Here are the best UK uni cities for a big gay night out

Get ready to bump into all your exes, all your shags and all your exes’ shags

The pandemic has been a tough time for LGBTQ+ nightlife, so as lockdown is lifted it’s more important than ever to support your local gay club and pile in on the double vodka cranberries.

Now is the time to get back the Rain On Me dances you were robbed of, the G-A-Y smoking area chats you missed and the one night stands with someone all your exes have already slept with.

So if you want to avoid the straight’s awkward dancing and more importantly Calvin Harris, here are the best places in the UK for a big gay night out:


This was always going to be the obvious place to start and for good reason. London’s giant size means it packs in just about every LGBTQ+ venue you could hope for. In Charing Cross you’ll find Heaven, the enormous gay superclub which has hosted just about every gay icon from Madonna to Cher and Lady Gaga.

London’s gay district, Soho is absolutely full of bars and pubs including Ku, The Yard and She (the only lesbian bar in London).

Outside the centre, East London is home to the more alternative Dalston Superstore and the LGBTQ+ stripclub, Metropolis. To the South you’ll find London’s oldest gay venue, The RVT which has been a bastion of drag since the 50s.


London’s biggest gay scene rival is easily Manchester. Canal Street and the Gay Village have been the beating heart of Manc’s gay scene for decades. The setting of Russell T Davies’ groundbreaking Queer As Folk series, the village has been a safe place for LGBTQ+ people through some of the worst times. Resisting police raids in the 80s, the Village has only gotten stronger.

G-A-Y Manchester, the Northern counterpart to its London sisters lights up the entrance to Canal Street and is the best place to go for a playlist filled with all your favourite pop icons.

Manchester’s biggest advantage over London is how close together its venues are. Within one night you can easily stumble into a dozen different clubs and bars from Via to Cruz 101 and Manc’s lesbian venue, Vanilla.


Along with Manchester and London, Brighton Pride makes up the ‘grand slam’ trio of UK prides.

Famed for being the most inclusive and LGBTQ+ friendly city in the UK, Brighton does the absolute most to make you feel loved and accepted. Albeit smaller than a lot of the other cities on this list, if there’s one thing Brighton does well it’s being gay.

Revenge is Brighton’s main gay venue and it’s hard to move without accidentally elbowing someone necking off.

Plus if you pass out chunning or miss the last train back you get to enjoy a night on the beach, just make sure to watch for when the tide comes in.


Brum’s Gay Village along Hurst Street is constantly alive with drag queens, questionable karaoke and the occasional annoying hen-do.

The Nightingale club would definitely make Florence blush but it remains Birmingham’s biggest and best gay venue. Missing meanwhile is well, hard to miss. With its giant building-sized rainbow flag that acts as the gate to the Village.


Manchester’s smaller but just as feisty cousin, you’re guaranteed to bump into someone you know and a few you’ve shagged but don’t really know. The night should always start in the iconically named, Superstar Boudoir.

After that GBar is open all the way until 8am on Saturdays, leading to some lovely interactions between vomit drenched clubbers and the morning joggers.


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Trendy and full of students, Bristol is buzzing and colourful. Definitely up there as one of the most welcoming and progressive cities, you’ll never feel out of places.

Slightly embarrassingly though Bristol does only have one proper gay club, OMG. Yet if you want a dance floor filled with weird dancing cages and enough 2000s hits to rival G-A-Y, then it’s great fun. Just remember not to overestimate your soberness if you decide to get up onto one of the raised platforms.


Geordie gays get all the pleasures of most other gay scenes and for about half the price. Powerhouse is the quintessential Newcastle gay club, open till 5am on Saturdays.

Once you’ve gone out in Newcastle’s Pink Triangle area, you’ll never want to pay £12 for a watery London cocktail again.


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If you’ve just finished watching the film Pride and drying your eyes after, you might be longing for some Welsh gays. In which case, Cardiff is the perfect centre of Welsh gay life. If you’re on Churchill Way, Cardiff’s gay hub, head to The Kings for a cheap early pint – before staggering across the street to Cardiff’s main gay club, Pulse to continue the night.


For the best gay nightlife in Scotland there’s nowhere better than Glasgow. The Riding Room (not like that) and Polo Lounge are your best bets for cabaret nights in the city – and following on from Lawrence Cheney’s Drag Race win there’s clearly nowhere better for it. Meanwhile, Delmonicas, Katie’s Bar and Speakeasy form a lovely trio of gay bars around John Street.

The Tab’s Pride reporting series is putting a focus on highlighting LGBTQ+ issues and celebrating queer voices across UK campuses.

If you or someone you know has been affected by this story you can contact Switchboard, the LGBTQ+ helpline, on 0300 330 0630 or visit their website. You can also find help through The Mix

If you’ve got a story you’d like to tell us – whether it’s an incident of homophobia on campus, an experience you’d like to share, or anything you think we should hear, get in touch in confidence by emailing [email protected]

Read more from The Tab’s Pride series:

How to help a friend who has just come out to you, by LGBTQ+ young people

Unis aren’t actually abandoning Stonewall, in Pride Month, over a trans rights controversy

• Take this quiz to find out how much you actually know about LGBTQ+ history