Bristol’s nightlife is the envy of almost every other UK city. Perfect for both the hardcore underground ravers that don’t stop until the music does and those who prefer a more lowkey experience with mainstream bangers, a Bristol night out really has something for every type of partier. And we haven’t even touched on the shockingly vibrant music scene yet.
But one downside of having such rich nightlife is that, if you’re new to it, you probably don’t know where to start. Even if you’re well versed in Bristol's nightlife, you might not have heard of a fair few venues you will have missed. So we put together this Bristol nightlife guide so you can experience it at its finest and have the best Bristol night out possible. So let’s dive straight in.
Best bars in Bristol - Skiddle selects
Bristol’s nightlife includes everything from micropubs to secret cocktail-shaking speakeasies, and chains that never disappoint to quirky, hidden venues with graffiti instead of wallpaper. But here are the five best bars for your next Bristol night out.
Referred to as The Galli by locals, The Gallimaufry is a bar and venue with Bristol at the heart of everything it does. Focussing mainly on local ales and ciders, this is the perfect bar to nestle into when you want a fantastic range of pints to choose from. A Bristol nightlife staple, The Galli embodies the artistic flare the city’s known for. Local artists have decorated its interior, it hosts regular live music nights, and its food looks like a work of art.
Hyde & Co
You haven’t explored Bristol’s nightlife if you haven't hit Hyde & Co yet. Inspired by New York and a disdain for long queues, Hyde & Co was brought to Bristol back in 2010. This warm speakeasy takes you back in time with decor from yesteryear as you sip on a sophisticated, award-winning handcrafted cocktail. If cocktails aren’t for you, there are always bottles of Somerset beer and cider to enjoy, too. Finally, Hyde & Co achieves that exclusive feel by not only being hidden in plain sight but also by having a secret room within the bar. A must for any fancy Bristol night out.
Kongs Of King Street
Bars with vintage arcade games have been on the rise for a few years now, and Kongs Of King Street have executed the gamer/partiers' dream perfectly, becoming a staple of Bristol's nightlife. Be launched back to the simpler times with pinball, destroy your opponent at Mortal Kombat, or play a “loser gets the next round” table tennis match. Or just soak in the vibe as you sip a craft brew and tuck into some bar food. With lots of games, live DJs, and a carefree spirit, any Bristol night out that incorporates Kongs is a brilliant one.
With the West Country being known for its mouthwateringly good ciders, a visit to The Apple is a must for any cider fan who’s after a relaxing Bristol night out. The Apple, located on a converted boat, has a riverside outdoor area because nothing tops a cold cider with the summer sun beating down on you. And when the winter comes, this award-winning bar makes mulled cider and winter cocktails to keep you warm and tipsy. It’s definitely a contender for Bristol’s coolest bar and a staple of Bristol’s nightlife scene.
The Milk Thistle
Unique and quirky, The Milk Thistle is located in one of Bristol's best nightlife areas and is a great shout for those who like something different, delicious cocktails, and unusual decor. With a throwback interior partnered with taxidermy and beautiful leather sofas, the multi-award-winning bar has maintained its exclusive feel despite its success. And if you fall as deeply in love with this bar as everyone else, be sure to check out the Gin and Jazz evenings soundtracked by one of Bristol's best pianists. The Milk Thistle is definitely worth a visit on your next Bristol night out.
Best Clubs in Bristol - Skiddle selects
Bristol’s nightlife scene is definitely not short of clubs. From underground sweat boxes that bang the tunes until 5 am to superclubs with Ibiza-level pyro. But here are the clubs that are a must-see on your next Bristol night out.
Superclub Motion was voted number 19 in DJ Mags Top 100 Clubs in the World, and if you’ve been, you’ll know why. Located in a disused warehouse, this superclub can fit in thousands of eager ravers who are dying to check out sets by some of the best DJs in the world. Pair these jawdropping sets with hypnotising strobes, smoke, and confetti falling from the sky, and you're in heaven. And this iconic club holds so many other events, such as Bingo Lingo, gigs, day raves and garden parties. Bristol’s nightlife simply wouldn’t be the same without Motion.
Ever been to a club on a boat? Here’s your chance! Thekla is somewhat of a Bristol institution. This cargo boat/nightclub/live music venue hybrid has been adored far and wide since the 90s. Popular with indie and electronic music fans, the club has an events calendar overflowing with bands, and hip hop, RnB, and drum and bass nights. But that doesn’t mean you won’t find the occasional afrobeats, amapiano, and dancehall events too. And in 2019, the club underwent a £1 million restoration, securing its future as a vital part of Bristol’s nightlife.
As the name suggests, Basement 45 is an underground club that showcases a bunch of different electronic genres. While drum and bass is in the venue's bones, you can also find punchy, rapid techno, groovy UKG, and irresistible deep house music. Basement 45 is definitely one of the smaller venues you might stop in on a tour of Bristol’s nightlife, but it’s loved for its cheap drinks prices, unbeatable atmosphere, and moreish events. If you love going hard to some banging tunes, surrounded by like-minded people, Basement 45 is one of Bristol’s best for a night out.
If the thought of a cramped, rough and ready venue puts you off, perhaps Pryzm will be the one for you. This huge Bristol nightclub is spread across three floors and has five different bars, a VIP area, a shisha room, and lots of great deals. Popular among students, birthday groups, stags and hen dos, Pryzm isn’t really suited for hardcore underground ravers. But those who want to have a laugh and sing along to RnB, hip hop, 00s, 90s, and commercial electronic tunes will have a cracking time. With plenty of events, catchy tunes, and plenty of bars, this staple of Bristol’s nightlife has everything we need!
SWX might just have the most impressive light show, pyro, and sound system you can experience on a Bristol night out. It’s one thing to see your favourite DJ. But to see them with strobes flashing, confetti raining down, lasers shooting off into all directions, and thousands of other passionate ravers with you is something else. And that's what makes SWX such a valued Bristol nightlife venue. Even better still, the club is spread out across three rooms, so when there’s a club night, you can hop from room to room, enjoying different genres and keeping your whole friend group happy.
Bristol nightlife is simply unparalleled. And with a healthy number of bars and clubs paired with the city’s natural creativity and thriving music scene, it’s really no surprise. A Bristol night out should be on any partier or music lover's bucket list. A magical city through and through, you might find yourself with withdrawal symptoms when you finally belly flop into your bed as the sun starts creeping in from under the blinds.