Is anything going to fill the void left by XXL for London’s gay men?
While many are still mourning the loss of London’s gay super-club XXL – which closed its doors late last year – let’s take a look at what other club nights are stepping up to the plate to keep the men of London dancing.
One of the contenders for XXL’s crown is Heat – a men-only night at Fire from the Orange Nation team.
Heat is a club night that happens about once a month. It’s a masculine kind of vibe that includes a dark-room play-space.
Brought to you by the team at Jamie HP, Screw is a fetish night but it welcomes a broad range of guys into any sort of fetish that you can think of.
Hard On is one of London’s iconic men-only nights. It’s always been more of a sex party than a dance party, but the reality is that it pretty much delivers on both.
Hard On happens about once a month.
XXL in Birmingham
January saw the opening of a dedicated XXL club in Birmingham, giving the iconic brand a new permanent home for sweaty, shirt-off, masc4masc action.
They’re also taking the action on the road, with club nights recently held in Liverpool, Bristol, and Brighton. It looks like there’ll be monthly XXL events in these cities.
The end of XXL
XXL was founded in the year 2000, by Mark Ames. The club night started in the railway arches near London Bridge, before moving to its current home at Pulse – on the south side of Blackfriars Bridge.
XXL began life as a bear club, but the atmosphere and the music was so good that it soon attracted guys of all shapes and sizes.
There had been some dramas over the years, as the club gave fairly clear signals that it valued a Masc4Masc vibe, so there were lots of people within the broader LGBTQ who felt that XXL wasn’t a welcoming space for them.
This was a club that got hot and sweaty. It was a shirts-off kind of place. You’d always see lots of guys rocking a harness.
XXL’s Dark Room was always one of the highlights. It was a big, maze-like space that was dimly lit but not too dark – you could still see what you were doing and who you were doing. Sex in XXL’s Dark Room was often anonymous, generally just a quick hookup. There was never any pressure to do anything you didn’t want to do. It was good fun.
It all came to end when planning permission was given to redevelop the area that had been the home to XXL. There was a war of words between XXL and the office of the Mayor of London, but ultimately XXL was left without a home.
While the venue at Pulse is no longer available to XXL, it’s fairly clear that we haven’t heard the last of this party brand for the gay men of London.
It’s probably worth following them on Twitter to find out what happens next.