Bristol – The Place to be for Singing, Dancing and Recycling!

The eighth most populous city in the UK, Bristol is home to a host of attractions, from the world famous ‘Clifton Suspension Bridge’ to ‘The Bristol Hippodrome’, where you’ll be able to experience many major West End and Broadway productions; it can also boast the title of being the European Green Capital for 2015, having been long associated with, and placing a great deal of importance on the Green Movement, through their reduction and carbon emissions despite a growing population, achieved largely by becoming Britain’s first ‘cycle city.’

With the country, seaside and city right on its doorstep, there is plenty to see and do; from walking in the hills to picnics on the beach, from coastal ventures to free festivals. The city is also renowned for its vibrant and diverse live music and club scene, where you can find literally anything on any given evening if you look hard enough; from the latest chart hitters to that of a folksier variety, and from the classical to the experimental. Everybody is catered for in Bristol!

Bars and Clubs

The city centre in Bristol is home to a multitude of diverse bars and clubs that serve to cater for the wants and needs of the masses; from national favourites like Vodka bar ‘Revolution’ and Australasian-themed bar ‘Walkabout’, where you’ll also find retro bar ‘Rewind’ playing the best tunes from the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s, to venues that are exclusive to Bristol, such as café bar ‘Start the Bus’ and Lizard Lounge, which is seen to be the city’s biggest party venue.  For the pop fanatics, get your fun party fill at Popworld, a retro-party themed bar that will take you on an exuberant journey through the decades; whilst Timbuk2 is perfect for the ‘hardcore clubber’, with an in depth style of music that involves a lot of drum and bass, techno, dubstep and just about every other style of music that you would associate with the underground. Harness the luck of the Irish at O’Neills or enjoy the uniquely Polynesian vibe of tiki bar Lola Lo, where stylish drinking, carefree dancing and vivacious service is the order of the day; and for those looking for a night of a more erotic nature, Lounge @ 30 provides the most exclusive, relaxed and intimate surroundings with a massive bar and performance area and a fine array of dancers from which to choose!

For those looking for an experience that goes above and beyond what many would see as the norm; Bristol offers plenty of alternatives that will literally get the mind boggling and the eyes popping out of one’s head (well ok not literally!) whilst others will leave you in awe of the surroundings. Eat, drink and bowl at ‘The Lanes’, Bristol’s boutique bowling alley 

bar and diner, with five bowling lanes, pool tables and a private karaoke room that can be hired by the hour; or get yourself over to Illusions the Magic Bar, where you will be wowed by close-up magic tricks whilst you sit and chat (and drink of course) with your nearest and dearest. Climb aboard and enjoy a nice glass of cider at The Apple, a converted Dutch barge that holds around forty different varieties alongside a selection of rums, lagers and beers; alternatively, Hyde and Co is a speakeasy-style bar with all of the atmosphere of a low-lit gentleman’s club, decked out with a piano in the corner and a selection of vintage lampshades and serving a selection of cocktail concoctions inspired by the prohibition era. There’s also SLVR, where you’ll be bombarded with a massive music selection from clubbing anthems and classics right through to Party, House and RnB whilst you are treated to a host of quirks, such as old school Sonic on the SEGA, fire artists and dancers on stilts!

Floating Harbour

The historic heart of Bristol’s city centre, the Floating Harbour was formerly a busy trading port for visiting trade ships to dock; it has since been regenerated to become an area for leisure, commerce and residence and it holds host to a good number of bars that provide the perfect summer drinking spot (though by no means should you be deterred in the winter!), and with them all set up in a row, it is the perfect spot for a bar crawl! At the foot of the harbour you’ll find Lloyds bar, or ‘V-shed’, a three floor Wetherspoons venue that has a reputation for cheap drinks, a modern approach and a weekend that gets so busy you can barely move; as well as being the best pulling bar in town, so perfect for those looking to get a little frisky! The perfect foil for Lloyds Bar next door, The Pitcher and Piano offers a much more relaxed atmosphere that is perfect for any crowd, be that the work crowd, the pre-drinkers or those looking to have a relaxed chat with friends; whilst the Za za Bazaar offers a superb set-up from which to line your stomach, with a variety of local cuisine and live cooking that work alongside a host of expertly mixed cocktails and a number of beers, wines and alcoholic coffees working to create a sublime world banquet and bar. For the sports fan, Bristol Sports bar is the city’s leader, with eight large plasma screens on offer, a DJ playing a mix of modern party and commercial favourites, value for money drinks and completely free entry all night! At the top of the row you’ll find two Café bars, Mackenzies, with its reasonably priced drinks, a large seating area and waterside terrace, as well as a small dancefloor for those that want to boogie at the end of the night; and the Riverside Inn, where a combination of solid woods, shining metallics, bold prints and rustic tones working together in perfect harmony to give it a contemporary yet warm and sophisticated feel which by night turns into a trendy adult wine bar. 

Once you have finished in the bars, there are a number of late night bars and nightclubs that can be found just off the harbour side. A small chain that is found in many of Britain’s major cities, The Living Room is renowned for its award-winning timeless cocktails made with only the freshest of ingredients; whilst in ‘The Greenhouse’ you have one of the cheapest bars in Bristol, with a range of lagers, ciders, cocktails, alco-pops, vodka shots and spirits available at very good prices. For three very different clubbing arenas under one roof, make your way to Pryzm; or for those looking for a few laughs, Jongleurs is the place to be; one of the UK’s largest, this comedy venue hosts four live comedians every show followed by a disco until late and has hosted some of the country’s best loved jokers at the in the early stage of their careers, such as that of Michael McIntyre and Jack Dee! Also, for those looking to stay up well past their bed times, there are a few venues that will provide just the tonic; from casinos like Grosvenor and Gala where you can gamble the night away or watch TV whilst you grab a drink at the bar, to Urban Tiger, a strip club where you’ll be treated to an impressive array of stage shows; get to know the dancers and treat yourself (or your mate) to take a peek at what’s under the covers in a private show!

Live Music

Famed for its live music scene, Bristol is immersed in a wide variety of venues that serve to meet anybody’s musical tastes. For the wild child, converted skate park ‘Bristol In: Motion’ is a giant hotspot for local ravers, with spectacular events going on throughout the year where Glow paint and wacky costumes are in regular attendance and beer is sold in cans; whilst restaurant-cum-club ‘The Canteen’ offers a more laid back vibe, where the atmosphere can depend on what’s on and the reason for customer visits. For the jazz fan, The Old Duke is the spot for you, playing everything from old, traditional New Orleans inspired music, for which the bar has become world famous, to more modern jazz and, of course, the blues; or if you prefer the twang of Indie music, then get over to The Louisiana, a venue that has hosted many now world-class artists on their way to the top, from Kings of Leon to Kasabian! Any Rock ‘n’ Roll fan should step aboard the Kestla, a once German Ocean-going vessel that has since been transformed into a floating live music venue; and for the swingers (and by that I mean the dance style), the Golden Lion hosts a fantastic array of local swing and funk bands and a jolly atmosphere to boot! Alternatively, the Bierkeller offers a wide variety of acts, from tribute bands and performers like ‘The Bowie Experience’ and ‘Antarctic Monkeys’ to unknown artists like Karnataka; make your way over on a Saturday and be treated to a night that is insanely German with their resident Oompah band! Just remember, do your research before turning up to any live music show, as you do not want to be disappointed!

By Calum Dewbury