One of the commonest, and sadly truest criticisms of the gay scene is that ageism is rife. Youth is often prized above other qualities - no-one loves a fairy when he's forty, or so the adage goes - and older chaps can feel, if not entirely unwelcome, then certainly out of place in many bars and clubs. Joyfully however, at City of Quebec in Marble Arch - London's oldest gay bar, established 1946 - the tables are turned and the more mature gay gentlemen is, and always has been, the target punter. All ages are emphatically welcomed, but younger guys are for once in the minority and generally come on the hunt for a sugar daddy or silver fox - the Marble Arch backstreet location means that this isn't somewhere one stumbles on by chance.
While dismissively known by some (bitches) as 'The Elephant's Graveyard', City of Quebec is as lively a pub as any on the scene with its regular roster of cabaret and quiz nights, and it's not just Sanatogen putting a glint in the regulars' eyes. The ground floor is a large traditional boozer, the clientèle's discerning tastes reflected in an unexpectedly good wine list, while downstairs 'The Den' is a small, darker club area where cruising of the non-nautical variety takes place day and night. BarCock - not ready for the pot just yet but no spring chicken, it's true - likes to pop along every first and third Monday of the month for the fabulous 'Glam Jam' show-tunes singalong...and hell, just to feel YOUNG. Highly recommended.
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