Ok, so the weather hasn’t exactly been gorgeous lately in Londontown, but we can see cracks of sunlight peeking through the grey clouds, which can only mean one thing – summer’s coming! There are few things in life better than London in the sunshine, so why not take advantage by having a beverage or six in one of the many homos-leaning beer gardens Gayland has to offer. Whatever corner of the capital you’re in, there’s literally an outside space to suit all tastes…
349 KENNINGTON LANE, LAMBETH, SE11 5QY
The Eagle is one of the most exciting bars in all of Vauxhall given its mix of exotic, up-for-it clientele, its fantastic nights such as Horse Meat Disco, and its eclectic music mix. Always good for a fun time any night of the week, the big bustling beer garden hosts hoards of thirsty regulars wanting to sample the outdoor delights, and best of all they’ve got a bar out there! The Eagle gang also fling their doors open earlier, from 6pm, with a raft of drinks offers and theme nights, such as cabaret, strippers and wrestling. A perfect place to unwind after a busy day at work.
171 CAMDEN HIGH STREET, CAMDEN, NW1 7JY
Not only does this fun-filled venue in Camden offer a stellar array of cabaret most nights of the week, it also has one of the most spacious beer terraces in the whole of north London! Named after one of the scene’s most legendary performers, the dearly departed Regina Fong, it’s always a hotspot for a cheeky cig or a friendly chat at night. During the days it traps the sun and is perfect to sample some of the Black Cap’s good old-fashioned grub, served daily. Look out for BBQs and garden parties to come during those long heady summer months.
57 RUPERT STREET, SOHO, W1D 7PL
The ever-popular Yard continues to go from strength to strength, boasting the only enclosed smoking terrace in Soho. In the chillier months, everyone has been relaxing in the gorgeous inside spaces, both upstairs and down, but it’s the outside areas that really set this bar apart from its Soho neighbours, especially in the summer months. Featuring a courtyard space that’s heaving with fit fellas, party boys and glam fag hags downstairs, it’s overlooked by a balcony upstairs, and both are smoking areas perfect for smirting (that’s smoking and flirting, innit). But it’s also fabulous for those who don’t get involved in cancer-inducing activities, too – a wonderful treat in the heart of the chaotic West End.
PS: Don’t worry about when winter returns – the outside spaces are heated too!
40 KEMERTON ROAD, CAMBERWELL, SE5 9AR
The Cambria is a gorgeous, unexpected treat for Sarf Londoners. Their beautiful beer garden gets plenty of use as the weather heats up, featuring a BBQ and roast on Sunday’s (as long as it’s not raining). The bar itself is also a perfect blend of polysexual punters, with a laid back atmosphere, friendly staff and a number of special nights. Sunday features a hugely popular cabaret with Mzz Kimberley from 8pm. Food is served from midday to 4pm and 6pm to 10pm everyday, and don’t miss out on their delicious Sunday roast menu.
37 WHARFDALE ROAD, KING’S CROSS, N1 9SD
Central Station, located in the newly trendy King’s Cross, is one of the most eclectic venues on the London gay scene. Boasting diverse features, such as raucous cabaret, an underground club and even bed & breakfast facilities. It also has a lovely beer garden with attractive modern wooden decking and green hanging baskets, where you can sample some of its fantastic food or just take advantage of the great drinks offers on at the venue.
BJ’S WHITE SWAN
556 COMMERCIAL ROAD, LIMEHOUSE, E14 7JD
BJ’s White Swan is one of the best places for fun and shenanigans in East London, offering a bustling atmosphere, some big name cabaret stars and sexy strippers most nights of the week. Outside there’s a great, well-lit and trellised beer garden, which is the place to be at whatever evening you’re attending. We’ve had some of our best nights smoking outside and chatting with the always warm, friendly and fun White Swan punters. Always a good number of hotties to flirt with, too, particularly at the weekend.
56 POPE’S LANE, SOUTH EALING, W5 4NB
A great deal of time, expense and effort has been invested into West 5’s sumptuous beer garden, which boasts trickling water features and fountains, tranquil ornamental bushes, trailing vines and attractive decking. We’ve spent some fab summer evening’s here, trapping the last rays of the sun until staggering inside for some of West 5’s awesome entertainment and piano bar. The garden comes into its own in the summer with cabaret, music, fundraisers, parties/mini-festivals and much more.
STOP PRESS: The garden is due to be renovated soon, promising to make it even sexier in time for Summer.
12 OLD QUEBEC STREET, MARBLE ARCH, W1H 7AF
The City of Quebec has recorded evidence of gay clientele having frequented its doors since 1946, officially making it the oldest gay bar in the whole of London town! In addition to being a good-looking and elegant pub in its own right, its paved and understated outdoor area is a great area to chill out in, read a paper or share a few pints with friends.
LATER @ FIRE
SOUTH LAMBETH PLACE (ENTRANCE NEXT TO STARBUCKS), VAUXHALL, SW8 1RT
Tucked away discretely behind the multi-arched Fire complex is the Later garden – think more deranged adult Disney Land than Kew Gardens campery. The expansive outdoor terrace space packs in the clubbers whenever the sun shines on a Sunday afternoon. It also hosts frequent crazy theme events, from full-on ghost houses at Halloween to the recent May Bank Holiday funfair. Oh, and if it rains there’s always full-throttle clubbing courtesy of its resident DJs to be had inside.
PULSE, 1 INVICTA PLAZA, SOUTH BANK, SE1 9UF
After its recent move to super-club Pulse, XXL has revamped its outdoor chill space into a wonderfully lush green woodland of plants, trees, benches and cosy seating, all underneath a cavernous railway arch on the south side of Blackfriars Bridge. Think Hampstead Heath meets the Three Bears in a slick post-industrial chic setting, with a pumping vocal house soundtrack to boot. Hard to imagine? Well, best you head down on any Saturday or Wednesday night and see it for yourself then!
STAR & GARTER
227 HIGH STREET, BROMLEY, BR1 1NZ
When it comes to beer gardens, Kent, once the Garden of England, serves up much larger spaces than our densely populated capital can offer. And, in addition to its madcap theme nights, special parties, cabaret, top tuneage and warm, welcoming punters, The Star & Garter has a large beer garden to soak up the summer sun. It’s the perfect place to smoke, flirt and take a brief respite from the wonderful craziness that usually ensues inside – although the garden can be quite the party, too!
152 BATH ROAD, HOUNSLOW, TW3 3ET
This warm and welcoming gay bar caters to our West London friends, just five minutes walk from Hounslow tube station. Boasting a range of nights, from cabaret, music, karaoke, quizzes and theme parties, another advantage of being slightly further out from the capital is space for a proper beer garden! The perfect place to chill out on a warm summer’s eve, and don’t miss their delicious Sunday roast dinners from 12:30-6pm.
2 ELTHAM HIGH STREET, SE9 1DA
The gay owned and run White Hart not only serves up a sumptuous menu of food until 9pm and carvery everyday, including Sunday 12-6pm, there’s also a secluded beer garden to while away the Sarf London summer nights. The paved space boasts picnic tables, perfect for a pint or bite to eat with a few friends.
186 HOE STREET, WALTHAMSTOW, E17 4QH
Walthamstow’s finest homoxuals gather together in this ridiculously fun-filled, friendly and welcoming local boozer. Boasting some serious size and plenty of theme nights, lively parties, cabaret and drinks deals, there’s also a wonderfully secluded smoking terrace, perfect for a catch-up gossip with a friend or flirting with a stranger. By the end of the evening, this is where the party’s at, and we spent ages gassing out here to a diverse gaggle of fit boys, drag queens, geezers and fag hags and had an absolute ball!
CANAL ROAD, STROOD, KENT ME2 4DR
The Riverside Tavern is in Strood, Kent beside the banks of the beautiful River Medway and is a great local gay getaway. This gay venue always has a lively rosta of club nights, live performances, theme parties, scores of drinks offers, delicious meals (including 2 for just £10 every Tuesday 1-9pm) and a Sunday roast from just £6.95. The garden is stunning and adds a real chilled and tranquil vibe to proceedings. Overlooking the river, the garden has both paved and grass areas to drink, flirt and gossip, plus covered areas, just in case that infamous English weather should take a turn for the worst.