Our guide to the best LGBT bars, pubs and places to meet in Leeds.
Leeds is lucky to have a compact but thriving LGBT scene (commonly known as #gayleeds). It is centred around the rainbow painted Leeds Freedom Bridge on Lower Briggate, with all of the LGBT venues just a stone’s throw away from each other and within close proximity to hotels, saunas, restaurants, the Trinity Leeds shopping complex and Leeds Kirkgate Market it’s also near to both the train and bus stations and various multi-storey car parking facilities.
*If you’re drinking though we suggest leaving the car at home or booking into a hotel.
Whether you’re gay, heterosexual or just somewhere else on the gender or sexual spectrum you can be assured that there is something here for you. Boasting some of the friendliest bars in the city, the #gayleeds scene has some sassy surprises hidden up its sleeves.
Here’s our guide to the LGBT venues within #gayleeds and under the shadow of our rainbow painted Freedom Bridge…
The best LGBT bars in Leeds
The multi award-winning LGBT Viaduct Showbar provides weekly cabaret spectaculars by award-winning Drag Queens and presents some of the UK’s biggest Drag Artists & Tribute Acts. Check out the nearly naked male bar staff and dancers. It can get a bit crowded at times, so arrive early to get the best spots!
Whether you’re just calling in on a break, or taking an hour or two out from a busy shopping trip, Queens Court in #gayleeds is open from midday every day. Queens Court is the famous #gayleeds residency of the absolutely fabulous drag queen Miss Orry. It is also known for its involvement alongside Bar Fibre in the annual Courtyard parties, Queens Court is a bar and a club it provides its customers with an overall experience. Miss Orry can bite though, so don’t upset her!
Opened in 2000, Fibre is #gayleeds’ self-declared most prolific bar, with superb midweek and weekend settings. From plush, relaxing drinks in the week to energetic and upfront house/electro to dance all the way through until late at the weekends. Situated over 4 floors, Fibre isn’t a place you want to miss off your list. The dress code and door entry can be quite strict on weekends though!
One of #gayleeds’ hidden gems, Blayds Bar & Abuv owned by Robert Payne and Duncan McCullam, provides top-notch entertainment and events every single night of the week. It is a warm and eccentric place which welcomes anyone, commonly a place where you can find bears dancing with twinks and lesbians chatting with the elder gay gents. It’s friendly and unique plus it’s home to #gayleeds drag stalwart Daisy DuPont and ex ‘Bears Aloud’ Ginger Feeder Roberts.
The Bridge Inn boasts free karaoke, the bar has a big personality and a naturally warm welcome. It never charges entry it is a definite must visit in #gayleeds. You may be treated to the presence of some #gayleeds characters that work and frequent the Bridge regularly. There is no beer garden or smoking terrace but what it lacks in this department it surely makes up for in others, Myra might also be behind the pumps telling you a rude joke or two!
The New Penny is the oldest gay bar in Leeds and it is said that it’s where Lily Savage performed whilst on the road to stardom. Recently awarded Civic Trust ‘Blue Plaque’ for it’s contribution to the LGBT community. It’s mainly a late late venue with great music and fun to be had into the early hours. It can get quite hazy as the night goes on here but we just think that adds to the fun and charm of the place!
Situated under the Viaduct Railway arches sits Tunnel Leeds, one of the latest additions to #gayleeds. Formally Mission 2 and located between Mission Nightclub and The Viaduct Showbar it includes state of the art lighting and sound systems. You can gain access to this unique clubbing space either via The Viaduct Showbar or by going down the alley between The Viaduct Showbar and the rainbow painted Leeds Freedom Bridge. Look out for regular theme nights!
The Loft which is situated above Queens Court (QC) is another recent addition to the #gayleeds scene. It is mainly open as a late venue at weekends with drag DJ Mystique and scene legend DJ Timmy J Wright often taking to the decks.