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‘I went to London’s oldest gay bar and the price of a pint surprised me while a drag queen insulted my singing’ – John James

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It’s no secret to anyone that London is home to a thriving LGBTQ+ scene.

Whether you want a casual night out or a full blown clubbing experience, there are countless revered spots to choose from, but one perhaps has more pedigree than the others.

The Admiral Duncan on Old Compton Street is proudly London’s oldest gay pub and is one of Soho’s most vibrant places to go for a night out.

It’s no nonsense charm and party atmosphere has long made it a favourite of the LGBTQ+ community and on most nights the queues stretch out the door.

We sent our reporter down to get a taste of the action.

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Cheap pints and a friendly atmosphere

Cheap pints ain’t that fine

When we arrived at the Admiral Duncan the bar was packed to the rafters with regulars, out of towners and strays like us who’d come in to see what all the fuss was about.

There was a large stage at the back of the bar where a drag queen was ruling over the crowd with an iron fist.

Being straight myself, this was my first experience of an LGBTQ+ night and if the karaoke was anything to go by it would be some experience.

I was struck by how warm and safe the atmosphere was, with everyone in the pub packed tightly together and expressing themselves freely as if they were old friends.

I sidled to the bar and placed my order fully expecting to be fleeced out of the standard £6.20 and your kidney pint charge that most London pubs adopt.

As you can imagine, I was quite shocked when I found that the cost of my pint was below £5.

Sadly, I’m unable to reveal precisely how much an average lager costs.

This is because I was so thrilled by the low prices I ordered far too many and in all honesty made a bit of a fool of myself.

But we move on.

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A karaoke king

Being the pathetic attention seeker that I am, as soon as I saw the stage I was craving a slot on the microphone.

I hurriedly scribbled my song choice on a slip of paper and within minutes I was there basking in the glow of the stage lights like a fat lizard.

I’ve been reliably told since that my performance of Twist and Shout made some of the regulars cry.

After I was given a few choice insults by the drag queen on my performance (they do it to everyone apparently), it was back to the dance floor.

When I eventually staggered out of the pub around 2am I was utterly spent and ready for home.

I’m aware that the idea of straight people frequenting LGBT spaces is frowned upon by some who prefer to keep the spaces safe for the community – and I completely understand their points.

But for a night as good as that, it seems better to share the fun?

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