The May Fair (Stratton St.; +44-20-7629-7777; from ?198), the destination for Hollywood's elite in the '60s, offers classic elegance, luxe drama, and the utmost in high-tech amenities. Reborn in 2004, after a mega-refit, The May Fair has regained its pole position among London?s luxe addresses. This palace of contemporary chic, favored by Cher, Gloria Estefan, Christina Aguilera and countless more decorative divas, has 406 rooms, all of which feature thrilling design.
Outlet (32 Old Compton St, Soho; +44-20-7287-4244; from ?58)
Established in 1995, this gay-owned company specializes in both short and long-term apartment lets and flatshares in central London (and Spanish cities). Their sites feature attractive photos of the properties.
First Out (52 St Giles High St; +44-20-7240-8042; ? 6-8)
Eat at this cozy, friendly lesbian/gay caf? then scamper downstairs to the fun bar. Girl Fridays packs London ladies in to the tiny room to dance and down beers and alcopops.
Wagamama (10a Lexington St, Soho; +44-20-7292-0990; ? 6-12)
The Soho branch of this popular Japanese fast food-style chain offers shared table dining (and lunching) amidst some of colorful Soho's inhabitants and is a welcome relief from Old Compton Street's continuous tramp of tourists.
PLAY/MEET Bars The Candy Bar (4 Carlisle St, Soho; +44-20-7494-4041)
Still the main clustering point for London's urban hipster dykes. Opened in 1996, Candy Bar is a seven-day women's bar where gay men are welcome as guests. They also have a strip club license which is put to good use on Tuesdays for an alternative, indie grrrl strip night and Saturday's pole dancers special. Sundays feature Latina sounds and every night is packed to the rafters with London's social It girls.
Blush (8 Cazenove Rd, Stoke Newington; +44-20-7923-9202)
With 80 percent of the clientele women, two refurbished bars, a beer garden and pool table, this daily bar has fast become this northern suburb's premier lesbian social destination. Lesbian-owned and run.
Glass Bar (West Lodge, Euston Gardens, 190 Euston Rd, North West London; +44-20-7387-4153)
A private members' club-- and probably the trickiest address to find on anyone's social agenda-- Glass Bar is located in Euston train station's former travel bookstore. Upstairs is completely smoke-free. Film nights, book nights, singles nights and Bollywood parties are a few of the draws. Hot food is served (GBP 5) Women only.
Oak Bar (79 Green Lanes, North London; +44-20-7354-2791)
A women-owned venue with both mixed and women only events. Particular highlights are Friday nights at this attitude-free and friendly address.
Candy Bar (see above.)
Glass Bar (see above.)
Oak Bar (see above.)
Club Motherfucker has the very best in punk, indie, riot grrl, electro, and retro sounds, courtesy of the infamous girl duo, The Daughters of the Kaos, and their eclectic associates. Second Saturday of the month.
G.A.Y Bar (30 Old Compton St., W1; +44-20-7494 2756) is pure pop paradise, with huge LCD video screens showing the latest clips and remains open until 1 a.m. Downstairs is a women?s bar, Girls Go Down.
The Women's Library (Old Castle St, East London; +44-20-7320-2222)
Library, museum, cultural center, and perfect opportunity to cruise some academic types as they browse. Exhibitions and the reading room entrance if free. The Wash Houses Caf? is a delightful smoke-free lunch stop.
Hampstead Women's Pond (Hampstead; +44-20-7485-3873)
Open May through mid August from 7 a.m.-9 p.m., the pond lies at the end of a delightful winding rural path. Women of every shape, race and age strip and dip in the far from toasty waters in a very friendly (read cruisey) atmosphere. A very definite lesbian favorite.
The Drill Hall (16 Chenies St; +44-20-7307-5060)
With a lively caf? bar which previously hosted exceedingly popular women's nights it's perhaps no surprise that the Drill Hall is a destination for dykes. Now that Monday women's nights are no longer booked, London's women flock here to try their hand at yoga, pottery, paper making or perhaps kick boxing and to check out their classmates. You never know who you might befriend over a mosaic making evening. Smoke free.
EXTRA Sex Sh! (39 Coronet St, North London; +44-20-7613-5458)
A welcoming, laid back women's erotic emporium with friendly staff and a great selection of toys and gifts. Men allowed if accompanied by 'responsible' women.
Silvermoon (3rd floor, Foyle's, 113-119 Charing Cross Rd; +44-20-7437-5660)
In its new home across the street from its former (more characterful) home, Silvermoon may no longer be quite the funky, fun, cruising territory it used to be, but the titles on the shelves are still reason enough to tramp up three flights of stairs.
RELAX Ironmonger Row Baths (1-11 Ironmonger Row, East London; +44-141-20-7253-4011) Call for women's days at this Turkish Bathhouse in the East End. Choose from cool, steamy, hot, hotter and hottest rooms or the 'big sink'-- the sink shaped cold plunge pool, complete with big tap. Scrubs are only GBP 4 and the whole experience is extremely popular with local lesbians.
RESOURCES Gingerbeer is an excellent London-specific site with reviews and features on the city's clubs, parties and hang outs.