Heaven is exactly as God intended: a huge club nestled under Charing Cross' beautiful arches, where gays, queers and good folk can mingle, watch live performances, take part in stripping competitions and sweat it out on the dance floor. The only central London venue with a thousand person capacity, it's known around town for hosting some of the biggest names in music, like Tini Tempah, Lion Babe, Nao, Kano, Kehlani and FKA Twigs. It's also famed on the queer scene for welcoming G-A-Y's biggest club nights, including Gay Porn Idol, an amateur stripping competition, where average people wobble their bits and international cabaret superstars judge them for it. We thought hell would be naughty, but Heaven is pure filth.
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Royal Vauxhall Tavern
The Tavern was once a Victorian hub of debauchery where the city's most exuberant eccentrics congregated to enjoy a spot of rambunctious genderfuck and dance their frilly culottes off in a roaring cacophony of decadent abandon. Thankfully, not much has changed since then. As the first building in the UK to be listed for its LGBTQ heritage, the legendary RVT remains a veritable bastion of South London's queer nightlife and rad artistic community, which is no easy feat when you consider that queer haunts across town seem to be closing down faster than you can say, 'Nah queen'. It's home to thought-provoking performance art, thought-numbing club nights, thoughtful charity nights , plus some of the most deliciously bawdy artists on the cabaret scene - it's where the party's at. Every single night.
The quaint little Dunky is one of the long lasting strongholds of the Old Compton gay strip, famed for having one small bar, one big room, one small stage and one big, friendly, welcoming atmosphere. Poor old Duncan was the victim of a dreadful bombing attack by some fascist dickhead back in 1999, which killed three people and seriously injured another 70. Only the perpetrator clearly underestimated the power of the LGBT community, and within a few months, the Admiral rose from the ashes like a phoenix, and continues to offer cheap afternoon bevvies and some of the best in London's cabaret scene.
If there ever was a basement that feels nothing like a basement, but really is just a basement, it'd be VFD. There are no decorations to speak of, the loos have swinging doors and no locks, the bar is big enough for three skinny bartenders and the dance floor can fit maybe 40 people, tops. It's grimy, it's sweaty, and yet it's so much fun. This alternative basement plays host to some of the quirkiest nights, with everything from die-ins, spiritual rituals, spoken word nights, drag acts, erotic salons and cool pop-electro-camp-tastic club nights like Sassitude, Dirty Diana or Straight Nasty. It's pretty hit and miss at times, but it's so intimate that you can't help but have a good time. Be warned: VFD only opens when it has an event going on, so double check before heading there.
Big Apple Brixton
Don't tell us you haven't dreamed about New York in the 70s. Andy Warhol, hip hop at its infancy, Studio 54, R&B... it was all happening, baby. Get a slice of the big apple at this new immersive pop up, bringing mid-century NYC to SW. BAB will host three indoor bars and one themed nightclub based on iconic venues from the era. The rooftop venue will feature guest performances from rappers and DJs, as well as American street food vendors and seasonal cocktails. Can you dig it?