G-A-Y (at Heaven)

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The young, the restless and the G-A-Y
The enduringly popular G-A-Y remains one of London's defining gay institutions, especially among the under-25s. Started in 1976, the dance-and-cruise club spent most of its iconic years in Charing Cross Rd, in various sections of the London Astoria (a former cinema). Until the late 1980s the club night went by the name of Bang!, but was changed to G-A-Y when taken over by Bang! DJ Jeremy Joseph in the early 1990s. In 2008, anticipating the Astoria's much-protested demolition, Joseph took G-A-Y to subterranean homo haven Heaven for a thriving afterlife, which continues today. Expect a decidedly young, pop-loving, good-natured, energized crowd, with the occasional big-name pop star appearing on stage. In 2013 Joseph basically bought out Heaven (the former wine cellar of Charing Cross Hotel), which Jeremy Norman originally opened to much fanfare in 1979. Richard Branson owned Europe's most famous gay venue between 1982 and 2003, and it was here in late 1983 that Frankie Goes to Hollywood filmed their then-notorious "Relax" video. G-A-Y nights happen on Thursday, Friday and Saturdy, with Friday's Camp Attack closest in spirit to the old days at the Astoria. There's Porn Idol on Thursday, plus Monday's mostly gay Popcorn ("hedonistic Latin-charged dance"). Tube stations: Embankment and Charing Cross.