Brighton has an estimated gay male population of over 25,000: that's about one
in five of its men or four kilometres of dick. |
Gloriously out of season, OutUK's rampant
global rambler Adrian Gillan takes a trip to the UK's gayest resort.
Brighton Beach (c) Visit Brighton
Revenge (32-34 Old Steine; T: 01273 606 064) claims to be the biggest club in the
south of England outside London - not that we want to compare ourselves with that
place do we boys? - and plays to a young, mainstream crowd across two floors. Busy
every night of the week, but especially Lollipop for cheese on Fridays and Fusion
for house Saturdays. Enjoy face-to-face urinals - especially if you're tall!
The Charles Street Tap (Marine Parade; T: 01273 624 091) is a large, funky gay bar with heated outdoor terrace and a
nightclub upstairs, serving gourmet pub food until 8pm. They boast an impressive range of craft beers and to keep
you amused there's retro video gaming, drag quizzes and award winning DJs.
LET OFF STEAM
If you still need to let off steam after all that, or get a bit restless after
Sunday lunch, Brighton Oasis Sauna (75-76 Grand Parade; T: 01273 689 966) and The
Boiler Room Sauna (86 Denmark Villas Hove; 01273 723 733) just to the west are the largest
and most comprehensive 'male health' complexes in town.
Graffiti Art (c) Visit Brighton - Adam Bronkhorst
Brighton has one of the highest concentrations of eateries in the UK. One of our
favourite is the humble My Coffee Story (36 St
James's Street; T: 07478 718909): In the heart of everything, you can perch and
eat yourself silly and healthy for under a fiver - 'friendly' wouldn't begin to
On a sunny day West Beach between the two piers is the obvious place for the great
and beautiful of Brighton to bare all. But more fun by far is the official,
male-dominated nudist beach about a ten minute jaunt along the front towards the
marina. Surrounded by neck-high pebbles banks, the merest glimmer of sunshine
excuses gay men out to strip in force.
West Pier (c) Visit Brighton - Adam Bronkhorst
Just back from said beach are the infamous Duke's Mound bushes. Again, it would
take a force ten blizzard to keep Brighton's queer male masses away from this long
expanse of foliage: over half admit to regular patronage. All sorts, day or night:
Even on a midweek morn, you'll find a mix of horny pensioners back from the post office
and randy students offloading between lectures.
So what does Brighton add up to? Gay coastal haven or hellish last resort?
It's true that most gay inhabitants of Brighton arrived from other parts of the UK,
not all waiting until retirement. Many younger singles and couples come here to
settle, often commuting up to London for work to have the best of both worlds. Most
of the rest of Brighton's gay tidal ebb and flow comes from the surroundings Downs
each night - from Portsmouth to Rye - or from London on a weekend.
Some claim it is uniquely cosmopolitan amongst British seaside resorts, a kind of
London-on-sea with none of your Blackpool tat! Absolutely: if 'cosmopolitan' means
generally white and fairly well off, eating out regularly, designer labels
and sipping the frothy stuff.
Brighton Pride (c) Visit Brighton
Brighton certainly lacks the sexy, raw buzz of many a manly scene. That said, it does
boast a uniquely comfortable, relaxed and heady, salty air and not just in summer.
Indeed, it's probably out of season - amid a haunting, quintessentially English
backdrop of mile upon mile of aqua-pastel promenade paint and a ghostly, derelict
West Pier moored offshore like a washed-up Titanic against the low blinding sun -
that G-A-Y truly runs through its soul as through a sticky pink six inch stick of candy rock.
If you haven't been before, don't wait as long as I. And if you have, go take another look.
Brighton is little more than an hour
away direct from London Victoria by
THE LITTLE BLACK BOOK
Amsterdam (11-12 Marine Parade; T: 01273 688825; Website)
Brighton Oasis Sauna (75-76 Grand Parade; T: 01273 689 966; Website)
Camelford Arms (Camelford St; T: 01273 622 386; Website)
Legends (31-32 Marine Parade; T: 01273 624 462; Website)
My Coffee Story (36 St James's Street; T: 07478 718909; facebook)
Revenge (32-34 Old Steine; T: 01273 606 064; Website)
The Boiler Room Sauna (86 Denmark Villas Hove; 01273 723 733; Website)
The Bulldog (31 St James's Street Mews; T:01273 684 097)
The Charles Street Tap (8 Marine Parade; T: 01273 624 091; Website)
The Marine Tavern (13 Broad St; T: 01273 681 284)
The Queen's Arms (George Street; T: 01273 696 873; Website)
Revised November 2021.
Brighton Pubs & Bars