Dyke Nightlife Diaries: Lick, London’s First & Only Club For Queer Women

You don’t go to Lick the Club to sit in the corner looking svelte. You go to dance until your thighs ache.

Clare Hand is a self-described flaming London lesbian. She’s spent the last year writing about queer women’s nightlife in her city. She documents the atmosphere, music, fashions, vibe (are you going to get laid or make new mates?) and those behind the nights.

Clare decided that it wouldn’t be right to only document dyke nightlife in one city, so she packed her bags and hit the road. She’s written about the thriving scenes in New York, San Francisco, Bogota, São Paulo, Berlin and Dublin so far, this list will keep expanding. Keep an eye on her Dyke Nightlife Diaries here.

“That’s next level thirst for the pussy,” said someone in the 200-strong queue for Lick the Club’s launch party. There were a group of us looking at Lick’s Insta; they’d added a story about opening time (9 p.m.) and entry (£5/$6). Next, they’d posted a screenshot of someone who’d slid into their DM’s asking if they can come early “to guarantee entry…at like 6pm?!”

 

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Though we all laughed at the thirst, the fact of the matter was we were all a bit thirsty for this night, for this venue, for this unique (permanent) space for womxn, NB, and GNC folks (with its implicit prioritization of POC). 

London is a bit of a barren land when it comes to sustained spaces for queer women. Though we have more roving club-nights than any other city in the world (NYC isn’t far behind), we don’t really have day in, day out dykes-to-the-front venues aside from She Soho, an underground lesbian bar in central London that’s been the only place prioritizing us (particularly a younger crowd) for the last five years. 

I, for one was parched, and that’s why I was standing outside with hundreds of queers at 10 p.m. under the arches in Vauxhall. We drank tinnies, chatted amongst ourselves, and waited for Lick the Club open its doors and quench our thirst.  

 

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I spoke with Teddy Edwardes, the woman behind it all, briefly at the door. She was chugging a pint of iced water. I shook her hand like I was greeting royalty. Teddy was only 29 and had pulled off something phenomenal. Three years ago, she decided to set-up a Tuesday club-night called C U Next Tuesday. She then launched Lick the club, which had grown in popularity every month since. A staggering 2,000 people turned up to her last party, and she took the opportunity of the mega-audience to announce that she was opening a nightclub. It was a brave move; one that hasn’t been attempted by anyone else in over a decade. Teddy was officially London lesbian royalty.

The venue was huge—a mansion in comparison to what we are used to. There were two large dancefloors separated by arches, two bars framed with palladium columns, and a grand diner-style seating area. Good quality speakers pumped tight mixes from Chantelle Kartel, who played a unique multi-genre selection of tracks from the last three decades. She weaved the likes of Cardi B into Afro B and Ja Rule into J-Lo. 

 

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At the beginning of the night, people were slightly shy with the dance moves. Everyone seemed very comfortable in the space, but no one was going for it on the dancefloor. Outfits were very impressive; there were lots of Calvin bralettes and neon cycling shorts, spiked leather dog collars and fishnet dresses, basketball vests and one brave soul who wore a mink coat in the middle of July. Almost everyone was wearing trainers or flats; no matter how much of a lewk you’re serving, you don’t go to Lick the Club to sit in the corner looking svelte. You go to dance until your thighs ache.

As more people flooded in and more shots got knocked back, things started to loosen up. Before long, moves were being unleashed in every crevice of the venue. Though it was its inaugural night, the club bore witness to some of the most fervent girl-on-girl grinding, twerking, and daggering this city has ever seen. Red strobe lights pierced through the crowds to reveal countless couples pairing off. These weren’t just any old couples though; they were notably well-suited pairs. You could feel their chemistry and see the intensity of their attraction from their first DTF glance.

Miraculously, though the atmosphere had seriously fired-up, the space retained the mellow, open, and courteous vibe it had earlier in the night. People were calm, so compliments flew.

“You look good though,” people walking past say to each other.

“You’re beautiful by the way.”

“You seem cool.”

Everyone was exchanging numbers, Insta handles, and Snapchat usernames. Some were gentlewomanly, asking for a number then telling the girl, “enjoy your night with your friends. I’ll text you in the morning.” Others (the less chill) literally flung their jackets on the floor mid-whine so they could get to a better angle with new bae (granted, that could have been the person who rocked up at 6 p.m.).

 

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The club felt friendly, sexy, non-judgemental and safe. Everyone seemed to be on a vibe, and this sense of liberated femme-sexuality and community felt like everything London could want from a queer women’s priority space.

Lick the Club is open every Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday. Its existence is a game-changer in the capital. All we’ve got to do now is show up with our thirstiest queer-mates and keep this space hydrated. Not that you need me to tell you that. It’s Tuesday afternoon; I bet some of you are loitering around Vauxhall already. 

For more follow @lickclub. Also check out @lickevents. They will still be running regular club nights for womxn, by womxn, at various venues across London. 


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