Nightlife in the UK
Move aside Ayia Napa, Malia and Ibiza. You may have good weather on your side, but the UK’s nightlife cannot be beaten. Offering a wide range of nights out to suit even the most unconventional booty shakers – why would you fly overseas?
London is known to be expensive – especially on a night out. If you want to hit up a bar our advice is to ignore the 3,000 or so over-priced drinking joints around the City of Westminster and head to trendier places such as Soho, Camden, Brick Lane and Brixton. You won’t need to look very hard to find a bar in these areas; don’t forget to look underground, behind curtains and in wardrobes, you never know what hidden gems you may find.
It won’t take long for you to come across an array of clubs in London and you’ll soon notice that the majority of them occupy former factories and railway arches. Most of you would have heard of Ministry of Sound which is well worth checking out for its DJ line up. If you fancy an Ibiza experience then look no further than Pacha near Victoria Station. Alternatively Fabric, built on the site of a Victorian meat cellar, has speakers built into the floors – creating an unbeatable drum ‘n’ bass experience. After 3am is the best time to go as the tourists have gone, making it less crowded.
Finally if it is live music you are looking for then KOKO in Camden is the place to be. KOKO is the heart of Camden night life having hosted The Clash, the Sex Pistols and Madonna – it continues to offer a great mix of live bands and club nights.
It’s a well-known fact that Brighton is home to many quirky and artistic students. So it is no surprise that the Brighton population know how to party – you will certainly be spoilt for choice in this seaside town.
Take a stroll along the beachfront at night and you will find the majority of Brighton’s clubs. Keep your eyes peeled for Coalition, Digital and Lola Lo as these have a good reputation for a guaranteed great night out. Brighton also has a reputation for strict bouncers – so be sure you have packed your ID before you head out!
If you were planning on a more chilled night with live music and a friendly atmosphere then Casablanca Jazz Club is worth a mention as well as Concorde 2 and the Haunt.
Manchester is known to be up there with London for its night life. From specialist wine bars to jazz joints and with most of their night clubs being open until the early hours of the morning there is guaranteed to be something for everyone.
If you’re planning ahead then try and visit Manchester when the Warehouse Project is on. A popular series of club nights run from September to New Year’s Day. If you can’t make the Warehouse Project and you’re a fan of the chemical brothers then look no further than their starting joint, Joshua Brookes for your night out. Or you could spend your night at Fifth Avenue in the heart of Manchester and take advantage of their cheap drinks.
Make your way down to Oxford road and you are in studentville. This area is great for chilled out bars and live music just be sure not to dive too deep into your overdraft. Places to check out include the Deaf Institute and Manchester Academy for live music, Big Hands for a quick drink and the arty bars such as Sandbar and Cornerhouse for great food, beers and even films.
Manchester is also known for its vibrant gay scene, many of these clubs can be found on Canal Street – which has recently become the place to go for big weekend pub crawls. Bars to check out here are Taurus, Vanilla, the Molly House and New Union Hotel.
Liverpool has been crowned best for nightlife in the UK by Trip Advisor. As home to the Beatles, Liverpool is already up-there for its music scene. If you are a Beatles fan then Ye Cracke should be on your to-do list as it is was a favourite of John Lennon’s in his school days, the Cavern Club is also renowned for its live music.
If you like to dress up then Alma de Cuba is a church that has been converted into a Latin-themed bar, while Newz Bar lends itself well to celebrity spotting. But if you would rather have a low-key night then head to the Albert Dock and watch the ferries go past at one of the many bars here.
Bristol is known for pioneering the underground and rave scenes of the 80’s and as a result is now a quirky drum ‘n’ bass hub. It is another city with a booming student population and so you know you’re going to have a memorable night out.
Club wise if drum ‘n’ bass is your go-to then Dojo Bar on Park Row has a good reputation as does Timbuk 2. For house music head to Syndicate, or if you can’t make up your mind Basement 45 is always a good option.
Bristol also has a great live music scene; the retro venue Lanes is a good place to start. If you fancy something different then get on board the Thekla boat bar by the mud dock. If you like to play it safe then Bristol also has a 02 Academy.
If you’re on a budget head to Leeds as all you will find is students, students and more students. This is great news for your wallets as nearly every night is a student night, meaning cheap or free entry and guaranteed deals on drinks!
Leeds covers everyone’s musical tastes and if you can’t make up your mind, the bars are all within stumbling distance of each other so you sure to have a great night out. If you’re quite an eccentric person then Mint is the place for you, try to go on a Mint Monday for the best experience. For those who take pride in what they wear and enjoy music from the charts then BED is a good option as it is a better alternative to the well-known Oceana (which is also in Leeds). Can’t make up your mind? Then Space is the place for you.
Leeds is also the place to be if you’re a lover of live music. Cockpit is well known for their gigs as is Leeds 02 academy. If unsigned bands are your thing then check out Dry Dock opposite Leeds Met city campus and the Brudenell Social Club in Hyde Park.
If you’re in Leeds for a special occasion or unlike the students, you have money burning a hole in your pockets then perhaps venture down to Call lane. With a plethora of cocktail bars such as Mooks, Oporto and Milo you will be spoilt for choice and might even find your-self in a club such as Chilli-White by the end of it all.
The night life here is rapidly expanding – the best time to go is during a busy sporting weekend where you will be close to the Millennium Stadium, you will undoubtedly have an eventful weekend full of giggles.
The Cardiff pub crawl is the best way to experience the atmosphere and head into town at the same time. Begin at the Canton Mile, start at the top of Cowbridge East, before finishing at the Westgate. Just remember the Welsh are highly tolerable to drinking shenanigans, so don’t attempt to drink them under the table!
Edinburgh is a true ‘dusk till dawn city.’ Known as a night life hot-spot all over Europe, it is not to be missed. The best time to experience Edinburgh’s nightlife is during the Edinburgh fringe festival or Hogmanay (New Year’s Eve).
Although the venues can be a bit spread out, it is always worth the walk and most of the time you won’t want to leave the venue you’re in. The liquid room is must go when club nights such as EVOL and Musika are on, local hip-hop promoters are known to bring up and coming acts here. The Bongo Club is also a big hit in Edinburgh; the bohemian charity-owned club is known for club nights, gigs, comedy and art.
The Caves are a great place to go for live music, even though the drink prices and entry can be higher than most places, the experience cannot be beaten anywhere else in Edinburgh. Bit of a night owl then whistlebinkies is your place as is known for being one of the only live music venues to keep playing until 3am. If you want a taste of the local music scene then head down to Bannerman’s for some unsigned acts.
The population of Newcastle is famously known to never take their coat. Luckily Newcastle’s huge selection of clubs and pubs are within easy reach of each other – so pack your skimpy evening outfits and get partying to keep warm.
Club-wise the Cut has to be on your list; it has a wide range of music and is always on the pulse of new upfront electronic beats. Newcastle also has a Digital like the one in Brighton which again, is well worth a look.
For live music venture down to Riverside which is quite a new live music venue opening its doors to top local talent and big names. The Cluny is another music venue to consider. It is quite a trendy watering hole due to the way it mixes art with music.
If you’re out with the girls then Perdu is a lovely boutique cocktail bar which is popular with the locals.