Our naval journey starts to the West in Southampton, where two ships once set
sail from this fair city with an aspiration to explore the Americas. One was The Mayflower
which helped colonise America with Puritanical whites; and the other, a few hundred years later,
the Titanic which sank en route to the same place, so giving us
the world's largest metaphor and three hours of Di Caprio eyeing up Winslett.
So what is Southampton like for a gay night out? Well you can start the evening off by drifting down Bernard Street, along the curve
that is Oxford Street, passing The Grapes pub where many of the crew of the Titanic
downed their last pints, to the London Hotel pub (not a hotel) on the corner. It's
billed as "Southampton's friendliest gay venue" and we'd certainly vouch for that - the
staff bend over backwards to welcome all wayfarers and lost souls, to set you on your
way with a smile - nightly evening cabaret and karaoke.
Yet further north, there's the purple-coated
gay multiplex that is The Edge, Loft & Box. The Edge is a large bar-cum-club with
polls to dance around - all you'd expect plus more. The Loft upstairs offers a
range of snacks and light pub grub. The Box next door is open at weekends, pumping
out hard dance music.
The Pink Broadway sauna near Debenhams can work off any excess steam remaining. Or
there's plenty of outdoor cruising action on Southampton Common - especially in the
woods near the County Cricket Ground on the south side, with easy parking and even
easier lads who seemingly get younger as the night goes on. Complaints from the
public over careless disposal of condoms have reputedly prompted limited police
action, so the north side of the common may be more expedient - up at the top of
Hill Lane where the toilet is now boarded up but there is a huge amount of activity
in the woods over quite a large area.
How's Your Head? is a gay nightclub in Southampton on Onslow Road. It's a great place to
have a good night out and they even have 'a very British drag bingo' on some nights.
Isobar is a modern bar open 7 nights a week, situated at the top of St Marys Street.
With legendary partys, spectacular theme nights, cheap drink promotions the bar is close
to other gay venues in Southampton.
The Stage Door is Southampton's only Fringe Theatre, Live Music Venue & Bar in the heart of
the Cultural Quarter, serving up some of the best Live Music, Cabaret, Burlesque, Comedy, Plays,
Musicals, Children's Theatre, Cocktails, Wine & Beer and much more. They host a number of drag
shows and music. In Vernon Walk you'll find the Orange Rooms Southampton which is a bar with
kitsch, 70s-inspired leather sofas, pouffes and booths, for cocktails and weekly DJ nights. It's certainly
camp if not entirely gay.