To the layman – and even to a seasoned scene professional like BarCock – the names given to the many gay tribes can be confusing to say the least. At what age does a twink become a twonk? Can a daddy also be a sir? Is a gym bunny the same as a muscle Mary? The mind, at times, boggles. One of the easier groups to identify are Bears; big, occasionally butch, bearded boys who share some of the cuddlier characteristics of their ursine namesakes. While the animals congregate (and, er, do other things) in the woods, the natural habitat of gay bears is The Kings Arms, a comfy two-floor pub at the Oxford Street end of Poland Street.
Why exactly ‘The Bear Pub’, as it’s also known to regulars, should have become such is lost in the mists of time; those without facial hair – boys and girls, although there tend to be very few of the latter – are welcome but drop in any time and you’ll notice a distinct uniformity of look among the clientele. Don’t be put off by the unwelcoming opaque glass out front; a recent refurbishment has brightened the place up inside and made it actually rather cosy – before it was on the darker, cruisy side. Being just outside of the main Soho scene means that The Kings Arms, while popular, never gets particularly crowded, making it a comfier option for socialising than some of the busier, noisier standing-room-only jostle-pits. Just remember to take a pot of honey…Grrrrrr.
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