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London Nightlife

London Nightlife

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Gay and lesbian nightlife in London is renowned for its diversity. From rubber "gummy bear" nights to preppie "high-tea dances," London sports a club, pub, disco, or temporary basement venue for every taste.

Pint After Work

Leave the corporate takeovers and towers behind and check out Comptons of Soho (51-53 Old Compton St., W1; +44-20-7479-7961). The atmosphere is traditional English pub. The Admiral Duncan (54 Old Compton St.; +44-20-7437-5300) is a popular pre-and post-theater pub with a mixed crowd.

To the northeast of the city center, the friendly King Edward VI (25 Bromfield St., N1; +44-20-7704-0745) is Islington's most popular and central bar, with an upstairs cafe and a great rear garden. For relaxed charm, the lesbian-run Duke of Wellington (119 Balls Pond Rd., N1; +44 20-7275-7640) is a beautiful old Victorian pub popular with local men and women on weekends when traditional Sunday lunches are served and the newspapers are free.

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Lounge Chairs

Hedge fund brokers, investment bankers, and local celebrities, including the dashing Jude Law, sample award-winning mojitos in The Mayfair Bar (The May Fair, Stratton St.; +44-20-7629-7777).

The elegant St. Martins Lane Hotel is the home of the stunning Light Bar (45 St. Martin's Lane; +44-20-7300-5500; StMartinsLane.com), where crimson and magenta provide a backdrop for some of London's most decorative denizens to lounge, drink, and mingle. The guests and members-only bar/club is also open to those who set up guest list reservations in advance.

Cute Suits

Kudos (10 Adelaide St., WC2; +44-20-7379-4573) and Bar Code (3-4 Archer St., W1; +44-20-7582-4180) are modern happy hour alternatives popular with what gay Londoners smilingly call the "cute suits" and the Levi's and T-shirt crowd. Kudos is often crowded, particularly on Saturday nights when it's the starting point for club bunnies on their way to Heaven. Bar Code has a harder edge, and there's dancing in its basement bar until late on weekends.

For weeknight drinks, you'll always find an upbeat, young crowd at stylish Ku Bar (30 Lisle St., W1; +44-20-7437-4303), popular with the pre-club set. 79CXR (79 Charing Cross Rd., W1; +44-20-7734-0769) is a big bar with late hours and low attitude, catering to a cross section of gay men, and a good bet most nights of the week, especially after 11 P.M.

Late Night Meetings

If things don't start too early tomorrow, G.A.Y. Bar (30 Old Compton St., W1; +44-20-7494 2756) is pure pop paradise, with huge LCD video screens showing the latest clips, and remains open until 1 A.M. Downstairs is a women's bar, Girls Go Down .

Take the coworkers to so-hip-it-hurts Freedom Cafe (60-66 Wardour St.; +44-20-7734-0071; open till 3 A.M.), a mixed gay/straight bar in the heart of Soho with a downstairs cabaret and a great selection of beer from around the world.

There's somewhere to dance every night of the week in London. Check QX magazine for the most up-to-date club information.

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