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Gay Nightlife, London

England's insider take:

London's gay scene is huge and changes often; pick up a free copy of bar rags QX or Boyz for the latest openings.

East London, where alty grit meets gay gentrification, is the 'hood of the moment. On weekends, the Joiners Arms, an unpretentious, down-and-dirty East End boozer, draws a social, eclectic crowd eager to cruise to the Gaga beat (116–118 Hackney Rd.). At East Bloc, in hipster Hoxton, a trashy-meets-crazy party pedigree extends from the owners (Wayne Shires of the Cock, now closed) to the clientele (Kate Moss has trounced through with her gays). Friday and Saturday throngs heave against Keith Haring installations, with both burly boys and pop tarts drawn to a rotating roster of parties as colorful as their names: Disco Fag Bar, Gutterslut, Hot Boy Dancing Bar (217 City Rd.). The polysexually freaktastic be-there-or-be-forgotten monthly Vogue Fabrics has moved to Lyall Hakaraia's underground bar—literally, a semisecret dive in the fashion designer's basement (66 Stoke Newington Rd.). But the party's former location, Dalston Superstore in Shoreditch, remains the preferred haunt of fashion editors and music industry types the rest of the month. Plus, the restaurant/gallery's brunch will help you recover from the twisted gay parties held downstairs (117 Kingsland High St.).

Central London skews more to the prepped-and-ready mainstream gay. Muscle boys and young good-looking office types drink at Soho's Rupert Street Bar before heading to Lo-Profile on Wardour Street (all leather-glass-steel interior design, flattering light effects, and electro house) or Shadow Lounge, a self-consciously upscale spot that started as a gay members-only club. Call or e-mail ahead to get on the guest list, or make sure you're a gorgeous fella—or with one (5 Brewer St.). Adorably tacky, the G-A-Y consortium—G-A-Y Bar (one floor for the ladies, two for the gents) on Old Compton Street, its sister club G-A-Y Late (5 Goslett Yard), and G-A-Y Club at Heaven (The Arches, Villiers St.), made famous by Madonna and Kylie Minogue appearances—remains a camp magnet for a young and frisky twink set OD-ing on sugary pop grooves.

Ultimate weekend warriors and insomniacs head South to Vauxhall, underneath the railway arches. Start with a drink at the space pod–like Barcode Vauxhall on Friday (69 Goding St.), barhop along Albert Embankment to Onyx at Area, and wind up at bone-rattling after-hours party A:M at Fire, on South Lambeth Road, till midday Saturday. Then rest and repeat till Sunday's famous Horse Meat Disco at the Eagle brings it home with resident DJs (and the occasional fantastic guest) spinning Italo, electro, and punk funk to a diverse crowd that dances until throwing-out time (349 Kennington Lane).—Justin Ocean

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