Timeline of London Bars and Clubs

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The Coleherne
The gay scene in London has always been centred around the West End, especially Soho. In the 1980s some clubs opened up in Earls Court, where the rent was cheaper. In the 1990s, the scene reverted back to Soho, revitalised by new style bars like The Village. Vauxhall became the locus of gay clubs from 2000. Included in the following timeline are bars and clubs in Earl’s Court and Vauxhall, though they are not strictly in the West End.


The Golden Ball (Bond's Stables, off Chancery Lane).

Jenny Greensleeves' Molly House (Durham Yard, off the Strand).[1]

Julius Caesar Taylor's Molly House (Tottenham Court Road).[2]

Plump Nelly's Molly House (St James's Square, St James's).[2]

Royal Oak Molly House (Giltspur Street, Smithfield)[2]

Three Tobacco Rolls (Covent Garden).

1724 Mother Clap's Molly House, closed 1726 (Holborn).


Harlequin (Nag's Head Court, Covent Garden)


1810 The White Swan, Vere Street (Vere Street)

1832 Admiral Duncan (54 Old Compton Street, Soho)

The Hundred Guineas Club (Portland Place)

1866 The Coleherne, gay from the 1950s?, closed 24 September 2008 (261 Earls Court Road, Earls Court)

1889 19 Cleveland Street, as in the Cleveland Street scandal

1893 St James's

1896 Trocadero Long Bar Shaftesbury Avenue


1905 Criterion

1912 The Cave of the Golden Calf (9 Heddon Street, Mayfair)


1910 York Minster, later The French House (49 Dean Street, Soho)


The Marquis of Granby in Soho.

The Hungry Horse.[3]

Gerano's (New Compton Street)

Chez Victor (Wardour Street, Soho)

The downstairs bar at the Ritz Hotel

The Bunch of Grapes

Windsor Castle


Hambone Club aka The Ham Bone (Ham Yard, Soho)

1925 Hotel de France, now the site of Heaven

1927 The Adelphi Rooms


Black Cat

Cosmopolitan Wardour Street

The Forum Club (Hyde Park Corner)

The White Room


Running Horse

1931 The Gateways, closed 1985 (239 King's Road, Chelsea)

1934 The Caravan, opened July 1934 (81 Endell Street, Covent Garden)

1935 Billie's Club (Little Denmark Street)

1935 Careless Stork (Denman Street, Piccadilly)

1935 Festival (Dean Street, Soho)

1935 Shim Sham Club (37 Wardour Street, Soho)

1937 Music Box (Leicester Place)

1937 Sphinx (Gerrard Street)

1939 Boeuf sur Le Toit (Orange Street)


Queens Head (27 Tryon Street, Chelsea)

The Salisbury (90 St Martin's Lane)

Cave of the Golden Calf (Heddon Street, Mayfair)

1941 Arts and Battledress, closed late 1970s (Orange Street, then Rupert Street (as A&B), Soho)

1941 Sam's Café (Rupert Street, Soho)

1941 Swiss Hotel, later Comptons (53 Old Compton Street, Soho)

1941 The Crown and Two Chairmen (31–32 Dean Street, Soho)

1946 City of Quebec (12 Old Quebec Street, Marble Arch)


1951 White Horse (Rupert Street, Soho)

1952 A&B, previously Arts and Battledress in Orange Street (Rupert Street, Soho)

The Rockingham, Archer Street

The Spartan Club (Tachbrook Street, Pimlico)

Bennett's Festival (2 Brydges Place)


The White Bear (Kennington Park Road)

The Carousel Club (Orange Street, then Panton Street)

The Roundabout

The Coffee House (Haymarket)

Vince (Foubert's Place)

Danny La Rue's (Hanover Square)

La Douce (D'Arbly Street, Soho)

Peppermint Lounge (Piccadilly Circus)

The Castle (later Stonewalls and Two8Six), closed 2012 (286 Lewisham High Street, Lewisham)

The Boltons, closed early 1990s (326 Earls Court Road, Earls Court)

The Catacombs, closed early 1980s (Finborough Road, Earls Court)

The Champion (opening TBC), until 2004 (1 Wellington Terrace, Notting Hill)

The Robin Hood (Inverness Terrace, Bayswater)

The Waterman's Arms (1 Glenaffric Avenue, Greenwich)

1962 The Black Cap, closed 12 April 2015 (171 Camden High Street, Camden Town)

1962 Le Gigolo, closed circa 1978 (328 King's Road, Chelsea)(coffee shop)[4].

1962 The Witches Brew, closed 1963 (Queensway)


El Sombrero including Yours or Mine, date TBC (142–144 Kensington High Street)

Father Redcap (Camberwell)

Kings Head (Gerrard Street)

Golden Lion (Dean Street)

Green Man (Portland Street)

The Dog and Trumpet (Great Marlborough Street, Soho)

The Dorset Arms (Clapham Road, Clapham)

The Chepstow (Notting Hill)

Apollo (Wardour Street, Soho)

Pink Elephant (Newport Place)

Toucan (Gerrard Street)

The Vortex (Tachbrook Street, Pimlico)

Festival Club, 2 Brydges Place (off St Martin's Lane), WC2 [5]

The London Apprentice aka The LA (333 Old Street, Shoreditch)

The Masquerade (Earls Court Road, Earls Court)

Princess of Prussia (15 Prescot Street, Tower Bridge)

Club Louise aka Louise's (61 Poland Street, Soho)

The Showplace (Westbourne Grove, Bayswter)

The Prince Albert (Wharfedale Road, King's Cross) GLF disco from circa 1974, later Icebreakers and GAA (became Central Station in 1990s)

The Euston Tavern (Euston Road) (Discos held upstairs by Tricky Dicky 1970s/80s)

Copacabana, later named Copa (180–182 Earls Court Road, Earls Court) [6]

1975 The Regency Club (Great Newport Street)

1976 Bang! (Sundown Club later named LA2, 157 Charing Cross Road)[7].

1976 Glades (Under the Arches, Villiers Street)[8].

1978 The Embassy (Old Bond Street, Mayfair)

1979 Heaven (Under the Arches, Villiers Street)


Benjy's (opening TBC), closed 2000s (562 Mile End Road, Mile End)

Stallions, later named Substation and, from 2001, Ghetto (Falconberg Court, Soho)

Mud Club (Charing Cross Road)

The Bell (257–259 Pentonville Road, Kings Cross) [9].

The Market Tavern (Nine Elms, Vauxhall)

The Fallen Angel (Graham Street, Islington)

Rackets (The Pied Bull, 1 Liverpool Road, Islington)

The Royal Oak, closed 1990s (62 Glenthorne Road, Hammersmith)

The Joiners Arms, closed January 2015 (116–118 Hackney Road, Bethnal Green)

The Link (Bethnal Green Road)

Union Tavern (Camberwell New Road, Camberwell)

1980 Eagle, run by Bryan Derbyshire [1943–2001], closed summer 1981, reopened as the Cellar Bar (Heaven, Under the Arches, Villiers Street, Hungerford Lane entrance)

1981 King Edward VI, closed 2011 (25 Bromfield Street, Islington) [10]

1981 Harpoon Louis, later named Harpo’s and Banana Max (180–182 Earls Court Road, Earls Court)[11]

1981 Bolts (Lazer, Green Lanes, Haringay)

1981 The Cellar Bar, closed March 1985, then The Altar, then Soundshaft (Heaven, Under the Arches, Villiers Street, Hungerford Lane entrance)

1981 The King's Arms (23 Poland Street, Soho)

1981 Subway (Leicester Square)

1981 The Two Brewers (114 Clapham High Street, Clapham)

1984 Bromptons, closed 2008, building demolished 2014 (294 Earls Court Road, Earls Court)

1984 The French House, previously The York Minster (49 Dean Street, Soho)

1984 Clubbing in London in 1984 – http://history-is-made-at-night.blogspot.co.uk/2008/02/clubbing-in-london-1984.html

1985 The Backstreet (Wentworth Mews, Mile End)

1985 The White Swan (556 Commercial Road, Limehouse)

1986 Comptons, later named Comptons of Soho (53 Old Compton Street, Soho)

1986 First Out, closed 2011 (52 St Giles High Street)

1986 Madame JoJo's, closed late November 2014 (8–10 Brewer Street, Soho)

1987 Daisy Chain, ended 1990 (The Fridge, Town Hall Parade, Brixton)

1988 The Block, closed 2000s (Touch/200 Balham High Road, Balham and Silks [later Opera on the Green]/126 Shepherd's Bush Shopping Precinct, Shepherd's Bush, then Traffic [later City Apprentice aka The City]/York Way, Kings Cross, then Paradise Club/5 Parkfield Street, Islington, then 28 Hancock Road, Bromley-by-Bow)

late1980s Prince Regent, near The Angel, Islington (201-203 Liverpool Road, N1 )


Vespa Lounge (15 St Giles High Street)

1990 Trade, creator Laurence Malice, ended 2015 (Turnmills, 63 Clerkenwell Road, Clerkenwell, then various locations)

1990 The Village, closed early 1990s (Hanway Place)

1991 Halfway II Heaven (7 Duncannon Street)

1991 Sadie Maisie (London Lesbian and Gay Centre, 67–69 Cowcross Street, Farringdon)

1991 Village, second Village branch (81 Wardour Street, Soho)

1992 The Anvil, opened 11 December 1992, closed 22 February 1997 (The Shipwrights Arms, 88 Tooley Street, London Bridge)

1992 Central Station (37 Wharfdale Road, Kings Cross)(previously called The Prince Albert)

1993 The Edge, renamed Soho Square November 2015 (11 Soho Square, Soho)

1993 Freedom (66 Wardour Street, Soho)

1993 G-A-Y (Astoria Theatre/157 Charing Cross Road until 2008, then Heaven/Under the Arches, Villiers Street)

1993 The Little Apple, closed September 2014 (98 Kennington Lane, Kennington)

1993 The Oak Bar, closed May 2013 (79 Green Lanes, Stoke Newington)

1994 79 CXR, closed October 2012, reopened as Manbar (79 Charing Cross Road)

1994 FIST, ended 2002 (various venues)

1995 Club Kali

1995 The Glass Bar, closed 2008 (190 Euston Road)

1995 Popstarz, closed 2014 (Paradise Club/5 Parkfield Street, Islington then various venues including Hanover Grand/Hanover Street, The Leisure Lounge/121 Holborn, The Complex [ex-Paradise Club], Scala/275 Pentonville Road, Kings Cross, Sin/144 Charing Cross Road, The Den/16 West Central Street, plus Green Carnation, Hidden, The Coronet)

1995 Rupert Street (50 Rupert Street, Soho)

1995 The Yard (57 Rupert Street, Soho)

1996 Barcode, closed 2011 (3–4 Archer Street, Soho), Vauxhall branch opened in 2006

1996 Candy Bar, closed 2014, six years after departure of founder Kim Lucas (4 Carlisle Street, Soho)

1996 The Hoist, closed 11 December 2016 (Arches 47b and 47c, South Lambeth Rd, Vauxhall)

1997 Blush, closed 2015 (8 Cazenove Rd, Stoke Newington)

1997 The Fort, closed August 2011 (131 Grange Road, Bermondsey)

1998 Escape Bar Soho, closed November 2014 (10a Brewer Street, Soho)

1998 The George & Dragon (2 Blackheath Hill, Greenwich)

1998 West 5, (56 Pope's Lane, South Ealing)


The Cock Tavern, opened 2000s TBC, closed 2005 (340 Kennington Road, Kennington)

2000 XXL (various venues including The Arches/Arcadia in London Bridge, then Pulse at 1 Invicta Plaza, Southwark)

2000 Friendly Society (79 Wardour St, Soho)

2001 Ghetto, creator Simon Hobart, closed 2008 (Falconberg Court, Soho)

2001 Molly Moggs, closed March 2017 (2 Old Compton Street, Soho)

2001 The Shadow Lounge (5 Brewer Street, Soho)

2002 G-A-Y Bar (30 Old Compton Street, Soho)

2002 The George & Dragon, closed December 2015 (2 Hackney Rd, Shoreditch)

2003 Egg (200 York Way, Kings Cross)

2003 Fire (39 Parry Street, Vauxhall)

2003 Kaos (Madame JoJo's in Soho, then Stunners in Limehouse, then Electrowerkz in Islington)

2006 Area, closed 2014 (67–68 Albert Embankment, Vauxhall)

2006 Barcode Vauxhall, closed 2015 (Albert Embankment, Vauxhall)

2006 The Star and Garter, closed 2014 (227 High St, Bromley)

2007 The Green, closed 2012 (74 Upper St, Islington)

2007 Ku Bar, later named Ku Leicester Square/Ku Klub (30 Lisle Street, Chinatown), plus Ku Soho (25 Frith Street, Soho)

2007 Lo-Profile, closed January 2013 (84–86 Wardour Street, Soho), plus Profile, closed 2009 (56–57 Frith Street, Soho)

2007 The Nelsons Head, closed 2015 (32 Horatio Street, Bethnal Green)

2008 Green Carnation, closed 2015 (4–5 Greek Street, Soho)

2008 Vault 139, later named The Vault (139—143 Whitfield St, Fitzrovia)

2009 Dalston Superstore (117 Kingsland High Street, Dalston)


2010 New Bloomsbury Set (76 Marchmont Street, Bloomsbury)

2011 Circa (62 Frith Street, Soho)

2011 The Duke of Wellington, Wardour Street

2011 Vogue Fabrics aka VFD (66 Stoke Newington Road, Dalston)

2012 Covert, closed 2013, then Club No. 65 (65 Albert Embankment, Vauxhall)

2012 Manbar, opened 1 November 2012, closed January 2015 (79 Charing Cross Rd)

2014 The Glory (281 Kingsland Road, Haggerston)

2015 Bloc Bar, later named The Bloc, closed March 2017 (18 Kentish Town Road, Camden Town)

2015 The Queen Adelaide, opened December 2015 (483 Hackney Road, Hackney).[12]

2016 Her Upstairs, opened September 2016, then ground-floor Them Downstairs April 2017 (18 Kentish Town Road, Camden Town)

2017 Bloc South, opened March 2017 (65 Albert Embankment, Vauxhall)

A list of closed bars

TheGayUK has a list of 102 bars and 32 clubs that have closed in London since 2000.[13]

External sites




  1. http://www.rictornorton.co.uk/eighteen/1729neav.htm Rictor Norton, Life of Thomas Neaves 1729, Homosexuality in Eighteenth-Century England
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 http://rictornorton.co.uk/gu16.htm Rictor Norton, The Georgian Underworld, Chapter 16, "Mother Clap's Molly House & Deputy Marshall Hitchin"
  3. James Kirkup, A Poet Could not but be Gay, page 195.
  4. Listed April 1977 in Gay News no 117. Not listed Nov 1978 no 156 Gay News
  5. attracted rent boys
  6. Listed Gay news no 154 Nov 1978 advert page 7 Copacabana Nights
  7. During the 1980s & early 1990s, Bang! (Monday and Saturday) and also Propaganda (Thursday) were run at 'Busbys Nightclub' (London) by gay club promoter and DJ Colin Peters (Peter Daubeney), whose brother Jamie continued as promoter for a period following the passing of Colin. Bang! changed its name to G-A-Y, expanded from two nights a week to four,and moved from the LA2 to the London Astoria. For some years G-A-Y operated in both venues: the LA2 on Thursday nights and the London Astoria on Saturdays.From Bang & Propaganda @ Busby's 80s-90s on Facebook accessed 11 Nov 2021
  8. also listed in Gay News Sept 1977 issue 127 as 'Glades Disco at Global Village
  9. Closed in 1995
  10. Featured in Gay News issue 225 October 1981 page 24 Spotlight. At the time the landlords were Keith and Geoff.
  11. Gay News issue 220 Spotlight on the Copacabana p 21 states Clifford Bell the straight man who brought you Copacabana and who has just launched Harpoon Louie's bar.
  12. http://www.nottelevision.net/the-george-dragon-is-dead-long-live-the-queen-adelaide/. "The George & Dragon is dead. Long live the Queen Adelaide!", Not Television, 18 December 2015. Accessed: 2016-01-29. (Archived by WebCite® at http://www.webcitation.org/6etvqmYdx).
  13. http://www.thegayuk.com/gay-bars-that-have-closed-in-london-since-the-turn-of-the-century/. Accessed: 2016-07-12. (Archived by the Web Archive at https://web.archive.org/web/20160413174942/http://www.thegayuk.com/gay-bars-that-have-closed-in-london-since-the-turn-of-the-century/