Bristol & Bath's LGBTQ+ Nightlife
In the past, gay bars existed as a safe haven for the LGBT community; somewhere gay, bi and transgender men and women could enjoy a Saturday night without fear of persecution – and with the added bonus of potentially meeting someone. In today’s more accepting society (for the most part, at least), this isn’t such an issue. Anyone can walk into a bar, whatever their sexual orientation and order a drink with their partner (although again, sadly this might not be wise in some places). With increasingly progressive attitudes – and the power of online dating – the original requirements of specifically gay venues seem less salient. So why are gay bars and clubs still thriving?
Quite simply, because they’re awesome. LGBT nightlife sates all appetites – quite literally! From live cabaret and drag shows, to trendy cocktail bars and clubs, there’s something for every night owl. Here are a few of the finest LGBT venues in Bristol and Bath.
The Best LGBTQ+ Bars in Bristol and Bath
Queen’s Shilling, Bristol
The Queen’s Shilling is a favourite haunt on the Bristol scene. Conveniently located just off of Park Street, the venue has something on most days of the week. Karaoke competitions draw a fun and lively crowd – an excellent way to beat those Monday blues! The weekly drag-hosted competitions are hilariously entertaining and there’s ample opportunity to dance the night away with one of the resident DJs, every Friday and Saturday night.
Intimate and welcoming, Mandalyns is Bath’s LGBT place to be, every Wednesday through to Sunday. With regular offers on drinks and tasty cocktail evenings, the place quickly fills to bursting with an eclectic mix of clientele who love to party (a great late night option for a gay or straight Bath stag weekend). Drag shows, Karaoke and themed evenings make Mandalyns a favourite for locals and visitors alike.
For 11 glorious days, Bristol sparkles and swells with pride, for its annual pride festival. Last year, 36,000 people came together to celebrate diversity across the city – and this year looks set to be even bigger and better.
Gender-equality talks, independent films, live music, comedy shows and theatre performances are just some examples of the events on offer. Pride climaxes at the weekend, with a parade, huge parties and live music throughout the city centre. Around the Harbourside area, there are numerous stages surrounded by foodstalls, where you can sit back, relax, or dance the day away.
If you’re feeling fun, flirtatious and ready for a freakin’ awesome night out, don those dancing shoes and head over to OMG in Bristol. It’s sleek, chic and modern decor sets the tone for the freshest music sets – not surprising for the biggest gay venue in the South West. If you’re a student, make the most of the incredible Wednesday student night offer, or save the hangover for the weekend and enjoy the buzzing atmosphere on a Friday or Saturday night.
Old Market, Bristol
If you’re planning a Bristol stag weekend and want to try several of Bristol’s gay bars in one foul swoop, head to Old Market. There are a number of venues – gay and straight – in this area of the city, which is within walking distance of Temple Meads train station. The following venues are all located Old Market.
BBB (Bristol Bear Bar)
One for the bearded bloke lovers, Bristol Bear Bar is the place to go for a delicious pint and even tastier fellas! Situated in the Old Market area of Bristol, BBB welcomes everyone to come and enjoy a drink in their comfortable and modern surroundings.
Old Market Tavern
The Old Market Tavern is a classic pub with a friendly and relaxed atmosphere. Serving delicious food and tasty tipples, it welcomes everyone seven days a week, and the quaint beer garden is the perfect spot to enjoy a pint in the sun.
The Gin Palace
As the name suggests, this is one for the gin lovers. With a wide range of mother’s ruin on offer, it doesn’t disappoint. Of course, there are many other types of poison as well – all served with a smile by one of the friendly members of staff. The Palace also hosts regular cabaret evenings, as well as other events for the more ‘discerning’ dresser.