Beneath the Craven Street arches of London’s Charing Cross hides Heaven:‘The World’s Most Famous Gay Club’. Gaining worldwide reputation for its riotous raving, Heaven first hit the circuit in 1979 becoming somewhat of a London landmark. It’s gotta be doing something right- it’s been 3 decades.. that even pre-dates Eastenders and that feels like it’s been on for yonks. Instead, aging more like a fine wine, Heaven continues to put on some of the most unique and memorable events on the clubbing calendar. Turns out Belinda Carlisle was right- Heaven is a place on earth.
What was formerly a disused wine cellar, now is London’s most loved Gay venue. Heaven is all lofty ceilings and exposed brickwork, looking as though it’s a temple to the gods; its altar the stage directly facing the dancefloor. The bar area is close at hand for that much needed post-dance refreshment, just navigate through the alcoves lined with seating. On busier nights a further, smaller bar and dance area can be accessed by going upstairs, providing a musical alternative to the main floor below. There's some pretty heavy duty lighting displays going on here too, strobes and LED's galore. We wondered why we saw so many people wearing sunglasses... Although the venue is super spacious, you wait until it’s filled with keen partygoers - not so spacious now. Despite it’s size, Heaven actually veers strangely close to intimate, which is odd but welcomed nonetheless. It’s practically impossible to leave this place without 4 new Facebook friends, 2 business cards and an invite to Sunday lunch.
Music: Electro, Synth Pop, 80's, 90's, Commercial, Chart, Funk, Live
Dress Code: None
Train Station: Charing Cross
Address: Heaven, 11, The Arches, London, WC2N 6NG
Notoriety plays massively in Heaven’s favour here. All sorts of celebs from Pharrell to Adele are desperate to perform at Heaven, as if it’s doing them a favour. Heaven’s stage has been graced by the likes of Madonna, Lady Gaga, Jessie J, Backstreet Boys, Kylie Minogue, Cher, Miley Cyrus, Cyndi Lauper, Cheryl Cole, Tinie Tempah, The One Direction boys... the list really goes on and on and for the sake of brevity, we’ll leave it there or your head might pop. Heaven’s equally popular club nights have attracted the likes of Chicane, John Digweed, Japandroids, Django Django, Chromatics. It’s also played host to many a Gatecrasher dance music event. Pricing here is actually a rather nice surprise, with a pint of beer coming close to the £4 mark and a double spirit for around £6. For central London, that’s certainly not the worst we’ve come across.
Predominantly - but not exclusively - the gay market. Although, if you give the bouncers reason to believe you’re straight as an arrow and just looking for a novelty night out they reserve the right to send you on your merry way which we suppose is fair enough! At Heaven you’ll always find a vibrant and colourful crowd dressed in outrageous fluorescents, skimpy party gear and some even getting sweaty in PVC. That won’t be fun to try and get off. Ever tried to wiggle out of a wetsuit? Eeesh. Outsides aside, Heaven is aaalways rammed and you’d sooner see the gates of hell freeze over than get into Heaven without enduring a fairly monumental queue. On big events, it’s even been known to hit capacity just an hour after opening. Yowzer. Looks like some people really will be ‘locked out of Heaven’- how right you were, Bruno. Heaven even host a hilarious event known as ‘Porn Idol’ - an amateur strip contest judged by Drag divas Mary Mac, Baga Chipz and their weekly guest judge. Hold my earrings, girl.
In addition to the club itself, the queues are also pretty legendary but can be avoided with a GAY card. Also: note that the security are pretty thorough (think airport style metal detectors) so don’t go too wild at prinks because chances are you’ll receive a pretty thorough vetting. Aside from that, we really couldn’t fault the place. Heaven is a party of epic proportions and with the impressive dance floor, faultless line-ups and masses of beautiful people, you’ll see how aptly titled this place is. It just seems to be relentlessly uplifting and a real breath of fresh air, really. We don’t doubt for a second that next weekend we will yet again be knock knock knocking on Heaven’s door...