BJ's White Swan

LGBT Limehouse
  • 5 out of 5 stars
(7user reviews)
6 Love It
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Something of a local legend, the White Swan is the East End’s most famous gay boozer. The comedian Michael Barrymore famously came out on stage here. Sir Ian McKellen used to drop in after he came out. And the Sunday Tea Dances are an institution with an older crowd, who waltz and tango the night away. But despite its illustrious history, the pub’s decor is not quaint or cosy: on the contrary, it’s a rough and soulless space, with a dark warehouse-style aesthetic, enlivened only by the soft-porn videos broadcast from TV screens above the bar (usually naked French rugby players). The crowd, by contrast, is cheerful and rowdy; many Essex lads make the trek here in on the weekend. It is notorious for its amateur strip contests – held on Wednesdays around midnight – in which the young and shameless bare all for cash. On Friday and Saturday nights, there are often strippers or drag queens, who warm up the crowd for a night of dancing to chart tunes and commercial house.


Venue name: BJ's White Swan
Address: 556 Commercial Rd
E14 7JD
Opening hours: Mon 9pm-1am, Tue-Thur 9pm-2am, Fri-Sat 9pm-3am, Sun 5.30pm-12midnight
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Average User Rating

4.9 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:6
  • 4 star:1
  • 3 star:0
  • 2 star:0
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Captain W

FANTASTIC FABULOUS NIGHT. One of the only true gay venue's that still cater and care for the lesbian and gay community. Great music, Great Djs and GREAT drag queens always. Love the Swan and thank goodness it's still here after all these years.

Nicholas S

Absolutely Fabulous...! I come here every weekend now, sometimes Friday sometimes Saturday (sometimes both!). Dj's are always amazing and their music is fantastic (they even do requests!). Cabaret every Saturday with top names, I loved Miss Jason last Sunday. Be there or be square ok.
peter h

last weekend my self and some mates went to the white swan for the first time in years.

was greeted at the gate by the host Steve and security, went through the new security machine and was told by the host what was going on that night, it was their 31st birthday party and had the Trolletts and Sandra on stage in the new lounge bar, had a great night with my mates and we loved the music and the great staff. made us feel very welcome, we will defo be back and it was only £8 to get in.

terry p

iv been coming to the swan for about 5yrs now and have seen it go from a very old and falling apart swan to a brand new bird. the new look art deco and amazing brand new night club have blown me away. so good to see the new owners have spent a hell of a lot of money on the place. a brand new basement night club and lots of great enetertaiment on a wkly basis.

When most gay venues are closing this new bird (white swan0 is rising like a phoenix from the old dark and dingy venue to a brand new entertainment venue.

keep up the good work guys. 

Janet L

Well done White Swan. I was back in London visiting family last weekend and came down Friday night, had an amazing time both me and my sister. Can't believe how much you have improved the decor! It was great before but now it's totally amazing! Had such a great night Friday dancing till kicking out time that we came back Saturday night to enjoy the stage act. If you haven't been then believe me... you should. Many thanks again, Janet x

Danny P

I found this WhiteSwan pub/club last weekend, so me and my partner went in. It was brilliant! Apparently they have recently finished doing it all up (and I like it). Most def gonna make this a regular haunt. Great music good atmos and very nice people both staff and customers. Well done all @ the Swan (5 STARS)