Nights out in Bristol are guaranteed to be fun. Whether you end up in a rowdy Corn Street pub, or sipping a cocktail at sunset on the harbour, Bristol has a bar or club for every kind of party. There are so many great places to visit and new bars opening all the time that’s it’s pretty hard to narrow it down. However, here are a few that you simply can’t miss.
Bristol has more than its fair share of hidden bars (Hyde & Co’s secret room within a secret bar, Red Light where you ring a payphone to enter, or Milk Thistle which is tucked away in the White Lion pub), but Hausbar in Clifton is one that’s well worth taking the time to find. Out of sight beneath an Indian restaurant on Upper Belgrave Road, you have to ring a doorbell to get in, then wait to be led through a dark velvet curtain to find yourself in a dimly-lit room with leather seats and a bar filled with spirits. Do yourself a favour and try the signature Hausbar mojito or a classic martini.
Kongs of King Street
Whoever thought of combining old-school arcade games with drinks was right on the money. After all, who doesn’t like a game of Street Fighter II or Pacman on a night out? There’s also ping pong, table football and, as you’d expect, plenty of international beers on tap and by the bottle. Kongs of King Street also have movie nights, gaming competitions and the occasional art event. It might sound like one for the lads, but there are plenty of ladies dying to get in on the action as well.
You don’t get much more Bristol than drinking cider on a floating bar. The Apple has over 40 different types of cider and perry, from classic to craft ciders. In summer, try to grab a seat on the deck or else on a quayside picnic bench and sit back in the sun for a relaxing Sunday session. Tractor Fuel is their famous drink – an ice-cold cider with a dash of ginger beer. If cider doesn’t float your boat, there’s also beer, lager and rum. Sate your appetite afterwards with the ever-popular hearty ploughman’s lunch.
A late night favourite, the Woods on Park Street Avenue is open until 4am on Fridays and 6am on Saturdays. The décor is rather unusual, with animal heads and insects adorning the walls. Don’t worry though – one of the 50 scotch malts will soon put you at ease! Head upstairs or downstairs, and if the weather is nice, enjoy a whisky cocktail or a tangy G&T in the outdoor courtyard. The Woods is a great after-hours option if you don’t feel like hitting up the infamous Bristol nightclubs.
Speaking of nightclubs in Bristol, Motion is world-famous. Not only is it the largest club in Bristol, but it’s also regularly touted as one of the best in the world. The former skatepark has been converted into a multi-roomed venue where local DJs and international acts have all had their turn hosting huge all-nighters. As its name implies, Motion is constantly changing, so even if you’ve been before, chances are things look a little different. The neighbouring Marble Factory is also worth checking out – it has more intimate shows from indie groups and DJs.
Thekla is a floating club moored opposite the Bathurst Basin Landing. The big black imposing cargo ship is both a nightclub and a live gig venue that’s recently undergone a refurbishment for its 30th birthday. Many indie acts come to play here, as well as hip hop and soul on Fridays, pop on Saturdays and big name electro DJs when they’re in town. You’ll more than likely need tickets so it’s best to book ahead.