London is a melting pot of alternative, DIY, queer club nights. From Aphrodyki (an Ancient Greece themed party for queer women), and BBZ (a collective hosting parties for queer, female-identifying, trans, and non-binary people of colour) to the various LGBTQ+ centered nights Dalston uperstore hosts, with an eclectic and diverse queer nightlife bubbling away beneath the capital’s surface. But what if you don’t live in London? Where can you go away from the mainstream gay haunts dominated by touristy straight clubbers? Here is a list of just some of the best queer nights out from around the UK, perfect for some alternative LGBTQ+ history month celebrations.
Hot Mess (Glasgow & Edinburgh)
Founded back in 2010 by DJ Simontron (who’s played alongside the likes of Horse Meat Disco), Hot Mess is an inclusive queer club night, with events held in both Glasgow and Edinburgh. The music is as eclectic as its clientele, with Simon spinning everything from pop classics to weird synth-wave, as well as house, techno and disco, all on vinyl.
Dyke Chambers (Leeds)
Taking place in Wharf Chambers, Dyke Chambers was founded in reaction to the limited number of club nights catered towards LGBT+ womxn. A safe space for LGBT+ womxn, non-binary folk and their allies, Dyke Chambers mixes drag performances with queer DJs, and have even hosted an ‘open dyke night’. Their outdoor party for Pride was hugely fun, and you can expect more of the same from their future events.
What She Said (Manchester)
Originally created to make up for the lack of events specifically for queer women,
Manchester’s What She Said has evolved into more than just a club night. As well as hosting house parties, they also put on gigs and even comedy nights, with an emphasis on making like-minded new friends.
Next event: Wednesday 18th March at YES
Named after arguably the worst UKG song of all time by 3 Of A Kind, Babycakes is Sheffield’s newest DIY queer night. Organised by partners Zoran and Blu, the night, which takes place at an undisclosed, limited capacity venue, is created by queer people for queer people. With an aim to celebrate Sheffield’s queer community, anything goes at Babycakes, as long as there is a queer person behind the decks. You can expect anything including UKG, dancehall, techno, club and more. The first event, which featured sets from DJ Soyboi, Diessa and Grove, was a huge success, quickly selling out. Zoran and Blu have big plans for Babycakes, as well as other queer projects on the horizon, so stay tuned.
Queer Noise Club (Nottingham)
As the name would suggest, Nottingham’s Queer Noise Club provides a platform for queer, non-binary and female experimental noise musicians. Founded by the multi-talented artist, musician and designer Aja, Queer Noise Club’s goal is to push boundaries, whether it be through punishing live sets, immersive visuals or drag performances. Previous events have played hosted to NTS’ Ifeoluwa, grime producer Iceboy Violent and the interestingly-named Godspeed You Peter Andre.
Hey Mary (Cardiff)
Described as the best alternative LGBTQ+ night out in Cardiff, Hey Mary is part queer disco, part drag show. DJ Sissy Boy Tears provides the former, whilst drag residents Cressida Wolf and Electra Complex, frequently accompanied by a revolving line up of special guests, lipsync ‘til the early hours.
Gal Pals (Brighton)
Gal Pals is a monthly queer club night split between Brighton and London which centres around womxn, trans and non-binary folk. It was co-founded by partners Scarlett and Xandice (Xandice also DJs at their events under the name Jumaeu), who started Gal Pals shortly after getting together just over four years ago. The music is a melting pot of genres, encompassing everything from pop, hip-hop, R&B and PC music, as well as some obligatory queer bangers – the only criteria is that it must be by womxn.
Header illustrations – Hattie Clarke.