Celebrating Leeds’ lively gay scene
Leeds City Centre is home to a fantastic hub of gay bars located on lower Briggate and curling round to the bottom of Call Lane. The aim of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender History month is to raise awareness of the huge gay community, teach about how it came to be, and highlight the problems it still faces.
So, here are our top 10 places, hopefully with something to suit everyone - whether it’s a quiet couple of drinks or a night you just don’t want to end!
Fibre has been organising nights out in Leeds for over 15 years. It often has 2-4-1 drinks offers on spirits and cocktails. Each Wednesday there’s an ‘unplugged’ night featuring local acoustic artists. You can reserve a table, treat yourself to a VIP box or even hire out one of the bars for your own private shindig. It’s mostly dance music and welcomes an older crowd, although student discounts and the occasional student nights are on offer.
Home to award winning LGBT night ‘Homo’ every Monday night, Mission 2 is great for a night out during the week and always gets packed out at weekends too. Drinks start at £1.50 and it’s very popular with a young and fashionable crowd. The music varies and is usually current charts mixed with old classics. Saturday ups the ante each week so expect sexy dancers and lots of makeup.
Photography by Viaduct Showbar
Definitely one of the most popular and well known LGBT bars. There’s always something exciting going on, whether it’s dancing showgirls on the bar or just you dancing away on the dance floor. What’s more, there’s a party and live music in Viaduct every night of the week. You’ll find a great mix of young and old in here. Head down to see a live drag cabaret almost every night, or if you’re in the mood for a sing-song the All Day Karaoke Marathon kicks off on Sundays at 2pm. Drinks are pretty cheap and it’s free entry - so why the heck not?
It’s not typically considered an LGBT bar, but Wharf Chambers hosts some fabulous nights including LoveMuscle - a techno, dance, disco and soul party. What’s not to love? It’s a membership only place but definitely worth signing up for. The members pick and choose which events they’d like to put on. Recently, it hosted the Leeds Queer Film Festival and other similar events.
One of the quieter LGBT hang-outs, it’s tucked away off of Briggate. It does get pretty busy at the weekends but it’s a great pub for meeting people if you’re not feeling up for crazy night or drunk enough to hit Mission 2 yet. The music is pretty cheesy but with hits from the ‘60s to the present, it’s enough to get you in the mood for a night out. It may be small and cosy but the friendly owners offer a range of entertainment from Cabaret to board games to bingo.
The New Penny
This place is definitely worth a visit. It’s considered not only the oldest gay bar in Leeds, but also in the whole of the UK. It attracts an older crowd but it’s usually the last place open so everyone ends up there towards the end of the night. It doesn’t have the glitz and glamour of Viaduct, but it’s always welcoming and pretty cheap! In the past famous drag queens including Lily Savage have performed there - this place has history!
Bridge is open every night of the week! With free entry, you can stop by for a couple of drinks or dance the night away ’til 3am. It has karaoke, cheesy tunes, and cheap drinks. Fridays are home to hip-hop, Saturday is the resident DJ, and Sunday is usually dress up where the theme could be anything from toga to bondage wear!
Smack bang in the middle of the gay district in Leeds, this is a great place to stay if you’re here to party. Known to host a meet-up for Leeds First Friday, the biggest Trans night outside London. A great place to start and end your night.
If you’re not fancying a night out, maybe check out the Hyde Park Picture House. It’s a little independent cinema tucked away in Hyde Park. For LGBT History Month, they’ll be showing Tangerine and Victim. Be sure to head down to the Yorkshire Playhouse too and catch one of The Dancing Bear performances this month.