A guide to the Edinburgh and Glasgow LGBT scene

A guide to Edinburgh and Glasgow's LGBT scene

Pride Scotia / Photo: ScotsGay

Clubs, bars, films, visual art, sports events and festivals all covered

Looking for a queer-friendly night out and don’t fancy a traffic-light party at the union? Never fear, The List’s LGBT editor Lauren Mayberry is here with a round-up of good LGBT hangouts in your city


Not short of club nights, Glasgow has a reasonable mix of the mainstream and the leftfield. Play and Polo Lounge offer reasonably priced midweek nights, while FHQ in Merchant City is a ladies-only bar with affordable, regular nights including Club Devotion and Queer:CORE. Death Disco at The Arches and Club Noir at O2 Academy often have nights with LGBT influences, or for something more alternative try the Flying Duck’s New Wave night, Blitz, or Menergy, a ‘Hi-NRG gay dance party’ hosted by drag ledge Lady Munter at Forbidden.

Lock Up Your Daughters is a local collective that makes zines, runs filmmaking workshops and puts on the odd club night. Curating a monthly screening of queer classics at the GFT, their events are the perfect place to meet new creative pals with a shared love of arthouse cinema (and Priscilla, Queen of the Desert). Check out the LUYD website for info on one-off music and clubbing events.

The artier among you should also try out the Virginia Gallery on Virginia Street, located below over-18s boutique, Luke and Jack. Running everything from ‘realistic’ life drawing classes to showcases of local and international lesbian, gay and trans art, this space is definitely a first for Glasgow. For sports, try out Glasgow Front Runners at the Arc, or Camp Fitness Run Club, who meet every Tuesday and Thursday at the Botanic Gardens.


Cachín Cachán Cachunga! is night of poetry, film, music, dance and any other kind of performance you can think of at Priscillas, specifically aimed at queer and trans people. Saturday Night Beaver claims to be ‘Edinburgh’s only women’s night’, taking place in the Annexe at the Liquid Room on a quarterly basis. Hot Mess is a popular alt night at the Wee Red Bar, kicking off after regular gig night Pussy Whipped, and offering an alternative to the cheesier clubs. But if electro house isn’t your thing, head to GHQ for a plethora of wallet-friendly drinks deals and classic anthems.

The LGBT Centre for Health and Wellbeing has everything from support groups and discussion forums to film screenings and book clubs. There are also plenty of exercise classes to get involved in, ideally followed by a pint in The Regent or a high-calorie snack at one of the bars and cafés around Broughton Street, such as Blue Moon (claim to fame: the UK’s oldest gay café) and the recently revamped CC Blooms. Sporty ladies should also check out Hot Scots FC, be it for a kickabout or a serious game.

Festival and Special Events

Every summer sees Pride Scotia take place in Edinburgh, with Glasgow Pride taking place every second year, due back in 2014. Glasgay! is Europe’s largest queer multi-arts festival, covering film, comedy, music, theatre, visual and performance art, literature and clubs (15 Oct–3 Nov), while the BFI London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival usually tours to the GFT and Edinburgh Filmhouse around the start of the first semester. Other dates for the diary include: International Celebrate Bisexuality Day (23 Sep), Transgender Remembrance Day (20 Nov), World AIDS Day (1 Dec), LGBT History Month (Feb) and International Women’s Day (8 Mar).

If you’re ever in doubt, remember that most universities will have their own LGBT societies but you can also approach LGBT Youth Scotland or call Dundee-based helpline Diversitay for additional advice (01382 20 26 20, Mondays, 7–9pm). Both Glasgow and Edinburgh also have Gay Men’s Health centres, offering drop-ins and counselling.

Saturday Night Beaver

SNB is back in the safe hands of Trendy Wendy, Mama D, The Funky Diva and Wee Taco Mel, with a kickin' soundtrack for ladies, their invited male guests and LGBT friendly door policy.

Club Noir: The Games

Like a much sexier version of the Olympics, Club Noir presents burlesque performers representing countries around the globe in a sequin-encrusted showdown of national pride. Plus Blondie tribute act Dirty Harry and DJs spinning 'vintage, modern and British music.' No jeans and trainers, please.

Lock Up Your Daughters

Ass-shaking session from the LUYD fanzine pitched as 'a response to the boredom and brain dead stagnation that plagues modern gay culture', with electroclash and pop from residents Lock Up Your DJs.

Glasgow FrontRunners

A running group suited to all abilities for LGBT folk and their friends. Go for a run led by a qualified jog leader, then afterwards join the city's friendliest sports club for food and chat in the city centre.

Hot Mess

Queer dance party where the focus is on the music, which is a heady mix of pop classics, obscure synthwave, house, techno and disco from the safe hands of DJ Simonotron. It celebrates its 8th birthday across the two coasts.

Menergy presents the Fierce Ruling Divas Ball

Channel your favourite diva and strut your stuff to Italo disco and Hi-NRG from the lovely people who bring you Menergy club nights, with a panel of VIP judges to decide who's got the fiercest strut.


Twenty two years after it burst onto the scene, Glasgay! continues to test the limits of LGBT arts. Taking place across a variety of Glasgow venues each autumn, this performing and visual arts festival presents work that includes LGBTQI artists and engages with social issues as well as questions of identity, sexuality and…

Camp Fitness Run Club!

Fun, friendly running group that's nonetheless serious about getting fit. Led by a qualified jog leader, all levels welcome.


The only rock night on Glasgow's gay scene, with Emma Queercore Daye.

Pussy Whipped Festival

Three-dayer organised by Edinburgh's queer-feminist underground music night, with a progamme that spans gigs, club nights, films and workshops. The 2014 line-up is typically impressive. Across the weekend there are performances from – among many many others – Maybecyborgs (Germany) – gender fucking art indie pop, Ethical…


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