Friendly Society

Friendly Society

A quirky basement bar in the heart of Soho

Average Reviews


Tucked away in the vibrant heart of Soho, Friendly Society is a gem in London's gay bar scene, offering a quirky and unforgettable experience. Entering through a nondescript alleyway, visitors are greeted by a world of whimsy and fun beneath the streets. The bar's decor is nothing short of magical, featuring Barbie dolls suspended from the ceiling and vintage films projected onto walls, creating an atmosphere that's both kitschy and inviting.

The venue is renowned for its laid-back vibe and welcoming ambiance, where the crowd is as diverse as it is lively. Here, everyone, regardless of gender or sexuality, is embraced, fostering a sense of inclusive community. Friendly Society is the perfect spot for those looking to dance the night away to classic disco hits, with DJs frequently spinning favorites from Donna Summer and other disco legends. The cocktail menu, while compact, is filled with imaginative options, and the staff add to the charm with their friendly, albeit sometimes perplexed, service when you order a drink.

One of the standout features of Friendly Society is its ability to combine a fun, energetic dance floor with the coziness of a local bar. Visitors often praise the delicious cocktails, notably fresh mojitos and martinis, which add an extra touch of sophistication to the casual, funky environment. Whether you're starting your night out in Soho or looking for a place to spend the entire evening, Friendly Society offers a unique blend of charm, energy, and a welcoming atmosphere that makes it a must-visit location in London's gay nightlife.



Friendly Society
Based on 439 reviews
Louise Kelly
10:10 05 May 24
Enter through the surreptitious entrance - decend the stairs - leave any worries at the top of the stairs. Enter and let go. You are entering a place of fun, celebration and good vibes. I knew little of this place and I’m a touch cynical about reviews (now I’m writing one - which is rare). Although flying solo on this occasion I could not resist dancing to the great music - disco & club. Everyone dances together. Excellent quality cocktails. The jewel in the crown is the Proprietor ~ ‘Maria’ she’s a star. Flying around this intimate club like a vision of Stevie Nicks - dancing with and speaking with everyone - including and making every guest feel so very welcome. The staff echo this with their upbeat attitude and actually made me feel like they cared that I had a good time! You’re in for a treat. I’ll be there next time and any time I’m back in London.
11:39 28 Apr 24
Lovely place!!! Might be my new favourite bar!!! All the staff were so friendly, it was an amazing vibe with some great music which was exactly what I had been looking for lately but found by accident really. Drinks are reasonably priced and cocktails are lovely.
Sabrina Jones
06:04 25 Feb 24
I went to Friendly Society this evening with a few friends to celebrate a birthday. The venue is cramped but has a nice vibe. I loved the disco and 80s tracks and the decor, particularly the barbies hanging from the ceiling. Unfortunately, what ruined the experience for me was a rather obnoxious bartender with questionable hygiene standards. It is unlikely that either me or my friends will return to this venue because of this.
David Newton
13:47 17 Feb 24
I love this quirky little Soho drinking den. The friendly team make everyone so welcome and create a very special atmosphere. The Friday night DJ spins wonderful, classic soulful pop and the cocktails are expertly made & delicious. Maria, who has been running the bar for over twenty years, mingles with the crowd and adds to the unique, fun vibe.
Giulia Matranga
17:27 07 Feb 24
A literally friendly and lovely place. We took refuge in the basement of this lovely pub. I was a little irritated that day but the Americano cocktail in perfectly Italian style and the boundless kindness of the probable owner contributed or rather - made - my day. She gifted us an umbrella as a free and open gesture of kindness, because it was raining. thank you friendly society!
Alex Macdonald
19:57 15 Jan 24
This is my favourite place in London because Maria and the staff always make it a place where we feel welcome whoever you are, background, age, gender or where you come from in the world and you can be yourself and have fun, drink nice cocktails and dance. I can't tell you how much I've appreciated that over the years even though I'm older now as many thousands do too and I hear young people saying it's their sanctuary. Alex
Honey McKenna
23:33 29 Dec 23
For some reason the owner decided we had to leave about 20 mins in! We'd just finished our first round of drinks (pictured) and went to dance - a blonde lady came up to us, asked us if we had drinks (which we took as - do you want drinks, to which we said no thanks, meaning we'd get some more ourselves in a minute). She then told us we had to leave… because we didn't have drinks? Then she went upstairs to get the bouncer, who asked us to leave - in fairness he just seemed perplexed and wasn’t unfriendly by any means, he tried to ask her if we could plead our case but she didn't even let us explain.Idk if it's because we are two women or what. Very strange. We just didn't want to be holding drinks as we danced!Such a shame from what seems like an otherwise nice venue. Great DJ! But won’t be coming back, probably to the owner’s relief. I work in nightlife myself, have DJed at several Pride events and put on lgbtq music nights myself, and I’ve never witnessed anything like this. I hope this isn’t indicative of hostility towards lgbtq women in general at this venue but other reviews suggest it might be.
Eligijus Rupšys
20:57 20 Dec 23
I’ve been coming to this establishment for a couple of times now. Last time a group of us came there for my friend’s birthday, and we had a blast. The decor is sick, the tunes were good, and the cocktails were more than a delightful drink, it was like an experience in itself. I had a little issue that a very lovely staff called Holly sorted me out with, so many thanks to her ! Would highly recommend and will definitely come back !
Sarah DC
12:42 06 Dec 23
Came here Monday evening, atmosphere was relaxed. Was looked after by the very friendly and attentive bartender Trojan. He skilfully made us beautiful cocktails and helped us with our drinks questions. The ‘Be Friendly’ cocktail tasted amazing. Was a very comfortable and enjoyable experience.
23:27 26 Nov 23
The staff here are amazingly “friendly” as the name of the bar appropriately says! Cozy, quaint, and off the beaten track. Drink menu rotates and changes — so you’re always finding new and exciting libations. Be sure to see Maria and Jay — just two of my favourites at this hidden gem!
Jason Benning
18:01 16 Nov 23
Was here on a Wednesday evening with a friend. I had never been to Friendly before, but my friend was adamant that I would love it.He was right!The atmosphere and music were both chilled and funky at the same time.The barman created the most wonderful, delicious and original cocktails.You can tell that the ownership has taken great care to employ dedicated and welcoming staff.The hostess is a charismatic force of nature; giving hugs to everyone and making you feel at home.
Peter Boorman
16:31 11 Nov 23
Amazing place! This bar I’ve been coming to for more than 25 years and it always have fantastic time with great tunes and fantastic drinks. The cocktail menu is amazing and very reasonably priced. The interiors very unique and the most individual and welcoming with such a nice crowd. I I will always come back to this bar every time I come to London. ❤️❤️
Kathryn Appleton
01:12 11 Nov 23
Best bar in soho. Fantastic drinks and staff. The owner Maria is fabulous and so welcoming! 10/10 night without doubt. Never in soho without visiting! Vodka martini very good.
22:14 30 Oct 23
Amazing drinks, bartenders know what they’re doing. Owner is lovely and welcoming.
Mike Smith
11:35 22 Oct 23
Love this place. Such a great vibe and atmosphere, reasonable prices, it’s a real hidden gem. The staff are welcoming and the music was wall to wall disco bangers. I come here every time I’m in London and would recommend everyone else does the same.
Devon Hong
23:52 22 Sep 23
Friendly Society has by far the best (and best named) cocktails I’ve had in London. And that’s special because most gay bars aren’t great at cocktails.I had the Verditarita - a mezcal tequila drink with pineapple, lime, mint and notes of coriander. The smokiness and the sweetness was expertly balanced. And the crystal clear ice! A tremendous amount of detail went into one drink.We met the owner, Maria, who greeted us with a big ole’ hug and made us felt instantly welcomed. Between the ceiling full of Barbies, the nautical themed bathrooms, and the chill crowd, I had never felt so seen by a bar.
Michal Teplan
08:40 02 Sep 23
Probably one my favourite spots in Soho! This place has a character and a lovely vibe. The decor is amazing (Barbie’s hanging from the ceiling) and the owner is exceptionally welcoming and friendly. Plus, the live music (not sure how often this happens, but when it does the artists are incredible)! I highly recommend this spot if you want to experience something different and special. By the way, they also have Babycham 🥳
Treedah Freedah
17:11 29 Aug 23
Really awesome place, and the owner was incredible, and I'll never forget her! ❤️Check this place out. It's underground. All cocktails are £11 which is a pretty good deal in London!
Lisa Knight
16:13 17 Aug 23
Happy vibes! A diverse and inclusive crowd of artisans, fashionistas and everything in between. Very reasonably priced drinks, creative cocktail menu, classic feel-good music that has folks of all ages up dancing by 9.30. Well done Maria and team…. still at the top of your game after 20+ years of The Friendly Society
14:06 24 Jul 23
Fantastic cocktails, including those not shown on the menu. Music was a bit ropey but overall a pleasant atmosphere with good decor
Ash Dobson
10:02 16 Jul 23
Absolutely amazing place. The cocktails were amazing, the DJ was great, the atmosphere was so good. Made it onto the photo wall too! Definitely the best place in soho to go, so welcoming and comfortable!
Mike Stankiewicz
22:19 16 May 23
The most wonderful experience. The owner Maria is an absolute queen.
Amal Paonaskar
19:40 01 Apr 23
I would normally say 5 stars, this is a really great bar and as the name suggests friendly. I've been here quite a few times and had a great time on every visit. However, of late I've seen them turning people away for no good reason (i.e not drunk, underage or the typical reasons). I've been turned away myself being told "it's full" by the bouncer which was at 8:00 pm. Real shame, used to be a really welcoming place. Maybe it still is, but I didn't get that feeling from the staff at the door on my last few visits.
Jude Collins
16:53 01 Apr 23
I last visited before 2020 so I was incredibly relieved to find that discreet little doorway still open, and everything just as before.The cocktails are reasonable (for Soho) and more importantly, strong and good. The bar staff are lovely, and you never wait too long. The music has always been disco, and you can dance if you want, though it’s just as good for a nightcap as a night out. Keep up the good work Maria!
B S (QueenBRani)
14:41 01 Jan 23
Really great gay bar in Soho, with great music but which was too loud, made it hard to have conversation with others in the bar.The bar is very beautifully decorated and low lighting, giving it a comfy atmosphere.
14:24 01 Jan 23
Lovely bar with music & a DJ. The staff are friendly and give great service!I purchased the same drinks which came to £14.10 and then after I purchased the exact same drinks again and the total came to £15.10, I’m not sure why I was charged more for the same drinks.Overall this bar has a lovely atmosphere, great staff, & a fabulous vibe to it!
mr Fixit
17:32 02 Dec 22
Funky basement bar run by a UK supermodel who looks awesome . Great cocktails . Good choice of music although a bit loud if you intend to talk do it loudly . The bar staff could smile more . Young and hipster crowd . It's the beautiful hang out babes and air kiss each other whilst admiring the funky decor
Terry Chisholm
15:20 14 Nov 22
My favourite night out in Soho. Everything about the vibe, the style, the crowd, the tunes and booze is spot on fabulous! Dance with strangers and make new friends in this truly Friendly Society.
Javier David
00:33 03 Nov 22
A gay bar un London that discriminated against Latinos.For me it was a very unpleasant experience. As I entered the place I was greeted with shouts by the administrator (an older blonde white lady). She started yelling that she didn't want a Latino man in her bar. At first I thought they were jokes, but after the situation escalated, I realized that she was serious and a gentleman asked me to leave because she was very drunk. I cannot believe this still happen in 2022.I know she was drunk but when we are drunk is when we show our true colors. They should change the name of the bar to Racist Society.
Dewald Meiring
13:17 16 Oct 22
I've been coming here for years. Small funky bar with friendly staff. You can even see the owner from time to time dancing, drinking and interacting with punters which makes a nice personal touch.
Jonathon Baker
21:29 29 Sep 22
I have been going to this bar for 17 years now and the place is like a beautiful bubble of joy and happiness. The people are friendly, the music is on point and the decor is another level of the good kind of crazy. I will keep going back to this place as it always makes me feel great! I highly recommend!
Felix Erler-Fernandez
21:40 24 Sep 22
Such a cool barx the staff is so sweet, the cocktails are so good and the bar is a must see in London. I will come back soon 💖
Maaija Sinclair
22:29 01 Sep 22
Loved it, lovely barman! How many places do you get to see Barbies nailed to the ceiling! Great atmosphere and decor...I will be back now I know you're there!
Eudis Anjos
20:37 23 Jul 22
Cool place. It is relaxing, good price for drinks, amazing service and nice lounge music. I would totally recommend it. 😉
Daniel Burr
15:28 18 Jul 22
The music was popping and the crowd was fun and friendly. I had a really good time!
Monitrice Lashé
07:51 16 Jul 22
As many trips through soho as I've been, I never knew this place was here until I was invited to my friend's outing last year. This bar is AMAZING. From the decor to the staff and ofc the drinks. The music and lighting definitely sets the tone and I've since been back many times! Whether you're visiting soho or not, I highly recommend.
Pip Jones
17:26 15 Jul 22
Like a 1930's boujee Berlin bar decorated by Barbie (with actual Barbies), the drinks were amazing and the music all night long was deep cut disco, which was feckin awesome, nobody could stop themselves from dancing.
Monica Lakin
02:13 04 Jun 22
The vibe is hard to describe but everything about it is perfection. The drinks are great too. I love this place.
17:06 07 May 22
Amazing place, great cocktails, decor and staff. If you a member of the LGBTTQQIAAP community, this place is always welcoming. Love and respect always.
izaac fc
18:45 03 Apr 22
great bar! Super cute decor and the bar staff are so nice and welcoming. The only downside is that the music is a bit too loud
Antony Pilmoor
10:04 09 Mar 22
Such a cute little bar.The cocktails were amazing and the staff were really friendly.Would deffo come here again on my visit.
10:00 20 Feb 22
Whenever I'm up the West End I near enough never ever fail to pop in to Friendly Society for a Vodka & Coke plus a cheeky "Trojan Shot" (I highly recommend if you love Jaffa Cakes, that's all I'm gonna say).Quirky, Fun, love the barbie dolls stuck on the ceiling amongst the vines & the wall of pictures!
Mark Yorke
21:53 28 Jan 22
In the midst of Soho..literally below ground, a really fun place. Always a pleasant crowd. Just opening backup , so much fun.
Philip Procter
10:20 07 Dec 21
Classic friendly gay bar to take your "straight mates" super nice staff, good drinks and decor that is straight out of a 70s flashback, good vibes and disco.
Gwyn Evans
20:55 09 Oct 21
One of London's best LGBT+ bars run by the wonderful Maria. Plastic dolls are nailed to the ceiling and there is permanent projection of kitsch films on the back wall. Some snug tables under the arches too. Quirky funky music and good wines and beer.
Charlie Pinsent
10:34 21 Sep 21
Mad and unique little underground cocktail bar. Eccentric decor and lively atmosphere
Jamie Henderson The Small Business Bear
14:44 19 Sep 21
Really love this bar. IN soho, but feels like it is a hidden gem. Always busy, but they've always got time to make a fuss of you. Great table service.
Colin C.
09:22 08 Sep 21
The best bar in London, I've been going for 22 years (and I'm only 21!! ) the owner Maria is a diamond, mad as a hatter (and the decor is testament) but...
Abbie Palmer
11:55 04 Sep 21
Such a hidden quirky little place with amazing interior decor that just has to be seen. Will definitely be going back there asap. Really friendly bar staff who made us feel very comfortable and relaxed. Everything was clean and sanitised. Very close to everything in Soho which is handy.
Sam Blagg
20:13 21 Aug 21
Great night tonight with Maria. Thank you for your hospitality, great fun x
Guy König
05:52 20 Aug 21
Always love this place, and it's had a makeover!! Fantastic little piece of heaven hidden away under their streets of Soho 🌈🦄🔊🎶Great sounds too ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
11:50 17 Aug 21
Stylish but down-to-earth bar/lounge with decor that must be seen. It's name is well chosen because it might be the friendliest and quirkiest bar in Soho.
Chris B.
16:19 08 Aug 21
I've been to this place with my friends because it supposed to be a gay bar with chill vibes yet our time there was ruined by an abusive guy. The security...
Stefani G
04:57 08 Aug 21
The staff doesn’t care if you get harassed by random old guys in the bar. Don’t go
Justine Addison
16:10 24 Jun 21
Have been going to this bar for decades and love it just as much now.
Tom Oliver
19:34 16 Jun 21
We love Josh so much, he was so helpful and fun. Made our experience 100%. Good cocktails (approx £9 ish) good atmosphere and nice energy.
loti armstrong
19:31 16 Jun 21
Josh was a wonderful host an and an amazing server! we had a lovely time with a great atmosphere, lovely house cocktails! josh MADE our experience!!
Betty Windsmore
07:23 16 Jun 21
Wonderful Soho bar with amazing creative decor, great drinks and cocktails and fabulous staff team and hosts
Mark Suever
19:54 25 May 21
Had a bloody good time their with Klaus!
Tim S
17:25 31 Oct 20
I was worried they'd closed but they were just doing themselves up! Maria (who went away for a while) is back and she's great - bringing back the friendly in the name 🙂
03:46 13 Oct 20
A fantastic bar, now it is back in the hands of its original owner Maria. She gave us a wonderful welcome,If like me you remember the Golden days of this bar,well they're back!!👍💋🍹
Eden Beddingfield
16:40 10 Oct 20
Service is awful, only one person taking orders and constantly ignoring tables!
Cory E.
19:08 21 Sep 20
This is a really fun and interesting bar. You won't find anything else like it. It's worth a visit even just for a drink or two on a night out.
Mike Rouse-Deane
22:55 18 Jan 20
This is an experience you'll only get if you know it's there. A very dainty little place. It's so odd its amazing. Absolutely loved my first time there. The random decor just really makes it an experience and the staff are fantastic. Every drink seems to be important whether it's a cocktail to a cider. So impressed. Can not wait to return
John M.
18:15 28 Dec 19
They say if you have a place in "in the know" never share it as it's a best-kept secret. Forgive me for posting this, but the name surpasses the...
Boris Donnadieu
12:14 22 Dec 19
Witnessed a very unfriendly rude and violent staff at the bar, who took the defence of a man who was drunk and was pushing other people to get his way in. Instead of calming down the situation, the staff made it worst and told off the wrong person... it is called ‘friendly society’ but it is not the first time that I feel a very bad vibe in this place. I’m not going back...
jackie lasky
02:16 16 Apr 17
We stayed with locals while visiting London and this was my favorite place they showed us. It is hidden away, but it is so pretty inside! The prices are as expected for drinks, friendly service, and great music. It's perfect for a night out with friends or a date. The decor is very unique and interesting!
David J.
15:06 30 Nov 15
This place is simply a trip. You'll not find it by accident, as it is down some stairs accessed from the street through a fairly innocuous door in Wardour...

Friendly Society reviews from Google Maps, Yelp and WhereIs.Gay



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