Grab your score cards and start waving those mini flags: Europe’s premier song contest is back in all its bombastic glory this weekend.
It’s always a big night out in the calendar, and as a result, many of the of city’s most popular nights have already sold out — Rio Cinema, Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club, Phoenix Arts Club, Caffeina Latina, The Glory and the Royal Vauxhall Tavern are all fully booked. The event at the Everyman cinema in Broadgate, hosted by Gay Times and Skittles to raise money for the Switchboard LGBTQ+ helpline, is also sold out, but there are still some tickets up for grabs in the giveaways running on the @GAYTIMES Instagram account, so give them a follow for more information.
Otherwise, there are still options available to prevent your night from turning into a bit of nul points no-show. Here’s where to go.
The Two Brewers
A stalwart of London’s LGBTQIA+ scene since the Eighties, this Clapham spot is hosting its Eurovision shindig with the help of drag queens Mrs Moore and Marsha Mallow, who will be providing live commentary as the Grand Final progresses. Once all the points have been totted up and a winner crowned, DJs will kick off the afterparty, which will carry on until 4am. No booking is required, but get down early to avoid any queues.
Free entry before 9pm, £8 from 9-10pm, £9 after 10pm, 114 Clapham High Street, SW4 7UJ, the2brewers.com
That’s Drag at Phoenix Cinema
Fancy seeing the madness on the big screen with a side of drag shimmer? Head to That’s Drag’s screening at the UK’s oldest indie cinema, The Phoenix. The party starts with drinks and lip-syncing to all the Eurovision classics from 8pm with your hosts Orange Gina, Ariel Bold, Magik with a K and Jezebel, and the afterparty goes on until 3am.
£15, 52 High Road, N2 9PJ, phoenixcinema.co.uk
The queer-friendly Atlas Grinds — a coffee shop by day and a cocktail bar by night — will be screening all the action on Saturday night. Expect cocktails themed by each of the countries involved, and even a game of Eurovision bingo, with free shots and bottles of prosecco among the prizes. The afterparty will run with a playlist made up exclusively of songs from previous finals.
£5, 155 Stoke Newington High Street, N16 0NY, atlasgrinds.co.uk
This Earl’s Court venue has a pretty storied history — Jimi Hendrix, Joni Mitchell and Bob Dylan are among those to have popped in for a gig over the years — but never before has it hosted a Eurovision party. That’ll change this weekend, with karaoke, themed drinks, quizzes and competitions — there’s a prize for the best dressed attendee up for grabs. DJs will keep the party going once the screening is over.
£15 advance/£20 OTD, 265-267 Old Brompton Road, SW5 9JA, troubadourlondon.com
Halfway to Heaven
Another long-time favourite of the LGBTQIA+ scene, this venue just across the road from Trafalgar Square will be showing all the action from Turin on its big screen. Kelly Mild and Crystal d’Canter will be on hosting duties, taking things through to midnight.
Free entry, 7 Duncannon Street, WC2N 4JF, halfway2heaven.net
Escape Bar Shepherd’s Bush
This west London venue always has a pretty varied calendar — whether that’s open mic nights, board game sessions, pub quizzes, or something else — and this weekend it’ll get into Eurovision party mode. It’ll be a lively one, with drink-along games and cut-price booze offers, as well as a prize on offer for whoever dons the best Eurovision outfit.