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The sea breeze goes straight to Adrian Gillan's head as basking boys get fresh in Bournemouth.

BOURNEMOUTH BOYS

The Gay English Riviera arguably stretches from Torquay to Brighton, so that must mean Bournemouth is in! There's something strangely haunting about an English seaside town out of season yet still swollen with student lads to raise the temperature.

Bournemouth isn't huge, and merges along the coast into less gay Poole from which is it still quite distinct. And small means community which is what you'll find at gay support, advice and information drop-in centre Over the Rainbow, a valuable resource when gathering your Bournemouth bearings.

Not that you can get too lost, with all the action clustered around a few small streets just north west of the town centre, around the Triangle and Commercial Road. Grab a coffee and get your e-postcards out of the way at Dorothy's Internet Café Bar.

NIGHTLIFE

To start your evening flit a few doors down to the Bakers Arms, a traditional gay pub of long-standing and in truth past its glory days, but adequate for overcoming any lingering pre-party shyness.

For many years the pub to be part of was the Branksome Arms. Sadly the venue closed in 2014.


A happy mixed crowd enjoy pubbing in Bournemouth.
The nearby Exchange is an extremely busy venue with a hoard of young boys packed into its compact space. There is some excellent music and entry is free, but the place can get a bit too overrun with fag-hags and you'll need to queue at a weekend if arriving after 10.30pm.
Bournemouth's long-standing clubbing institution, The Triangle, still manages to pull in the pink punters, though Fridays are more for the older be-leathered crowd and Saturdays don't get busy until after midnight. But it's all good fun on the pure pop basement dance floor.
Two clubbers out on the Bournemouth scene.
Out on a limb, just five minutes walk north west of the Triangle area is Saunabar attracting a mainly young steaming post-party herd on a Sunday afternoon, all huddled together within whatever the weather outside. Their spa facilities include Sauna and Steam rooms, Jacuzzi, Private chill-out rooms, Professional Massage, Showers, Changing area and Licensed Bar with comfortable seating, pool table, movies, music and free WiFi. Alternatively, The Spa is further out if you fancy a change of sauna scene.

Cruising means The Gardens, the upper tract of park strip that cuts a swathe right through Bournemouth town centre, notably the stretch just north of the A35 Wessex Way flyover, easy accessible by horned-up post-club fellas who failed to pull or prefer their boys all bushy - busy Fridays and Saturdays and notorious on Sundays after dark.

You can also try your outdoor luck along The Chines, a series of sea cliff valleys along West Cliff, mainly used by randy motorists who pull-in-to-pull at the sea-view lay-bys. And naturally, for many, Bournemouth in summer means Studland Nudist Beach, at least the male-frequented parts of it, accessible via the Sandbanks Ferry.

The scene also boasts its obligatory sex shop Cerebus for all your porn needs and an array of sundry sexual accoutrements.

EATING

The queer quarter is also awash with good eateries. Rubyz is gay-run and fun, and camp but not cheap. If you want to spare your pennies but still have great food and ambience in the thick of the gay action you could try the gay-friendly Italian Pinocchio's or the Portuguese Funchal By Night.

Otherwise, if you fancy a lighter snack or refreshments at any hour of day, Legends is the place, just across The Gardens.

BED

We can heartily recommend the perfectly positioned Creffield Hotel for nourishing sucker and overnight comfort, run by Roger but really overseen by his Arthur - a one-dog personality cult, rightly billed as "the pride of Bournemouth".

THE LITTLE BLACK BOOK
Bakers Arms (77 Commercial Road; T: 01202 555 506)
Cerebus (25 The Triangle; T: 01202 290 529)
Creffield Hotel (7 Cambridge Road; T: 01202 317 900)
Dorothy's Internet Café Bar (111 Commercial Road; T: 01202 315 615)
Exchange (4 The Triangle; T: 01202 294 321)
Funchal By Night (158 Commercial Road; T: 01202 318 900)
Legends (53 Bourne Avenue; T: 01202 310 100)
Over the Rainbow (Pars House, 2 Poole Hill; T: 01202 257 478)
Pinocchio's (18 Poole Hill; T: 01202 291 081)
Rubyz (Commercial Road; T: 01202 780 225)
Saunabar (140 Commericial Road; T: 01202 552 654)
The Spa (121 Poole Road; T: 01202 757 591)
The Triangle (30 The Triangle; T: 01202 297 607)

Revised April 2015.

 

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