Community News

The Catch Up Club – LGBT+ dining and socialising in Liverpool

Simon Robinson-Stynes April 15, 2019

Simon & Luke Robinson-Stynes
Simon & Luke Robinson-Stynes

The Catch Up Club came about at a time when due to economical restrictions I found it was hard to be constantly out catching up with my friends.

I DECIDED that, as most of my friends knew one another already it made a lot of sense to just get everyone together at the same time for food and drinks and a good old catch up.

Having lived in Liverpool for over 20 years, I started to realise that on a whole I did not know that many gay people.

Although it served a purpose; i had always found the commercial gay scene quite intimidating and in some cases out right frightening.

Liverpool has a vibrant and ever-growing gay scene that thanks to bars such as The CAVE and the James Monroe has a bit of something for everyone.  However, there did not seem to be anything out there for members of the LGBT+ communities who wanted something with more of a connection.

Being what I felt was a natural organiser I took it upon myself to create a gay version of the format that created The Catch Up Club.

Initially my partner and I organised meals.  Working with restaurants to offer us a Wine & Dine night, where members would get two courses and a bottle of wine for around the £20.00 mark.  The nights proved to be a huge success and the Wine & Dine nights now have a great turn out, and the feedback from members is always positive.

After our third event we set up a FACEBOOK page and group so people would be able to find about upcoming events, meet other members and a platform for us to listen to what the group wanted concerning future events.

Within days, we had gone from the 25 members we had from the Wine and Dine nights to close to 200 members and the group kind of exploded on to Liverpool’s gay scene.

By listening to our members, we realised that it was not just restaurant events they wanted and we started to get approached by local gay bars about co-hosting events with them.  We have since hosted a number of our quiz nights (THE BIG GAY QUIZ), and have events coming up around the Eurovision Song Contest, World Aids Day and Halloween.

These events alongside the regular restaurant nights that we host are going from strength to strength and our plans are to expand to other major cities in the UK as time progresses.

The group was set up to combat social exclusion within the LGBT+ communities and offer a support network for those people who may not have the confidence to go out on the scene, or perhaps just want to meet new people.  It is a group that many of the members have found to be a lifeline, offering a social network that otherwise would not be there.

Personally, my husband and myself have made some very dear friends for life and await with anticipation to see where the group will go next.  This has been a learning curve and it seems that I do have a flare for organising events.

Coming up we have The Gay Games, A Ghost Hunt and a Big Gay Eurovision Quiz, as well as The Life of PIE (our next wine and dine event).  In addition, our members can’t seem to get enough of The Catch Up Club.

Our members make us what we are. We lead, but we do this after listening to our members and reacting in a proactive manner to organise what they want, when they want it. With a range of members, we have people from all ages, and all walks of life.

Dave (45) and his partner Charlie(69) say that having recently moved to the area, the group has given them a real opportunity to explore the gay scene in Liverpool and the surrounding area’s. “The group has made us feel included in something in an area were we knew nobody.”

Don (23) loves the social aspect of the group and the support network that it offers. “There really is something for everyone.”

Peter (33) thinks the group is a brilliant way to meet new people who you wouldn’t normally get to meet.  “Trying different restaurants and bars throughout the North West I cannot wait to see how the group grows.”

The Catch Up Club set out to be a way of meeting new people and simply making the LGBT+ communities a better place. Without knowing it at first, we are combatting social exclusion, helping people’s mental health and raising money for some good causes along the way.

Liverpool has always been at the forefront of gay rights, but as a gay scene, it can be intimidating.  The group aims to change this and make the commercial gay scene something we can all be proud to be a part of.

With plans to extend and link up with other groups across the UK, the Catch Up Club aim to bring this unique group dynamic to gay communities all over the country.

To learn more about the Catch Up Club, click here: