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29 October 2014

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Gay Northants

The Boston Clipper, Northampton
Boston Clipper

Painting the town pink

By UCN student, Robin
Is Northampton a hot spot for dancing queens or drop dead without the gorgeous? You decide.

You've picked your outfit… you've done your hair… you've stood in the mirror for ages double checking everything… and now you're ready to hit the ‘scene’! Well all I can say is don't get too excited!

Northampton's scene consists of two establishments, the Boston Clipper on College Street and the Jolly Anker on Gas Street. I have to admit I am disappointed that a town the size of Northampton has only two real ‘gay’ establishments. Still, we must make do with what we've got!

Boom, boom, boom, boom?

Interior of the Boston Clipper
Fun place: Boston Clipper

Both the Clipper and the Anker are conveniently positioned on the edge of the town centre and have easy access to taxi ranks and, more importantly, kebab shops!

The exterior of the Clipper is very grand and has a very “British-pub” look about it. In fact, if it weren't for the rainbow flag flying proudly outside, anyone who didn't know Northampton would assume it was just another pub. Inside is very much the same. It’s comfortable and is currently undergoing redecoration so it should look very smart soon.

The dance floor is small but people dance all round the bar anyway so that doesn't matter. The music is a good mix of dance and pop (just what you need in a gay bar!). Unfortunately, the drinks prices are quite high in comparison to other places I've been too, but they're not overpriced. Overall, the Clipper is a fun place to be and I really enjoy going there. But beware, on Friday and Saturday nights it does go quiet about midnight as the majority of the punters move to the Jolly around 11pm ish.

Keep on Movin'

Jolly Anker
Bodies grinding: Jolly Anker

So we move from the Boston Clipper (a fun, friendly bar) to the Jolly Anker (a stereotypical gay club). The Jolly attracts a predominantly male clientele but females are made more than welcome! Looking over the crowded dance floor you see bodies grinding away to loud dance music and you can sense that distinct smell of poppers in the air. All ages are there, the young shaking their thing on the dance floor with the older men looking on with a look of lust in their eyes!

But I'm making the Jolly sound like a place you'd avoid at all costs, which is wrong. Granted all these things do happen but if you're prepared to go with an open mind and not take anything too seriously then you'll have a lot of fun (I certainly do!). The bar prices are similar to the Clipper, expensive but still not overpriced. On the ground floor is the dance floor and the bar, upstairs there is a lounge area with sofas and a balcony over looking the dance floor. Overall, I find the Jolly a place to go for a laugh and some harmless fun!

There are worse things

Now, obviously there are many more pubs and bars in Northampton that are excellent places to go and you'll find the punters extremely open minded and carefree so don't be shy going there and being yourself!

So there you have it… Northampton's scene reviewed, but don't just take my word for it… get out there and see for yourselves!!

Robin is UCN's Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgendered Group Co-ordinator

last updated: 26/01/06
Have Your Say
What do you think of Northampton's gay scene?
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northamptons gay scene has changed, the jolly, renamed route 69, has noe been turned into a straight club! so now we have only the "boston clipper" very dissapointing!!!

As an older gay man I find the pubs in Northampton disappointing and unwelcoming. I travel to either Birmingham or London at the weekend for more equitable company and bars that realise that gay men over the age of 25 exist.

Kettering Proud and Out Network (Ben King)
Hello everyone. Just to let you know of an emerging gay scene in Kettering (Northamptonshire). Our main event is a drop-in every Thursday 7 - 9pm. Also the pub Bar Sun is being used for one-off gay nights but this may become regular. Contact 07877 825235 for details.

I agree with Sean. Gay pubs in Northampton, not very friendly and the 'local' clientele assume they know every gay person in a town with a population of 220,000. I agree with Sean, there are much better nicer places to drink, with a better 'mixed' more educated crowd.

Pubs like the mail coach and Baroque are far more nicer to drink in with better talent and nicer people

I saw an add in the local paper for the £15 friday night drink as much as you like. Its more geared for the 18 year old school leavers brigade! Never any mention of it being a gay bar any more. Bring back the old jolly anchor anyday !

Yeah it looks that way mate th photos on their web site show the customers and its all kids and chavs now. The Bostons website is so out of date showing a bank holiday months ago so looks like northamptons scene is dead and buried...... RIP

I take it the new so called route 69 has sold out on the local gay scene then ? no gay flag outside? newspaper advertisements only aimed at the local straight crowd. What a load of tosh! and all those promises of the so called new super club of the midlands....????

the boston (justin)
dear darren. yes we still have the same owners. all being well the website should be completed soon. we have just won a legal battle that has been on going for the last 12 months, and can now move forward with with the development of the business for the benefit of the community as a whole.

When is the Boston Website going to be back up and running!!!??

Tom-Boston Staff
Hey guys and gyals! Im alittle disapointed with alot of the negative comments on here about Northamptons gay we have all experienced good nights in both venues in the county and should work together to ensure it carries on this way.. now as for the comments on how the boston is too straight populated on a friday night i most definatly agree with the comments peter has put in stating how we should welcome them into our venue and make them feel how we wish to be treated in one of their mentioned before some great things are being done to gay-en the venue up a bit more, along with some very exciting theme nights in the final process of happening very soon!!!So keep your eyes pealed for some new pinker changes and i look forward to seeing you all real soon!

Interesting views on the boston!!! I have not been in there in over 2 years and thought it was a great pub then with lovely staff etc but had heard it had gone really down hill?? Is it still the same owners as before or has it been sold on? Even better whens the website coming back up as i would love to see the changes on there with pics of the bar, staff etc and the new night promotions?

I would say the boston is the third best club in Northampton! Thats after K2 being number 1 and route in 2nd place. Its not the third best club in the midlands by a long shot. For a start leicester has clubs far superior!

Hugh Janus
Hello Peter, i think you have misunderstood what people have said. Nobody is against heterosexual people coming into the gay venues, in fact most if not all people welcome it. It is the hetersexual homophobic drunks who unwittingly stray into gay venues such as the boston clipper and causing trouble. These people are the ones that are the cause for concern.

Justin, Mabe you need a reality check ? try reading the comments that have been posted on here by lots of the gay community here in northampton.. were you giving out free drinks when the pink paper were doing the votes? the boston is never the 3rd best bar in the midlands!

Well i cant believe it!! people moaning about straights comeing into a gay venue?? i for one welcome that striaght people can now feel comfortable about comeing into a gay venue and mingle, enjoy and be part of the scene. surely thats about normalisation and seeing gay people as equal! or even the other way round that we see ourselves as equal and rightly so!! i have been vocal about intergration and asimulation of both communities and this is surly the best form of education about our proud community! rather than pushing people away we should continue to welcome and educate those who thirst for true equallity!! I for one value our community venues and more so the Boston as this is my local and home! so bois lets given the rundown and hopefully here in northampton show that differance is something to rejoyce rather than be divided and let the wider homophobes win!!

heya, all. im jamie i am 19 and work in the boston bar, sure u all know me or hate me. i feel that the boston clipper has definately changed over the last year and is still in the progress. alot is happening, and alot is changing. and all for the best.i think alot of negativity surrounds the northampton gay scene and alot of people are in favour of one of the 2 remaining gay venues.i think people who have visited the boston in the past and have negative or unsure opinions on the venue should perhaps revisit the venue as it stands now and i hope they will find there experience alot better. i love working here, the staff are friendly and thanks to a new dj the music is alot more lively. as for friday nights folks.... cmon. its £15 all you can drink.. even i enjoy that. i dont know of many venues that can offer this , and with topline spirits and drinks. no vk's here gals and boisi think that as a venue the boston does attract both gay and straight clientell, and although we are a 'gay venue' we cannot turn away straight people . but we are doing our best to stop the yobs entering the venue.please come down and visit the venue, and support it. jamie x

The Boston (Justin and Hannah)
Steve, you obviously haven't been down to the Boston for a while so let's not make judgements without supporting evidence. We have recently hired DJ Cilla, the best and most loved DJ on Northampton's gay scene, who has the newest singles, mixes and remixes, even before they are available to the public, so how can our music be out-dated? Friday nights are to be made much more "gay" to reduce the number of "straights" who may be unaware of the fact that we are a gay bar. This year we have had no incident where the police have had to get involved, and no gay people have been attacked. All we can say is come and see for yourself, if you really want to know what we're like, come and see for yourself and get a first-hand opinion of it, not just feeding off other people's. If you don't like it, you don't have to come back, but we're confident that you'll have a great time! After all, we must be doing something right to be voted the 3rd best bar in the Midlands and East of England, and 5th best night club by the Pink Paper readers, right?

100% gay clientele all night? really ? its taken you about 6 months to respond to the comments posted on here ? has the christmas rush subsided now ? - Its the last place i would want to spend my weekend, the music is old and dated and its a haven for trouble makers and gay bashers

The Boston (Justin)
Dear all, I would like to respond to the comments made here regarding The Boston. In particular Friday’s £15 inferno. First about myself and my thoughts regarding the gay scene in Northampton. I moved here about 3 years ago to attend university as a mature student and disliked the scene here immediately, for a person who has gone out regularly for years on the gay scene in Manchester, Stoke, Birmingham and my hometown of Shrewsbury, I found the scene here very cold towards new comers, that is until recently. In the summer of 2007 I approached the currents owners of The Boston Clipper with regard to carrying out a refurbishment of the premises. This was carried out over five days and transformed the venue into a trendy up-to-date venue. In turn with the transformation we began to attract more custom. Some of which were not of the clientele we, or our existing customer base would liked to have in the venue. Yet at the same time please understand that as an all inclusive venue we cannot be seen to act in a discriminatory manner. I put to you all that no gay venue throughout the country has for many years been exclusively ‘Gay’. we all regard other pubs, bars and clubs as ’straight’ yet if we are refused entry on the basis that you we are gay then, how would the community respond. In up-roar I expect, and demanding more equality. I admit that the ‘straight’ custom we were first attracting was very much of the wrong type that no venue would like to see (be it ‘straight‘ or ‘gay‘). This problem was most apparent in the run-up to Xmas and a little afterward, and was first tackled by having the manager on the door filtering-out those he thought were likely to cause trouble, and at the same time training the door staff as to who to allow in. We also began to keep the venue open till 5am with the bar closing at 4am and keeping the music playing till 4:30am allowing customers to slowly leave over an hour and therefore immediately addressing the problem of trouble outside of the venue. Since then we now employ all door staff in-house and have a new head of security, again these measures have tackled the problem of having to many ‘straight’ people of the ‘wrong type’ (i.e. those that are homophobic and likely to make the customers we most wish to have in feel unsafe) with other measures coming in soon to make the venue gayer. Also over the last few months we have only had one incident a night on a Friday, where we have had to remove people from the venue, with these mostly being female. We now have a good mix of both straight and gay custom on a Friday only, which we find works well (also please remember that a good majority of those people are not actually straight!). MOST IMPORTANT if you are made to feel uncomfortable or find or hear people behaving in a homophobic manner then all that is needed is for you to inform a member of door staff, myself or Danny Edwards, Manager, and the people concerned will first be given a warning to respect all others in the venue. If the offence is repeated then they will be permanently excluded from the venue. We are and will always be a gay venue. We are here for you and will do all we can to ensure you feel safe and that this is a venue where you will be warmly welcomed and you can relax and enjoy your time. If you feel that you are losing a destination where you can go and be relaxed, then come down and claim both this venue and any others as your own. Only with your support will all venues be able to continue trading as gay venue’s. Finally Friday’s £15 inferno is very much our club night where DJ Cilla will play all the latest dance releases while incorporating your requests and open till 5am. Staurday is Poptastic, so come down and ‘camp’ it up with Cilla playing all your classic Pop, Cheese and Dance music, open till 6am and almost 100% gay clientele all night. And lets not forget Wednesday’s karaoke with Danny till 4am. We also have a good line up of theme nights up and coming, which will be advertised in the venue, on the website (completion very soon) and also on networ

jason harris
i think the scene in northhampton's boring, i once had my drink spiked in the boston clipper, would't of minded if the vunue was buzzing then i would of had something to enjoy!! x

We relocated to northampton last september, from Manchester/ Sheffield........suppose we have been somewhat spoiled with the diversity of venues available. We tried the Boston Clipper and found it ok,last november we joined Route 69, I have to say and in all honesty we found the "hostess" extremley rude verging on hostile! we were told the venue was really busy, when infact it was really empty.Route 69 have done an exceptional job on its interior . pity its staff are less than welcoming to new comers. We actually asked the recetion to cancel our memberships and take us off Route 69 data base. We still receive texts and mail from the venue. We either go out on the "sraight" scene. We are lucky to be able to stay in Manchester and London on weekends but the reality is........ if you want choice and diversity you ain't going to get it in northampton.

angela steward
the boston is better now its been done up and the friday night £15 drinks thing is AMAZING and definatly attacts more people to go.i miss the jolly :(

went to the boston clipper friday night.... had an amazing time... xx there should be more places like boston!

Its not the best of names is it! when you drive up gas street it looks like they have done a cheap deal with the sign company that done the pizza place next door - lol

From reading all of the comments below, Northampton sounds like a pretty unsafe and backward place to be, whether you're straight or gay. I'll stick to more accepting and cosmopolitan places thanks. Anyway, people should really twig that something aint quite right when their town's premier gay club is called "Route 69." Not only do I cringe, the thought of returning once more to my hometown of the past for a night out also fills me with fear. Gulp!

angela steward
it really sucks . we need more places to go xxxx

You cant make a silk purse out of a sows ear! committe or no committee. Been to all of Northamptons past and present Gay clubs and they lack one very inportant factor... There is no talent in town and no atmosphere!

Simon: Committee@Route69
I am a member of the committee which has been set up by Route69. Having read the article I can only agree that the scene in Northampton is dissappointing. I have been on the scene for 9 years and little has been done to make Northampton a place you would want to vist, until recently. This change must continue and take on further momentum in 2008, and we can all help to make Northampton a better place. The committee has been working very hard towards this not only in relation to Route69 but to the scene as a whole. The committee and Route69 are looking to work with both the other venues over the comming year and hopefully both the Boston and K2 will meet with the committee soon in order to start this off. That said we can only do so much... It is the gay scene as a whole which must help to change Northampton. This can only be done my supporting all three venues. In turn all three venues must support all of us. The pettyness that has dogged the scene for many years must now be put behind us and the three venues whilst competing with each other must be able to coexist, the scene is large enough, if they all offer sufficient diversity. Please remember that the committee has been set up to be the voice of you all at Route69, you can vist the website to find out who is in the committee and how to contact us.

James, of course it's not if the local people don't support it. With the way that gay lifestyle has become more acceptable in the media NOW is the time to improve the gay scene all over the country. Northampton doesn't just serve the town, it serves Wellingborough, Corby, Kettering, Daventry, even Bedford. If the community supports the 3 venues we have and they all work together theres no reason why Northampton can't get a vibrant gay scene.

We are sorry that you have received these txt. The number was put on a membership form; we are now writing to this person, we send the txt message out 3 times a week Friday, Saturday & Sunday. & They are sent within an hour each day which is between 5pm & 7pm on the days I have said. Once again we can only say sorry and we have removed you from the txt messaging service.

Well we now have a 3rd Club - K2 is back

Tj Mcgahan ... get real matey you are in Northampton not manc or london. Route 69 is never going to be the talk of the Uk.... as for will young ? yea right

mrs jean wistow
to route69 please STOP texting 07779477409 i am a 61 year old woman and i don't appreciate these texts at all hours every day.

TJ McGahan
As the proprietor of Route69 and reading all your comments on here, I would like to reply as follows.Being a gay man myself and being on the scene in Northampton since the regent club days. I would like to reply to what you have said about Route69.First of all I would like to ask robin from UCN if he would please contact me at I would like to clear up the issue of membership @ the club and my reasons for doing a membership only club. As everyone is aware the Jolly Anker was the first venue in Northampton to get a 6am licence. On getting this licence, particularly on our drinks promotion nights this caused a problem. When everywhere else was closing people leaving other venues would come to the Jolly, in turn this caused some problems. So after spending a large amount of money in transforming the old Jolly Anker, we thought membership was the way forward. This in turn in giving our customers the sense of security, and we could monitor what was coming through the door of the new club, also that the club would bring a lot of attraction to the gay scene of Northampton. I would like to point out after hearing so many rumours about the cost of membership that it is FREE and comes with a lot of privileges in the town in the way of discounts in gyms, restaurants, hairdressers, clothing shops and much more. Whilst membership is FREE it can be upgraded at any time. May I also state that we do not have a dress code. We will be the first of all the gay venues in Northampton to scrap the £15 drinks promotion, which will happen early February where we will be starting a new night called Detour, this night will be on the website very soon. And for the first time in history of Northampton Mr Gay UK will be holding a heat in the town this year at the club. We also have a lot of up and coming evenings with a lot of big named Dj’s and a lot of guest appearances.I have set up a committee to be the voice of its members, and of the gay community of Northampton. Everyone has the chance to shape the club, (in the respect of what they would like to see in the club and what big names they would like to see there, this can be done through the committee and through the website very soon) where all these points can be raised at the committee meetings, or you personally can ask to attend a meeting to put your thoughts across. The committee and myself have worked so hard in trying to make Route69 what you all would expect of a 21st centaury Gay club. But at the same time we are human and we do make mistakes, Northamptonshire Police have played a major part in the shaping of the club and with the clubs security, (in their words, if not the safest venue in Northampton, probably the UK). We give a big thank you to Sergeant Mark Worthington and PC Dave Bryan. We are currently talking to Boy George, Will Young, Pete Burns and many more. I have a vision of making Route69 the talk of the UK and putting Northampton’s gay scene on the map, (which is not before time). But we cannot do it without you the community. I would like everyone that comes to the club to enjoy themselves and feel that the club is theirs, I want you all to help in the shaping of the club and how it operates.There are a lot of rumours that the venue will be come straight, (this will not happen while I am the proprietor of the club) and I also want you to be able to voice your opinion that if you come to the venue, and any member of staff are rude or unpleasant, please inform us so we can put it right.A lot of the community were not happy that the main doors are locked and you have to swipe your card or press a buzzer to get in, so once again we have made some changes to this, in the respect that whilst there is a doorman on the door, the main doors will be open, the evening there are no door staff on I’m sorry but you will need to swipe your card or press the buzzer.All I ask in return is that you support your club, and be proud of it. As a community we have waited so long for a venue like this, help in the shaping and the future of the G

Re: Steve Hi mate thats shocking and so bad. I would not hold your breath on them making a comment on here, they have not even had a web site for the past year and now only have a one page site displaying the christmas opening hours!!! x

hi chris, i very rarely go out on the scene in Northampton these days but used to be a regular over the years. I wrote the letter below Daves. Mabe the Boston would like to add a comment as to why they are letting the community down by having drinks promotions that are just bringing in all the straight dregs and chavs ? a friend of mine was punched to the floor and kicked in the head over xmas for making conversation with somebody at the bar - a drunk straight thug in for a £15 skinful - We dont need this in our pubs its hard enough as it is living in Northampton!

Oh my god im so shocked about whats been said about the boston i used to go in there loads when Matt had it and it was generally pretty safe. Whats happened? has it got new owners? Is it even still trading as a Gay venue?

THE BOSTON - GREAT DEALS £15.00 Entry Drink All You Want !! BUT THeres A Catch Its mostly Filled With Straight Yobs Homophobic Ones At That And If you Manage To Get Out Of There Without Being Gay Bashed Then You Had A Good Night!! Other Than That All It's Filled With A Bunch Of Imature Sad bitchy Queens, I havn't Had The Privilage Of Visiting The NEWLY Refurbished Jolly Anchor ( AKA ROUTE 69 )

I think i must have been in a different bar to James. In my humble opinion, the New 'route 69' is about as classy as a grey velour tracksuit and as friendly as the inbred door-staff it employs. The clubs tacky £15.00 all drinks-for-free policy has only served to attract even more chavs of the straight variety who are even more willing than the dog rough-dykes to start a fight or hurl abuse without without cause. The Boston clipper is even worse and not even worth a further mention suffice to say, give it a wide birth. give me K2 anyday. Happy New Year

charlie & tubs
Me and my girlfriend fink its well cool! we can get p****d for £15 quid every week!!!!

After living in Northampton for ten years, Northampton finally has a club that is classy, clean and nice to be in. The newly refurbed Route 69 (formally the jolly anker) is a wine bar / nightclub that northampton should be proud of. I am not a huge fan of the gay scene personally as I found Northampton to be clicky and generally not very nice, however since Route has opened my opinions have changed and I can now go to a bar where I feel relaxed and comfortable with the surroundings, all the staff along with the door staff are friendly and welcoming, the venue is safe and secure which gives the sense of security hence making your night more enjoyable. Northampton has waited along time for a venue like this and now we finally have one. I think people will be pleasantly surprised with what Route69 has to offer.


Greetings to all, i have visited both of the these venues over the Christmas period and am happy to leave honest feedback on what i found: The Boston has changed very much for the worst! You can hardly call it even a gay friendly venue these days. When i visited a couple of weekends ago it was full of teenagers just out for a cheap skin full and somewhere to cause trouble. I found it very threatening and at least three times doormen dragged out youths by the neck. Does the gay community in Northampton really want to support such a place that lets all these trouble makers in to make a fast buck ? No. The management are to blame and should pay the price! Terrible place and not worthy of any gay connections. Route 69 on the other hand have done a great job on renovating a very old a tired venue, it is a credit. However i found the door staff were rude on arrival being made to stand in the cold until somebody could be bothered to open a door. The drinks promotions are a joke, come on we are in northampton and not in soho ? a £15 charge is going to attract a lot of dregs and sadly this is what i found in route 69. Very little atmosphere and none of the crowd that used to make it a fun place on a night out at the weekend. I think it will end up a straight club within a short time. Another great old venue used to be the Regent Club of many moons ago - perhaps this would be the best place to start again in Northampton for the gay community ?? this venue is up for let by the way! mabe it could be the way forward for an owner with respect for his or her customers to get the Gay scene safe and fun again?

I've got to disagree with Paul. I think the membership at Route69 is a great thing. It provides a safety that is unrivalled within a town that has recently had a lot of homophobic attacks. In the last few weeks I have seen police riot vans outside the Boston no less than 3 times and I'm not even out every weekend. I like the feel of Route69, it's very modern and classy. With K2 reopening this weekend we will hopefully have at least 2 good venues in the town. Lets hope this starts a trend.

Northampton UK is the most homophobic and insafe gay town I have ever lived in. The gay scene is seedy rough and clicky and the choice is downright awful. Making Route 69?? (Jolly Anker that was) members nly is just increasing the belief that the homosexual population cannot integrate in this town. I think it is disgusting. Reopen K2 it was the best gay venue the town has seen. Even Bliss was better than what we have now. I prefer to spend my money in Pink Punters in MK.

My best friend and I used to hang out at a fantastic gay bar years ago but we can't remember what it was called. It was the original gay bar before it become the jolly ancher. If any one can help with the name of the place it will be much appreciated as I have so many great memories there. I'm prob going back to 1998 roughly.

K2 - If anyone is interested in K2 reopening then please post your comments on here and I will tell the x manager who may decide to do another night

Guys, Its really sad, the roadmender had to shut down Gaze because of a lack of intrest. This whole article is crying out for more gay clubs and nights, with a sense of community, but it seems the community let roadmender down when they were only trying to help. You have only yourselves to blame.

What happened to Matt and Pete at the Boston went in the other night and they were not there, then again at the weekend. Has somebody else bought the place? Chris

I simply cannot believe that the Jolly is "taxing" the gay community to the tune of £20 on a saturday night. I like a drink as much if not more than the next queen, but I would be hard pressed to get value for my £20 bearing in mind I wouldnt want to be stuck in one place all night.

Stevie B
I agree with Jeff! The Boston has really changed for the better over the past few months. The atmosphere is more friendly and welcoming, the music is better and people are going back there again. I've just had the most wicked fri & sat night, its nice to see the place packed again on fridays, and as for saturdays I've never seen it so busy. altho its no wonder when the jolly charge £20 entry and the boston charge £2! Keep up the good work the Boston! xxx

I think the Boston is fab. Its really changed recently and am glad to see it!

Can not say I agree with Thomas at all. The owner who they call Dandelion or something has ruined the place. How many gay clubs do you go to on the weekend and have the bloody owners dog running around and barking, The bloody thing is a liability and just goes to show the bad management of the place.

Neither the Clipper nor the Anker are venues I would spend time in. Both are too noisy and too smokey. Mind you I'm over 40 and fast becoming a grumpy old man. The Old White Hart (over Southbridge) is very nice. Smoke free, with chilled music....clean and friendly. Not exclusively gay, but hey 2007 we ought to be able to rub along together whatever the gender.

Thomas Bensley-Bammant
It's super super super!! Boston Clipper - more buff boys than you could wave your stick at...even if you tried

Was back in town over Christmas. My mates and I didn't bother with either the Jolly, cos it's generally unfriendly and a dump, or with the Boston cos there's never anyone in there. We did, however, try the Roadmender's new night, Gaze. They'd really made an effort and there were some nice touches to the evening, including cheap entry and drinks. There was even a band on. the only problem was that the place was relatively empty, all night. I have now completely given up on Northampton because nobody can be bothered to make the effort there. I'm not sure what dodgy reputation John is referring to with the Roadmender - I always thought it was a rather chilled and cheesy (verging on school disco) kind of place - it is under new management though. It must be frustrating living in a large town that has very little to offer it's own occupants and surrounding twons/villages, and when it does offer something new and different, people can't be bothered to give it a try. Oh and I've been in the Old White Hart a number of times, including the Saturday before Xmas, and that was hardly heaving with revellers either. Two words: Leave Northampton!

Primark Prada
You should try the Old White Hart in Southbridge, it is very gay..... i have been to a gay wedding there and there has been a few others there as well. The bar staff are fit yet friendly, classy drinks, chilled music and no sticky floor. Also the toilets are clean which is more than be said for the rest of the scene that is. More and more gay guys and girls are going there so i say you should all give it ago.

I have to admit, I agree with most of the comments that have been said on here. The Jolly Anker always had one up over the Boston Clipper until the New guys came in a couple of years ago. then it seemed it as though the Boston pulled something out of the bag and gave something that we where not used too, a sense of community and meaning. Unfortunatly though with the Boston Mangers and staff gone now, thats all been lost. What's left for the gay community of Northampton now? I dont think we can truly say or have ever been able to say the Jolly is 100% gay or gay responsible The Boston looks like it has lost the only thing that was ever concerned about commitment to the gay community And The road menders. Well we all know the reputation there and noone could ever call this a safe haven for the gay community. So as far as I am concerned. Northampton no longer truly has a gay venue. sad sad sad

It's quite pathetic if you fancy a night out. You'd have more luck finding semi attractive people in the straight places, because the ones in the two places mentioned are either old, ugly or screaming queens!

the jolly is wicked club but there should be more places for us to go

Ben Johnson
The Roadmender also realised that the gay community of Northampton had nothing to be proud of when it came to gay venues..and thats why we have a gay night on fridays at the roadmender! GAZE. it offers a more 'tasteful' atmosphere for the gay and straight community, and best of all, we only skim past the stereotypical gay night life, so check it out!!

Blimey, Bon sounds like a rather bitter man. It sounds as if he may have fled Northampton with his tail between his legs after a venture of his own failed miserably. He obviously hasn't got over whatever failure occured and now looks down on everyone from his strange position of self-appointed superiority. I know this sounds rather over-analytical, but Bon's rant is rather revelatory, warts n all! Nice to see that good, christian values are coarsing through his stable (hmm?), friendly veins.

Oh, sorry! I must LAUGH LOUD! Northampton, and a Gay scene? Those of us that work to make a decent scene get no support at all. Queens bitch and say “Oh, don't like that” but don't help us. I'm happy living away from England and Northampton now, where my efforts are appreciated. God help you lot. This page seems like a Pub advert. I can't tell you how sad that is. This Month I am sharing Ramadan with my bf. New to me as a Christian, but a learning experience. It will be wicked learning about him and his family, and their beliefs. You lot want to snipe between the Boston and the Joly? Good luck. I hope they both close the way you all behave.

The Boston is a really good night, with a nice, friendly atmosphere. At the moment its going through changes but they have clearly done their best to not let this disrupt the general running of the venue. The management have all the right ideas and are doing a really good job.

Boston Clipper
I would just like to reply to the comments made by fred and old hat. I am pleased to announce that the Boston Clipper is currently going through a major refurbishment at present. The pub is going for the more funky bar look and feel for during the day and weeknights turning into a much more clubbier atmosphere on the weekends. The inside is currently being redecorated, with new lighting and seating, video juke box, plasma screens, games machines, chill out area with comfortable seating, plus much more The beer garden is being extended to include a new decking area, with outside speakers, bar and garden. Work will be finished ready for the relaunch party in conjunction with our charity weekend in aid of McMillan Nurses cancer research fund appeal on the 30th July.

old hat..
very true fred! but i dont think northampton has that spirit and scene to pull in the punters! a classy bar with great music and crowd would be welcomed. We did have a place in St Giles St that opened up a few years ago that was very respectable (cuba libra) - dont quote me on that name but i believe that was what it was called! that soon closed, the jolly had better days under the management of mad morag when anything went - :)

I would like to agree with "Old hat" I think that these two bars overall do not do Northampton justice.Although I would concur with the fact Brum is a good night out.I think there is a market somewhere in town just waiting to be tapped, that of an everyday gay pub - no frills or promotions - just a nice place to drink and hear music.

old hat
I would like to add that both these bars are pretty pathetic, over priced, grubby and dated - northampton is not the place to go and have fun if you are gay! get on the train and head north or south - brum is the closest and by far worth the drive or train!

I noticed that the atmosphere, or should I say clientelle, had altered somewhat in the Northampton scene. I think this is to do with the fact that the Anker has secured the longest opening hours in town, drawing drunken groups of straight guys who are still up for more booze. Now I'm not saying in any way that a place should be separatist and admit only lgbt folk, but if it's affecting the venue's vibe and putting off it's fleet of loyal punters, then maybe a re-think is required. I was in there a little while back and I noticed that there were quite a few guys who were having a good old laugh at the fact that they were in a gay venue and were generally taking the mick. They're not all like this, but the few that are - and cause trouble - are spoiling it for the majority. I live in London and the gay venues here either have a notice on the door informing revellers what sort of venue it is, or the door staff have a polite word with people who may not appear to be aware that the place is gay, or could be disruptive to the venue's vibe. They still let straight people in, they are just cautious when it comes to groups or individuals that may not be befitting to the place as a whole; this is just looking after the reveller's and venue's interests, ensuring that a happy and safe night is had by all. This form of screening only really takes place in the evening as it reflects the increase in numbers and general consumption of alcohol. This means that you will still get the odd elderly married couple pop in to have a pre-theatre drink, at first unaware that it is a gay bar. the moment of realisation is always funny, not that they ever seem that bothered. Anyway, I think the Anker have a responsibility to it's loyal visitors to ensure that the same fun experience, that was in place prior to the bar extension, is maintained.

I frequent The Old White Hart on Cotton End which is at the entrance to Southbridge so close to town. This place is great. Very gay friendly, chilled and relaxed all without being to much in your face. The have an enclosed garden at the rear which is a real suntrap and has over twenty tables on offer so always a seat. Inside there is three areas. Firstly the restaurant which offers freshly made food to order and is mostly made up of tables for two although they can acommodate larger parties whilst still offering an intimate feeling, dining by candlelight etc. The main bar is the most lively area and offers most drinks you could ever want all served by good looking, friendly and warm guys and girls. This area also accomodates the live DJ set which plays the latest Funk, Jazz Ecletic and Chill Out tunes nicely blended in with old-skool. The loungs is where you and your partner can curl up on the leather sofas and spend the night just looking at one another, being close without any fear of glaring eyes or comments. Whilst not a Gay Bar the crowd it attracts means no one has attitude. I would highly recommend this place for people of all ages who would prefer somewhere slightly different and slightly classy. Enjoy!!!

James N
Wow, what a night. The Boston's streets ahead as the only true gay venue in town. The music was spot on and the place was packed. As a JD drinker its nice being able to get the drink I like on a promotional night. Nowhere else does it. Such friendly and efficient staff, there's a real buzz about the place. Its an absolute credit to whoever runs the place. There's never any fights, unlike the Jolly when straight drunken blokes descend on the bar, when its chuck out time.

Re:Robins distorted veiw of older men.I for one do not lust over the camp young things that frequent the jolly.I go out to have a good night listening and dancing to the best music in town from both establishments good djs.The only lusting comes from staight women who can't get a man in another pub or club. You have to fight them off in both the Jolly and Boston. I also find that there are too many straight guys in both places too. Why? If so many people were not barred from these places over minor things then northampton would have a thriving gay scene. K2 did re-open some time back and had a brilliant opening night but the prices were so expensive it dwindled out within weeks.I would welcome your comments.

I'm originally from Northampton but now live in London where I am literally spoilt for choice as to where to go and still have many places to discover. However, despite London's abundance of gay venues, Northampton is fortunate enough to have the Boston. I spent almost two weeks over Christmas in Northampton and a mate and I enjoyed numerous visits to the Boston. The bar staff were freindly and a good laugh and the punters were warm and friendly too. I think it's a great bar and a lovely escape from all the other Blackpool style fun-pubs in the town. I really hope this bar becomes as successful as it truly deserves. The bar is great value and it always seems to be open, no matter what the time. Keep it up guys and I shall certainly be popping in again when I'm next back in town. Not too keen on the Jolly though - that place is weird and needs a good clean!

The Boston Clipper (manager)
In response to Gary’s Comments. I can honestly say Gary that the gay community have nothing to worry about in regards to the Boston being over run with straight people and groups of hen parties like other venues. Although we do not like to advertise ourselves as being strictly gay, we operate on the basis of open minded, open door. However in saying that we are a gay owned and gay run pub and the local gay, lesbain, bisexual and transgender community do come first. That’s why we are very strict on the people that we allow into the venue and I think that shows from the lack of trouble that we have in there.

I am humble enough to say thanks to the manager of the Boston for those comments. A lot of sensible remarks there, and no doubt I will be along there soon.Personally the worst thing about Canal St etc for me is the ubiquitous groups of "hen parties" that are becoming more and more abundant there. Im hoping the Boston's offer doesn't get too well known with that sort of clientele.

The Boston Clipper (manager)
Just want to start by saying that we have tried on numerous occasions to respond to the reviews that have been written here, but for whatever reason it is never been added, So I will try once more. (HOST: this is the first posting that has arrived in the in box from the Boston) Every Friday evening from 9pm till 2am is "inferno" Where we charge £12 entry and then all drinks are included. This is on all brands of drinks and we do not substitute for the cheaper alternatives like most venues do that hold these promotions. If you want Smirnoff ice that’s what you get, if you want Jack Daniels again the same applies, it even includes Vodka Redbull, I am sure there are not many venues out there who offers that bit more back to their customers and can boast the same. Anybody that has been in the venue prior to 9pm are told before hand about the switch over at 9pm and how it becomes £12 all inclusive. There seems to be issues with some people in regards to non drinkers having to pay the £12 entry fee and how I should devise a plan to where people are given the choice to both pay the £12 and have the drink promotion or to be able to pay for individual drinks as they want them. This is in no way possible as we would not be able stop people from abusing the situation and having a group of friends where 1 person pays the £12 and having a wrist band to receive the rest of their drinks free all night and then them having the rest of a group of friends who were “supposedly” paying for individual drinks, but instead the person with the wrist band getting them free drinks all night. Believe me we thought long and hard about it and could not come up with any other scheme where it would work apart from having the £12 rule right across the board. I am unaware of any other venue that does it any different, but if you can show me one I will stand corrected. I am sure you can appreciate it is impossible to please everyone when it comes to promotions, but I think the people who come to the Boston every Friday night for “Inferno” would tell you what a great night they have their and the value for money. Where else can you go on a Friday night and pay £12 all evening and drink all branded drinks?? I am not aware of anywhere that holds this promotion in Northampton on a Friday evening or any other evening for that matter. I would also like to add on a Saturday evening we also have a different featured artist each week and every time a track is played from that artist all drinks are reduced to just £1.50 for the next 20 minutes. We value our customers and have always believed in giving something back to the customers who support us week after week so I think comments posted here saying that we are a “tax” on gay people is totally unfounded, and I challenge you to show me a venue that offers better deals to their customers on weekends not just on weeknights when it is quieter and the need to drum up more trade. I think people forget as well that the average cost of a alco pop in Northampton is £2.80, the cost of a coke averages at £1.30, Redbull £2.00 and J20 is £1.70 I will let you do the maths but as you can see normally £12 would only buy you 4 alco pops. So I think it is fair to say that we are offering a fantastic deal to our customers and on a Friday evening no less. At the Boston we are a firm believer in listening to our customers wants and needs and if it was the case that it was felt by a majority of the gay scene in Northampton that they did not want this promotion on Friday’s then we would stop it, but I can only go on the evidence of the sheer numbers that come in week after week and the general feedback we get from those customers and it is plainly clear that they like “inferno” on a Friday. With regards to the door staff and what has been written on here, I will take this matter up with them and hopefully this situation will never arise again. If anyone would like to talk with me further on any of the issues raised here then please feel free to e-mail me on

Or alternatively you could use the excellent Silverlink service and in an hour you could see if the capital's smokey streets really are paved with pink. Not just bars but a whole load of gay outlets in one area.

Right well after reading all the reviews so far i guess it's time to forget the Northampton scene pack ur bags, book a hotel in Manchester and have yourself a jolly old time in all the many wonderful pubs,bars,nightclubs on canal street. It's so worth it...

The point Gary makes about the abscence of the Boston from this site is a valid one indeed. If they are not a shameless moneymaking organisation and really do want to serve Northampton's gay community then we should be reading comments from them on here. I have since found out that the door "tax" only applies on one weekend night, however that was passed on to me by a froend Not by the Boston Clipper.

I have a question for the Boston clipper. Does the £12 charge apply during the afternoon just after it opens at say 1.00 pm and does the same charge apply if you went in at 12.00 midnight. Also what if you had been there all day from say 2 pm through to the end of the night...... Must say the Boston are conspicuous by their absence of comment on this website.

Yes Dan, K2 closed a few years ago. Another club seemed set to open on the same site around a year ago but its all gone quiet about that!

I have to agree with Richard and Gary...there is no consideration for people who don't want to drink a lot. The bouncers are also rather forward! A dark period for the fledgling Nothampton scene!

I travelled 20 miles to the Boston Clipper last Saturday night only to be met by a bouncers arms accross the front of me asking for £12 entrance fee.Im a driver and would have only had one shandy.Im not against people paying £12 and getting a much to drink as they wont but wouldnt it be fairer to accomodate all by devising a system where if you only want one or two drinks then you pay for them across the bar.This was 930 pm and adter driving 20 miles to support a bar where id never been before i was thoroughly pissed off.It would have helped if the door staff explained it was £12 and then drinks are free all night instead of "12 quid entrance tonight mate with an arm flung across the front of me baring my way.

I have to say that I think that the scene in Northampton is pretty disapointing. The two venues are a little far apart and the music played in both very samey. The Jolly seems very clicky and unfriendly, to the point of being hostile to new faces. The Boston as a pure gay pub is okay, however the audacity of charging £12 to enter on weekend nights - regardless of any drinks promotion is quite honestly shocking. It is not only a "tax" on gay people but also on sensible drinkers. The only good thing is that the rainbow flag has been taken down, sparing the gay and lesbian community a direct link with this ridiculous and unfair charging policy.

Steve Williams
Not been to the Anker for ages, not since it stopped being a pub and turned 'club' Go to the Boston quite a bit, quite enjoy the £12 drinks night, dead easy to get good value from that. It hardly ever seems to be that busy. I have been there up until 9pm on a Saturday and it was totally dead. Three gay guys, a couple of lesbians and a few that may have been straight couples but not easy to tell. If it empties out again at midnight then that's only a couple of hours of busy period. On a Tuesday once a month, a group of us get together down there for a chat but have been put off by the way the younger bar staff insist on cranking up the music volume even though it is often just them and a mate and the group of us. A few times we have asked them to turn it down which they have only to crank it up again moments later. In other words, they are not sympathetic to who they have in and bar staff run it as though it were their own private bar. I like loud music as much as the next guy but early evening when punters are clearly there to meet up and talk, it is just pointless. Give Friday nights a go though, good atmosphere, drink deal is excellent, a very friendly place generally despite my little grumble!

The Jolly Anker
Date:27/10/05 The Jolly Anker night club Northampton is getting bigger and better then ever before, with a new extendtion and makeover including a new name. From November we are opening in accordance to our new licenceing hours which will mean we will be closing at 6am on weekends. In January the refit is taking place and we will be changing the name at this time.Thank you.

dan pointer
What happened to K2? 5 years ago I lived in Northampton and K2 was the only gay club - now I run my own bar in Rotterdam. Did K2 go bust?

I feel I must agree with Lfcfan, the scene in Northampton is limited enough without the audacity of BC charging £12 to get in...

ginga gem
lovin the gay scene at the moment i often go out wiv my girlfriend kate 2 the jolly and the boston, were we met.i didnt realise until going to the jolly that there were so many fit gay people in northampton. ive had many one night stands in the last few months which i found most enjoyable. so ill c u there c u at jolly n boston!

The 'scene' (if two pubs can be considered a scene) leaves a lot to be dsired really, neither is particularly enticing. Northampton should cater for its community a lot better, look at towns of comparable size such as Norttingham, Leicester and Norwich for example. They manage to offer more diversity and better standard bars. Its never going to be Canal Street but it could easily be much better than it already is.

it is rubbish although i am there almost every friday and sat but its not the same as london or manchester the jolly is dirty and dingy the boston we like it could be a lot better if it tried

hi, im luvin the gay scene! I like to go to the jolly on saturday nights! Its gr8 n i always have fun! ;)

nicola snow
lots of talent, i often test it out.

Lauren Muffin
I love the northampton gay scene. I am always in the Jolly, every Friday, Saturday and karaoke Sunday! If I can I also go in the week. It is really lively and full of fun! Some of my straight mates even come with me! and they have loads of fun too! ; ) I was scared to go out in northampton at night at weekends as a lesbian, but i feel really settled in the Jolly, and accepted, its great fun, fit girls, and just an excellent place! C u there soon! xXx

Yeah i agree with carol, i suffer from mild asthma so that damn smoke machine is a nuisance!! plus when it goes off you can't see anyone, you just have to wave goodbye to who ever you were with for a few minutes!!

Have not been to clipper - but i love the jolly - only go on saturday nights tho - unfortunately untill about 11pm its quite empty despite being open from 8pm - i love the atmospere there, its fun and friendly, the only problem is the smoke machine which sometimes makes it hard to breathe as there is no where for the smoke to escape to. - I dont know if my opinion of the jolly will change if i go to other gay bars - but for now its great!

Why when you go out in northampton have you always got eyes on you? When my bf and I go out we want to have a drink and express our feelings but in town everyone comes on to you. Has being gay left ppl really desperate and gagging? Why cant you just have a drink and be who you are?

I agree with both Alex and J. The Scene is outdated, and all the people that say " the scene is what you make it" is complete nonsence. The scene is already made up for you.The majority of the " fit " crowd head out of town to better, more classier joints. By painting the Jolly white hasnt changed my opinion atall im afraid!!!

Northants gay scene is really bad. If your not in the "right" circle of friends then theres no point going out. The Jolly is the Pits. Lets get some nice pubs to go to Rock on the Boston

Alex Wills
the scene in northants sucks! full of queens or dirty old men, where do all the fit gays go? i need to find this place!

I rarely go on the gay scene, but cannot stand the smokey atmosphere. It makes me feel sick. If the made these pubs/clubs non smoking that i would go more. When i come home after a night out, i smell like a gone off astray.This applies to all pubs/clubs - not just the gay ones.

Last week I went to the Boston Clipper for the first time for months and was pleasantly surprised. It was packed with a great, unthreatening, friendly atmosphere. It's good to see all types of people happily mixing together.

i agree with the comments robin has highlighted in the review. i do thnk for a town the size of northampton two gay places isnt enough, i mean you take Leicester for example they have so many places to go and they are really fun too. i think we definatley need some more gay places in northampton. i usually go to straight places and have just as good time there as i would in a gay bar!

I haven't been there yet, but friends tell me that Bluberry Hill (behind the Derngate) is a gay bar.

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