Get in the pink and party

Gone are the days when those who saw life through rose-tinted spectacles were penalised for their sexual persuasion. If you want to join the party, these are Britain's pinkest spots.


You only have to step off the train in Blackpool to know it's gay-friendly. Across the road is the Flying Handbag bar, a glittering introduction to the scene, decked out with neon pink and blue flashing lights. There are 53 gay hotels in Blackpool with names like Trades, Peaches and Cream and Fantasy, and seven gay bars. Four are owned by Blackpool's curators of campery, In The Pink leisure services, whose most celebrated gay establishment is Funny Girls, a grandiose trannie bar with cabaret acts and dancing divas in the appropriately named Queen Street. The town's most famous landmark, Blackpool Tower, is a particular favourite. There was a petition to paint it pink a few years ago but the council felt the erection was camp enough already.


A thriving gay community has transformed the notion of seaside kitsch into something that the Victorians certainly never envisaged. Donkey rides and fish'n'chips have been usurped by any number of gay and gay-friendly clubs, shops, hotels, saunas, restaurants and bars, attracting a clientele from across the world. One particular delight is Wild Fruit at the Paradox Club that hosts an eclectic set of theme nights. Recent successes include militaria, water-sports and panto. The Zap Club - a popular venue for gay and straight clubbers - plays host to big-name DJs. Brighton also offers support groups for every conceivable section of the gay community including lesbians, trannies, parents, drug-users and those living with HIV.


Edinburgh has had a flourishing gay culture since the first gay and lesbian centre opened in the 1970s. The newly dubbed "Broughton triangle" on Calton Hill is at the fluffy heart of things, with a multitude of cafes and clubs to choose from as well as one of four gay hotels. Still in relative infancy is the Over the Moon Brassiere, the place to have a pre-club tipple among a flouncy, friendly crowd. Open every night is CC Bloom's, the beer-soaked old chestnut of Edinburgh's gay club scene, with regular features, including ABBA, Katrina and the Waves and men in dodgy vests. A top monthly knees- up is JOY at Wilky House, a glam night for both gays and straights. Other monthlys are 100% Bent at The Gallery, which is as it suggests, and Design Divas at The Venue, a gals only affair. Stage shows in the past have included comediennes enticing the audience to do inventive things with cream cakes.


More of a gay street than a gay village, the heart of Cardiff's modest but strong gay scene is based around Charles Street. They really do flee the hills and valleys for this kitsch culture-fest. A great venue is The Exit Bar with a loud and lascivious crowd and even louder music. Opposite is Club X, an industrial looking club where the tough girls hang out. If you fancy something a little more sultry, try The Locker Room, a sweltering and saucy gay sauna and health club. Cardiff's long-established gay pub, King's Cross, is lacking in glam but makes up for it in friendly atmosphere. As they say endearingly in Wales, "You're chopsy fra cabbage" roughly translating as "Look at you, you big Queen".


The Metropolis boasts the most eclectic gay scene in the country - it really is a case of too much but never enough. Oh Soho mio, heralded as the gay village of Britain with Old Compton Street as its throbbing main- artery. After a de rigeur visit to The Freedom Bar for a quick voddie lime and soda, your shopping can be done under one roof with the recent arrival of the tres chi-chi Prowler Soho in Rupert Street which claims to be "Europe's first gay superstore." London's gay scene is not solely confined behind the designer walls of Soho as clubland indicates. A newish darling is Popstarz at the Leisure Lounge, playing Britpop and trashy Eighties music to a lager-fuelled crowd. Duckie and Viva Apathy challenge the established commercialism of Soho while the old boys of the club network, The Love Muscle and Heaven, are still popular as ever.

Sarah Barrell and Fiona Sturges

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Bid / Tender Writing Executive

    £24000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: With offices in Manchester, Lon...

    Guru Careers: Marketing Executives / Marketing Communications Consultants

    Competitive (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a number of Marketi...

    Recruitment Genius: Marketing Executive

    £20000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This well established business ...

    Ashdown Group: Management Accountant - Manchester

    £25000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Management Accountant - Manchester...

    Day In a Page

    NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

    Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

    A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
    How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

    How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

    Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
    From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

    The wars that come back to haunt us

    David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
    Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
    Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

    UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

    Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
    John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

    ‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

    Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
    Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

    Let the propaganda wars begin - again

    'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

    Japan's incredible long-distance runners

    Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
    Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

    Tom Drury: The quiet American

    His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
    You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

    You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

    Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
    Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

    Beige to the future

    Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

    Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

    More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
    Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

    Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

    The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
    Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own