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Queer Brighton: 15 of the Greatest LGBTQ+ Venues and Events Across Brighton and Hove

Updated: 6 days ago

Connected Brighton’s Ross Othen-Reeves has lived in Brighton for 20 years, and cut his teeth on the gay scene throughout his twenties. In honesty, he was still cutting them (whatever the hell that saying means) well into his thirties. Now in his forties and a little more ‘mature’ following a career working in the LGBTQ+ rights sector, he seemed the ideal candidate for sharing tips on all things queer in our community, suitable for all ages and interests.



Brighton has long been considered the UK’s lesbian, gay, bi, trans, and queer* (LGBTQ+) capital - and for good reason. More than 10% of the city’s residents identify as lesbian, gay or bi, and a further 1% identify as trans or non-binary. These stats are way above the national average (which hover around 3% and 1% respectively, in case you wondered). As might be expected from the queerest place in Britain - the city’s LGBTQ+ scene is alive and kicking, offering everything from community hubs to nightclubs. Here, look at the best LGBTQ+ places Brighton has to offer.


Neighbourhoods


Kemptown


Before we begin, we need to pay a quick homage to Brighton’s undisputed queer district, Kemptown Village, which is a riotous mix of people from all walks of life and where many of the listings below can be found. The quiet, quaint ‘village’ itself is one of the city’s most affluent areas, yet the gateway to the neighbourhood is St James' Street - a law unto itself which has so far rebuffed all serious attempts of gentrification. Eccentric and edgy, it is a place where the street homeless dance to sound systems and drag queens casually walk to work dressed up to the nines. St James’ Street also hosts Brighton Pride’s biggest and most celebrated street party every year - an absolute must if you’re in town for the occasion.


Dining



As quirky as Kemptown itself, Arcobaleno is a relaxed cafe-come-restaurant serving up banging cocktails and a Maltese-inspired menu (it’s random, but it works) in the heart of the village. But don’t just come here for the fine food - the restaurant frequently hosts LGBTQ+ focused events including panel discussions, live music, drag, and much more besides. 



This award-winning little pub is a classic, cosy British tavern catering entirely to the LGBTQ+ community, their dogs, and allies (not necessarily in that order). Their roasts have won Best Sunday Lunch in Brighton seven years running in the Golden Handbag Awards (and their pub quiz is not to be missed either). 


Theatre & Cabaret



Tucked away in the heart of Kemptown village, Proud Cabaret is housed in a 200-year-old ballroom designed in the Chinoiserie style popularised by the Royal Pavilion. The burlesque shows are as eccentric as the decor, featuring both male and female entertainers, drag queens and kings. The venue’s bottomless brunches are legendary, as is their host, Dolly Rocket.



Ironworks Studios is fast building its reputation as the city’s preeminent LGBTQ+ events space, where audiences can catch drag, cabaret, live music, and plenty of stand-up comedy, including its highly acclaimed Forge Comedy Club nights. 



This much-loved little venue has long been a popular hangout for the city's trans community and today hosts some of the most exciting productions in queer theatre, with a particular focus on social justice. Shows include spoken word, plays, and live music.





Nightclubs and Club Nights 



This multi-level queer club is unashamedly playful and poppy, mostly catering to a young crowd. The club also has a great roof terrace which looks out over the pier and the sea beyond, so it's well worth popping in for a drink even if you're not staying for the long haul.



Legend’s sweeping ground-floor bar spills out to a large sunny patio overlooking the sea, but it is in the hotel’s Basement Club where the real magic happens. The venue hosts renowned LGBTQ+ DJs and is incredibly popular with partiers in their 30s & 40s.



This monthly club night, hosted at Chalk nightclub in the Lanes, is unapologetically queer in every sense of the word, actively celebrating all the intersectional joy of our community. Every event includes GoGo dancers, drag hosts, art installations and impromptu performances.



Held in Brighton’s beloved venue, Komedia, in the North Laine (well worth checking out in and of itself), this quarterly club night is a euphoric celebration of women, trans and non-binary people (and reserves a small handful of tickets for allies too).


Bars 



By its own admission, the Regency is ‘fabulously flamboyant’, serving up old-school high camp in both decor and entertainment. Enjoy drinking and dining while pianists belt out gay classics and drag queens work the room, all while immersed in gilded Regency stuccos and leopard print furnishings.



If you’re going out on Brighton’s queer scene, chances are you’ll be swinging by Charles Street Tap at some point in the evening. A large bar popular with all ages, the venue also boasts award-winning drag acts and a large outdoor patio area.



A tucked-away little gem of a bar, the running theme throughout is all things theatre, darling. Keep an eye out for the venue's drag brunches and karaoke nights. 



Located in the Brunswick neighbourhood, the Grosvenor is a little bar that packs a big punch. It has a dedicated and exceptionally welcoming cohort of regulars thanks to the bar’s initiatives, which include Small Business Socials (which is much loved by all of us at Connected Brighton, naturally), as well as weekly drag bingo and cabaret shows. Bring your pup along too, if you have one - this is without doubt the most dog-friendly queer venue in town! 





Community Hubs



In the heart of the North Laine, the Ledward Centre is a social space celebrating the diversity of our community. The space includes a cafe, art exhibitions, and a meeting room available for hire. It also regularly hosts talks, cinema nights, and immersive events. 



Located on St. James’ Street, the Centre provides support and advice to members of the trans, non-binary and intersex communities. As the name suggests, it is also the HQ for the organisers of Brighton’s Trans Pride - the largest of its kind in the UK.


Shopping



Your one-stop LGBTQ+ centred shop, selling all you need for the perfect night out... or in.


Have a fabulous Pride Month Brighton! Let us know your top tips in the comments 🏳️‍🌈

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