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Your in Glasgow, you fancy a pint or a boogie, you’re a friend of Dorothy or of the Sapphic variety, where do you go?
Enter the Polo Lounge.
In Glasgow, this club is the where you are likely to find most of the action on the weekend. It is now the only exclusively gay club in the city (since the other option was recently burned out) and attracts a very mixed crowd of people – both gay and straight, young and old.
The club itself is located just to the west of the Merchant City in Virginia Street and is not far from where most of the busses stop in the centre and is close to both Queen Street and Central train station.
From the outside, you would be forgiven for saying “what, that’s a club?” as it is housed in what used to be a very old, long forgotten, life assurance company head office and is very grand in appearance with the entrance through a pillared doorway with marble steps leading into the main bar. The door policy is fairly relaxed, and the dress code is not strict although if you try to get in wearing tracksuit bottoms and a skip cap you are likely to get turned away! Another pointer for getting in would be not to make a fool of yourself in the pub round the corner (Delmonica’s) as they are owned by the same people and the people on the door communicate with each other. So if you are drunk and lairy there, chances are no matter HOW sober you can act, you aint likely to get in!
The cost to get into the pub ranges from free up to £5. Monday to Thursday, the place is only open until 1am (it opens at 5pm every day) and it’s limited to just the bar so there is no charge for entry. At the weekend (when it’s open until 3am), the entrance fee is £5 which is pretty reasonable however if you enter the club before 11pm, there is no cover charge. A handy tip would be to visit Delmonica’s round the corner as the give out free passes for a Friday or Sunday night, and a £2 pass on a Saturday, when you buy a drink at the bar. There is a cloakroom and it costs 80p per item on all nights.
So now you are in, what can you expect?
Well, the establishment is split into three main area’s. As you walk in the door, the first area you will come to is known as ‘the Lounge’. This is where the club tries to emulate what I would imagine a real polo lounge would look like (having never been in one myself!) and has very grand paintings with big leather couches and large polished (under sheets of glass to save them from the pint glasses!) tables. Its very elaborately decorated with wooden floors, big vases of flowers and large crimson velvet curtains. The atmosphere is very laidback and the music is not too loud so you can enjoy a decent conversation. There is also a balcony section above the bar where you can chill out and chat away (or otherwise….) to your hearts content. You can see what this looks like in the link at the end of the review.
Next you go downstairs and you hit the ‘club’. This is the main dancing area of the club and is open from about 11pm every Friday, Saturday and Sunday. To be fair, its not the largest dancefloor in the world and if the club is busy it can get VERY crowded with little room to move about so the best plan is to find a spot and stick to it, sending one person to the bar to get the drinks in. If you are quick enough, there are booths with seats and tables down there which is great if you need to sit down though exhaustion, if you don’t like the song or if your just plain sozzled! The music tends to be a mix between chart hits and dance music and usually you find that it is a good mix of the two. One major problem with it though is the air-conditioning, or rather, the lack of it. It can get VERY hot down there and its very likely that you will end up sweating bucket loads however if you are clever enough, you can see where the (limited) air con does come in and if you dance under that, its much better! Another thing to watch is the floor as a lot of it is shiny black tiles that can get very slippy, not the best design for a club where drinks can get spilled in my opinion.
The third part of the club is called ‘The Trophy Room’ and this is where you go if you want pure and simple cheese! In here the décor is similar to upstairs and you are guaranteed to get lots of hits from the 70’s and 80’s like Its Raining Men, Old Madonna, Grease numbers etc. The good thing about it is that it gives you the choice to chop and change musical genres easily and this room is normally a bit quieter so you can opt to move through here and have a bit of space to go nuts and dance whatever way you want to!
Drinks prices here very much depend on which night you are there. From Monday to Thursday when just the ‘lounge’ is open all bottled beer and vodka and mix (from the gun) is £1.50 with a Wednesday night special of all cocktails being half price (normally £3). On a Sunday night, you get pints of Millar and vodka mix at £1.30. All other times, you are looking at most drinks coming in at around the £2.50 mark with shots ranging from £2-£3 (I would recommend the ‘Quick F*@k’, midouri and baillys, very nice!) The waiting time at the bar can be a bit long in the main club as well as the Trophy Room, but if you go upstairs you can usually get served quicker and get some fresh air at the same time.
A quick note about the toilets. Now I can’t comment about the girls loo’s (many have tried to get me in there but I have managed to resist so far!) but when you walk into the mens, there is a one way mirror which separates the urinals from the corridor on the way in so guys, just be warned, that if you choose to pee at that stall then people will see your top half as they walk in but you won’t be able to see them!! The queues can be terrible though, and I would advise taking your own toilet paper with you because it never lasts long in there!
All in all, it is a good club. I tend to go through spats of going for a while then going somewhere else because as the only gay club, you do get tired of the same faces every time you go out (and you pulling options dwindle!) but then that’s really not the clubs fault. It can be a bit of a meat market at times but the good mix of people who attend the club on a regular basis means that you can usually find someone to talk to if you get bored and the range of rooms to go to ensures that you can move about whole night.
So would I recommend it? Yes – just don’t wear a jumper if you wanna dance downstairs!
Thanks for reading, any comments, please let me know!