The male gay scene has been a booming, thriving community for many years. Now so developed that you can pretty much find something for every taste and persuasion, from the buzzing Soho bars to the all night clubs of Vauxhall. It’s not difficult for gay men to find a place to go, but for gay women, it is a lot harder. The lesbian bar scene has taken some time to catch up, and still even in the gay capital of the world I struggle to name any lesbian bars that are solely or predominantly for lesbians. The unfortunate loss of hang outs like First Out and Rush have left lady lovers a bit scattered, and we now often find ourselves hanging from the doorways of male populated bars such as Ku or The O Bar.
However, whilst we may not have a base to which we flock, we are these days blessed with a number of monthly and bi-monthly nights that call upon us to gather and get friendly in some pretty swanky and sophisticated venues. Here’s a small handful of our best lesbian bars in London…
South Bank Surfing
South Bank Surfing is not exactly new to the scene. It’s been around for a number of years, however one would be entirely forgiven for missing it’s occurrence in recent months, since it actually no longer takes place upon the Southbank. Originally held at the BFI Southbank’s Benugo, it seems the competition for space versus the popularity of the night was causing a bit of chaos at the venue, so it has now been moved to London Wall Bar and Kitchen. In my opinion it’s an altogether more accommodating location, boasting an intimacy that was lost within the spread of bodies at the BFI. Moreover it doesn’t have to compete with filmgoers and a general crowd of Southbank surfers, as the night is entirely dominated by women of a Sapphic nature, most of whom have made a slightly more exerted effort to get there. SBS is regarded as more of a networking evening, and it is indeed a great opportunity to meet women in a friendly environment and expand your social and potentially professional circle. An absence of music means that you can actually hear people speak, which is always helpful in these kind of environments. Check out dates via their website.
Back in the familiar streets of Soho, Code is a bi-monthly event that takes place at Green Carnation on Greek Street. This is less a networking, more a get together and get a bit giddy kind of affair. Surrounded by the buzz of Soho bars and beats, Code takes place on a Friday and is perfectly located for post-work, welcome-to-the-weekend-style partying. The age demographic is generally lower here as the night caters for a more bar-cultured clientèle with happy hour drink offers and dance music. However whatever your seniority, this is nonetheless a great place to come with a group of friends if you are looking to have a good time and do some damage on the dance floor.
By far the most sophisticated of female gatherings, Mint was created by the name behind most successful Sapphic events these days, Nicola Chubb. Mint is a network for professional women, and organises a range of nights at many of London’s swankier venues, where women can network and nestle in for some sophisticated hub bubbing and a few drinks. It’s a perfect way to rub shoulders with like-minded women in a relaxed atmosphere, and you can often spot some familiar to famous faces from the bar. Mint offer a Black Card membership which allows you free entry to all Mint events plus a number of other perks. My personal favourite of the Mint nights is a slightly more heady affair often held at Soho House. The night has grown in popularity and kudos over the past couple of years and now runs over several floors of the venue, offering open air indulgence on the rooftop and the chance to dance to some lovely house and beats on the floors below. Here you have the option to recline and soak up the, quite frankly, beautiful surroundings (and I don’t mean the venue) or put your feet to work to the likes of some of London’s top DJing talent. Join the facebook group for regular news and updates of upcoming events.
Once again brought to us by the pioneer of lesbian events, Nicola Chubb, One Love is a new night that launched recently in conjunction with the new gay women’s app, Findhrr. It met with massive success at the Findhrr launch party which took place at the Vauxhall club Area, and with a DJ line up including Maya Jane Coles is it any wonder? Now the event has moved to Cafe De Paris and seems to be popping up on a monthly basis. It’s a great night if you like to get your head down to some high quality electronic house, and not for lightweights. Expect to see daylight before bed.