Brighton has long been known as the gay capital of the UK. Our seaside resort town is extremely open-minded — people dress as they want, love who they want and enjoy life as they want, and all without judgement. And since we’re based in Kemptown, we’re in the heart of the Gay Village, allowing visitors at the hotel to experience Brighton’s thriving gay scene, with all its clubs, bars and attractions to offer for the LGBTQ+ community, both locals and visitors.
Let us take you for a walk around Kemptown and further afield. See how you can get the best out of Brighton’s gay scene and lifestyle during your stay with us.
Shopping with a happy twist
St James Street, just around the corner, is the place to start your journey. The street has a plethora of small independent shops which cater to the locals and tourists alike. They all welcome members of the LGBTQ+ community. The best known store is Prowler and sells everything from underwear and clothing, to books and DVDs, through to fetish and bondage. They have merchandise to suit all kinds of tastes.
Just across the street is Nice ‘n’ Naughty. The window displays are clearly aimed at the LGBTQ+ community. This shop is definitely for adults only.
Where to grab a coffee or a bite to eat
For a great place to grab a homemade sandwich on rustic bread, a little sweet treat or a flavoured roasted coffee, head to Cup of Joe in the Kemptown Trading Post. This is a gay-owned establishment and you can always be sure to see a friendly face when you enter.
And take a wander around the stalls for a little gift to take away with you. Or stop into Charles Street on the main seafront. Newly refurbished, this gay bar serves up tasty treats all day long and late into the evening. The booths are cosy, the music is cool and the bar is fully stocked – this is definitely a place to stop in at during your visit.
Enjoying Brighton’s gay clubs and bars
Brighton really comes into its element for the LGBTQ+ community when it comes to its bars and clubbing. A good night out should always start at the Bar Broadway on Steine Street, which is just a five minute walk down St James Street. This bar is both friendly and cosy and has a small performance stage. The staff are chatty, making all guests feel like regulars there.
Though all are welcome, if you’re looking for a predominately male crowd, try the Bulldog. Housed in the old Kemptown Brewery building, this bar has been open since 1979. Here you’ll find two floors of entertainment, including cabaret, karaoke and DJs. On weekends, time is also on your side since the bar has a 24 hour licence at weekends.
From there, continue on to the Queen’s Arms in George Street. This bar is open seven days a week and offers cabaret entertainment every day, with shows hosted by some of the top drag queens in Brighton. You’re guaranteed a laugh and the shows will set you up further for an enjoyable evening.
Two institutions in the gay pubs and clubs scene in Brighton are Amsterdam and Legends. Both offer sea views from the forward-facing bars and both have ample-sized terraces for guests to sit out late night in the summer, drink and socialise. Legends also has its own club, ‘The Basement Club’, which is busy at weekends and offers free entry, transforming the bar into something of a two-storey club after 2.00 am.
When it comes to clubbing, the most popular destination is Club Revenge. Two dance floors, rooftop terrace and seven newly installed VIP booths – dance the night away with featured nights, guest DJs and performers, and a host of surprises year round.
LGBTQ+ Community Events in Brighton
Year round there are a selection of LGBTQ+ events aimed at raising awareness, promoting diversity and, more importantly, having fun. Each year, at Easter time, the Easter Bonnet Parade & Charity Drag Races takes place in Brighton. At this fun-filled fundraising event, you’ll see drag queens and kings battle out in races, all for a good cause.
Towards the end of April, you can see the Actually Gay Men’s Chorus. This chorus was set up in 2005 to provide a place for gay men to socialise and develop their vocal skills and perform in front of the public while raising money for charity. The chorus supports the Sussex Beacon charity and they’ll be performing ‘Every Song an Encore’ to raise money for the charity.
In the run-up to Brighton and Hove Pride, a number of other charity events also take place, such as the Annual Pre-Pride Quiz at the Camelford Arms, to the Pride Dog Show (the Best in Show is one of the highlights). You can log in to the GScene website , or pick up a copy of the monthly magazine from our Reception to get the up to date listings of everything happening.
Colour My World – Brighton Pride
There are so many elements to the Pride weekend. One of the personal highlights for me would be the Parade itself. This amazing spectacle of light and music marches through the town centre and ends in the park. Then in the evening, the party takes place in Preston Park, where the headline acts performance and the atmosphere among the crowd is electric. There’s just such a good vibe the whole evening.
If you want to enjoy Pride but like things to be a little less crazy, head back into town for Pride theme nights, and then join the Kemptown Village Party all day Saturday and Sunday. The roads are closed and the party spills out onto the streets – so much fun, music and laughter – and obviously good drinks to be had. But it’s a restricted entry event – the good news is, guests of the hotel get entry as part of their bookings and can upgrade to the bar access passes, or purchase in advance from the Pride website.
As they say, Brighton is the City of Diversity – come for one day or stay forever! Everyone is welcome.