Archive for the ‘gay bars’ Tag

The Man Cave, Oxford, Oxfordshire   Leave a comment

Gay bars seem to be closing at a faster rate than other pubs. I guess this is progress — every bar is now a gay bar.

But, despite what we’ve gained by updating to the mid-20th century, we’ve also lost traditional, gay bar names like The Toolbox or The White Swallow.

So, it’s good to see a new place open in Oxford called The Mancave (not too far in theme from “The Manhole”). I’m not too convinced by the barber shop theme (is this some sort of fetish house?), but I’ve seen worse…Christ, I’ve woken up in worse. Best of luck, boys, and godspeed.


Posted October 13, 2017 by Drunken Bunny in Made Me Laugh

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Frankie’s Vauxhall Tavern, Hull, East Riding   2 comments

I was on my way back to my room with the intention of stopping at Frankie’s Vauxhall Tavern for a quick whiskey to see what the crowd there was like.  There was a guy singing 60’s-80’s pop hits and he had a great voice so I stayed for a few slower whiskies.

A thin man in a sharp suit dashed in and started dancing with wild abandon — at least that’s what I think it would be called: wild abandon or, even, dancing.  Some young folk were shooting billiards in the back bar and there was a scattering of people, like me, at the bar but most were piled up at the tables in front of the singer (I think one table was celebrating with their nana for her birthday).

I don’t know if any bar in Hull is really a gay bar but this one promotes itself as friendly to everyone in ways that would make you think that it must be.  And, there were some camp aspects but, again, that could go for any bar in town.  The rubber dick on the wall of the bar near the crisps notwithstanding, of course.


Posted May 18, 2017 by Drunken Bunny in Pubs

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Central Station, Pentonville, London   1 comment



It was quiet in Central Station. A couple of middle-age guys were talking over some drinks by the fire, another — looking plastered — carried two pints back to his table where he sat alone (efficiently avoiding a return trip to the bar), and the bartender was finishing another pour. There was nothing that should have suggested “gay bar” but I was pretty certain it was.






Then, there was the flyer for New Year’s Eve. Yep. But, this is what a gay bar should be in the Modern Age: a bar.




The beer was a bit pricy but that’s probably just the neighbourhood.  Another tempting New Year’s Eve venue, though I’m still leaning more toward the Trader’s Inn.






Posted December 16, 2016 by Drunken Bunny in Pubs

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Halfway to Heaven, Trafalgar Square, London   Leave a comment



Halfway to Heaven was closed the last time I tried the door, so on our way to Charing Cross Station we stopped in for a drink.  Four in the afternoon and there was a drag show on stage downstairs but we really needed to get away from town before the other Bonfire Night shit kicked off (the Million Mask March threatened to become a cop riot and neither of us really cared to get caught up in it).  We watched the phalanx of the Met develop from our seats near the window.




Before the long ride home (with an unsuccessful stop at the Wembley IKEA), I popped downstairs for a pee.  The entertainment, of course, harassed me with “don’t forget to wash your hands…we’ll be listening for the dryer.”  Just what I needed, another copper — in blue sequins, no less — hassling me.  I held out my hands for inspection as I passed back through, though.





Posted November 7, 2016 by Drunken Bunny in Pubs

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City of Quebec, Marylebone, London   1 comment


A lot of things in Britain remind me of Atlanta and while I would expect a London gay bar to be more like the Cove (the toxic waste dump of a queer bar where kitchen staff all over Atlanta tested the capacity of new colleagues and the place where I drank a whiskey sour beneath RuPaul’s gyrating g-string on my first visit), the City of Quebec was a lot more like The Conference Room — a no-nonsense local bar that just happened to favour men who favour men (most of whom were in their late 60’s, hence its other names like The Departure Lounge and God’s Waiting Room).


Civilians…the pub is a pub, but the real denizens of this place each have haircuts that cost more than all the clothing, drinks, jewellery, and wallet contents of the folks in this shot.


This is alluded to in several online write-ups of this truly wonderful, old world pub and is also a fairly unfair assessment of the house.  The fellows I saw sitting around the pub were instantly recognisable as available older gay men (and by older, I freely admit to being older than a few of these guys) but you had to either be looking for it to be true or otherwise be really tuned in to what was displayed before you.  The pub was, at the end of regular business hours, as much populated by straights as gays and everyone better dressed than the middle-aged runner whose report you are currently reading.

The guys that are there as much as sign posts as a lascivious attraction — the regulars of the pub — were as perfectly drawn as any 50(+)-year-old men I have ever seen, by the way.  I could have included photos of them but for the way the circumstances, below, made me consider their feelings in that they might, on an outside chance, read this stupid post.  This dickhead tourist photographing them would have been insulting enough without the arrogant dismissal of their magnificence I am about to perpetrate.



But, perpetrate this, arrogantly, I shall: to be completely modest in this butt fuckingly bourgeois world of preening appearances, my arrival in this closed (and, weirdly and invitingly open) universe seemed to cause a (admittedly almost imperceptible)  stir.  I won’t suggest I was fresh — if well (even overly) aged — meat to these dentured and botoxed carnivores; no, not a quarry as much as an interloper in this world that has a reputation as a place for those interested in ‘the older man.’

This made me laugh to myself, a bit, until I caught a glimpse of myself in the bar mirror (ignoring the hair loss and with the jelly like torso blessedly cropped by the angle of view): yeah, hand tailored suits and perfect grooming and manners are always on the same bargaining table as rugged fitness and mysterious scarring (and, obviously, a sense of humour about the whole situation).  A few dozen sit-ups, daily, and some hair replacement and I’d be in the boy market.

And,  if I was just in the market, this could have been a fun evening to fuck with the locals.  “Lights go out, walls come tumbling down” as the music piped in suggest…I would have expected more disco but I really can’t fault the experience, overall.  And, the Manhattan they mixed was FABulous.


Posted September 29, 2016 by Drunken Bunny in Pubs

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London A to Z Runs : C   5 comments



C is for Crime, and that is the single theme for today’s A to Z Run (unlike the ones for A and B, which looked for A‘s or B‘s all over a given route).  This was going to be easy in a big city but I had already done a pub with a Ripper connection and another famous for an incident involving the Krays.  This had to be a manageable distance and have some interesting Crime related pubs or sites to hit.  Let’s see how I did….



From the Coach stop at Marble Arch, I made a short dash up to the City of Quebec for a quick Cocktail.  Note, these highlighted C‘s are just incidental.  The crime connection here is sodomy, strictly illegal in Britain until the Sexual Offenses Act of 1967, two full decades after this oldest gay bar in the city opened.  And, not just old but famed for being inhabited by dudes older than me, fer buggery’s sake.



Looking for escort ads at phone boxes along the way (oldest profession, one of the oldest crimes) I eventually made my way to the Smugglers Tavern for a pint (passing, nothing to do with the first pub, Cockpit Yard on the way).




I got lost, as is my wont, on the way to the Old Nick, named for the police station (nick) that used to be housed here and not for Old Nick (the Devil) that features on the sign.  On the way back, I spotted a sign that features someone who might very well be the devil (and certainly fits the criminal theme of the run): Don Draper from Madmen:




I would be remiss if, on this trip, I avoided the Old Bailey.  So, I was remiss.  But, I have had a good run for decades missing the Old Bailey despite my best efforts to the contrary.  This time, however, it was completely accidental or, rather, not intentional due to my poor judgement re: trusting my sense of direction.  Soon, I found myself lost in the East End.




With a former crime (buggery), a current crime (smuggling), enforcement of criminal laws (a Police Station), avoidance (however unintentional) of the dispatch of those laws (the Old Bailey), and one of the laws of Nature (my sense of direction) all covered, I doubled back toward the Tower of London (the Monarch’s personal prison) for a hint of punishment for criminal activity.  The pub here was the Hung, Drawn and Quartered.



This was a moderately successful run which stuck largely to the single theme.  The next one will also tentatively stick to one thing, too.  “D” will be for Dr Who pubs.  Check back in a week to see how that turns out.

Posted September 29, 2016 by Drunken Bunny in Pubs, Running, Tourism

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Baby Love, Oxford   1 comment

Baby Love Oxford

It was the night of the office Christmas Party and, as it was in town this year, I didn’t really have a good way out of it.  Hitting a bar beforehand seemed wise and I had noticed a month or so ago that the Castle had changed names to Baby Love; assuming it was still a gay bar, I reckoned it would be safely remote from co-workers.  Turns out, it was safely free of any other human life save for the bartender and two barflies.


Baby Love Oxford bar
As you can see, it was also safely remote from most things on tap, and I settled for a £4.30 pint of Estrella and settled in for the musical selections.  When I used to come in for lunch (still avoiding co-workers), the music tended to be camp and quite unlistenable.  Still painfully unhip, the sounds were much more ironic: sea shanties, goth dirges, some electronic dance crap, and, at one point, Axl Rose screaming for 3 minutes. Weird.

Here’s the map.

Baby Love Oxford ready for business

Posted December 12, 2015 by Drunken Bunny in Pubs

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