Licklist guide to ... Reading

Reading is home to one of the biggest and most loved festivals in the country, attended by music lovers everywhere. Not only that, Reading has a fantastic nightlife which should not be missed. There are some great nightspots that offer their own unique appeal and so it’s no wonder they’re hugely popular with students and native Reading folk alike.


There are many bars to choose from to kick start your night. Look no further than Yates if you’re seeking a friendly venue with a vibrant atmosphere. Or you can head to Reading’s favourite sport and entertainment venue Walkabout, showing all the latest sporting events on their massive TV screens situated throughout the bar. Whether you’re celebrating a win or just watched your team lose for the third time in a row, Walkabout never fails to smooth the way for the night ahead.


The Purple Turtle is a legendary part of Reading’s nightlife; having been there for around twenty years, it’s the main bar and one of the busiest venues. Open every night of the week, they offer a great selection of ales and cocktails. You’re guaranteed a good time and most definitely a sore head the next day. It’s also home to the largest selection of jukebox music in the UK; don’t hesitate to pick your own music. It includes every number one hit of the last four decades so that you can relive some of your favourite classics that everyone else may have hoped to forget about.


If that’s not for you, don’t worry, you can escape to the Basement to hear underground sounds from Reading’s finest, some of the best DJ crews are there to play hip hop, reggae, drum ‘n’ bass, electro and metal. The Purple Turtle offers free entry every night of the week; just another reason why it’s one of Reading’s favourite nightspots.


Another great venue that’s perfect for starting your night is Revolution. Located in the heart of the city and with a unique funky atmosphere, Revolution offers a great place to have a few drinks with your friends. They describe themselves as a social paradise with no two nights being the same, and they’re not wrong. Resident DJ’s and club nights make every night a party and you’ll be spoilt for choice at the bar with premium spirits from around the world, a fine selection of draught beers and carefully crafted cocktails for when you’re trying to impress someone with your Made in Chelsea like ways. You won’t be fooling anyone if you hit the shots though. With every flavour you could possibly imagine, it’s easy to suddenly find yourself working your way through the menu and into a state of no return.


The weekend is when Reading’s nightlife really kicks off. Lola Lo is unique with its hand carved cocktail bar and authentic Polynesian vibe. If that wasn’t cool enough, their LED hibiscus flower lit dance floor is certain to keep you dancing the night away. Sub 89/Bowery District is perfect for when you’re in the mood for something different, as they rewind the tape and bring back some of the best music from the 70s, 80s and 90s. Just don’t be surprised if you bump into your old teacher. Bed Bar and club features diverse entertainment, from live music to top DJ’s, dedicated to making sure there’s something for everyone.


Sakara has established itself as Reading’s premier late night venue, providing outstanding service and music. It has a heavy Japanese influence and hosts Reading’s two biggest alternative music nights, bringing you DJ sets from Rudimental, Josh Franceschi (You me at Six), Kissy Sell Out and many more.


Reading’s biggest and most popular venue is Q nightclub, bringing you big line ups such as Zane Lowe, Matt Horn, Judge Jules and regular visits from Kiss DJ’s. Every Saturday Q hosts Runway, a night of sophistication and glamour, with what can only be described as mind blowing entertainment. You’ll see fire breathers, angle grinders and stilt walkers; not what you’d usually expect to see on a night out. Q offers two rooms of monumental music and an atmosphere that exceeds expectations. This is the place to be if you want to experience some of the best of what Reading’s nightlife has to offer.


So whether you’re in the mood to socialise in style or just want to have a dance to your most loved cheesy music, Reading’s nightlife has something for everyone. Whether or not you’re still walking in a straight line by the end of the night is up to you. 

By Georgina Mullany