Retro Bar

Retro Bar

Average Reviews

About

Nestled in a cozy alley off the Strand, Retro Bar is a vibrant gem in London's gay scene. A quintessential indie bar, it's a place where the spirit of inclusivity and diversity is not just celebrated but actively fostered. Open from noon to 11pm on weekdays and 2-11pm on weekends, its doors welcome a diverse crowd eager to enjoy a casual, laid-back atmosphere.

The Retro Bar's charm lies in its nostalgic aura, where the walls are adorned with iconic photos of gay legends, from Boy George to Beth Ditto, creating a visual feast that tells a story of the community's rich history. This visual journey is complemented by the sounds of Blondie and Bowie, among others, emanating from the jukebox, setting a backdrop of classic tunes that resonate with visitors of all ages.

With its upstairs bar offering a quieter, more intimate setting, it's an ideal spot for a date or a relaxed evening. Although this area is not open every night, when it is, it adds an extra layer of versatility to the bar's already welcoming ambiance.

Retro Bar stands out as a place where everyone on the gay spectrum can find a sense of belonging. Its blend of historical reverence, musical nostalgia, and a warm, inviting atmosphere makes it a must-visit destination for anyone seeking an authentic slice of London's gay culture

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Reviews

Retro Bar
4.2
Based on 544 reviews
Simon Parkyn
12:03 12 May 24
My favourite gay bar in London. Both times I've been it's had a nice atmosphere and felt comfortable and welcoming.
C 82
16:33 17 Mar 24
Love this bar. You could easily spend your time looking at the pictures of the various pop stars on the walls. Had a quiet pint on a Friday afternoon there. Drink prices are reasonable for central London. No airs and graces. Dog friendly too.
Michael M
20:17 01 Jan 24
Here in London on holiday and have had some hit and miss experiences with LGBTQ+ bars - to include being actively profiled and refused admittance due to being ‘visibly intoxicated’ - I’m one year sober and they refused to back their baseless claim.To ALL the lovelies of humanity: this place has single handedly given me renewed hope! I have NEVER experienced such a warm and welcoming space for all. Ever. Even in my home country (USA).Smiles were everywhere, the entire spectrum of human existence was present and welcomed, and the experience really ushered in the new year right!THANK YOU Retro for existing!!! This is what a true queer space is supposed to be: warm, welcoming, accepting, and supportive! We will definitely be making it a point to come back next time we visit London!
Tony Smith
19:57 09 Nov 23
Possibly the best gay bar in town. Knocks spots off Halfway to Heaven where the staff are more interested in their phones or talking to their friends. Retro has lovely staff who make you feel welcome 😊 x
Andrew
00:40 07 Oct 23
My God. Went there on the evening of 6 October 2023. The redhead with really curly hair behind the bar was exceptionally gorgeous. I want her more than life itself. She is so damn gorgeous. I was mesmerized by her.
Ben Weller
18:42 26 Sep 23
Nice LGBT bar. Sometimes a strange ambience because they will not be playing music when you come in and almost never seem to play any music upstairs. But a fairly nice vibe anyway somehow, it's nice being stood outside and when they are playing music it makes a nice atmosphere. Staff are very friendly!But please please please clean your beer lines! I tried two and both I couldn't finish. It was sludge and genuinely has left me feeling pretty ill. I watched a few others being poured and it's pretty obvious what the problem is.
Toby Murray
17:11 20 Sep 23
A Central London haven! I’ve never had a bad night at Retro - and I really mean that. Staffed by the kindest people - happily putting up with so much post work drinks nonsense, and showing huge support for our small workplace union. Thanks for everything!
st3vi3p
18:14 24 Aug 23
I recently had the pleasure of visiting the London Retro Bar, and I must say it was an incredible experience. The staff there are truly amazing – friendly, positive, and incredibly warm. From the moment I walked in, I felt completely welcomed and comfortable. The atmosphere they create is unparalleled, and it's without a doubt the best QUEER venue in London.The staff's dedication to making every visitor feel at home is truly commendable. Their warm demeanor and welcoming attitude set the tone for a fantastic evening. Whether you're a regular or a first-time visitor, you can expect to be treated with the utmost respect and kindness.The London Retro Bar's commitment to providing a safe and inclusive space for the LGBTQ+ community is truly admirable. It's more than just a bar – it's a haven where people can come together, express themselves, and have a wonderful time. The positive vibes are infectious, and you can't help but leave with a smile on your face.In a city as diverse as London, the London Retro Bar stands out as a shining example of acceptance and celebration of individuality. If you're looking for a place with a warm and welcoming atmosphere, fantastic staff, and an authentic QUEER experience, this is the place to be. I can't recommend it highly enough.Kudos to the London Retro Bar for creating such an incredible space. I'll definitely be returning soon for more unforgettable evenings.
Nathan
20:16 20 Aug 23
Great bar! The staff are fantastic and super friendly. Shelia the bingo host is amazing - a great night with lots of laughs and fun.Make sure you swing by; good music, spacious ground floor and first floor bar area and you can take your drinks outside.
Simon Farrar
16:56 18 Aug 23
The Retro Bar has been my firm favourite along with many Londoners and tourists and has become my regular haunt and meeting place for our friends.Retro Bar is one of most valued and safe spaces for everyone in the LGBT community and the staff are absolutely fantastic . I love this little gem of a bar and will be coming back time and time again .The staff are some of the best of any bar , with Nelson , Mickey, Novaya and the other team members all working their socks off to ensure we have a good time . Lesley has done a great job in ensuring this bar will be around for the future generations and be a definite “place to go” for the discerning crowd, supported by Steven and the staff .Long may it continue .
Ed McLatchie
06:31 17 Aug 23
We stopped off for a couple of pints after work. It was quiet, but that's what we want for a chat. Good selection of beer.
Jack Cullen
15:27 15 Aug 23
A fantastic London pub with an impressive collection of pop star portraits adorning the walls. The beer is good, the dukebox is on fire and there's often a lovely chatty crowd. The staff are great. My only complaint would be that their bar manager Nelson isn't single - sends a dagger through my heart everytime. But other than that an excellent establishment - and a must see for any tourists especially LGBT visitors. Afterwards you can scoot along to nearby clubs like HEAVEN or Circa (maybe not Circa) 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
Gary Booley
22:04 13 Aug 23
Me and my partner always enjoy visiting Retro Bar on a Saturday night for a few drinks. We call it our “date night”. We are a gay couple and we usually feel safe in Retro Bar.Unfortunately, this wasn’t the case when we visited last night.I had been to the toilet and upon my return, my partner looked stressed and upset. There was a couple of people on the table adjacent to us drinking and the female on the table was incredibly rude to my partner. He had had a quick vape at the table whilst I was in the toilet. She had “mouthed” to my partner, in threatening way “don’t do that in here”, “I see what you’re doing”, and “I work here”. Whilst he explained to me what had happened, she was taking pictures of us very apparently with her phone, staring and complaining to the person she was with. She had also spoke with one of the bar staff pointing at us, complaining, making us feel incredibly uncomfortable and upset over something so small.We expect better from members of staff who aren’t on shift. As paying customers, we expect to have respect from members of staff and NOT feel threatened in anyway. it’s a polite conversation if it’s a problem, it shouldn’t be an intention to make your loyal customers feel as if they’ve done something horrifying. Yes my partner should have vaped outside, but she could have used a better approach to the situation. As she deals with the general public, I would suggest some training on how to communicate to customers in a more professional manner when situations like this one arise in the future.This ruined our date, it ruined our evening and it certainly has me informing other queer friends who are also paying customers of yours about our experience.We certainly won’t be returning to Retro Bar again.
brace kestral
19:06 17 Jul 23
Lovely gay bar with photos of rock and pop icons adorning the walls and a free juke box! We attended the Busy Lady Bingo on the sunday and it was fantastic fun. Will add Retro Bar to my list of regular queer haunts!
Stephanie O’Brien
06:33 16 Jul 23
First time here with an old friend. Instantly fell in love with the place. But.., oh dear. We were standing by the door and enjoyed opening the door to let people in and out and having some nice banter! However the manageress ( the one with the waist length blond hair) said we were in the way so we moved. After three rounds of drinks at £16. 45 we were surprised to be charged 22.50 for the same order… by the same person mentioned before. When challenged she reviewed the charge but seemingly our card was marked. Our next order was refused apparently bcos ‘we’d had too much’. Well we had a gig to go to so… whatever. Interestingly we met 2 other users of this bar on the way to the gig, who expressed astonishment at what had happened, having had positive interaction with us there. At the gig we also met some older gay men who had apparently been banned from the place on a birthday, for the same purported reason.This bar has such a lovely vibe but bites some people in the arse for no reason at all. Such a shame. What is this person’s problem???
Paul Jauncey
10:28 09 Jul 23
Wonderful little bar! The decor is fantastic, as is the music. There's some great beers on tap and the staff are lovely.
Jack Young
00:02 18 Jun 23
At first this small dingy bar didn’t seem too bad. After an hour of being there we were asked to pick some music on the juke box. Once our song came on we proceeded to sing a little and where then rudely told by a member of bar staff that “if you want to sing go somewhere else” absolutely rude and unnecessary.
James C.
13:41 10 Jun 23
Great little bar nestled into a small alley. One of my favorite places to go in London for a drink! Their bar tender (I forget his name), is a strangely...
JP Borman
21:38 08 Jun 23
The interior has a lot of character!
Aaron Burns
11:06 23 Apr 23
I've always loved this place. Went for the first time in a few years yesterday and it was still the friendliest and most accepting bar in central London with fantastic music. Took my date with me and he loved it too. This place is a jem.
Oscar
02:51 07 Mar 23
Love it! Cozy place, busy and you won't have a problem getting a drink. Men's restroom is downstairs - found out after going upstairs and someone snapped at me. First time here. Still had fun though.
Cassie Gates
22:33 01 Mar 23
Great queer bar. I've been here a lot and have never had anything other than a great time. Staff are lovely and if you can get a table upstairs, you'll have an amazing night. Great décor, an outside space for vaping and nicely off the busyness of the Strand but easy access to Heaven and the tube home.
Garry Connor - Alpha Dancers
10:59 13 Feb 23
Absolutely love this place! we are an LGBTQ+ dance class based in London, and we visit Retro bar several times a week after our classes. The staff are SUPER friendly and helpful and they really go out of their way to make us feel welcome. There's a great vibe here and it has really cool, modern, upstairs area but it also has a more traditional 'pub feel' downstairs too. Drink prices are great too! Definitely a place to check out!!!
Sinead Dramatic
22:20 31 Jan 23
What an absolute gem of a pub. It was like walking back 30yrs to the old school vibe and attentive service. Molly in particular was fabulous with Kyle being the calmest nicest newcomer ever!Shelia’s Sunday night drag bingo was comedy gold - what a true professional!!I rarely post review but this had to be done 😘😘😘😘
Roy Tan
20:04 24 Dec 22
A great place for pre or after theater drinks.
C D
01:35 09 Nov 22
Another hidden gem in London, really quirky little gay pub with a free jukebox, decent selection of drinks and really friendly bar staff!Always a good crowd, only criticism is that it closes early (11pm), even on weekends!
Isabella Sohrbeck
17:47 27 Oct 22
Love love LOVE this bar! We ended up there by accident and had the best time. The service was amazing, the drinks were cheap and the music was really good. They had a jukebox where you could add songs which was really cool. Will definitely be going back😍
Canaan Daddario
04:26 26 Sep 22
Lots of fun and a great places to meet new friends. Love those tall strong Casanova Brits 😘
Rachel B.
14:39 18 Sep 22
What a wonderful spot! Very chill and relaxed vibes with a super welcoming environment. If I wasn’t just visiting London, I would be a regular here.
Kristian Evans
19:42 30 Aug 22
I came into Retro bar because I wanted to show a friend who had never been before and our visit didn’t disappoint - lovely vibe, amazing staff in particular I would like to mention Mickey (I think that’s how you spell it) as he was very knowledgeable about the drinks. Also I think he was the manager (short dark haired handsome man with a beard) showed us the upstairs bar even though it wasn’t open yet - stellar service! X
Antonio Maggi
09:13 10 Jul 22
One of my favourite pubs/discos in London. Fun and friendly, all served with amazing music.
Swikar Subba
11:38 25 Jun 22
Lovely bar with very welcoming and friendly staff. Reasonably priced spirits especially for London as well with a cool design and decorations of 70s/80s divas of all genres and queer artists.
Nick Gu
17:07 13 Jun 22
One of the best alternative gay pubs still open in London, friendly people and great music
John Baxter
14:16 07 Jun 22
Lovely, friendly pub with a great atmosphere. One of our favorite spots while visiting London. The music and decor was 🔥 ❤️ 💯
Jamesthatgymguy
15:16 05 Jun 22
Very friendly bar staff and warm atmosphere. It's in a little side alley so easy to miss. Worth hunting it down though.
Samantha Hughes
13:01 27 May 22
Great bar! The staff are so friendly and helpful, very quick service, lovely decal and overall great experience. Will definitely return!
Jon Watts
08:37 19 May 22
Favourite central gay bar. Friendly staff and cheap and cheerful
Richard Hodgson
23:36 05 May 22
Lovely friendly atmosphere. Loved rubbing shoulders with all the celebrities whose photos were hanging on the walls surrounded by all the twinkly lights. Lovely crowd. Met lots of new friends. Also cerh convenient location which was easy to find.
Ellery Coppa
18:10 15 Apr 22
Best bar in London, amazing selection of beers and the jukebox makes it even more special.Definitely worth visiting.
Mrs Aragon
07:46 04 Apr 22
So glad I stepped through the doors! Fabulous little traditional pub. Great host, friendly staff, wonderful decor and twinkly lights, reasonably priced drinks. Definitely will visit again and again...and again!
Paul Kingham
11:24 19 Mar 22
Have been here for a while popped in for a party. Atmosphere was great the music and campery fantastic. A very friendly and welcoming bat on two levels, great as a party venue and very easy to get to from Embankment Station
M Y
20:43 23 Feb 22
Sorry I've taken so long to review and say thanks. Back in September my bf surprised me the day before my birthday and we came here. I knew something was up and was so nervous to come in. Your staff had blown up balloons and put a happy birthday banner on the wall. He left a cake and you came out singing happy birthday for me. I've been here a few times but not as many times as I'd like to and every time your staff are always so welcoming and friendly- there really isn't any of the pretentiousness or rudeness found at some other places in Central. That night was so lovely and thank you for everything you did. Until next time take care xx
Mike Chambers
19:46 22 Feb 22
Fantastic welcoming place, whether you are LBGTQIA2S or not (please forgive my terminology, I'm a straight guy trying to not offend anyone). Either way the bar is brilliant, always feel comfortable there - it's a great place! If you are in the area, and want to experience real life - don't be tempted by all the easy to visit chain pubs and bars in the area - go here! You won't regret it, it's brilliant.
Nathan Naylor
22:25 16 Feb 22
Still the best bar in London. Trends move; class is permanent. Best Jukebox; amazing staff. Kat, I hope you read this. Amazing, funny, brilliant service. After so many years it is still the most welcoming, totally cool, ace place to be. And it now has Kat. She is totally cool. Go. Don't waste your life. Play the jukebox. Live, love, flirt and hope that Kat is on the bar.
Stephen Ferguson
22:23 07 Feb 22
Stunning bar near Charing Cross station. Laid back and good drinks. LGBTI aware and so open and relaxed.
rjmvf
21:01 17 Jan 22
Fun bar with great music and an excellent bar team. They have great DJs and a jukebox as well.
Russel Taylor
22:17 16 Jan 22
I love my little friendly local pub. Especially the friendly staff. But then this is my local local, and obviously love the posters and music policy 😉
manuel lópez t.
08:08 28 Dec 21
Nice hidden gem. Very friendly staff. Quaint atmosphere.
Kevin Oflynn
06:42 25 Dec 21
This is still my favourite pub in London. Visit every time I am back in the smoke. Spent a lot of my younger years here. Great atmosphere, great music, friendly and fun.
manuel lópez t.
15:12 29 Oct 21
Nice hidden gem. Very friendly staff. Quaint atmosphere.
John Brown
05:55 29 Oct 21
Simply a delightful bar. Unusually on Wednesday this week there was a most obnoxious customer who was professionally and effortlessly ushered out by the manageress and her team. I was most impressed.Aside from the unique event above this is a hidden gem and really worth a visit.
Juliette Dutemple
15:07 18 Oct 21
Great atmosphere, reasonable price, JukeBox 👍👍🏳️‍🌈
Ellery Coppa
20:26 01 Oct 21
My favorite bar! Staff are great! Good selection of drinks and good music!
Majid Caan
12:01 23 Jul 21
Retro bar is London’s best kept secret. Super excited to know Camille is back on Sundays with Stephen! Great banter and atmosphere 🏳️‍🌈🍻🥂
MsDesiccatedcorpse
22:41 29 Jun 21
Very good atmosphere, they were really nice with us, is a good pub for stay with friends and drink some beers.
Phoebe Ahern
16:37 24 Jun 21
I have been waiting for Retro Bar to reopen since the beginning of lock down. I love it all - the staff, the drinks, the decoration & the quiz night with Princess Julia & Josh Quinton. A playful & welcoming vibe, a thick atmosphere & a strong pulse. The best.
karlnxn
12:34 22 Jun 21
Amazing atmosphere. Love the decor, especially the glorious Blue Ceiling 😍Drinks prices are reasonable for the area. A must visit when you’re in the area ❤️
Oliver Blatherwick
08:50 21 Jun 21
Great lgbtq+ bar in central London with amazing quiz. Leslie (the manager) was the perfect host and they were very attentive with our drinks orders and customer service. A MUST for visiting the lgbtq+ scene.
Thomas Smart
14:53 28 Apr 21
Fantastic buzz to this bar. As thee name suggests the music is mainly retro. Highly recommended
Therese S.
07:02 27 Jun 16
A cute little bar tucked away down a side street off the Strand. A great selection of drinks, helpful staff and a friendly atmosphere.
Michelle B.
07:48 12 Nov 12
Only a few months since my last review, but it's lost a star. The last few visits to my favourite bar in town have been disappointing to say the least....
Bill T.
14:37 27 Mar 12
I-- I'll do anything that you want me to do,And I'll do almost anything that you want me to do,But I can't go for that, (No can do)No, I can't go for...
Duncan W.
05:12 01 Jul 11
The first bar I was introduced to in London when I went for a Trip to visit some friends. Has that hip/indy/studenty slightly grungy, old leather sofa...
Carol K.
03:09 12 Jul 09
I had to laugh as I let my colleague pick the bar that we went to tonight and as we were walking down the street she points to Retro and says, "There"....

Retro Bar reviews from Google Maps, Yelp and WhereIsGay

Last Updated

27 January 2024

Map

Today Open now UTC+1

02:00 PM - 11:00 PM
  • Monday
    04:00 PM - 11:00 PM
  • Tuesday
    04:00 PM - 11:00 PM
  • Wednesday
    04:00 PM - 11:00 PM
  • Thursday
    04:00 PM - 11:00 PM
  • Friday
    02:00 PM - 11:00 PM
  • Saturday
    02:00 PM - 11:00 PM
  • Sunday
    02:00 PM - 10:30 PM

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