Bristol boasts a lively and welcoming LGBTQ+ scene. Here are some top tips on regular events and clubs to get you acquainted with the community in Bristol.
Clubs and nightlife:
OMG is the hub of the Bristol LGBTQ+ nightlife. With ‘Poundemonium’ Wednesdays attracting both LGBTQ+ and more mainstream crowds, it’s your classic strobe-lit, haze-filled nightclub, and something of a rite of passage for clubbing-inclined Bristol-based LGBTQ+ folk. Expect cheap Jagerbombs, lots of glitter and the same Titanium remix every week.
Just a few metres further down Frogmore Street, Queenshilling is OMG’s quieter, older sibling. Having been around since 1992, Queenshilling attracts a slightly more local crowd. It’s great for chilled drinks with the cute person you met on Tinder or taking in some of Bristol’s eclectic local drag scene. They also go all-out on the decor at Halloween each year – definitely worth a visit.
The Old Market Assembly
The Old Market Assembly might not, strictly speaking, be an LGBTQ+ venue, but has nonetheless been commandeered by the local LGBTQ+ community as a cultural-hub-meets-drinks-spot.
Home to The Wardrobe Theatre, a small theatre which programmes lots of LGBTQ+ work, The Old Market Assembly is a great go-to for the more artistically-disposed. It also plays host to regular drag nights and LGBTQ+ themed mixers including Don’t Tell Your Mother, a quarterly LGBTQ+ club night renowned for its inclusive ethos.
Freedom (Off The Record)
Freedom, the LGBTQ+ branch of youth mental health organisation Off The Record, is something of a one-stop-LGBTQ-shop. Not only does it offer LGBTQ-specific counselling, but it also runs regular sessions – segregated by age – for LGBTQ+ young people to meet and socialise, with opportunities to take on leadership roles in their outreach and activism activities. A great space if you want to be around like-minded LGBTQ+ people outside of the university bubble.
Kiki Bristol is a “social safe space” for LGBTQ+ people of colour. Since its inception in 2017 as a one-off club night, it’s grown into an integral part of the Bristol LGBTQ+ scene, platforming everything from film screenings to workshops to mixers.
Dubbing itself as a place to “meet, greet, eat, discuss, dance and more importantly feel free to be yourself”, Kiki Bristol is renowned for being a warm, community-minded and inclusive space.
Bristol Pride is, for many, the cornerstone of the LGBTQ+ Bristol calendar.
Pride Day kicks off with a march through the city, and followed up by performances, club nights and general merriment, Bristol Pride has all the hustle and bustle of its London counterpart but is still small enough to feel community-led. There are also lots of events in the run-up to Pride Day itself, including drag nights and an annual dog show.
Trans Pride South West
Running each year across a weekend, typically in late November, Trans Pride South West is an annual gathering for the transgender community: for commemoration and celebration.
Not only is it incredibly well-attended by a diverse bunch of people from all over the south-west, but it also attracts an array of high-profile performers and speakers, including Travis Alabanza, Cheryl Morgan and Shon Faye.
Perhaps the most niche corner of the Bristol LGBTQ+ scene, OutStories is a project which records and maps important sites in Bristol LGBTQ+ history.
The stories recorded are somewhat eclectic, varying from a site near Woodland Road where numerous gay and bisexual men were arrested for “misdemeour”, to the house of Annie Kenny, the leader of the Bristol suffragettes from 1907-1911 who was renowned for sleeping with her fellow activists. Accessible both over the web and via the app, OutStories is a fantastic resource for anyone with an interest in LGBTQ+ history.
Read more: ‘Bristol has really embraced Kiki’