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Get ready for the weekend with Feel It – an inclusive Friday night queer dance party

Shake off weekday worries at this friendly Friday-night rave where everybody’s welcome

By Emily Maskell

Words: Jamie Tabberer; pictures: Karen Stanley

You know in Donna Summer and Barbra Streisand’s stone-cold girl power classic ‘Enough is Enough’, where they repeat “enough is enough, is enough, is enough…” over and over?

On hearing this lyric through the crystal-clear acoustics of Omeara in London Bridge, home to Friday night queer dance party Feel It, Attitude positively loses our shit and flails around like Kate Bush gone disco. 

If the pumped-up, mesh-topped muscle Marys around us share our feminism-induced rapture, you would not know it from their restrained head-bobbing.

“It’s the new XXL!” is one skirted clubber’s take, claiming a dilution in the melting pot of patrons that marked the night’s explosive, post-pandemic beginnings last year, which immediately attracted celebrity clientele like Tom Daley and Drag Race star Bimini. (The highest-profile partygoer when we visit is, quite literally, rugby player Keegan Hirst: he’s six foot three.)

The XXL comparison is a tad hyperbolic: a party co-produced by subversive festival collective Little Gay Brother and drag DJ extraordinaire Jodie Harsh will always be, by its very nature, inclusive.

Feel It is worlds apart from XXL’s Southwark base — RIP — which generated headlines for its controversial ‘no men in heels’ policy.

Here, the door staff walk the walk with their friendly attitude, carrying out a bag search that is as thorough as it is well-mannered.

“Everybody’s welcome at Feel It,” Harsh tells Attitude. “The genius part of the club is that it’s a huge cross-section of London’s LGBTQ+ scene. Everyone’s up for a dance, it’s a Friday night… there’s something so magical about entering Omeara for a rave. It’s like an old theatre in the middle of London Bridge.”

Tonight, Feel It is full of peacocking east Londoners playing nicely with their more reserved queer counterparts from Clapham.

Women are definitely outnumbered, but as one tells us in the beautifully decked-out smoking area: “I prefer it like this. I can actually relax.”

The cavernous Omeara is a fantastic space, and still a relative novelty as a club-night venue since a member of Mumford and Sons opened it in 2016.

At its heart is a 320-capacity stage area, which is consciously dark and dingy: at Feel it, the space translates to throbbing beats and wall-to-wall muscle.

“Vibe-wise, we were definitely riffing off the great clubs of the past: Paradise Garage, Trade, The Tunnel…” explains Harsh.

“Coming out of the pandemic, it was important for us to provide this space for everyone to get back together and snog and hear great music.”

The night’s biggest asset, indeed, is its ambitious length at six and a half hours, which more than justifies the £15 entry ticket.

It is easier to get served — and to move — in the huge, circular Omeara bar, where flattering lighting and old-school disco (plus the odd Kylie song) are the order of the day.

Tonight, Gideon and resident DJ Joshua James are on the decks. The space is split over two floors, and upstairs, the Red Room boasts an intimate, house party-like feel. 

Only a table separates DJs — tonight it’s Bestley and Milk Shandy — from dancers. They giggle and chat with punters — too often, DJs assume an exalted position, but here, their friendly energy is infectious.

Feel It – Every Friday, 10.30pm-5am Omeara, O’Meara St, London. SE1 1TE.

The Attitude July/August issue is out now.