London Pride Guide – Where to eat, drink, sleep, and party in SoHo

Pride attendees in London

London is truly one of the great world cities for queer travelers, and with Pride in London on the horizon — Saturday, July 1 — now’s the time to start planning your trip.

While the whole of the city feels like an LGBTQ+ nirvana, the historic epicenter of the gay scene is in Soho, centered around Old Compton Street. There are multiple bars all around the area, each with its own vibe. On a recent weeknight, Village Soho was busy with more of a café vibe in one half and a bustling karaoke party happening around the bar in the other half. G-A-Y was a more dance-centric space with a decidedly younger crowd. And The Yard felt like more a cool gastropub, with a relaxed atmosphere. 


The young, the restless and the G-A-Y Villiers St · London, England WC2N 6NG
(207) 930-2020

The Yard

Popular Soho outlet for the non-glossy, rather knowing and subtly stylish 57 Rupert St · London, England W1D 7PL
(207) 437-2652

It’s important to note that the nightlife scene gets going quite early, with many locals going out to the clubs right after work. Bars here generally close at 11 pm, so there’s no crazy partying until the early morning like you’ll find in so many other large cities.

Walking around the district, you’ll also find a multitude of sex shops with a nice variety of clothing, toys, and gear. Our favorites included Soho’s Original Adult Store (with a lot of women’s gear), Prowler Red, and Clonezone. Make sure to check out the basement floor of Clonezone, which features an enormous table and shelves filled with dildos of every size and shape.

Clonezone/CZ (Soho)

Two floors of gay erotica 35 Old Compton St · London, England W1D 5JX
(207) 734-3438


Business of selling sex 5–7 Brewer St · London, England W1F 0RF
(207) 734-4031

Naked Soho

Sex-themed restaurant and bar 10 Moor St · England W1D 5NE
(077) 435-6788

Naked Soho, a nearby sexy-themed café, opened in 2022 and features erotic art and sculptures on the walls. In addition to a variety of “cock-tails,” patrons can order the Sloppy Blowjob shot, served in a penis shaped glass (of course). The bartender explained to me that she’ll gladly get out her handcuffs and whip — and use them on anyone who doesn’t drink down every last drop!

The booking station. Photo by Paul J. Heney for GayCities.
The booking station. Photo by Paul J. Heney for GayCities.

For our stay, we chose the St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel London. This stunning property, with 207 rooms and 38 suites, was designed by George Gilbert Scott, an architect famed for refurbishing churches and cathedrals. (And his son was the creator of London’s iconic red telephone booths!) The gothic architecture here is everything, and the hotel’s Navigators — think Concierges but with more local understanding and definitely more buttoned down — helped me plan my gay days in the city, with their recommendations. And you can’t miss the hotel’s grand staircase, famous as the setting of The Spice Girls’ “Wannabe” music video.

A view of St. Pancras station
A view of St. Pancras station. Photo by Paul J. Heney for GayCities.

Afternoon tea here in The Hansom restaurant is a must (and a 150-year tradition), as is a meal in the breathtaking Booking Office 1869, which feels like something out of an old Hollywood film. The St. Pancras station, located immediately adjacent to the restaurant, is the Eurostar. Renaissance recently celebrated the ninth anniversary of its Global Day of Discovery program, in which each location works with local community members to surprise and delight guests with a dash of local flair. On one of my nights there, we were welcomed to a lavish “Tea After Dark” multi-course Navigator’s Dinner. It was curated by two well-known locals: mixologist Portia Freeman and Alexandra Dudley, host of the “Come For Supper” podcast. 

Global Day of Discovery dinner
Global Day of Discovery dinner. Photo by Paul J. Heney for GayCities.

From the hotel, you can get to Soho in less than 20 minutes via the Underground, or to the city center in the same amount of time. But there was a lot to explore right in the Renaissance’s immediate neighborhood, too.

A five-minute walk from the hotel is Queer Britain, the U.K.’s first and only LGBTQ+ museum. Although small in scope, the few galleries here provide thoughtful insights into the country’s queer history and how far it’s come. Close by, make sure to wander through the fabulous Coal Drops Yard complex, an intriguing mix of shops that features some fun vintage clothing options.

Inside Queer Britain
Inside Queer Britain. Photo by Paul J. Heney for GayCities.

The British Library, literally next door to St. Pancras, is the country’s national library and holds some 14 million books on 400 miles’ worth of shelves. But it also boasts plenty of historical artifacts (as varied as the Magna Carta and scribblings from the Beatles). Plus, there are plenty of areas to sit and read or relax, as well as temporary exhibitions. Through August 28th, the library is hosting “Animals: Art, Science and Sound.” Entrance to the library is free to all, but some exhibitions (including “Animals”) have a fee and require timed tickets.

Also make time to wander to the nearby Gay’s the Word bookstore, a local institution — and the country’s oldest. The store is a delightful place to peruse everything from fiction to historical titles, along with a fun selection of queer-oriented postcards and greeting cards.