The ever more glittering Glasgow nightlife is nothing if not diverse – and that goes for LGBT pubs, clubs and regular nights too.
From the fabulous and flamboyant dancefloors of the Merchant City to drag shows, a bit of boylesque and alt scenes for the club kids, there’s more than one way to fly the rainbow flag around here.
With an ever increasing LGBT scene – Glasgow’s Pride celebrations are the biggest in Scotland, after all – it would be hard to pinpoint every queer corner of Glasgow.
But here are some of the best, from sparkling nights on the tiles to tea and toast in a glorified front room.
Glasgow’s gay scene is a little Merchant City-centric – but for those less than enamoured with cheesy tunes head for Broadcast’s monthly Birdcage, run by the beat-loving DJ and club promoter Mia K. In a guest post on why Glasgow needs more out and proud music nights, WOW contributor and musician Charly Crawford said: “Birdcage has built up a fantastic reputation and is quickly becoming a hotspot for the LGBT community, offering a break from the cheesy (and sometimes cringe-worthy) music of the typical gay scene.” We’ll throw some shapes to that.
427 Sauchiehall St, G2 3LG, facebook.com/birdcageglasgow
Del’s for short, this go-to spot tops many a gay Glasgow list. It’s an all dayer kind of venue, offering everything from your late morning coffee to quiz night, and on to dancing on the tables. Think the swank of the Merchant City (bird motifs everywhere) but a lot less stuffy – and should you go and fall in love with it, ours is a cocktail, thanks.
68 Virginia St, G1 1TX, facebook.com/delmonicas
Just one look at the balls-out-and-proud posters for Hot Mess should give you an idea of the monthly queer (yet straight-friendly) club night. It’s in The Poetry Club, so it’s automatically cooler than you, and balances club kid techno and dance with rainbow pop classics, all courtesy of DJ Simonotron. Think of it as gay alternative, and think of yourself as proud to be a Hot Mess – definitely one for the diary.
100 Eastvale Place, G3 8QG, facebook.com/HOTMESSDISCO
The Flying Duck
It’s not technically a gay bar, but we’ll call The Flying Duck all inclusive, and bi-curious when it comes to monthly Polyester. Described as a polysexual, polyrhythmic blend of music, performance and ‘whatever else we can throw together’, this is another cool kid queer party where everyone is welcome. Since The Flying Duck is a top destination at any given time – part nightclub, part dodgy student flat front room, but with tea and toast – this place gets two thumbs up and a rainbow smiley on our LGBT list.
142 Renfield St, G2 3AU, flyingduckclub.com
The Riding Room
Cast your mind back to our places to start a night out in Glasgow guide and you’ll remember that The Riding Room is a firm favourite of ours. An extension on the ever-hedonistic Polo Lounge (more on that to come), the cabaret-tastic saloon will entice you in with cocktails in tea kettles and keep you with a who’s who line up of Glasgow’s burlesque and alternative scenes. Burlesque and – perhaps even more intriguing – boylesque? Check, thanks to an rotating list of alternative stars and the ever-titillating Tom Harlow. Feathers and sequins aplenty? Naturally. The Riding Room is hip, happening and, as we’ve said before, “a cheeky nod and a wink to Glasgow’s wild and wonderful gay scene” (we stand by it).
58 Virginia St, G1 1TX, theridingroom.co.uk
Classic cocktails, private booths and a menu of delectable treats – Speakeasy has a touch of class to it. There’s even a list of house rules, from no hollering to ‘gentlemen must remove their hats’ – although, with the loud and proud Trophy Room club night on Saturday night, it’s safe to assume all bets are off. Camp pop at its finest, think 70s and 80s all washed down with a bourbon or two in your new favourite drinking den. In short, it’s a bit of a hidden gem – provided you mind your manners, sir.
10 John St, G1 1JQ, speakeasyglasgow.co.uk
Now we’re not saying that you should visit a place on drinks promos alone – but where else in the Merchant City are you likely to find £1 shots and bombs, and spirits clocking in at £2.30? Add in karaoke, cabaret, drag shows galore from Glasgow legends like Cheri Treiffel and quiz nights and Katie’s is pretty much your ideal local – but, you know, fabulous.
17 John St, G1 1HP, katiesbar.co.uk
The Polo Lounge
— Polo Lounge Glasgow (@PoloGlasgow) January 2, 2015
Have we saved the best for last? That’s down to personal preference perhaps – but The Polo Lounge is undoubtedly Glasgow’s best known gay bar. A destination for anyone visiting Glasgow’s gay quarter this warren of a pub, club and sensational dance floor is packed out most nights, whether it’s for Lollipop Wednesday (the city’s biggest LGBT student night) or Sin-sational Saturday. Cheesy? At times – but who doesn’t love a bit of it now and then?
84 Wilson Street, G1 1UZ, pologlasgow.co.uk
Main image: Tom Harlow/The Riding Room