Stand-alone Vauxhall mecca
Indestructible Victorian pub with a special gay history — including drag perfomances since the middle of the last century — and a relentless party spirit, known to its own as the RVT. Themed nights showcase comedy and alternative cabaret, most famously Saturday-regular Duckie [see entry], hosted by New Jersey-born handbag-wielding lipstick-lipped lesbian Amy Lamé, welcoming lovers of the Smiths, Kate Bush, the Mamas & the Papas, Depeche Mode, Baccara and Boney M. From late Sunday afternoons expect stimulated shirtless men keeping Saturday night alive in tea-dance style, crowding the pavement out front and oblivious to the cars rolling past while impersonator Charlie Hides TV entertains indoors; in 2013 CHT took over the slot made famous by the Dame Edna Experience over the previous 14 years. Regular Tuesday tenant Bar Wotever provides an "open stage for up and coming queer talents to show off", while Mondays go all ironic with the RVT's twist on bingo. Among the pub's other claims to fame is the joint visit in 1988 by singer Freddie Mercury (a former Coleherne regular), comic star and broadcaster Kenny Everett and, incognito as a man, Diana, Princess of Wales. On 30 September 2014, following the sale of the venue, the RVT announced plans for a "full refurbishment both internal and external", including a new wine and champagne bar on the first floor (US = second floor). The Vauxhall Tavern promises to remain gay despite wariness in light of Vauxhall's ongoing slick and massive redevelopment.