To the uninitiated, the name of this huge three-storey Old Compton Street venue might seem unimaginative, rather like calling a shop ‘Shop’. But those hyphens are important; this isn’t just a Gay Bar, it’s G-A-Y Bar, G-A-Y being the scene’s biggest and most successful chain of bars and clubs of which this is the mothership. Dark, sprawling and loud, this is a high-energy place suited to the young crowd it attracts, although there’s a sociable outdoor terrace on the first floor and a less full-on basement bar for anyone who finds the trademark blaring soundtrack of chart and cheesy pop a bit too in-your-face.
Absolutely always busy, the perennial popularity of G-A-Y Bar is easily explained; drinks are cheaper than anywhere on the scene (from Sunday to Thursday a pretty decent range are just £1.70, contributing to many a BarChick hangover) and on G-A-Y club nights discounted and often free tickets are available at the bar. Created by club promoter and entrepreneur Jeremy Joseph, this is the perfect place to start a night that never ends, moving on to late-closing sibling bar G-A-Y Late and then on to the club at Heaven, all within staggering distance. G-A-Y stands for ‘Good As You’, but actually, it’s better.
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