Retro Bar

February 28, 2015 9:00 am

I love gay bars. I’ve loved them even before I realised I’m fairly gay myself. What would a straight girl be looking for, in a place crowded with men who take no interest in her, you might ask. Well, I was looking for what any woman should seek in any bar – a good time, not a partner. If we are to be honest, everybody knows gay men are better dancers. I’d let myself be carried on their worked-out arms, unafraid that they might slip under my skirt. We’d share hand cream and sex tips. It was fun. But what I liked most in places as such was to see that not all men are reluctant to be openly sensitive.


Needless to say, I spent some time observing “the scene” in London and I have to admit that I’ve been disappointed by some of the venues. It’s sad to see that the freedom for which we fought so hard is sometimes confused with a lack of morals. In Heaven, to name just one other place, I’ve seen people strip all the way for a round of drinks. I didn’t quite like that.

However, I found this great little place called Retro Bar. Despite its name, the pub is not a vintage bistro but a lovely indie tavern. Hidden on a narrow alleyway next to Charing Cross, pots of flowers hanging by the entrance – it seems a bohemian oasis amidst all the commotion of the area.
For as little as 13£ you can buy a bottle of wine, served chilled and with a smile. You can take your drinks outside even past 11pm, if you care to smoke. In real glasses, not the cheap plastic replacements. There are no restrictions regarding the conduit there, because people are very polite. I guess being well-mannered has become retro.

Inside, its two rooms are often packed on weekend evenings. Both men and women share tables and gags, befriend each other without minding their age, sex or even sexual orientation. It’s okay to be straight. The bartenders are always welcoming. Old-school, unmatched chairs are scattered around. Cheers are being given and glasses titled in each other’s honour. There’s glee and friendly strangers abound.

It might not be the place you bring a girl, or a boy, to impress. There is nothing luxurious or extraordinary about it. But it surely is where you can spend a great time with your friends, if only due to their exceptional playlist. Throughout the night, you will listen to many of Robert Dimery’s “1001 songs you must hear before you die”. Black and white pictures of the greatest rockstars adorn the red walls. There is David Bowie and The Rolling Stones, The Beatles and The Clash, and memorable festivals, Glastonbury – all reminding you that you can forget about everything, even if just for one night. I surely did. I found it to be the perfect setting to hide from the mundane, escape from time and lose myself in lyrics and conversation.

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