Sun, Sex and Suspicious Drag Queens… Our pick of the London gay scene’s best outdoor spaces

outdoor spaces

It’s finally summer! The last few days have been right scorchers haven’t they. Perfect for popping cocktail sausages in your mouth on Hampstead Heath, or mincing through Soho’s scorching side streets. London comes into its own at the height of summer, even if it does only last for a week. 

We’ve been celebrating it in true QX style…DRINKING! We love a drink. We love an after-work pint. We love a weekend cider in the park. We love a schmoozy woozy evening cocktail. We love a shot of tequila. We love a glass of Sauvignon in front of the telly. We. Love. A. Drink.

And just for YOU, for YOUR BENEFIT, we’ve been going out and getting pissed in the London gay scene’s best beer gardens and outdoor spaces, so you’ll know where to head for a flirtini on these bicep-tanningly gorgeous summer days. So here they are!


London Fields

Hackney, E8

London Fields is where fashion comes to die, where Cara Delevingne comes to find her baggie from the night before, and where drag queens come down. On summer Saturday afternoons it’s a sight to behold – heroin-chic gays in short shorts stumbling through a poppers fug, chicken wing in one hand, joint in the other, to the sound of police sirens and Rihanna’s Bitch Better Have My Money. It’s an absolute blast! Don’t take your mum though. There’s even a lido manned by distractingly hot lifeguards. Come through!


Central Station

37 Wharfdale Road, Kings Cross, N1 9SD

Conveniently nestled down a side street near international hub Kings Cross Station, Central Station is a lovely, welcoming gay watering hole. Their beer garden is unusually roomy for Central London all decked out with quaint benches and hanging baskets bursting with pansies. We love a hanging basket! Almost as much as we love a drink. And at Central Station, you can have both! If you’re feeling adventurous, stumble down to their basement afterwards for some 18 rated delights.

Vauxhall Street Food Garden

6A South Lambeth Place, SW8 1SP

Vauxhall’s bustling bazaar of food trucks and falafel stands is everything you’d expect from a London food market and more; from the gentrified freetrade Vietnamese/Japanese fusion organic pulled pork, to a good old fashioned slider burger. It’s a TimeOut journalist’s wet dream, and a QX journalist’s casual hangover hangout. Look out for the guy with the tattooed forearms who works the Taste Of The Caribbean stand, he’s well fit.


Bridge Bar

8 Voltaire Road, Clapham, SW4 6DH

Bridge Bar’s bench strewn terrace spills out into the bustling centre of Clapham. There’s lots of people-watching to be done. Muscle marys mince past swinging shopping bags from Selfridges and Pull & Bear, while yummy mummies waft by in kaftans and ridiculous floppy hats, trying to keep control of screaming children called things like Felix and Imogen. Get yourselves a good table and an espresso martini, and say hi to Flo the manager, she’s lovely.

The Glory

281 Kingsland Road, E2 8AS

What The Glory’s outdoor yard lacks in space, it makes up for in conversation. If its walls could tweet, East London’s entire fashion and media industries would be sent into meltdown. And so many iconic people have knocked over pints in there. If you want inspiration for a novel, don’t bother backpacking around Cambodia – just spend half an hour in The Glory’s smoking area.

Bloc Bar

18 Kentish Town Road, Camden, NW1 9NX

Bloc’s sauna-walled sun trap of a smoking area will keep you sucking down their sinfully strong gin and tonics until the cows come home (or at least until Mynxie Monroe comes home). It’s unprecedentedly roomy, with stools for DAYS. Yas queen! Yas stool queen! Ew actually, “stool queen” sounds wrong.

gay outdoor spaces


Sailors Sauna

570-574 Commercial Road, Limehouse, E14 7JD

Sailors are East London’s premier gay sauna! Visiting a gay sauna in the summer is just the height of too-muchery; but do it! Feel you wet and wild, slip and slide, summer nights fantasy! Most importantly, they’ve got a brand new South Facing roof terrace, where you can smoke and chat. It’s also fully enclosed, so you get up to naughtiness to your heart’s content. Wonder if there are any flight paths over it. We’re picturing Fergie looking out of the window of her private jet, then spitting out her champagne. #theflossyflossy


Eagle London

349 Kennington Lane, SE11 5QY

We’ve never not pulled someone in the Eagle’s beer garden. Literally every time we’ve gone there, we’ve come home with a man. Usually a handsome hairy man, with a good job and a leather bracelet. NOT NAMING ANY NAMES (hey Todd). It’s lovely out there, an oasis of calm. Well actually, calm is the wrong word. An oasis of raucous drinking and heavy petting. Yes, that’s more like it. Can’t say no to that!

gay outdoor spaces

The Yard Bar

57 Rupert Street, Soho, W1D 7PL

The Yard’s outdoor courtyard is almost as beautiful as its bar staff! It’s probably safe to say the iconic cobbled, vine-strewn space is the most loved beer garden in Soho. Well actually, it’s possibly the ONLY beer garden in Soho. That’s not to undermine it though, it’s amazing. Lovely comfy cushions, gorgeous scenic amphoras, and more gossip than Kim Kardashian’s Snapchat. The thing to drink in The Yard is a sweating, ice-cold bottle of rosé. Oooh gorgeous. Sip sip!

gay outdoor spaces

BJ’s White Swan

556 Commercial Road, Limehouse, E14 7JD 

Good old White Swan! Of course they can be relied upon for a suitable outdoor drinking spot. They get their priorities right over there. We love their fairy lights and, even more, we love the clientele! There’s something about the White Swan’s beer garden than invites debauchery and bitching, which are, of course, our two favourite things!

Hampstead Heath Men’s Ponds

Hampstead Heath, NW3

YES! Perfect for a bitchy barbecue or a slutty sunbathe. The Men’s Ponds have been a hive of homosexual sun-seeking hedonism for decades, and they’re still pretty unbeatable. The lawn on the banks of the cool murky waters is transformed into a thriving sea of tanned torsos and bulging buttocks. And you can guarantee that someone will be blasting Let’s Have A Kiki out of some portable speakers. There will also be at least three chihuahuas in attendance. What’s great about the ponds, is that you can go for a wholesome chat and a swim, OR, if you so desire, venture up into the bushes for some titillating outdoor naughtiness (by which we mean getting buggered over a tree stump).

More: I Promised You A Beer Garden
        Let’s Go Outside



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