SoHo has earned the well-deserved reputation of being super super gay, and people rarely deviate from super super gay. But SoHo also represents the mainstream, Britney Spears, sparkly signs, pole dancers, and tight t-shirts. If you’re not so much into that, or just looking for something a little more underground, East London is SO where it’s at. The Star of Bethnal Green on Bethnal Green Road hosts a monthly gay night on the third Saturday of the month for “girls, gays, and misfits” and surely we all fit in at least one of those categories, right? Get there on time, if not mad early, because the line winds around the block and turns this no-other-happening-bars road into THE destination. The place gets crowded in the best way possible, and quickly becomes the ultimate people-watching spot. Bow-ties and 50s polka dots and rainbow suspenders-- and this is just describing what the person behind me in line was wearing. The music seamlessly switches from “You’re the one that I want” from Grease to Toni Braxton’s “He wasn’t man enough.” It’s all red and punchy, passionate and eclectic. The upstairs sports a more pub-like atmosphere, with couches lining the circumference for when you get tired of grinding and need a little breather. My other East London favorite is the Book Club near Old Street, much more elusively gay but much more worth it. The Most Cake website holds periodic parties here- all with art, all with CAKE, all with lesbians. Yes, ladies, this is one of the few lesbian-centered venues in this lovely city. And East London lesbians are as good as it gets, with their hipster clothes and oversized glasses, feeding each other cake while swaying awkwardly to “Empire State of Mind.” And for the Americans who miss the good old frat party, there’s a ping pong/beer pong table. Gorgeous black and white Twiggy photos decorate the classy brick interior and make me want to set up camp and live in the Book Club forever. Also, gender neutral toilets!! If you go to the Book Club at non-party times, you won’t be disappointed by the amazing food, pool tables, bizarre ceilings, and the waitress who wears a bathing suit to work. The Star of Bethnal Green at off-peak also offers delicious classic British food and the constant sensation of “HOW did they fit THAT many people into THIS tiny space?”

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