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Gut Level (2023)
Gut Level (2023)Photography Frazer Scott, Courtesy of Gut Level

The ultimate guide to UK queer nightlife for 2023

From Belfast to Bristol, London to Leeds, Emily Crooked presents a guide to the best LGBTQ+ clubs and club nights around the UK

Introducing Horror Nation?, a new season from Dazed about the current state of the UK from the perspective of the young people who live here. Over the course of this week, we will be celebrating the good that is happening all across the country – the culture and the creativity, the artists and the activists, the positive forces for change. But we will also be confronting the reality that life is getting increasingly challenging for British youth, and that Britishness itself is in flux, or even crisis. Stay with us as we lift the lid on modern Britain and ask whether this really is a horror nation.



Conqueer is a club night frequently synergising with runway shows, performance art and film screenings. They pull queer talent from across the UK into Bristol’s scene and the result is nothing short of a hurricane of unbridled queer expression, a cauldron of all the glorious weirdness that Bristol has to offer.


Five years ago, sisters Sasha and Tiffany SK founded Concrete Jungyals to push for representation in Bristol’s DnB scene: always rooted in community and remaining quintessentially Bristolian in character, the collective presents drum‘n’bass, dubstep, jungle and breakbeat from a fresh perspective. Prioritising anyone under-represented in Bristol’s mainstream, this environment has given rise to a fresh wave of talented artists, perhaps most notably Grove, recently headlining Berlin’s Trauma Bar and Kino.


Founded by Tokyo Horror vocalist Mollie Rush, this Bristol “queer f*cking hardcore” night pushes for representation, shouts about trans rights, delivering spectacularly sweaty nights at Bristol’s iconic and incomparable Cosies. Their next event moves to Teh Jam Jar to accommodate a killer lineup of live queer hardcore headlined by The Oozes.



Well rooted in its origins, Club Rush believes “in keeping things affordable, championing local talent and grassroots promoters”. Don’t let their modest events posters fool you, this party is wild. With bookings like Adonis resident Grace Sands and a name taken from a brand of poppers, their motto “QUEER HEDONISM IS ALIVE IN THE NORTH” is neither surprising nor misleading.


GUT LEVEL is a venue rather than a club night, but is the veritable backbone of queer community in Sheffield. From housing Club Rush, to providing kink workshops, open decks for new DJs and a queer sex symposium, to hosting a QTIPOC film club and running its own incredible in-house queer events, the venue is doing the most for queers in the North and deserves every credit. A genuine inspiration to queer venues everywhere. (Gut Level has just had a lease approved on a new premises, and they’re fundraising for renovations – head here to donate.)



Having run since before anyone can remember, Eat Me is Liverpool’s only deranged drag, delectable dinner, and preposterous performance theatre experience. Always platforming the most outrageous artists, Eat Me will undoubtedly leave your mind blown and your belly bloated after this evening of contemporary culinary cabaret.



Fast Muzik is the hard, fast and silly side of Glasgow’s queer scene delivering hardcore, donk and DnB to a crowd decked out in proper “raver” gear. Think fluffy boots, neon fishnets, and dancing like you’re on an arcade dance machine – leave your seriousness at the door and indulge in some extremely happy hardcore with Joey Mouspad and crew.


Stalwarts of the Glasgow queer scene, Shoot Your Shot have hosted everyone from Sherelle to T4T LUV NRG, bringing queer talent that stretches across genres and the world. Their decks were where rising star Taahliah cut her teeth, and their dance floors are an unimpeachable haven of outrageous style and queer joy for the Glasgow queer scene.



Founded by Marion Hawks and Pony M, Ponyhawke delivers monthly nights of queer hedonism soundtracked by techno, house, and disco, creating consistent queer space in Belfast in incredible style. The results are in invariably euphoric closing scenes and a shining example of the beauty and community that can flourish through the monthly combination of queers and dance music.



Run by non-binary pairing Finley and Ren, CINC is the “queer n kinky techno” night bringing new dimensions to Cardiff’s queer scene. Sick of straight raves and requesting SOPHIE in Cardiff’s gay bars to no avail, CINC took matters into their own hands, bringing in DJs like Candy HurtZz, and creating their own buzzing hive of harnesses, techno and unabashed queer sexuality in three sold-out parties since February.



This Manchester-based jungle/hardcore/gabber night is rough around the edges: “queer aggression, militant kindness” is plastered on their socials, alongside beautifully deranged promo-memes and huge bookings like LCY, ANgel D’Lite and Brooklyn DJ Kilbourne, which seem incongruent with their somehow still relatively small online following. Their next party? Celebrating “Flying Ant Day” (iykyk) on July 15, line-up TBA.



Running since 2020 and born out of outdoor parties under bridges and in forests, Rat Party is always sexy hedonistic lo-fi vibes, whether at home in Leeds or at one of their regular London collabs. Led by a close-knit group of resident DJs and representing QTIPOC, trans and queer sex worker communities, the crowd that follows is 2000s strip club meets 2020s art student, with DJs veering between techno, hardcore and ballroom.



If you live in Brighton you already know that Polyglamorous brings the absolute best of London’s gorgeous gogos and draggy dancers to the seaside for this decadent disco. With drag performances and guest DJs like Romy from The xx, it’s a guaranteed gawjuss night out.



While this night was created by Harpies and London Trans+ Pride founder, Lucia Blayke, Transvision is made by the fashionable hedonistic queers and beloved local transsexuals that attend – a club night by and for trans people and their besties, this “transgender pop music cult” returns with Only Fire (f*ck it up) headlining their London Pride afterparty. Expect contemporary queer techno, Clubland Classics, niche noughties pop, and trans angels dancing on the bar.


Boudica has been running at various venues since October 2019 and doing the most to bring international FLINTA (femme, lesbian, intersex, nonbinary, trans and asexual) DJs to London’s techno scene. Run by queer techno royalty Samantha Togni, by night the vibes are dark and industrial, but by day Boudica opens itself to discuss the place of women in the music industry at the annual Boudica Music Conference, and recently platforming its favourite artists with its first vinyl release.


Responding to the now fully-fledged emo revival and a lack of POC-run spaces within it, Not OK is where you let loose your inner emo kid and scream along to remixes of your favourite pop-punk anthems and emo covers of classic pop songs. If you still own striped arm warmers or a three-row studded belt, this one is for you – get down to their summer party at The Yard.


Part donk night, part Mumsnet parody protest, Mums Against Donk is two parties in, and they’ve already booked Lobsta B at Corsica and drummed up drama on actual Mumsnet. Their rise has been utterly ridonkulous, and their parties keep selling out – follow them on Insta for any chance of a ticket.


FOLD’s now legendary Sunday techno day party has always centred its dolls, dykes and non-binary divas. If you’re going for your first time, you better be prepared to queue (in a line notorious enough to have its own Instagram) and, in their own words, “DRESS TO SWEAT”.


Relatively fresh on the London scene, ARIZE! is the love child of local legend LOVECAT, serving (and coining) “TR4NNYT3K”, harder and less restrictive than “techno” techno, more inclined to sample any given pop diva, and decidedly geared toward slaying, serving and sliving. Self-described as “genreless, genderless, endless”, it’s a high-energy party and, if you’re lucky enough to see LOVECAT, you’ll know what it really means to slive.