18-21/04/14: With all the shiny adverts, bells and whistles that accompany the arrival to our shores of various visiting continental mega clubs, it is very easy to become complacent and forget just how lucky we are to have the breadth and diversity of permanent gay venues right here in the city that are open day-in and day-out, come rain or shine.
Whether you are after a quiet respite for a romantic rendezvous or something a little more lively to kick-off a night on the tiles, London has it all. This Easter saw the festivities spread themselves out over the five nights from Thursday to Monday, and never being ones to miss an opportunity we donned our best walking mules and did the rounds.
We started on the north side of Soho Square at the multi-coloured edifice that is the Edge. Shining out like a beacon in the midst of Crossrail chaos, a plethora of top DJs invited us to get down and dirty with their Easter Bunny, while sexy bar boys and hostess Felicia Van Cartier ensured there was no let up in the frolics right through ‘til 3am every night.
A hop and a skip down Frith Street, we found Chez Alan at Circa where the mirror ball DJ box was on constant rotation pumping out the party tunes to a packed bar of pretty boys. Sunday also saw the launch of Jonathan Bestley’s Love#Hangover with delightful disco jams, soulful sounds and re-imagined poptastic ditties.
After a couple of Circa’s dirtiest martinis we fell out of the door and made our way carefully through the back streets of Soho to The Yard where we were greeted by a warren of the hottest bunny boys imaginable.
With all three spaces packed to the rafters we chose to mingle in the star-lit courtyard while beautiful ripped shot boys bearing trays laden with Easter delights pressed their way through the crowds.
Our next stop was just a few metres away at Rupert Street where we found the lovely Little John on the decks mixing commercial tunes to another packed bar, continuing their line-up of guest DJs that also had the gorgeous Jodie Harsh doing her thang as well as residents Rich B and Brent Nicholls.
Dragging ourselves away we headed to Ku Bar on Lisle Street where it was Playboy paradise on all three floors with live DJs, topless pert pecs serving pints and pretty boys galore as only Ku knows how.
Next stop, Manbar where, although they have had to turn the music down due to the complaints from a single vindictive neighbour, the fun continues with a superabundance of superb drinks offers for the summer and plenty of space downstairs as well as up in the new Moustache Lounge where the men gather!
Halfway II Heaven had a bumper offering of cabaret this weekend with Rose Garden’s Saturday Market knocking the ball well and truly out of the park, and DJ Sean delivering camp classics on the decks, complete with his impromptu dance routines, our evening was almost complete!
With legs almost unable to walk in a straight line, we finished our Soho trawl by jumping in to a Polish driven rickshaw and careering up the Charing Cross Road to G-A-Y Late where, having opened at 11pm it was almost at capacity thirty minutes later, and the queue stretched almost 100m down the road. Inside, the party was in full swing with the anthems and pop perfection for buff young bucks, and with drinks as cheap as Easter chicks it was the ideal homo establishment to kick back and spend the rest of the night.
Words and photos by Chris Jepson