Gay Glasgow Guide: The Essential Guide To Gay Travel In Glasgow Scotland 2019
While Gay Edinburgh is generally more popular with tourists thanks to its historic beauty and famous ‘Pink Triangle’, it is actually Glasgow that has the biggest and most vibrant gay scene in Scotland.
With world-famous nightlife, more LGBT establishments than we can keep a track of and plenty of post-industrial grit, Glasgow is a city re-invented with an undeniably edgy vibe.
While not the capital, Glasgow is actually the largest city in Scotland and its intriguing Victorian-Industrial urban landscape plays host to worldly queer, student and artistic communities – all of which help make Gay Glasgow this intriguing, sophisticated yet down-to-earth city, and one of the most vibrant places north of the border!
Whether you are looking for creative design spaces, avant-garde burlesque, hipster coffee shops (frequented by even cuter Scottish guys and girls) – or some of the best clubbing in Europe, Gay Glasgow has it all! And armed with this guide, we will make sure you do it all properly and don’t f#ck it up!
Same-sex marriage has been legal in Scotland since 2014 and in this peaceful and open-minded country, queer travelers are welcomed everywhere with small rainbow flags on almost every store, club and restaurant window. We found Glaswegians warm, open and sincere…once you can figure out their accent and unique vocabulary.
While during the brief, beautiful summer days it is easy to meet gay locals in the parks and around town, in the bitterly cold winters you might want to turn to hookups to meet a friendly local in Glasgow to show you around (or perhaps invite you to a pint in a warm pub!).
No matter where your interests lie, Gay Glasgow offers an adventure like no other with history, nightlife, food, festivals and more…
Gay Glasgow Guide: The Essential Guide To Gay Travel In Glasgow Scotland 2019
Obviously 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 Glasgow during the day!
Glasgow is a very safe city and gay visitors in Glasgow do not need to take any extra precautions in terms of public displays of affection in this very tolerant and progressive city. While the old city of Glasgow is notable for its 19th century Victorian and early 20th century “Glasgow Style”, we highly recommend hiring a car in Glasgow to get out into the famous Scottish nature for a day or two if you can…
Glasgow might cutting-edge art, nightlife and post-industrial style aplenty, there is nothing quite like the nearby lochs and highlands!
Things To Do in Gay Glasgow
Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum – The most popular attraction in Glasgow, this Spanish baroque style building houses 22 themed galleries displaying an amazing 8000 objects with everything from Scottish Colourists to an RAF Mark 21 Supermarine Spitfire and a stuffed Asian elephant.
Glasgow Botanic Gardens – An award-winning 27-acre park for plants, working vegetable plot and Victorian cast-iron glasshouse
Aye-Aye Books – A fabulous little bookshop tucked away within the Centre for Contemporary Arts focusing on cultural and critical theory, LGBT literature, magazines and journals, and radical books.
The Barras – A weekend market which is famous as the go-to for bric-a-brac, antiques, and all your hipster needs.
People’s Palace – Glasgow was booming during the Industrial Revolution, and here you can get a taste of the cities social history – as well as a beautiful glasshouse cafe.
Luke & Jack – The most popular and friendly gay sex toy shop in Scotland – It’s really a Queer As F*ck institution so if you have forgotten anything at home, just want to browse to get some more advice on Glasgow’s gay events this is the place to go!
Glasgow Single Malt Whisky Tour – Have you even been to Scotland if you don’t know the difference between scotch and whisky and single malts? Get to know the tale of the Scot’s national drink at a brand new whisky distillery right in the heart of Glasgow – and all with fellow whisky enthusiasts!
Glasgow Necropolis – One of the one areas of the city to not be transformed during the rush of the Industrial Revolution, you can find ornate graves and mausoleums of famous Glaswegians here – and a bit of peace and quiet.
Virginia Gallery – Scotland’s only gallery that specializes in erotic art. 18+
Burrell Collection – A beautiful collection of art and artifacts comprising ceramics, tapestries, glass, and decorative arts.
Harry Potter Steam Train – It’s not cheap, but the best things often aren’t! Board the Hogwarts Express steam train and see for yourself where J.K. Rowling found inspiration for on a day trip to the Scottish Highlands. We still don’t understand why Dumbledore had to die though…
St Andrews & Fife’s Fishing Villages – The medieval kingdom of Fife is one of the most photographed spots in Scotland as is the picturesque Falkland landscape with its former royal palace. A trip over the Forth Road Bridge is pretty spectacular too!
3-Day Isle of Skye, Inverness and Highlands – See and do everything all at once on this iconic tour of Scotland’s best nature. There is a reason why everything from James Bond and Game of Thrones to Harry Potter and Outlander are filmed here. And the mysterious Island of Skye will just take your breath away!
Gay Events in Glasgow
Gay Glasgow is a remarkable city that has hundreds of events on across the year, and queer travelers to Scotland should not restrict themselves to exclusively gay events.
While June is the main month of LGBT celebrations and events for Glasgow’s gay community revolving around a huge Pride Festival there are plenty of other gay events in Glasgow to look out for during the rest of the year – and every night of the week you can find live music and plenty of club events.
People in Scotland are incredibly welcoming, so if you can start a conversation on any of popular hook up apps or in person you are almost guaranteed to hear about something somewhere and get invited. Here are the biggest events currently on in Gay Glasgow (just be sure to book your Glasgow hotels far in advance as the good places sell out months beforehand!).
OutSpoken Arts – Scotland’s annual celebration of queer culture previously known as Glasgay. A festival of the top and up-and-coming artists from around the world with everything from comedy, music, film, theatre and visual art to performance art, literature, club nights, education events and community celebrations.
Hogmanay – While many gay travelers might be inclined to celebrate New Years on the beaches of Phuket or enjoying the thunder from down under in the Melbourne gay scene, if you can bare the cold then Scotland offer’s one of the world’s best New Year celebrations. Three days of spectacular events culminating in an all-out New Years street party in Glasgow – Hogmanay is crazy wild and totally unforgettable!
Scotland International Burlesque Festival – With so many burlesque and cabaret venues in Glasgow it was only a matter of time until the producers of London Burlesque Festival set up here. An extravaganza of epic proportions can be expected in June – 2018 is the first year but we are sure it’s going to be a hit!
Scottish Queer International Film Festival – The best in queer cinema is shown at this fabulous event every September. There are also plenty of cool workshops, talks, discussions, performance, and parties to go along.
Drag-Opticon – A variety night held annually featuring plenty of drag queens showing their talents in lipsyncing, live singing, stand up comedy, ballet, burlesque, poetry/spoken word, theatrical pieces and – well whatever else they can come up with!
Glasgow Pride – The biggest gay event held annually in Glasgow in June and Scotland’s largest celebration of LGBT Pride. The entire pride week is fuelled with parties, picnics, workshops and plenty of art and culture. Everything culminates in a March and fabulous festival in Kelvingrove Park goes into the night. This is one gay event in Glasgow worth planning your trip around, because – well – LOVE IS LOVE BABY!
As a world leader in LGBT tourism, pretty much every hotel and hostel in Glasgow 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 surrounding by people with common interests, and as such there a few well-known hotels in Glasgow that are known hot spots for gay travelers to stay! The best locations for gay travelers is in Merchant City district which is close to all the top tourist sites and attractions of the Glasgow gay scene – by day or by night.
However, if you are planning to hire a car in Scotland then it’s best to stay a bit out of the city or where free parking is available.
The following gay-friendly and gay hotels in Glasgow are only the most popular with gay travelers but there are hundreds of other hotels in Glasgow if you don’t find quite what you are looking for.
Whether you want a fun and social hostel, a cheap place to crash after a night of partying or a chic designer option to sip cocktails and surround yourself with fabulous people – Gay Glasgow has it all!
Blythswood Square Hotel ☆☆☆☆☆ – One of the best hotels in Glasgow – and extremely popular with our readers. An elegant Georgian building refitted in an extensive evocation with chic, contemporary rooms including Italian marble bathrooms, hip public spaces, and an award-winning spa. The only AA five-star accredited hotel in Glasgow – If you are looking to indulge this is the spot!
Hilton Glasgow ☆☆☆☆☆ – A landmark hotel with superb city views as well as a refined cocktail bar, spa + indoor pool, restaurants and modern rooms. An international known gay-friendly hotel chain – on the need of Glasgow’s central city.
Crossbasket Castle ☆☆☆☆☆ – Ok, it’s a bit out-of-town – which is actually perfect if you’re hiring a car – but really who cares when you can stay in a castle!! One of Scotland’s newest and most exclusive luxury hotels – this is the real deal. Landscaped grounds with a river and waterfalls and a 17th-century castle, antique furnishings, and regal bathrooms. Even if you can’t stay – take a look as it truly is mind-blowing, or perhaps consider the Sherbrooke Castle Hotel which is cheaper and closer into Glasgow.
citizenM Glasgow ☆☆☆☆ – One of the most popular gay stays in Glasgow thanks to its futuristic style. Plenty of spots to take that perfect Instagram pose, the citizenM offers affordable luxury at low-cost: There’s no concierge, no room service, and you check yourself in, but you get designer, compact rooms complete with high-tech gadgetry, plush, king-size beds and plenty of free on-demand movies, water, and WiFi (just to name a few!)
Dakota Glasgow ☆☆☆☆– A luxury boutique hotel in the heart of Glasgow’s busy commercial district. Beneath the contemporary brick exterior, you will find warmly decorated rooms, homely touches and plenty of award-winning unorthodox/ modern design.
Carlton George Hotel ☆☆☆☆ – A top-selling boutique hotel in Glasgow with a rooftop restaurant and fabulous views across Glasgow’s skyline. One of the top favorites of guests is the mini-bar complete with free decanters of vodka, gin, and whiskey – but we really liked the homely, rustic feel and central location.
The Spires Serviced Apartments ☆☆☆☆ – If you want to have some casual drink, enjoy more space and have privacy to host at yours – this upscale apartment hotel is perfectly literally in the heard to the Merchant gay quarter.
Mercure Glasgow City Hotel ☆☆☆ – Cheap and cheerful, this straightforward hotel offers some of the cheapest hotel prices in Glasgow and on the doorsteps from the Glasgow Merchant City gay area.
Point A Hotel Glasgow ☆☆☆ – Contemporary, compact rooms with everything designer just right. Complete with a 24-hour reception and modern lobby, this is a stylish budget option without going for a boring chain!
Brunswick Hotel ☆☆ – Gay popular at the cheapest hotel near to the Glasgow gay scene that we could find. Decent reviews and super minimalist – but you probably won’t be sleeping much anyway!
Glasgow Youth Hostel ☆☆ – On the edge of leafy Kelvingrove Park where Glasgow Pride is held annually, the Glasgow Youth Hostel offers crazy popular budget accommodation in Glasgow’s West End. This is a hostel that really feels like a hotel with its beautiful wooden interiors. If you don’t mind sharing a dorm room, want to meet other liberally minded travelers to go out and explore Glasgow’s gay scene or are really on a budget you should look here.
Gay Bars and Gay Clubs in Glasgow
Glasgow’s LGBT scene is the reason this city is one of the most gay-friendly places in Europe – and the Glasgow gay bars and clubs are just as great as you would expect given this reputation!
Whether you try the iconic yet cheesy Polo Lounge or sip cocktails at the voguish Katy’s Bar, there’s a gay bar in Glasgow for all members of our diverse LGBT family. Deciding which place to try first is the hard part – but luckily most of the Glasgow gay scene is centered around the Merchant city part of the city (just head to Delmonicas on Virginia St and look for the flags!)
Being such a tolerant city you are unlikely to experience any issues with displays of affection in public and as such will be welcomed in most clubs and bars in Glasgow – but with such a thriving gay scene in Glasgow you really shouldn’t miss a night out here!
Gay Bars in Glasgow
The Underground – Dive bar vibes with older crowds, this is a friendly gay bar in Glasgow with cheap drinks and plenty of weekly events. Look out for the monthly Glasgow Bear night held here!
Katie’s Bar – Oh-so-cool basement bar where anything can happen! Live shows, delicious food, and cocktails – depending on the night you can find live sports, glam-e-oke but seemingly always plenty of disco tunes!
Riding Room – Right next door is this design forward cocktail and cabaret venue. We weren’t joking when we said gay Glasgow brings its A game! Quirky, fun and utterly fabulous we love getting our weekly dose of cabaret, burlesque and variety shows in this casual setting! If you want a more refined setting and are past your club kid days this is the perfect Glasgow haunt.
Speakeasy – A more upscale gay cocktail bar in Glasgow with great food, a friendly crows and live music on the weekends. Filled with hipster, its known for its Saturday Nights ‘Trophy Room’ DJ set unapologetic pop, eighties bangers, sleazy disco, and high power ballads.
The Waterloo Bar – Said to be the oldest gay bar in Scotland, this is a no-frills bar that gets packed to capacity thanks to its cheap drinks and local crowds who love to chat.
Delmonica’s – The heart of the Glasgow gay community. We love heading here for the fun karaoke, quizzes, and occasional DJ parties – and more frequently for a pre-club drink to meet up with other queers. You will frequently find other gay clubs in Glasgow handing out free passes here or near the entrance! Oh, and honey – we are *living* for its neon pink interior and fab vibes!
Merchant Pride – Just fancy a pint? Then this gay pub in Glasgow is the place to stop by. Honestly, we think it still comes off more gay bar than pub thanks to the karaoke and house DJ’s – but we appreciate the effort.
The Gallery – New on the Glasgow gay scene – this a chilled bar with plenty of color, cute bartenders and a well-stocked bar.
FHQ – While the ladies out there are welcome at all the gay bars, this is Glasgow’s only lesbian bar – in fact, the only lesbian bar in Scotland! A uber stylish hotspot with a range of events, a relaxed and friendly atmosphere, and the hottest tunes. Make sure you visit – or at least stop emailing us that there are no lesbian bars on our gay guides! ( *now closed!*- “This will definitely become a popular bar! Use it or lose it, ladies!” *Chooses to lose it* )
Gay Clubs in Glasgow
AXM Glasgow – One of the top gay nightclubs in Glasgow and open 5 nights a week. Plenty of guest DJ’s, live music, and a vibrant party atmosphere. Sexy themed nights aplenty and always a friend Scot to chat with even when it’s quiet!
Polo Lounge – Scotland’s biggest and gayest nightclub open every night of the week for those who just don’t know how to take a break! An icon of Gay Glasgow since 1996 – expect campy music with plenty of gay atheism and huge crowds.
Club X – Sex in the air, I don’t care, I love the smell of it! Yes, this is Glasgow’s alternative gay club taking its sexy S&M theme seriously. A dirty little secret hidden in the basement of The Polo Lounge, things get serious raunchy here – complete with showers!
The Flying Duck – This is not a gay bar, but does hold Glasgow’s first indie gay night on the first Friday of every month. You won’t find your gay anthems here but plenty of alt tunes and cutting edge indie. – No More F*cking ABBA (?!)
DILF Scotland @ The Poetry Club – Calling all bears, cubs, leather, fetish & rubber lovers – this is your chance to get down and dirty in this dark club event. Taking place with a different them on the last Saturday of every month at The Poetry Club, this gay dance party for mature men is the perfect space for dancing, drinking, and cruising.
Other Cool Bars in Glasgow
Hillhead Bookclub – Cool, quirky and fun as hell, this huge venue in the West End hosts everything from drag bingo to vintage fairs and ping-pong competitions. If you have a hankering for hipster vibes, eclectic music and commendable cocktails you need to go here.
The Counting House – A popular Wetherspoon pub in Glasgow, with stand-out interiors and affordable prices. Always busy, this centrally located pub offers a range of real ales, craft beers, and food – with pretty strong cocktails, and a buzzing atmosphere. The spectacular design, in the Italian Renaissance Barryesque palazzo style, set the tone for the west end of George Square, at that time as a bank – but today the bank’s former vaults serve as a more intimate space for socializing – complete with original iron gates, walls of security box doors and a heavy ‘anti-explosive and anti-blowpipe’ vaulted entrance. Much of the original Victorian décor remains today, and the interior is still one of the city’s finest-ever bank interiors – although now, obviously, a highly popular and extremely busy pub instead!
The Berkeley Suite– We are all partial to a good secret bar and in Glasgow, there are quite a few but this place was easily our favorite. An elegant ballroom that is hidden behind a pawn shop by the motorway – once you get in you will find some of Glasgow’s best DJ’s, beautiful decor and a place that will make you want to party until well into the night.
Shilling Brewing Co – The first and best brewpub in Glasgow with delicious and affordable craft beers in a rustic yet elegant industrial space. Pubs are a dime a dozen in Glasgow but there is nothing quite like this
The Metropolitan – Located in the heart of the Merchant City this stylish and contemporary cocktail bar is a firm favorite for those looking to experience some of the best cocktails in Glasgow. Incredibly popular late at night, fashionistas and influencers all seem to gather here at what must be one of the most beautiful and classy spots in town.
beGin – Glasgow has more gin bars then we can count, but this one stands out for its industrial chic vibes, superb cocktail menu and bartenders who really know what they are doing. If you want to impress a date or enjoy an air of sophistication beGin is perfect.
The Social – A Royal Exchange Square institution and the perfect spot to meet friends, both old and new. During the day, you will find a relaxing hub away from the hustle and bustle of Buchanan Street but at night, the square is transformed into a bustling location for clubbers and people out to have a good time. The Social is right there in the middle of it all, under the thousands of glittering fairy lights. The lights dim, the music fills the space with everything from soulful house to funk and chart, and the cocktails begin to stack on the bar. Try the Candyfloss Martini (Smirnoff Red, Raspberry Puree, Bubble-Gum Syrup, Cranberry Juice) or the Frozen Daiquiri to have you dreaming of long, hot beach nights in Cancun or Ibiza.
Topolabamba – A very funky bar and restaurant with wood, stone, and brightly colored lamps, serving up Mexican street food and divine cocktails. The wait staff are super cute and worth going for alone! This isn’t average TexMex like you’ll find in Austin but authentic Mexican inspired by the regions of Oaxaca, Chiapas, Chihuahua and their namesake, Topolabamba.
Spa Day & Male Massage in Glasgow
While at night Glasgows’s gay scene might come alive, for those who can’t wait, don’t care about the sights and simply want to take to relax while male massage in Glasgow – there are plenty of options for you whether you want a relaxing spa day or just a simple deep tissue massage.
Here are some of the top recommended spas or spots for male massages in Glasgow!
The Glasgow Treatment Rooms – Highly professional offering a range of massages in the heart of Glasgow. A range of female and male massage therapists with extensive training so you know you are in good hands.
Skinfiniti Glasgow – Provides specific male grooming treatments ranging from Swedish massages to aromatherapy, waxing, facials and even cupping. Sure to have you feeling 100% in no time!
The Beauty Room & Day Spa – Providing a specific range of grooming and massage services for Men in Glasgow to have you looking dapper for a night out in the Glasgow gay scene. Try the Murad Pom Power Pore Cleansing Facial or the Bamboo treatment which reduces tension, stimulates senses, reactivates circulation, restores the silhouette and smoothes the skin.
Oceans Rooms Spa at Hilton Glasgow – Stay truly refreshed with a sauna, steam room and whirlpool (free to use if you’re staying here of course). There is also full dory, facial treatments, manicures and pedicures, and bespoke hair services at the adjoining ‘hair spa’
Cruising and Gay Sauna in Glasgow
One place where Grindr and other gay hook up apps have really made a difference worldwide is the closing of saunas and bathhouses. While continental Europe cities such as Vienna, Brussels, and Porto have reversed the trend, the UK gay sauna scene is pretty dire.
In Scotland, the bathhouse/sauna scene has been particularly hard hit and today if you want to explore the naughtier side of Glasgow you now only have one gay sauna in Glasgow to visit (or there are two in nearby Edinburgh). Public cruising in Glasgow was previous popular but it is really not recommended now with previous popular locations having more police patrols and wide-spread CCTV surveillance.
Gay sauna or not, in any sexual encounter, please take adequate precautions. No matter what your intentions are in while traveling, you should bring your own condoms and lube to play it safe. Take home a hot guy or a hot memory, not an STD.
Besides, you never know what other fun surprises your trip might have in store for you...
The Pipeworks Glasgow – The only gay sauna in Glasgow, but luckily its very popular. There are plenty of facilities to choose from including a huge dry sauna, large 15 person jacuzzi, private cabins, steam room, dark room, and action-packed showers Open every day during the week and 24/7 over the week, there are also two month events here: Sportswear on the first Friday of the months and Underwear on the second Friday. They also have an early bird, buddy (2 for 1) and student discounts.
Just add an adventurous attitude and plenty of smiles - they go a long way - and that about covers it all! Now go out, find your global rainbow family and don't forget to share your best gay stories with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram...We'd love to hear from you!