Brief Encounter

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This article is about the bar in the West End. For the series of meetings in Croydon, see The Brief Encounter (Croydon).

The Brief Encounter was a gay bar in St Martin's Lane in the West End of London, perhaps named after the 1945 film (screenplay by Noël Coward).

"One of London’s most famous gay bars Brief Encounter is located at St Martin’s Lane, and has undergone a face lift since its infamous days as the home of society scandal in the 1970s and 1980s. Now Brief Encounter is an altogether more respectable affair but still provides the warm-up drinks for those heading to Heaven later in the evening."[1]

For a time it was accessed by a door at the right-hand end of the facade of the St Martin's Hotel.

"When Ian Schrager bought the properties on St Martin's Lane to create his smart new hotel, a small bar in the basement decided it didn't want to move. So it got a smart new facelift instead, which is in keeping with the image of the St Martin's hotel.[2]

The bar later reopened as "Site"[3] but has since closed.

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  1. Gosomewhere "Gay bars in Central London" (dated 2005).
  2. : Evening Standard review, November 2000. Accessed: 2013-07-09. (Archived by WebCite® at
  3. Iansie "London's Gay Bars: an introduction"