Guide to Bristol’s Best Bars and Clubs
By Nikki (honorary Bristolian and City Dance Party Organiser)
Thinking of hitting up Bristol for a hen weekend? Check out our handy little guide to the party capital of the West Country Here:
Night’s out are pretty much a staple of any hen party: whether you’re opting for a sophisticated couple of cocktails, an evening boogieing away to some cheesy chart toppers, or a wild night of debauchery, hitting the town with your bride tribe is viewed by many as an essential to a hen weekend. When you’re visiting a new city, it can be a bit tricky to figure out what the best spots in town to hit up are and there is nothing worse than spending the evening trying to figure out where’s best to go, standing out in queues in the cold, and spending a fortune on taxi’s hopping around the town, unsure of if you’re quite getting it right!
Well, worry no more. As an honorary Bristolian, (having moved to the city nearly 5 years ago now, and having spent many a Friday night testing out the Bristol clubs after a few G & T’s), I know the party capital of the West Country rather well, and have compiled this neat little guide to Bristol Nightlife, and where to go to suit your hen weekend best! As they say in Bristol…‘Gurt Lush!’
Now, I might be a bit biased, but if you’re looking for a city to organise a great weekend to celebrate your mate before they tie the knot, you really can’t go wrong with Bristol.
We’ve seen just how wide and varied the tastes for different hen dos are, as we’ve had requests for pretty much every different genre of dance style and music you can imagine! Taking into consideration the huge range of tastes for different groups out there, I can hand on heart say that Bristol is truly a city that can cater to everyone. If you’re looking for a fun, different night out with the girls, you’re in the right place.
If you’re looking for something a bit off the beaten track to start your night out, then perhaps try and find your way to one of Bristol’s hidden speakeasy bars, where you can enjoy a cocktail or two in a stylish setting to kick things off.
Tucked away on the triangle, Hyde and Co’s inspiration is taken from the New York prohibition era, and with an award-winning cocktail menu, and sophisticated atmosphere, this is a brilliant location to start any night! The Milk Thistle is an incredibly popular speakeasy bar, right in Bristol City Centre, and is absolutely perfect for a classy or vintage hen! You can also hire out a private dining area with a small hen party, which is perfect for brides fancying some sophisticated cocktails in one of Bristol’s real gemst. If you know the right people (or with a little internet investigatory work) there are a number of other speakeasy bars hiding in plain sight all around Bristol….do a little digging and see what you can find!
However maybe cocktails aren’t your thing, and you’re just looking for somewhere you know you can all get a good pre-drink (or three) in a relaxed, friendly atmosphere? Well anyone who’s been to Bristol knows you are never far from some quality cider and craft ale….I mean hello, cider is what the west country is famous for!
If this is more your cup of tea, than a trip to the Apple (a must for any cider connoisseur) on Bristol’s floating harbour, will be right up your street. Not too far from the Apple on King Street lies the Old Duke, a cosy pub home to nightly live jazz music. Just be warned, you’ll need to get there early as the space always fills up quickly!
King street is a lovely cobbled street lined with pubs and bars, and is just a short walk from Bristol’s Harbourside (also a popular spot with hen’s, with a number of bars, restaurants and pubs by the waterside).
After a few drinks to build up some Dutch courage, the next step is to head on out and put your newfound dancing skills to the test. While you’re down at the harbourside there are a number of different options for you to choose from! If it’s something a bit different and novel that you’re after, then head on over to Thekla. Originally a German cargo ship built in the 1950’s, Thekla is now an “award winning live music venue and club space”, that some of you might remember from noughties TV drama Skins.
If what you want from your night out is somewhere where you and your bride tribe can throw some shapes to some chart hits and cheesy tunes, then head over to The Triangle and Park Street. This busy stretch of road has the feel of a city centre and is packed full of clubs and bars, and if you aren’t a fan of the first club you enter you can simply pop along to the next.
A cheaper option, that requires less planning then some of the other choices I’ve laid out, you can’t go too far awry here, and when it comes to the end of the night a trip to Taka Taka for that all important drunken meal is a sure way to end the night right! Popworld on Baldwin Street is also a must visit for brides who love a bit of cheese, and is the perfect place to get you and your hens grooving like it’s 1995!
- Pack your flats if you’re hitting up Park street, it is a mighty beast of a hill with some of the cities most popular bars and clubs! You’ll thank us later, trust me*
- You also can’t go out on park street without getting some 4am chips from one of Bristol’s most famous food stands: ‘Jason Donervan’. Great 4am stomach liner, and a legend in Bristol.
If you’re more of an alternative group, and are into your Drum and Bass, House, Garage or Electronic, Bristol has a rich dance music culture and is known by many as the home of drum and bass, and if you’re looking to rave till the early hours to some quality music, then check out some of the nights on at Motion or Lakota. But be warned, tickets sometimes sell out quickly, but with a little bit of work you can get some cheaper tickets online!
Alternatively, if you’re willing to wander further afield and escape the city centre, a trip to Gloucester Road in Stokes Croft will reward you with a plethora of bars and pubs. Where you won’t be short of choice when it comes to finding live music and DJs, such as The Crofter’s Rights (home to a staggering range of Craft Beers), or The Love Inn.
This is definitely something to consider if you’re looking to escape the standard club scene and will give you a chance to immerse yourself in Bristol’s infamous street art culture at the same time! Hamilton House (also known as The Canteen) often has live music on the weekends, and is a popular alternative choice for locals to hit up on a Friday Night. Gloucester Road and Stokes Croft are one of Bristol’s most popular spots for live music and alternative nights, so if you fancy something a bit more off the beaten track, then it’s the spot for you!
I hope you can see here just how many options you have in Bristol, and why it’s such a popular choice for hens and stags alike. So many choices, and such a fabulous city, rich in culture, and with an excellent nightlife! Check out our other Bristol recommendations, our Bristol City Guide, and the dance experiences we offer in Bristol here. Ready, steady, get planning!
Any questions? Just leave us a quick comment, and get back to you with our Bristol recommendations! Or are you a Bristolian local and know of a hot spot we’ve missed? Let us know in the comments section below!