LGBTQ+ friendly places around Pride London celebrations
2022 marks the 50th anniversary of Pride celebrations in the UK and this year’s theme – #AllOurPride – will focus on “uniting the collective past, present and future of pride from every corner of the LGBT+ community”. The celebrations have already kicked off across London, all pointing towards the parade that first took place 50 years ago in London on 1st July 1972, inspired by the 1969 Stonewall Riots in New York. Depending on how you want to celebrate Pride, London pretty much has it all covered – even the Royal Mail are getting involved! Here are a few of our favourite options.
The actual parade – Saturday 2nd July
The UK’s biggest and most diverse Pride parade takes place on Saturday 2nd July in central London. Make your way to any of the stages – there are four: Trafalgar Square, Leicester Square, Soho Dean Street, Golden Square – and join the party while enjoying the sounds of Samantha Mumba, Emeli Sandé, or full on Queen Bey vibes with the Beyonce Experience. Celebrations will start at 12pm and the entire parade route – which is on the website – will be surrounded by bars showering paraders with Pride-related libations and offers. As always, there is a purpose behind the party and the organisers of Pride in London have said that they want to use this year to “march towards progress”. They’re calling on the UK government to ban conversion therapy for all LGBTQ+ people, to reform the Gender Recognition Act, to provide equal protection for LGBTQ+ communities against hate crime, to establish a national Aids memorial and more.
For further information visit the Pride’s website here.
The Little Scarlet Door
One of those said Soho bars showering paraders in Pride-related libations is newly opened The Little Scarlet Door on Greek Street. They’ve partnered with The Queer Brewing Project, founded by Lily Waite in 2019 to provide visibility for LGBTQ+ people in and around beer and to raise money for vital LGBTQ+ charities, for a special month-long menu serving up a special range of eye-catching pint-sized cans including Tiny Dots, Existence As A Radical Act and Glitter Veil – guaranteed to kick start festivities! £1 from each beer sold will be donated to support the vital work of LGBTQ+ youth homelessness charity, AKT.
For further information about The Little Scarlet Door, 12-13 Greek Street W1D 4DL, visit their website here.
Drag Bingo – Every Thursday
Over in Hammersmith, The Duchess pub continues their weekly Drag Bingo night with live singing, lip synching, and prizes. The beauty of this event is that it’s not just for Pride, you can get down to The Duchess every Thursday, any time of the year and join Aidan Orange and Miss Joelle in all their revelry. The food is great too so book a table with a bunch of mates and make a night of it. Balls drop from 7pm.
For further information about Drag Bingo, The Duchess 320 Goldhawk Road Hammersmith London W6 0XF, visit their website here.
The Iconic Ball at Koko – Thursday 30th June
Over in North London, Koko have partnered with CIROC to host a free (but ticketed) party: The Iconic Ball. Hosted by Ballroom pioneer Jack Mizrahi (Pose, Legendary), Jonny Woo (Comedian and Drag Queen), and Shon Faye (writer and author of The Transgender Issue), with music by DJ Biggy C, the ball will be a who’s who of the UK’s ballroom community who will come together to battle it out for the title of Iconic House of 2022. 5 Houses, 5 decades and 1 Iconic Battle. Each house will compete within five chosen categories spanning five decades. From the 1970’s VOGUE category, “Smooches Darling”, that celebrates icon Ted Brown and the joyful Queer Kiss-In he organised in 1972. To 2010’s RUNWAY category that gives a nod to how far LGBTQIA+ have come. There will be limited amount of tickets available for collection from Koko Shop on the day of the event, Thursday 30th June. First come first served, from 1pm onwards.
For further information about the Iconic Ball visit Koko’s website here.
Rooftop sing-a-long cinema – Thursday 30th June
If singing’s your thing then head to Rooftop Film Club. If you’re Eastbound, Stratford will be screening The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and if you’re on the other side of the river, over in Peckham, Bussey Building will bring you closer to the stars with Elton’s Rocketman. Doors open an hour before screening, so make sure you arrive early to soak in the spectacular views of the London Skyline or Stratford’s Olympic Park. Always mindful of what to eat, naturally, there’s pizza at Bussey Building from Share A Slice, or stuffed Turkish flatbreads from Raastawala, kati rolls from Piddaji and delish desserts from the Treats Club at Stratford. Tickets start at £16.95.
For further information visit Rooftop Film Club’s website here.
Crossbreed at Fabric – Sunday 3rd July
In one of London’s last remaining super clubs, Crossbreed – one of the hottest nights in London right now – will be celebrating Pride at Fabric. This edition of the queer sex positive rave will see Manfredas and Kiwi behind the decks, with a fully staffed playroom for attendees to explore – as well as a wellness sanctuary for anyone who needs it. Crossbreed is all about creating a safe place for people to express themselves, so make sure you read the party rules on the website before you get your ticket. Advance tickets are close to selling out so grab them quick. Tickets are £18 advance and as part of the Feel Free scheme, Crossbreed are offering 10+ free tickets for each of their events for those on lower incomes, trans people, people with disabilities and queer people of colour.
For further information about Crossbreed at Fabric visit the website here.
Rainbow Dumplings at Yauatcha (throughout June)
Up until the end of June, Yauatcha’s City and Soho restaurants will be offering a range of limited-edition rainbow dumplings to celebrate the 50th anniversary. There’s one dumpling for each colour of the rainbow (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet), with fillings including cumin lamb, chicken and chive, pork and prawn and truffle sweet potato. £1 from every dish sold will go towards the Micro Rainbow International Foundation, a charity which focuses on providing safe housing, promoting social inclusion and facilitating access to employment, volunteering, training, and education for LGBTQ+ refugees and asylum seekers.
For further information about Rainbow Dumplings at Yauatcha visit the website here.
Between the Bridges’ Drag Brunches – Saturday 2nd & 9th July
If you’re a fan of Drag Race, then get yourself down to Southbank’s Between the Bridges Drag Brunches where the stars of the UK and US series will be hosting a daytime drinking, dancing, dining and DRAG! – eleganza!
Baga Chipz, Tia Kofi, Pangina Heals, plus more will be performing and hosting quizzes and lip syncing opportunities, amongst bottomless Prosecco and delicious street food. Sashay over to get your tickets. Prices start at £25
For further information about Between the Bridges’ Drag Brunches visit the website here.
Glory at The Haggerston
It’s a stalwart and if you haven’t been yet, then Pride month is the time to go! The Glory is self acclaimed to be “London’s Leading Queer Venue & Performance Mecca”, hosting regular club nights, like the legendary Havoc. But if you’re nursing a hangover from Saturday’s parade, something a little more gentile like the Queer Art Club and Queer Funghi on Sunday 3rd July, could be just the remedy. In collaboration with @queer.as.funghi – Susy (they/them) will be hosting an urban foraging walk around the Glory, to share the myths and legends of some of the plants and funghi that grow there. Often these myths and legends are male, pale and stale, so the fun will be in recreating your own before returning to the Glory to make plant comics full of queer myths, trans legends and homo lore! There will be foraged (vegan) snacks and drinks at the Glory too.
Urban foraging walk takes place 12.45pm–13.45pm at Haggerston Park. Comic Making takes place 2pm-4pm at The Glory, 281 Kingsland Road London E2 8AS. For further information visit the website here.
UK Black Pride – Sunday 14th August
Proving that Pride is not just for the months of June and July, UK Black Pride – Europe’s largest pride celebration for LGBTQI+ people of African, Asian, Caribbean, Latin American and Middle Eastern-descent – returns on Sunday 14th August. UK Black Pride’s last in-person event saw over 10,000 people come together in Hackney’s Haggerston Park, after outgrowing its presence at Vauxhall Park in Lambeth. As a mark of its continued growth, this year the annual event will be at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford. Check out their website to keep track of the events and programming, and there’s also an opportunity to volunteer.
For further information about UK Black Pride visit the website here.
Photo: Header courtesy of Pride London