I thought we already had Pride this year?
The celebrations did start on 9 June, but those were to mark the start of the whole Pride Festival which takes place at many cities across the world throughout the month. The parade marks the end of Pride Month, and culminates in loads of parties all across Soho (I mean, where else would they be? Nobody wants to go all the way to Vauxhall).
So when’s the parade?
It starts on Saturday 7 July at 12pm and continues all afternoon, finishing at around 5pm. Lots of companies get involved with the float, and this year there will be walking groups and floats marching the parade from brands including Starbucks; Deliveroo; Barefoot Wines; and The Food Chain charity. In previous years companies have gone all-out when Pride rolls around, and no one does it better than Nando’s. Last year, the company (and its giant chicken mascot) attended 38 Pride parties, “shaking its tail feather” to celebrate the day.
Where does it start and finish?
It starts at Portland Place, from where it will move down Oxford Street to Regent Street, then through Piccadilly Circus, Lower Regent Street and Pall Mall. It will then pass Trafalgar Square, and finish up in Whitehall, which could do with a bit of extra sass. Organisers have warned people to avoid areas like Trafalgar Square because they will be really busy, but that sounds like a rather boring idea for a day of celebration. If it does get a bit busy around there, a good call might be to pop into Bancone just around the corner, which is offering a £15 lunch deal for the day which comprises an Aperol Spritz and a plate of its freshly made pasta.
If you want your pasta with a bit more flair and panache, the head chef of the Italian Embassy is releasing a cookbook with a recipe for rainbow pasta stuffed with burrata. It's rainbow pasta, so it is very Pride-suitable, but you would have to stay inside making pasta all afternoon, which we do not advise. Especially given that the weather is set to reach 31 degrees.
Pasta doesn’t scream ‘LGBT annual big party day’ to me, much less making it myself. What else is on?
Er, loads. Celebratory events, themed spin classes, club nights, networking events… Perhaps a good way to spend the afternoon would be by taking part in activities at Soho Square’s Community Village, before catching a few performances on the Women’s Stage in Leicester Square and the Cabaret Stage on Dean Street. And the football kicks off at 3...
Football's coming home! Any chance of a Pride-themed drink while the game is on?
A few places have special offerings on to celebrate the day, including The London EDITION hotel which has partnered with model and activist Jack Guinness’ LGBTQ+ lifestyle platform Queer Bible. It has launched a glass cube installation commissioned by Guinness, alongside anew Pride cocktail – the Cross Spectrum – made with Belvedere vodka, rose tea cordial, lemon and peach, for £14. For each cocktail sold, The Albert Kennedy Trust, who support at risk LGBTQ+ youth, will receive a donation. Similarly, at theatreland restaurant Joe Allen, a dedicated Pride cocktail (The Flamingo, of course) will pop up on the menu, made with tequila, Campari, triple sec, pink grapefruit juice and lime juice. All of its proceeds will go to Stonewall UK charity.
Anything a bit more civilised?
Neptune is celebrating Pride this year with an Inaugural Pride Fundraiser Brunch in collaboration with Fantastic Man magazine and designer Blouse. The brunch will include a decadent Pride menu and a raffle with prizes and auction items from Russell Tovey, Mulberry, and Olly Alexander from the band Years & Years.
It’s good that the money goes to charity… but couldn’t this just be an opportunity for restaurants to make money off the back of a serious cause?
Some people do say that some companies often try to capitalise on LGBT society without making enough of an effort to actually get the tone right or to carry on the ethos after the day is over. A few places are running innovative campaigns this weekend, including Yo! Sushi which has removed all labels from its High Street Kensington restaurant front, website and social media platforms to celebrate Pride. The company chose to remove the branding due to recent research commissioned by Pride in London, which uncovered that the LGBTQ+ community feel they are ‘over-labelled’. The study highlighted that there is a growing number of people across the UK who do not feel they fit into the classic identities that society has defined for them.