Being brought up in south London, and going on to live nearby, I’ve drunk at the Vauxhall Tavern more times than most – especially back in the 90s. But I hadn’t been back since the Duckie all-nighter after last year’s Pride.
Bar Wotever was a new one on my partner and I when we popped in the other week (after catching a play at LGBTQ theatre Above The Stag). An inclusive queer night, it actually dates back to 2005, with genderfluid performers and drag kings taking centre stage.
The open mic slot allows a real diversity of talent, from performers who appear week after week to one-offs from the drag world in all its guises. There’s a mix of live music, cabaret, drag, performance art, burlesque and spoken word.
The acts on our visit were an entertaining, erudite bunch, from ‘silver-faced’ Tom Bland to burlesque act Belle de Beauvoir (who performed to Anthony & The Jonsons) and the ‘glamazon’ Cassandra. Best of all? Resident Caroline Smiling brought the house down with her genderfluid take on Britney’s One More Time.
As we stood, pint in hand, we realised that this is a smart, witty night for open-minded types who actually pay attention to the show on stage (rather than talk over it). “We’re famous for our knowledgeable audience,” it even says on the blurb.
Brainy or not, go witness Wotever.