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This weekend, central London is the place to be if you’re out, proud and up for a party – but just coming as a spectator is almost as much fun. Gay Pride in the capital promises a new parade route, an open-air club in the heart of Soho, performances by a range of artists, and a wealth of after-parties. Shrinking violets need not apply.
This year, the parade leaves BBC Broadcasting House at 1pm. It then travels to the foot of Regent Street, continues down to Waterloo Place, and runs along Pall Mall to Whitehall. Try the following bars and restaurants dotted along the route to get a glimpse of the festivities:
Buzzing Scottish restaurant where men in skirts (well, kilts at least) are always welcome.
Aqua Kyoto (pictured, left)
This sexy and glamorous Japanese restaurant has a roof terrace from where you’ll enjoy a bird’s-eye view of the parade.
Picturesque pub a stone’s throw from Oxford Circus with a strong local and out-of-town fan base.
With its sober, masculine interior and tempting selection of real ales, this is a typical bloke’s pub – closet heteros will be on comfortable spectating ground here.
Old-school Japanese drinking den with plenty of by-the-piece sushi to keep hunger at bay.
Inamo St James (pictured, right)
Pan-Asian restaurant with an interactive ordering system – just try not to let the high-tech menu and ‘chef cam’ distract you from the parade outside.
Laid-back Leon is the perfect place to enjoy a quick snack and digest the action.
This glam Lebanese is right on the parade route and serves classic dishes straight up.
Sketch stands head and shoulders above most London venues in terms of its ultra-camp, anything-goes decor.
A high-end canteen just behind Oxford Circus that serves draught beers and the odd cocktail.
Once the parade is over, its revellers descend on Soho for a street party, while others flock to watch performers on stage in Trafalgar Square. Here are our top picks for eats and drinks:
Global grazing menu and fun cocktails make this buzzy gay bar worth a trip.
The Wardour Street chickpea-pummellers are offering two-for-one main courses to the first 50 people who kiss in their store. Pucker.
If, for you, Pride isn’t Pride without a drag artiste or two, then this is the place to go.
Spuntino (pictured, right)
Russell Norman’s gritty New York-style diner is totally hip.
Rally round with a glass of top-notch vino and a brace of small plates.
A fixture of Soho’s gay village for more than 20 years, Village continues to entertain.
Vista at The Trafalgar Square Hotel (pictured, above left)
Recently revamped, this sky-high terrace removes you from the mayhem of the streets below while offering stunning views.
Wacky Wahaca is a great dinner option whether you’re kickstarting the night or refuelling between bars.