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By Ifan Llewelyn

“Last Wednesday will go down in our history as the day The Glory opened in Haggerston. Recently re-christened ‘Faggerston’, for those that have yet to catch up.” It’s wild to think that it’s been over five years since a group of bedraggled East London creatures put their heads together and opened a bar.

From the minds of scene veterans Jonny Woo, John Sizzle, Colin Rothbart and Zoe Argiros was spawned The Glory. From the outset, it dug its heels in as a “super-pub, nightspot and performance mecca” and BOY did it deliver.  This week, they’re celebrating five decadent years of being open for business.

The bar’s opening party brought together luminaries of queer past, present and, it turns out, future as the scene’s bright lights flocked to Haggerston. The eclectic decor set against the place’s dark vintage mouldings proved to be an instant hit, with James Davison‘s toilet having folks lingering outside the stalls. Or, at least that what we believed they were up to. 

Taking up arms and performing that night were some of the faces that would come to be regulars at the venue. Scene jewel Princess Julia took to the decks, and Holestar with Jacqui Potato stormed the stage. 

Glory Bar Opening with live band performance by Lou Reed covers band “The Transformers” featuring Johnny Woo. 281 Kingsland Rd, Haggerston, London 10. December 2014 by Al de Perez.

The years since that fateful night have brought us countless kooky cabarets and bat-shit bashes. Remember the Night of 1000 Beyoncés? or Mzz Kimberley’s Boob-A-Thon? Not to mention their annual competitions ManUp! and Lipsync1000 that have launched the careers of several of the scene’s most prominent performers. They’ve had queer performance lab, after bilingual queer night after drag homage. When Meghan walked down the aisle, they even brought us a Night of a 1000 Markles. 

“…pills, spills + belly…”

In recent months, they’ve kicked things up a gear, hosting several performances a night down in the basement while the bustling bar pours out the pints upstairs. Heck, in 2020 they’ve already hosted a LOL-over with “pills, spills + belly” giving away free paracetamol and breath mints, got in trouble with Fagulous and stayed up late with “hunk of spunk” Don One. Who KNOWS what this coming year has in store. 

By now, the watering hole has cemented its place firmly among the must-see London queer spots. If you’re looking for a night of drinks, dancing and DIY drag, then The Glory’s your gal. No matter the night of the week. 

To mark the half-a-decade milestone, they’re welcoming back members of The Glory family for a wild night of debauched action right into the early hours. Taking to the stage will be malevolent temptress Cassandra, mischievous wench Kevin Le Grand, the flailing limbs of Margo Marshall and the musical stylings of Jimmy Lavender. Providing the evening’s soundtrack of obscure Bjork remixes and dinky-doodle ditties will be DJs Mollywood, Tasty Tim, busty innkeeper John Sizzle and devout patron saint of The Glory, Princess Julia. 

The Glory’s 5th Birthday is on Saturday, 11th January at The Glory (duh), 281 Kingsland Rd, Haggerston E2 8AS. 5pm – 3am. Free before 10pm, £8 after. 

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