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The new Glasgow and Edinburgh? OutUK's Adrian Gillan takes the high road to Dundee and Aberdeen. Sure, jock jewels Glasgow and Edinburgh make a shining Scottish pair, but there's another diamond duo a mere hour or so due north: Dundee and Aberdeen offer a warm and welcome alternative. Looking across the Firth of Tay towards Dundee.
Courtesy VisitScotland.com.

DUNDEE

Birthplace of Marmalade, Desparate Dan and The Beano plus a host of other sticky things, as you head north and cross the mouth of the mighty Tay, Dundee's compact and largely uncharted delights lie sprawled out and ready!
Good things come in threes! A short walk from the train station, lose it for an evening in the city's perfectly-proportioned 'Pink Triangle', comprising of two bars and a club, nestled together and with conveniently staggered closing times so you yourself can likewise neatly stagger from one t'other as the night scampers on. One of Dundee's most famous creations Desparate Dan immortalised in the city centre.
Courtesy VisitScotland.com.
Charlie's on Seagate is a traditional, gay-dominated set-up, with a free disco on Friday and Saturday evenings when it tends to be pretty exclusively queer and a good place to down a few jars and flex a few choice cheesy steps on the spacious - yet woefully underused - dance floor before shimmying on.

The more style-bound amongst us will scarce wait venturing one minute down the road to Brooklyn's on St Andrew's Lane, just behind Seagate. It's a first-floor, chic-and-comfy, gay-governed lounge-like lair, open 'til midnight with a humming herd of preening queens perched on a soft sea of sofas.

And when the clock strikes twelve even the biggest pouting couch potato can just about lump and lard it round the corner to Out, back on Seagate - a friendly, spacious club that opens at 11pm and fair buzzes from midnight on right through to 2.30am, if not beyond. A well laid-out lounge, bar and dance floor make Out a sure-fire way to either cop-off or otherwise top-off your evening.

If things don't work out, you can always take a twenty minute stroll back past the train station towards the airport and cruise the truck stop on Riverside Drive and the sports pavilion opposite.

ABERDEEN

And so jump that train for the mere hour's journey north along a dramatic, cliffy coast to the brooding beauty that is the Granite City. Aberdeen is a fair wee bit larger than Dundee but has a scene about the same size, although perhaps slightly more male-dominated.

Ambient and chic gay-friendly bar-brasserie Abacos on Market Street serves light snacks during the day to all-sorts but DJ and karaoke lures in the queers after 9pm, especially at weekends. The rougher rabble rallies at Rabbies, just across the way on Exchange Street, for arguably more raucous karaoke carousels and the odd robust bout around the pool table. And that's just the women!

An early evening drink at Castlegate in the centre of Aberdeen, nicknamed Granite City as so many buildings were constructed using the local stone.
Courtesy VisitScotland.com.
But, rough or smooth, soon after midnight of a weekend, the contents of both Rabbies and Abacos spill and converge on Bar Indigo round the corner. Indigo is a singularly gay club in the old Oh Henry's premises - don't be confused by any old signage - playing a heady mix of pop, dance and retro-minus-cheese. Apart from the dishy dance floor, there are two big bars and a lovely lounge area, overlooking the manly Docks.

Other queer Aberdonian treats include the gay-trendy Café 52 on The Green, just west of the bars, is open from lunch until late, serving creative and well-priced cuisine.

A short walk yet further west from 52, Wellman's Health Studio - Aberdeen's first, nay only, gay 'health club' - offers video booths, dark room, sauna, steamer and tanning facility. Or in summer, wander south to Duthie Park, not least the area beside the shelter at the duck pond.

STAYING THERE

The gay-friendly Abacus Guest House on Jasmine Terrace - a quiet old street just ten minutes stroll north of the city centre and scene - is recommended. You can also book other hotels online at our partners Bookings.

GETTING THERE

Dundee and Aberdeen are easily reached by Virgin Trains East Coast's regular high-speed rail service. Information and online booking available at virgintrainseastcoast.com.

THE LITTLE BLACK BOOK

DUNDEE
Charlie's (75 Seagate, Dundee; T: 01382 226 840)
Brooklyn's (2 St Andrew's Lane, Dundee; T: 01382 200 660)
Out (124 Seagate, Dundee; T: 01382 200 660)

ABERDEEN
Abacos (11 Market Street; T: 01224 591927)
Rabbies (2 Exchange Street (Off Market Street). T: 01224 212181)
Bar Indigo (20 Adelphi. T: 01224 586949)
Abacus Guest House (27 Jasmine Terrace; T: 01224 641410
Café 52 (52 The Green, Aberdeen; T: 01224 590094)
Wellman's Health Studio (3rd Floor, 21-23 Justice Mill Lane; T: 01224 211441)

Revised July 2016.

 

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