos. Thus one of the best places in London where you can meet other gay singles is the Sweatbox Soho. Described as the ‘world’s sexiest gay gym and sauna’, this Soho establishment is aimed unabashedly at the gay male clientele. Though small, the space is well laid out with the multi-gym on the ground floor and the free weights in the room below. apart from the friendly and helpful instructors, there are also qualified masseurs at hand, offering a range of treatments from deep-tissue massaging to the ‘Full Body LA Stone Special’ which uses hot stones to ease away stress and tension. In fact the place looks more like a nightclub rather than a guy, what with its sleek, red-and-black design as well as swanky interiors.
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- Eagles London
Despite the opening up of many public spaces to same-sex lovers, gay bars remain one of the most popular ways of meeting other singles. In London the bar scene is as eclectic and thriving as the multi-cultural basis of the city. One of the establishments which have become extremely popular with the gay crowd in recent times is Eagles London, located in Kensington Lane, Vauxhall. The venue is basically a traditional boozer, with a pool table, beer garden and barbecues on weekends. however the Eagles undergoes a transformation on its weekly theme parties which include gay wrestling night Grapple 101 on Wednesdays and 1980s nostalgia fest Carpet Burn on Saturday. Most of all though, the club-cum-bar is known for the Horse Meat Disco held on Sundays - a veritable blast where skinny Soho lads and fashionistas rub shoulders with bears and scally lads. Among other attractions are a hip soundtrack as well as sizzling atmosphere which attracts gay singles from all over the city.
- Old Compton Street
Almost every major city has a gay village which is a neighborhood of gay-friendly shops, stores, cafes, pubs, bars, galleries and other such hang-outs. In London, Soho is the officially the city’s gay mecca and no wonder is cheekily thought as an abbreviation of So-Homosexual. In the southern part of Soho, the Old Compton Street in particular acts as the gathering point for the large gay community in this part of the city. There is some overlap with the red light district, though there has been a decline in prostitution and strip bars in the area since the 60's and is not quite as seedy as it once was. If you prefer to shop as you cruise around for singles, check out the gay sex emporium Clone Zone which is also supposedly the world's largest gay retail company as well as Prowler, another popular gay retail outlet. other well frequented gay venues here include the legendary Admiral Duncan pub, Compton’s and G-A-Y which are particular favorites with the younger generation as well as the gay café and restaurant Balans which is filled with pretty boys in tight T-shirts munching on burgers. On Fridays and Saturday, the atmosphere on Old Compton Street resembles a street party with much cheering, jostling, music and dance.
- MayFlower Hotel
Earl’s Court is one of the oldest gay neighborhoods in London and before Soho, it used to be home to the largest concentration of gays in the city. While the area was famous for the Philbeach Hotel which used to be London’s largest lodging destination exclusively for gays, with the disputed status of the property, other gay-friendly hotels have filled up the vacuum. One such is the Mayflower Hotel at Earl’s Court which has benefited from a spectacular makeover to offer lodging which are both cheap and chic. Apart from attractions like pretty interiors and dataports in rooms, the hotel is especially favored by gay travelers since it is close to Soho, the prime gay neighborhood in London and hence a gathering place for men interested in same-sex love. .
- 99 Club Oxford Circus
Comedy clubs are a great place to meet gay singles especially if you are looking for someone to share your interest in comic theater or performing arts. One such place in London is the 99 Club Oxford Circus. Here you can watch Paul Foot host the nightly shows for ‘the gay, the gayish and the beautiful of Soho’.
- Camden Lock
Only fifteen minutes north of Soho is Camden Lock. This part of London is for you if you wish to meet other gay singles interested in punk, grunge and out-alternative. And for this reason, it also closely resembles New York’s East Village . Every weekend in Camden one can find young, gay emo-esque scenesters shopping at vintage clothing stores and hanging out just to see and be seen.
One of the best known gay-friendly dining destinations in London answers to the name of Balans. Besides being a meeting spot for trendy gays from the city, the restaurant offers great service. The menu is affordable and something for everyone ranging from grills and roasts to steaks and simple fare. Finally the great thing about Balans is that remains open until five in the morning which is extremely convenient should you wish to drop in for a bite after a long evening out.
- Hampstead Heath Bathing Ponds
On a hot day in London, set off for the Bathing ponds of Hampton Heath where you can come upon a sea of sea of men lounging outside and swimming in a natural pond. Surrounded by lush woodland, the secluded lakes are magical enclaves and the stuff of midsummer nights’ dreams. This could well be the most successful place in your hunt for gay singles. Though the men’s bathing pond is not exclusively gay, it brims with homoeroticism, since after all this is located in Hampstead Heath, the number one cruising ground for gays in the city.
- Adonis Art Gallery
In the old gay neighborhood of Earl’s Court, Adonis Art Gallery pays homage to the male nude. Here you can come across other gays who are turned on by the visual arts and if lucky may even find a single among your co-enthusiasts. Located on Colehorne Road, the Adonis Art Gallery displays works ranging from oil paintings and watercolors to bronze figures and photography all celebrating the male form as well as same-sex love among men.
- A walk down history lane
Whether you are a local or visiting London, a great way to meet other gay singles while also appreciating the gay past of the city would to go on a history walk through a popular gay neighborhood as Soho. On this heritage trail you can Hear about the characters that have lived challenging and inspiring lives, making unique contributions to science, the arts, culture, the community, politics and LGBT rights. One such tour is run by an LGBT voluntary organization named Kairos in Soho and best of all, there is no need to book – walkers meet with the tour guide on the pavement outside the Admiral Duncan Pub and then set off for the heritage trail. Charges are five sterling pounds per head and the proceeds from the heritage walk go to support the social work of the group.