There's a long-standing and well-established fetish scene in the UK's capital. However, recently there's been a decline in the number of fetish venues and events. If you're new to the scene and/or London, that can make it difficult to know which bars and clubs to spend your night in.
With that in mind, whether you're a local or just visiting for a filthy weekend, here are the venues you need to know about.
The mainstay of the London fetish scene, running since 1985, The Backstreet is a well-renowned rubber and leather club. Open Friday – Sunday, it offers plenty of dark corners in addition to a play space and a fully-heated terrace.
Among its special events is BLUF, for men into leather uniforms, BUFF, the naked cruise night, Mastery, which recreates 'the heady days of classic leather clubs', and Spandexguys – a celebration of the tightest gear.
Bear in mind that the dress code is closely observed – the club claims to have the strictest policy in Europe. Unless otherwise prescribed, if you're not wearing an outfit which is predominantly rubber and/or leather, then you won't get through the door.
The Backstreet is situated close to Mile End tube station in Wentworth Mews.
The Hoist and Bar Berlin
The Vauxhall-based club is an institution and keeps its clientele exclusive by enforcing a fetish dress code which (unless otherwise stated) includes boots – so don't forget about your footwear. You'll be glad, The Hoist employees a boot shine boy on Saturdays.
Naturally, there are lots of theme nights and special events at the club, including the monthly Hard On fetish parties – which truly live up to their name.
The two arches that make up the club mean that it can be split into two separate venues. One of these becomes Bar Berlin, which brings the Berlin fetish vibe to London. Aiming to keep the kinky place 'underground and secretive', only the first 69 men will be admitted. "When it's full, it's full," says its promoters.
Find The Hoist and Bar Berlin at Railway Arches 47b and 47c, South Lambeth Road, Vauxhall, just around the corner from the tube station.
Billed as the 'best kept dirty secret in Zone 1', The Bunker is a dungeon play area, perfect for anyone who likes it rough. Situated inside an authentic WWII bunker, this club is fully-equipped with lots of custom-built equipment, including an isolation cell, fisting bench, medical examination bench with stirrups, flogging horse and St Andrew's cross.
To fuel your interest, there's little information available on the website. This just serves to make the concept all the more intriguing to newcomers.
Admission, while round-the-clock, is strictly by appointment only – patrons book online, choosing from just an hour to 12 hours overnight.
The Bunker is located near Baker Street Tube station.
The Underground Club
Located underneath The Central Station, The Underground Club is a cruise/fetish bar with a dancefloor, chain room and dark room which hosts different themed evenings that are run by various promoters and groups, such as City Boys (suits) and FetishBound (a membership-free male bondage club).
It's a small, friendly venue – a great place for newbies to dip their toe into the scene without feeling too overwhelmed. Events usually take place during the week days, while on Saturday and Sunday, it's more of a dance party.
The nearest underground station is Kings Cross. Look for the entrance, marked 'Underground' when you're at Central Station (also a gay bar).
If you're looking for a cruise bar which has plenty of play areas, this is it. Vault 139 isn't so much about fetish, but regular events include Underwear and Stripped nights, for which the dress code is pretty self-explanatory.
In addition to the dance floor and cruising area, the club boasts private cabins, a dark room and glory holes. There's an easy-going atmosphere, with a good mix of guys. Stripped nights are the most popular, which can mean the private areas are very busy.
Find Vault 139 in Whitfield Street, nearest to Warren Street tube station.
If you want some first-hand advice on these fetish venues – when to go, who to look out for, etc- you can be sure that many Recon members will be able to give you some tips to make your experience even better. Why not connect with them online now for recommendations and maybe even get some company for your first taste of the London scene?