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I love any reason to go out and get a little bit shitfaced. St Patricks Day, the Royal Wedding, the 10th anniversary of Friends ending, the Paralympics; like many people in this city of binge drinkers I need very little reason to go out and have a good time. Coming up soon however, we have all manner of actual plausible reasons to party. As Easter brings a spattering of long weekends and breaks from uni, and global warming delivers unseasonably pleasant weather with which to enjoy them, I’d like to thank Western religion and Range Rover drivers everywhere for giving us this opportunity to get wasted in the sunshine. Where better to get wasted in the sunshine than in London? Whether you are a visitor to the city over the coming weeks, or are a resident who just needs some direction, here’s a guide to our city’s best areas for gays and what to wear in each.
Jacket, Criminal Damage. T-Shirt, Zara. Shirt, Topman. Jeans, H&M. Trainers, Puma.
Tube: Tottenham Court Road, Piccadilly Circus.
London’s most famed gay village. If you turn on Grindr your phone may implode. Full of rainbow banners, twinks, happy hours and comically lost tourists, everybody’s welcome, with bars catering to most people, although the cheap drink deals to be found ensure there’s always plenty of twinks around. If you’re on the hunt for a sugar daddy, try Shadow Lounge on Rupert Street or Green Carnation on Greek St , or if being with a load of fake tanned eighteen year olds appeals, then G-A-Y Bar on Old Compton Street should be your first port of call.
Not to be missed are the gay tourists, all hunting for a souvenir to bring back to their hotel room, especially on the weekends. A part of having drinks in Soho is the inevitable realisation that you will end up in either Heaven or G-A-Y Late – don’t try and fight it, the odds are very much against you. To account for this inevitability, dress the part in a cool (but sexy) panelled tee, stretch fit jeans and on-point trainers. If you’re a classier kind of guy, a slim fit short sleeve shirt in animal print simultaneously says dressy and tacky, while for the crazy ones out there, embrace the sportswear trend and go for sheer airtex mesh. At any rate, your grooming game needs to be immaculate. You will need: tinted moisturiser, BB cream, eyebrow pencil, vast quantities of hair product and a full body wax.
Shirt, Topman. Ripped jeans, Zara. Beanie, Reason. Watch, Casio. Trainers, Nike.
Tube: Shoreditch High Street, Old Street, Liverpool Street (5 minute walk).
Shoreditch used to be at the cutting edge of cool, and whilst it still has trendy allure, the whole area does feel like it’s sponsored by Urban Outfitters. Nonetheless Shoreditch is a good night out, and if you’re a visitor to our great city, it gives you an East London experience, but without the transport issues and personal safety question mark of trekking further afield. The gay options here are less pronounced, however there are plenty o’ homos to be found.
Dirty pink palace The Joiners Arms, fashion crowd hangout The George and Dragon, legendary basement bash East Bloc and occasional club nights like Hard Cock Life provide plenty of options. Leave anything from River Island at home, as the look is easily defined as ‘hipster realness’. Battered check shirts, battered jeans and battered trainers will generally suffice, with vintage being the word of the day. For the more adventurous, channel your inner fashion wanker and lay on sunglasses at night, plenty of jewellery and team-Delevingne slogan beanie, all purposefully draped in irony. Pull this one off and you could wake up in a trendy warehouse conversion next to some ‘social media consultant’ with a bowl cut, no problem at all.
Vest, Systvm. Jacket, River Island. Mesh Shorts, Topman. Leggings, Asos. Necklace, Asos. Trainers, Nike.
Tube: Dalston Junction, Dalston Kingsland.
If I hear one more person say ‘Dalston is the the new Shoreditch’ I will kick them so hard they’ll fly back to 2011 where that heinous phrase truly belongs. While yes, Dalston was once the new Shoreditch, Peckham is now the new Dalston so the whole thing is painfully irrelevant. Regardless of this ongoing South London/East London squabble, Dalston still presents the intrepid gay boy with some fun nightlife options. Dalston Superstore is super fun, as is small but vibing Vogue Fabrics, whilst supposedly straight venues like Alibi and The Nest also deliver decent numbers of gays, dragged on nights out by very hipster faghags.
Here is the place to get a little adventurous with your outfit, as the fashion crowd love a bit of Dalston. Personally, I would go straight in for the shorts layered over leggings trend, or if it’s warm enough just ditch the leggings entirely. Team up with a ironically printed vintage tee or minimal vest, with a guerish tracksuit jacket and your freshest Air Max. If you’re like me and don’t know the meaning of ‘too much’, colour clashes, snapbacks and lashings of OTT gold jewellery can take this look to a whole new level of tacky/fierce that will make you the best dressed bitch on Kingsland Road.
Vest, Topman. Jeans, River Island. Shoes, Hype. Sunglasses, Jeepers Peepers. Bomber jacket, Zara.
Tube: Vauxhall. (Although the only real way to get here is a taxi paid for by a rich/gullible older gentleman)
Not for the faint of heart or tame of soul, Vauxhall is proper clubbing for proper gays. On offer is the stereotypical gay club, crammed full of sweaty topless men, dancing on podia while repetitive-meets-camp music blasts away. If you want to see thirty-something men with unbelievable muscles and conspicuous drug habits partying until midday, then hit up Fire, Lightbox, Barcode, or Area on any given weekend. The endless daytime after parties and availability of party powders (say no to drugs kids!) mean it is more than possible to go out on Friday night, and not get home until Sunday afternoon, so a hard working look is key.
My own go-to Vauxhall look is stretchy (comfortable) acid wash jeans, a loose racer back vest with leopard print plimsolls, a casual bomber that can be tied around my waist and cheap sunglasses to hide any potentially incriminating pupils. The clientele in Vauxhall can have a definite Eurotrash vibe, with this being truer the later it gets, so feel free to indulge in tacky 2000’s faves like distressed denim and man-cleavage if you want to really blend in. Just remember that after ten hours of partying, no matter how hot you look in low light, when you lead that hot guy outside for a cigarette you are going to resemble a slutty vampire; consider hiding a concealer stick in your Aussiebums.