Booze in this recreation of a 1930s gay members’ bar

For one month only the pop-up Caravan Club is the best place in town for potent cocktails and saucy shenanigans

Police raid on a queer venue in Fitzroy Square, 1927, from The National Archives collection.
Throughout March a captivating project on the edge of Covent Garden is recreating a bohemian 1930s gay members’ club. And it’s a genuine must-visit.

‘Queer City: London Club Culture 1918-1967’, in collaboration with the National Trust, re-imagines the capital’s ‘most bohemian rendezvous’, The Caravan, at Freud’s bar, almost the exact location of the original club.

The Caravan Club on Endell Street, from the National Archives
Promoted as ‘the most unconventional spot in town’, The Caravan was a queer-friendly members’ club which was raided and closed by police in 1934.

Photos, court reports, police papers and witness statements on The Caravan and other clubs of the era re-create the bohemian interior of the underground club.


Comments and complaints from the period cover the windows above Freud’s Bar. Photo: SE
Selected from The National Archives’ collection, these documents reveal detail and insights into club culture and the everyday prejudices facing the community in this period.

And we highly recommend an evening visit, a smokily immersive theatrical experience from the minute you step through door. Choose from a bespoke cocktail menu (the negroni-esque Hanky Panky served in a tea cup is particularly recommended) and lap up all manner of burlesque performances, saucy 1930s singsongs and bucketloads of witty banter – both on the banquettes and in crepuscular corners.

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Until 26th March. In the evening it’s £5 advance entry, open 7-10pm, Thurs-Sun only. Info & tickets here. Freud Café-Bar, 198 Shaftesbury Avenue W1

Read an interview with a LGBT campaigner Andrew Lumsden here, one of the founders of the Gay Liberation Front

Our pick of other events during LBGT History Month is here.

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