Glasgow Gay and Lesbian Scene
(Glasgow, Scotland, UK)
The gay scene in Scotland is very much centered around the cities of Glasgow and Edinburgh, where a number of themed bars, nightspots, traditional pubs and saunas are on hand, such as the Pipeworks on Metropole Lane. Although the weekends are reliably busy, so too are weekday nights, particularly Wednesdays.
While it is fair to say that the city doesn't really suffer at the hands of homophobic abuse, the gay lifestyle is relatively closely guarded and many of the city's nightspots do tend to be rather hidden away. However, Glasgow is certainly a changing and evolving city, forming a new and healthy identity when it comes to gay attitudes and acceptance, allowing you to be whoever you want to be and act the way that you want to act.
Many LGBT visitors to the relaxed city of Glasgow simply choose to hang out in straight bars and clubs, a number of which offer fun gay and lesbian nights from time to time. Always extremely popular with both locals and visitors is the Underground bar, which sits on the outskirts of the Merchant City neighbourhood, on lively John Street.
Formerly named the Revolver, the Underground bar is located within the Pink Triangle area, opposite the Piazza Italia restaurant and roughly a block away from the Glasgow City Chambers, where it comes with a free digital indie-inspired juke box, Wednesday quiz nights and a pool table. Interestingly, this is actually one of the few bars where there is no karaoke on the entertainment menu.
Less than a five-minute stroll (or stagger) away from the Underground is Delmonica's on Virginia Street, which resides within the heart of Glasgow's famous Pink Triangle. Often referred to as simply 'Dels', Delmonica's is known for its cheap drinks and plentiful entertainment, which ranges from classic karaoke to all-night bingo marathons. This bar tends to attract a fairly youthful crowd and many people choose to call into Dels on their way to the neighbouring Polo Lounge, since they often give out discount vouchers or even free passes to Polo here.
Polo stands on Merchant Street and just down the road from the Merchant City Inn. This is both a bar and a nightclub, and has a very interesting history, since it was originally a Scottish Life Assurance building, before being converted to its present-day incarnation in 1997.
The trendy upstairs lounge was created by the hands of acclaimed designers responsible for styling Bono's (of U2 fame) renowned Clarence Hotel in Dublin. An extravagant marble bar is accompanied by many original art works and stylish ornamentation, giving it the character of a rather expensive and exclusive hotel lobby. Head downstairs and you will find a pulsing renovated basement club, along with a small trophy room. If you are cruising for talent in the Scottish city of Glasgow, then this is certainly the place to come.
Glasgow Gay Pride Festival
Address: Argyll Street, Glasgow, Scotland, UK
Tel: +44 (0)141 221 7203
The highlight of the gay and lesbian year in Glasgow is certainly its Pride Festival, which takes place around the middle of July and always attracts large crowds. Pride Glasgow was first held in 2008 and was then attended by some 5,000 people, who started proceedings with a huge procession from Blythswood Square to George Square, followed by inspiring equality speeches and the historic raising of a rainbow flag over the City Chambers.
The event has steadily grown and is now held every summer, being run and organised entirely by a team of volunteers, and sponsored by local organisations. Highlights generally include live music, funfair rides, market stalls, lots of food and drink, and parties galore.