The appeal of Gay Brighton is easy to see with one of the UK’s most prominent gay scene, quirky design details, retro flashbacks and trendy, hedonistic vibes.
Whether you are considering a naughty weekend by the sea-side which is only an hour by train from London or a relaxing week in an iconically British locale in Gay Brighton, you will find a friendly and welcoming city flooded with a large number of LGBT visitors. Often referred to as the Gay Capital of The UK, there are more gay pubs and bars that we could keep a track off – not to mention large clubs and one of the biggest Gay Prides in the UK.
Even outside of the nightlife, oh-so-cool and yet slightly outrageous Brighton has something for everyone: trendy coffee shops, cheap hostels, designer art galleries, drag burlesque shows and refined cocktail bars. Or you could simply plop down your sun lounger and take advantage of the sun… Though this is still England, and you are likely to quickly discover why the Brits love their pubs so much.
The most popular area of Gay Brighton is the Gay Village conveniently located in the Kemp Town district around the St. James Street strip also including a few seafront gay venues just to the east. While this is the undisputed hub of LGBT life in Brighton, the Gay Village is by no means the only place worth exploring.
Colorful and contemporary yet uniquely British and historic, Gay Brighton has reinvented itself once again and redefined England’s seaside experience. While its amusement arcades, Regency-era buildings, and raw shingle beach remain, Brighton, today is just as famous for its nightlife, modern art scene, and alternative festivals.
So prepare yourself for the outlandish, because in ever-changing Brighton you never quite know what to expect…
Gay Brighton Guide: The Essential Guide To LGBT Travel In Brighton England
Naturally being gay does not define which attraction most of us will want to see in each city and most queer travelers will simply want to check out the top things to see in Brighton during the day!
Brighton is a very safe, tolerant and progressive city and gay travelers in England do not need to take any precautions concerning public displays of affection. Rest assured you will have no issues exploring this beautiful diverse city, and even the essential list of things to do with keep visitors entertained for at least a couple of days.
A word of warning, however, the gay scene in Brighton draws you in and can be difficult to pull yourself away from. Just remember there is more to Brighton than the gay village… even if it doesn’t feel like it at the time!
Top Highlights Of Brighton
Secrets of the Lanes – Brighton’s Lanes are the city’s prettiest and most historic quarter. Narrow streets of 18th-century fishermen’s cottages contrast with the modern buzz of funky independent shops and cafes. To get the full experience to embark on a walking tour of Brighton’s to hear stories of Brighton’s fascinating history; get the inside scoop on the town’s coolest shops, bars, and cafés; and see landmarks like the Regency ballrooms.
Brighton Palace Pier – Probably the most famous landmark in Brighton and an entertainment center since it opened in 1899. On the Pier, you can enjoy fairground rides, buzzing bars, multiple restaurants or just relax on deckchairs and take in the sea view.
British Airways i360 – The famous Regency palace & museum built in an iconic Asian-style for King George IV now with restored, fabulous gardens and must-do tours.
Powerboat Ride – Unleash your inner speed demon as you zoom along Brighton’s iconic waterfront on a high-octane powerboat ride. Hop aboard a RIB Powerboat and hold on tight as you zip along the seashore enjoying this 30-minute tour. Get your adrenaline pumping as your expert skipper performs high-speed tricks and turns, then catch your breath and admire the spectacular views of Brighton Pier.
Sailing Sunset Cruise – Witness the beauty of Brighton at dusk on a 2-hour sunset sailing cruise. Hop aboard a luxury yacht and enjoy a sparkling wine as you drift out to sea. Take the helm and help your crew to man the ship, then relax on deck as the sun sets over the famous Brighton Pier. Pure perfection.
Cycling Tour of Brighton City – Discover the UK’s most vibrant seaside towns on two wheels by following the peaceful cycle trails through Victoria Lawns and the Grand Parade while stopping off at the top of local landmarks including Brighton Pier, St Peter’s Church, Preston Manor, the Royal Pavilion, Brighton Dome and of course the Lanes. Nothing beats having the fresh sea breeze on you as u take in the city’s rich heritage, gawk at the fine coastal views and soak up the atmosphere in the Brighton fishing quarter.
Royal Pavilion – The famous Regency palace & museum built in an iconic Asian-style for King George IV is now restored with fabulous gardens and must-do tours.
Brighton Quickie – More satisfying that your usual quickie, why not splash out on a 20-minute helicopter tour of Brighton – we promise you will have fewer regrets afterwards. See Brighton and have up to 3 passengers onboard a Robinson R44 helicopter and enjoy the ability to customize your flight path according to your group’s interests and the chance to ask your local pilot any questions about the area.
Brighton Hop-On Hop-Off Tour – Travel around the city by open-top, double-decker bus and enjoy the freedom to hop on and off as many times as you like with your 1 or 2-day ticket. Visit Brighton Pier, SEA LIFE Brighton, Churchill Square and the Royal Pavilion + more. If you are not one for tours and like to explore at your own pace, this is a good way to see more Englands gayest seaside town.
Brighton Bar Crawl – Filled with beachside bars, cocktail clubs, and character-full pubs, Brighton has a nightlife scene that matches its diverse city culture. If you’re new to the city, then head out on the Brighton bar crawl to discover the city’s go-to drinking dens and meet like-minded revelers at the same time. Sure, it is more geared towards the young, hetero crow but you never know who you might meet – and it is a good way to explore Brighton nightlife outside of the gay village.
Sussex Vineyard & Winery Day Trip – The south of England is renowned for its world-class sparkling wines, and on this full-day tour, you’ll visit two of Sussex’s most esteemed wineries. Don’t worry about the hassle of planning a countryside trek, all you need to do is simply admire the region’s characterful scenery as you go, and enjoy tours, talks, and tastings at two local wineries. The tour also includes a traditional pub lunch.
South Downs and Seven Sisters – Experience the diversity of Britain’s countryside on a full-day trip to the South Downs National Park and Seven Sisters from Brighton. This ancient landscape is characterized by the rolling chalk hills, created over thousands of years by farmers grazing their animals and provides some of the most beautiful and dramatic scenery in the South of England.
Gay Things To Do In Brighton
LGBTQ History Walking Tour – Experience Brighton’s colorful LGBTQ history and heritage on this 1.5-hour walking tour. Stroll the atmospheric Lanes and iconic beachfront as you discover one of the UK’s most gay-friendly cities and the host of its biggest Pride festival. Hear stories of drag queens, equal rights pioneers and celebrity icons; learn how Brighton hosted a same-sex wedding back in 1923, and discover the city’s vibrant nightlife.
Prowler Brighton – A gay lifestyle superstore in Brighton selling toys, clothing, essentials, gay underwear brands and much more. The biggest and best gay sex shop in Brighton since 1997 and a core part of the local LGBT scene.
Feminist Brighton – An activist network in Brighton inspired by discussion, debate, and action for gender equality and feminist struggle. They run a regular monthly reading and discussion group along with social gatherings in Brighton. They are a friendly bunch and welcome new people to join at any time!
Brighton Gay Beach – With so many gay’s in town, you can find queer folk all along the beach front, but the Official Nudist Beach near Brighton Marina is extremely gay-popular so the de facto gay beach. The beach itself consists of shingle and pebbles, so take appropriate footwear, and bathroom facilities are lacking.
Trans Pride – Brighton is proud to be welcoming to the whole LGBT community, and every summer takes time to celebrate the ‘T’ with an extremely popular Trans Pride Festival. Trans Pride held annually in July aims to remove all discrimination by promoting equality and diversity through visibility and consists of a political march and a relaxed party in the park.
Brighton Pride – One of the UK’s biggest Pride festivals drawing in around 160,000 people annually to its fabulous parade and party in Preston Park. Brighton Pride consists of many events include a huge party in the gay village, a dog show and an art and film festival. Suffice to say things get absolutely wild – and Brighton Pride is never boring even for a second. Of course, there is also a political component as the events are about Pride with Purpose, seeking to raise funds and awareness supporting local charities and community organizations. So help a good cause and celebrate your queer spirit at the same time!
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As you would expect, pretty much every hotel and hostel in Gay Brighton can be considered gay-friendly – after all being a gay-friendly it not all about upscale luxury, but about providing friendly and open service and welcoming everyone with open arms!
Having said that, everyone likes to be surrounded by people with common interests, and as such there a few popular hotels in Brighton that are known hot spots for gay travelers to stay!
No hotels are exclusively for gay men anymore – a sign of the liberal times in England – but others are still a crucial part of the gay scene because of their location and history and some hotels are just known as being exceptionally welcoming of gay guests. The following hotels in Brighton are only the most popular with gay travelers and can all be relied on for an extraordinary stay, but there are hundreds of other hotels in Brighton if you don’t find quite what you are looking for.
Whether you want a fun and social hostel, a cheap room to crash after a night of partying or a designer boutique option to sip cocktails and surround yourself with fabulous people – Gay Brighton as something for everyone!
Legends Hotel ☆☆☆☆ – The only gay hotel in Brighton, with a fabulous bar and club attached. With an assorted selection of fantastic rooms, many boasting stunning sea views, Legends is an ideal base to escape the hustle and bustle while still having the entire gay scene of Brighton literally on your doorstep. Sophisticated, vibrant, relaxed and friendly, the Legends Hotel is our favorite gay stay in Brighton and the most frequently booked by other readers.
The Grand Brighton ☆☆☆☆☆ – An iconic Victorian property that is steeped in British history which stands center stage on Brighton’s famous seafront. From the stunning sweeping spiral staircase and traditional period design to the beautiful sea view rooms, a sumptuous day spa and the glamour of GB1 seafood restaurant, the Grand experience is treating yourself to the best. Another very gay-popular option, but we loved staying for the refined rooms feature floor-to-ceiling windows and paneled walls, terrace with sea view and relaxed bar offering afternoon tea and weekly live music.
My Brighton ☆☆☆☆ – This leading design hotel in Brighton, so inherently gay-popular – but we recommend staying more for the individually styled rooms ranging from traditional to futuristic which fuse cutting-edge technology with unique design. There is also a contemporary bar, hip artisan coffee shop and cheeky weekend vibes no matter when you visit. Perfectly situated within the bohemian cultural quarter of North Laine, My Brighton is a bolthole for business, pleasure, and hedonism – and we absolutely are obsessed.
The Square Hotel Brighton ☆☆☆☆ – Within the walls of a beautiful Grade II Listed Building located in the fashionable gaybourhood of Kemp Town sits the stylish Square Hotel, just off the seafront overlooking a Regency garden square. Exuding luxury from your first step through the door, The Square brings a sense of style and indulgence to your stay with a fun design, kinky rubber ducks and memorable staff. There is a chic cocktail lounge onsite, but the Square Hotel also offers guests quick and easy access to the city’s many restaurants, bars, vibrant entertainment options, and diverse nightlife. Anything but square, with somewhat affordable prices if booked in advance.
The Claremont ☆☆☆☆ – Housed in a Victorian villa, this polished hotel offers something a little different, a gorgeous B&B stay in Hove – some distance from the gay scene of Brighton (but that is not necessarily a bad thing). Luxuriate in their even generously sized rooms, some with four posters beds – and all with fluffy towels and period details. Enjoy their secluded walled garden, refined service, extensive contemporary art collection or just a short stroll to the ocean.
Malmaison Brighton ☆☆☆☆ – This brand new hotel in Brighton is making waves down at the marina with its stylish reinvention, an elegant brasserie with sea-view conservatory and glittering panoramic cocktail bar worth sailing the ocean for. The rooms are light and airy offering colorful, contemporary decor, free parking, and breakfast plus gorgeous marina views and close to the Brighton Gay Beach – but a twenty-minute walk to the gay village of Brighton.
Rethink Serviced Apartments Brighton Marina ☆☆☆☆ – If you want more room, privacy and lower prices try these affordable apartments, each room features balcony views, a flat-screen TV, seating area, a well-fitted kitchen and a private bathroom with free toiletries. The Brighton Marina is a twenty-minute walk to the gay village of Brighton, but prices are lower, and you are guaranteed a quiet nights sleep!
Hilton Brighton Metropole ☆☆☆☆ – Located on the seafront, the Hilton Brighton is just a short 10 minutes’ walk from Brighton Pier which features include an indoor pool, contemporary eatery with a covered terrace, bar, an exercise room, and a beauty salon. Somehow, however, the Hilton lacks that special something, and while it is gay-popular, we just couldn’t quite figure out why. The location is ideal, however – and if you don’t want any surprised the LGBT-friendly Hilton could fit the bill.
Hotel Pelirocco ☆☆☆ – A fabulous gay-owned rock n roll boutique hotel, with 19 individually themed rooms – each room will have you reaching for your phone to add to Instagram. This is not a hotel that is afraid to go big with mirrored ceilings, luxe interiors, bright colors and spa baths – but it all just works, and make for a very unique stay. Just a short walk from Brighton Pier and the Kemp Town gay village, this friendly and chic hotel is the perfect gay stay for a romantic Brighton retreat – or a risqué night of passion. It is up to you!
Amsterdam Hotel ☆☆☆ – A gay-popular contemporary seafront hotel offering affordable and simple rooms, free continental breakfast and a relaxed gay bar onsite. All rooms feature a large en-suite walk-in shower, flat-screen TV with Freeview digital channels, and tea and coffee making facilities – and some even have views over Brighton’s famous pier, the beach, and the seafront. The Gay Village of Brighton is also just a short stumble away…
Royal Albion Hotel Brighton ☆☆ – An imposing Regency-style hotel in the heart of the Brighton gay village offering budget rooms – even if the entire hotel is in need of a makeover. Still, it is clean, affordable, and there is an excellent sun terrace overlooking the seafront. You get what you pay for, but if you would rather spend your money in the pubs and clubs, the Royal Albion Hotel Brighton is a gay-popular option.
Kipps Brighton ☆☆ – If you are on a real budget, don’t need to host or simply want to meet other cute, young travelers then you might want to consider the Kipps Brighton hostel. There is a friendly atmosphere, comfortable and affordable accommodation plus clean facilities including a licensed bar. It is not for everyone, but if you are traveling solo it could be worth considering!
Gay Nightlife in Brighton
We are not even sure where to start as the wild gay nightlife in Brighton took us by surprise -and its self-proclaimed title of the gay capital of the UK is well-deserved with the largest gay village in the United Kingdom outside of London.
If you become as overwhelmed as we were, the only thing you really need to know is that the gay Brighton village is conveniently located in the Kemp Town district focussed on the St. James Street strip and with a few seafront gay venues just to the east …While the hub of LGBT life in Brighton, the village is but by no means the only place to spend the night with your global queer family so don’t be afraid to explore.
Brighton has something for everyone from utterly over-the-top glitter queer club parties to relaxed pubs and chic cocktail bars, and that is without exploring all the LGBT-friendly options. If none of these gay venues seem for you, remember many gays in Brighton don’t feel the need to segregate themselves and because Brighton’s nightlife is very open-minded, you can meet people everywhere you go.
But with a gay nightlife scene as fabulous as this, you would be foolish to not sample at least a few of the LGBT venues…
Gay Pubs in Brighton
The Camelford Arms – The local bear den in Brighton with affordable prices, friendly staff, and a great value Sunday roast – but many fashionable people also hang out here, gay or straight. It is a fabulously mixed venue, and the mixed crowd is a testament to their high level of serve and quality. There is a light and airy interior complete with wooden floors and modern furnishings, classic pub grub and an extensive selection of ales that encourage you to stay far longer than you ever planned. The weekly quiz night is a great night, as is relaxing in the quirky Moroccan-style patio.
Charles Street Tap – A large, funky gay pub with a passion for food, a heated outdoor terrace and a busy nightclub upstairs. Recently refurbished and now one of the stand-out venues in Gay Brighton – popular with everybody, gay, straight or unicorn. Go during the day for relaxed dining and a nice beer collection then return at night for fun cabaret shows, a DJ on deck and great drink specials.
The Prestonville Arms – A classic Brighton pub recently purchased by a gay couple. Not ‘gay’ but with obviously gay-friendly service. We loved the warm open-fire, fine selection real ales, global comfort food (with a gluten-free menu by default) and interesting local art displays
The Marine Tavern – The smallest gay pub in Brighton but with welcoming staff and patrons. The owners arrange theme nights throughout the week, so if you are lucky, you will get a bonus award of fun cabaret and drag on top of the general camp spirit. A small pub with big hearts and personalities!
The Grosvenor Bar– A gay-popular hangout just out of Brighton in Hove, thought the boundaries are very fluid. With fabulous cabaret shows, and a modern fairy-lit interior and open fire, it is no wonder people linger at this lively bar well into the night. Friendly and approachable staff with a camp attitude and all just a block away from the beach.
The Bedford Tavern – A chilled gay pub in Hove with all the essentially – with cozy couches, and long tables this makes a laid-back atmosphere to catch up with friends. An excellent place for a beer on a sunny day on the benches out front, with delicious food and an extensive drink selection if you want to get adventurous. A trendy if a somewhat hidden spot in the Finsbury Park/Holloway area.
Doctor Brighton’s – An institution in itself, Doctor Brighton is one of the oldest seafront pubs in town but now more of a mixed crowd than gay. It seems hetero’s love to be hip and cool almost as much as we do. With comfortable sofas, rustic wooden floors and stunning views overlooking the sea you can very much feel the spirit of Brighton as you enjoy affordable drinks with a resident DJ’s playing to the crowds on a Friday and Saturday night – or a chilled game of pool midweek.
Gay Bars in Brighton
The Zone Bar – A friendly, no-attitude gay Brighton bar near the top of the St James’s Street strip with queer entertainment every weekend and a quirky yet lively atmosphere. There are frequent live acts which pull in quite a crowd, but even without the shows, the Zone is never boring.
Legends Bar – The favorite bar at Legends Hotel, a hip, vibrant and very gay Brighton hotel. With Brighton’s biggest terrace bar no matter what the time of day Legends Bar is perfect for a relaxing drink or bite to eat while taking in the panoramic sea views. By night, the bar becomes more pumping as cheesy queer music blares and members from across the LGBT community file in for a fabulous night. With queer entertainment several nights a week there’s always something going on at Legends – and is also why we love staying here!
The A Bar @ Amsterdam Hotel – The modern bar of the gay Brighton hotel in the center of the vibrant gay scene. Surprisingly laid back, and not at all as chaotic as Gay Amsterdam – sometimes you need a beautiful place to relax without pretense. We enjoyed the range of high-quality Gins – including locally produced artisan Gins – and premium tonics, large outside terrace, and location right on the seafront. You never know who you will meet when you pop in, but we also recommend stay at the Amsterdam Hotel if you want to really make the most of the Brighton gay scene.
Infinity Bar – A new gay bar in Brighton opened in May 2018, yes it seems while queer scenes worldwide are dying, here in Brighton there is room for one more fabulous establishment. A clean, refreshing interior with an inviting atmosphere – but there is no space to dance really. A modern, safe environment with endless possibilities for fun, entertainment and infinite nights you just don’t want to end.
The Queens Arm – Brighton’s premier venue for great cabaret six days a week. An enduring classic with live drag performances and buzzing karaoke nights – not to mention the friendly service, tasty drinks and typically camp gay bar ambiance. With so many fabulous drag shows in Brighton, the Queens Arm is always a standout – because they are what? Sickening!
Bulldog – The oldest gay bar in Brighton dating back to 1979 with two floors of entertainment, cabaret, karaoke, and DJs. Very busy at night at the perfect place to party the night away after a night of bar hopping.
Bar Broadway – A live cabaret bar where musicals take center stage in the heart of Brighton’s gay village. It’s all lights, camera, action at this slice of musical heaven also well-known for its open mic night, generous prosecco pours and weekly pub quiz.
Bar Revenge – A oh-so-cool seafront gay cocktail bar in Brighton which is attached to a prominent gay nightclub Revenge. Perfect to get into full-on party music with chat and throwback music, eclectic atmosphere and very cheap drinks till 9 pm on weekdays. There is also discounted entry to Revenge Club for those who choose to start here beforehand.
The Marlborough – A historic venue associated since the 1970s with the Brighton LGBT community and today drawing in many transgender and lesbian patrons. If you want acceptance, diversity and a genuinely queer atmosphere, then the Marlborough is a must-visit. There is a small theatre upstairs often hosting avant-garde LGBT performers and a lovely outdoor terrace seating spot with iconic views of Brighton’s Royal Pavilion. Very eclectic with a decent selection of beer, lots of vegan options and an incredible drag king show!
Gay Clubs in Brighton
The Basement Club – A subterranean gay nightclub in Brighton that knows how to do unique, sexy and gorgeous all at once. Hidden below Legends Bar and Hotel above, here you’ll find great music played by a diverse range of top DJ’s every Wednesday, Friday, Saturday & Sunday. With the added bonus of free entry, nice drinks deals and large crowds who know how to keep the party going until the early hours of the morning, it is no wonder the Basement Club is one of Gay Brighton’s favorite late-night venues.
Green Door Store – A live music venue and nightclub located directly underneath Brighton Railway Station which attracts a range of patrons to its different gigs. Having opened its doors in January 2011 the Green Door Store has quickly become Brighton’s biggest hub for live DIY music and they aim to always have something for everyone, including some very queer events. You will need to check the upcoming list when you plan to visit, but you can find Cher Drag, fabulous disco, and all gender-bending themed parties …Just to name a few. There is always free entry to the bar and often free entry to the entire venue after 11 pm, so for something a bit different you can’t go past the welcoming-to-all Green Door Store.
Club Revenge – Brighton’s biggest and most famous LGBT club, standing proud just by Brighton’s iconic Palace Pier. There are two state-of-the-art dance floors that are crowded every weekend, an unforgettable rooftop terrace and friendly attitude-free vibes. Check out their Facebook page for a jam-packed roster of upcoming events but suffice to say Revenge always has something on to draw in the crowds!
Gay Sauna in Brighton
Have you had enough of gay cruising in Brighton – either in the bars or elsewhere? If you desire a bit more guaranteed action, the gay saunas in Brighton will not disappoint you (unlikely all those faceless accounts on Grindr or the other hook up apps…).
In such a popular holiday destination you should have no issues visiting any of the Brighton gay saunas, though it is always a bit of a lucky dip in terms of who you might find. Then again, this is half the fun right? If you are nervous or have not been before you could always check out our first-time gay sauna guide for some easy hints and tips.
The Brighton Sauna– One of the biggest UK sauna’s and one of the best, aiming to give you the best sauna experience around, with a smile, and a friendly attitude at all times. This means no mess and simply no excuses about things not working when you turn up – it all just runs smoothly, how refreshing! The owners clearly see a future here as they are constantly upgrading and keeping the Brighton Sauna modern and up-to-date, and are paid off with stay steam of hot guys. It is buzzing on Naked Wednesdays as well as on Sunday afternoon but most evenings you can find someone fun in there. Faculties include a dry 20-man sauna, jacuzzi, steam room, cinema, private cabins, glory holes, sling, showers, and three dark rooms. They also offer some of the best male massages in Brighton.
The Boiler Room Sauna – The ‘other’ gay sauna in Brighton, convenient if you are staying in the Hove. There is a large sauna, steam room, cinema, play spaces, private cabins, and jacuzzi. The Boiler Room Sauna is smaller than the Brighton Sauna, but always quite busy, with a fully-licensed full bar and surprisingly pleasant food.
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Cruising and Fetish Clubs in Brighton
If the bars or gay parties in Brighton are too vanilla for you, perhaps these fetish clubs and cruise lounges are a better fit?
The gay leather/fetish/bear scene is not as wild as other places in Europe like Rome, Paris, Vienna, and Prague but still has something to peak the curiosity of those who dare to embrace their darker passions! For the uninitiated, this could be the perfect place to explore your curiosities and hidden desires…
Don’t Tell Mama – A friendly, no attitude, cozy and stylish bar in Brighton hosted by friendly Serge. Popular with locals for the sportswear nights, but always drawing a crowd who come to actually meet and connect with other gays without the use of a hookup app! Don’t Tell Mama is firstly a social club for men with a small dance floor but if the connection is right there is a cruising area and small dark room out back. The first Sunday of every month is Raunch, a friendly fetish event with a strict dress code of Leather, Rubber, Uniform, Underwear, Clothing Optional etc. If you are slightly bitter and cynical of the gay scene in Brighton (or anywhere really) their Friday and Saturday night policy of no phones and apps is fabulous making guests and newcomers feel very welcome.
Subline – The most popular gay sex club in Brighton with a kinky, industrial vibe. Think exposed brick walls, jail cages, poles and plenty of dark spaces. Subline is men-only from Thursday to Sunday but does operate a mixed Wednesdays. Check their website for drinks and theme nights if you have a particular fetish. Subline operates on a no dress code basis unless stated within specific event listings, but you are always encouraged to dress for the occasion. Great to see condoms and lube available freely on the bar and in the dark back rooms.