The Complete Guide
Bristol is a city and county in South West England with a population of 459,300. The wider district has the 10th largest population in England. The urban area population of 724,000 is the 8th largest in the UK. The city borders North Somerset and South Gloucestershire, with the cities of Bath and Gloucester to the south-east and north-east, respectively. South Wales lies across the Severn estuary.
Bristol received a royal charter in 1155 and was historically divided between Gloucestershire and Somerset until 1373 when it became a county of itself. From the 13th to the 18th century, Bristol was among the top three English cities after London in tax receipts. Bristol was surpassed by the rapid rise of Birmingham, Manchester, and Liverpool in the Industrial Revolution.
Bristol’s modern economy is built on the creative media, electronics and aerospace industries, and the city-center docks have been redeveloped as centers of heritage and culture. The city has the largest circulating community currency in the UK – the Bristol pound, which is pegged to the Pound sterling. The city has two universities, the University of Bristol and the University of the West of England, and a variety of artistic and sporting organizations and venues including the Royal West of England Academy, the Arnolfini, Spike Island, Ashton Gate, and the Memorial Stadium. It is connected to London and other major UK cities by road and rail, and to the world by sea and air: road, by the M5 and M4 (which connect to the city centre by the Portway and M32); rail, via Bristol Temple Meads and Bristol Parkway mainline rail stations; and Bristol Airport.
Bristol has a thriving current and historical arts scene. Some of the modern venues and modern digital production companies have merged with legacy production companies based in old buildings around the city. In 2008 the city was a finalist for the 2008 European Capital of Culture. The city was designated “City of Film” by UNESCO in 2017 and has been a member of the Creative Cities Network since then.
One of the UK’s most popular tourist destinations, Bristol was selected in 2009 as one of the world’s top ten cities by international travel publishers Dorling Kindersley in their Eyewitness series of travel guides. The Sunday Times named it as the best city in Britain in which to live in 2014 and 2017, and Bristol also won the EU’s European Green Capital Award in 2015.
Nightlife in Bristol is legendary, from its huge clubs hosting top DJs to underground live gigs, plus all manner of bars, glamorous speakeasies, comedy nights, magic and karaoke bars – this is a city that knows how to have fun. Whether you’re searching for somewhere offering the best hen nights any bride-to-be could wish for, or just for some fun things to do on a Friday night, Bristol’s got you covered.
You will love Park Street and The Triangle with their lively bars and late-night club nights. Then on Stokes Croft and Gloucester Road, you can check out the city’s alternative scene. But don’t stop there, there’s much more to explore. . . . For you, this means you can enjoy all the amazing nightlife in Bristol, in the knowledge that, the city is striving to keep you as safe and comfortable as possible. Following are some areas where the above things can be experienced richly and activities which can be done there:
Bristol Activity Centre boasts TWO uniquely themed Paintball battlefields, and a variety of game maps carefully themed around of the whole array of real military vehicles and terrain. Be prepared to infiltrate their Nuclear Silo, take out the anti-aircraft gun before it brings down their black hawk, capture the Barracks compound, and even save Private Ryan! With over 25 years experience in providing quality days out, Bristol Activity Centre brings you professionalism, but with a personal and tailored service. Their venues are independently run by passionate and dedicated owners, which strive to provide the best day out possible.
Axe throwing as a recreational sport originating in Scandinavia, but has become popular in Britain too, both as a competitive sport and as a recreational activity. It can be surprisingly easy to pick up, with most people able to get the axe into a target within their first five to ten throws. At Bristol Activity Centre, they supply different weights of axes and also for those that show good competency, they can then move on to throwing knives. Hit the mark as many times as you can under the guidance of our instructors, and remember it’s all about technique, not the strength. Instructors will score your rounds, adding some competitive fun to your axe throwing session!
This will be an unforgettable live escape room Bristol experience. Locked In A Room – Bristol is ideal for large or small groups of friends looking to experience something completely different, as a unique gift, corporate events, team building, B2B client entertainment, and birthday parties.
Very few activities immerse you in a world where you think of nothing except the task at hand. Locked In A Room does. It’s unique, it’s fantastic fun, it’s challenging and it is pure escapism.
Set in the South of Bristol, this state of the art climbing center is just south of the SS Great Britain, around the corner from the Ashton Court Estate, Avon Gorge and the spectacular Brunel’s Suspension bridge. Based in an old Odeon cinema the center has walls from 3-12.5m including the infamous stalactite meaning it has a huge amount to offer both beginner and competent climbers. The Centre has its very own Café Bar ‘Bristol Rocks Café’ serving fresh coffee, locally made cakes and gourmet burger menu which is open to the public. So if you are new or your skills are a bit rusty, you really are in good hands.
AirHop is Europe’s leading trampoline park! AirHop offers a wide range of activities for all ages. You can get competitive on the Dodgeball courts, get a thrill on the Wipeout Zone, battle your friends on the Battle Beams, perfect your basketball skills on the Slam Dunk Lanes, practice aerial tricks into the foam pits and jump to your heart’s content on the huge Main Court. AirHop is just a 20 minute drive from Bristol city center, towards South Gloucestershire & the South Cotswolds.
While digging deeper into the night entertainment and specifically stepping into the domain of adult entertainment, we have some of the finest Bars of Bristol City, which can really impress you with some of their fresh brews. The city is a drinker’s paradise with many options that run the gamut, from age-old dives and secret speakeasies to classy. No matter what neighborhood you will find yourself in, there sure will be a bartender waiting to fix you a drink. We have come up with some of the swankiest and finest bars in the city so you don’t find yourself in the hassle of looking for various bars:
Red Light advertises its presence on Union Street by, well, a red light, emanating from graffiti-covered doorway. Pick up the payphone, press the button and… presto. Billing itself as a late-night drinking den with an air of 1950s panache, Red Light has a cocktail list that pairs customizable classics with new creations. True to its location, it’s about quality, not crowd-pleasing. Once inside, it’s surprisingly spacious and understated. Leather wingback chairs, retro radio fronts and soft lamp-lighting hint at the bordello theme, as does the menu, divided rather bluntly into ‘foreplay’, ‘sex’ and ‘cigarette’.
The White Lion Bar, part of The Avon Gorge by Hotel du Vin, is a local favorite in Bristol, and with such views, you can understand why. Enjoy al fresco dining on the large heated terrace, taking advantage of the panoramic views of Brunel’s Suspension Bridge and Avon Gorge. A variety of gastropub food is served throughout the day at The White Lion Bar, as well as a full range of drinks.
Hidden in plain sight, it’s likely that most of the drinkers in the White Lion pub next door may be completely oblivious to Milk Thistle’s four floors of decadent excess. If you don’t like wood paneling and taxidermy, look away now. Each level has a different function, with a ground-floor cocktail bar, first-floor private members lounge and various function rooms including private dining with chefs from sister restaurant The Ox. If you are here with a group of friends, try the Milk Thistle punch or selection of Trappist beers made by monks in monasteries across Europe.
There are literally hundreds of varieties of beer on offer in the ‘Emp’. Don’t be fooled by the small bottle shop on street level – three vaulted cellars downstairs play host to more beer than anywhere else in Bristol. An ever-changing selection comes from around the globe, but local breweries – including Wiper & True and Ashley Down, who share premises in St Werburgh’s, and Towles from Easton – are well represented too. Belgian beers are celebrated every Wednesday, with ten percent off and 250 bottles from which to choose.
The Bootlegger has the unique distinction of being a speakeasy-style bar in Bristol that isn’t hidden behind a doorbell or a payphone. Instead, there is the shock of windows opening out onto the street, which makes for that rarest of commodities – natural light. There’s live music from chaps and chapesses on double basses, as well as DJs spinning more contemporary tunes.
A hodgepodge, a jumble, a confused medley – all apt terms to describe this Bishopston bar which, since opening in 2012, has swiftly become one of the go-to spots in an area of town not short on options for drinkers in Bristol. This is a bar with a quirky and artistic vibe, well-suited to the ever-eclectic Gloucester Road. Keeping it independent and local, as is the way around here, you’ll always find at least two beers from Bristol breweries on offer, as well as regularly changing options from further afield.
While going through the nightlife in detailed, Bristol is offering some of the swankiest Bars, which can really impress you with their brewery and mixology skills. People here love sparkling craft beer, fancy cocktailing, margaritas, and freshly brewed wines. Apart from drinking options people also love to have tasty and exotic foods as well. And for a city that likes to drink a lot, it’s no surprise that they’re quickly becoming drinking spots in their own way. What you can do is to pick a bar that also serves food, so this way you will never even have to leave your bar stool whenever hunger teases you.
Therefore, to fulfill your desire, we’ve got you covered with a list of Bristol’s best bar foods good enough to eat on the go:
While overlooking Bristol’s historic harbor, Arnolfini Café Bar is a picturesque, central location ideal for meeting up with friends, family, and colleagues. Arnolfini’s Café Bar is open every day, serving breakfast, lunch and freshly baked cakes, artisan coffee and locally-sourced beers, wines, and spirits. The café is also open in the evenings for dinner from Thursday-Saturday. Over the summer months, Arnolfini also opens its outdoor bar and hosts live music, DJs, and BBQs.
Capturing the city’s ethos The Urban Roof Terrace offers a unique and exclusive experience in the heart of the city center. Situated amongst street artwork created from Bristol’s very own talented Cheo there is no better place to enjoy a thirst quenching drink, play table tennis and settle into some comfortable seating for dine-in. The Urban Roof Terrace is not only an ideal place for after work drinks, a break from shopping, but it is also available for private hire. With a number of different packages to choose from including a ‘picnic on the roof’ or and ‘Urban Tea party’ it will be the ideal venue to hold a party.
The 1766 Bar and Kitchen is situated on the site of the historical and fully refurbished Bristol Old Vic theatre. It offers a full range of dining experiences, from breakfasts and light lunches (available to eat in or take away), to an all-day small plates’ menu, as well as more formal prix fixe and pre-theatre menus, served at lunchtimes and evenings. All offerings will be served alongside artisan cakes, locally sourced beers, and wines from Bristol fine wines. Coffee from Clifton Coffee Roasters and Tea from Canton Tea are also available. Soft drinks, spirits, and an exciting cocktail list will also be offered.
The multi award-winning Jetty Restaurant opened in Bristol October 2016. Following on from the success of The Jetty restaurants in Christchurch, Dorset and Salcombe, Devon and most recently Brighton and Guildford, The Jetty restaurant in Bristol offer a vibrant yet relaxed atmosphere, alongside fantastic menus. Set within the former banking hall, The Jetty offers an abundance of character, with its restored interiors, featuring tasteful banquette seating, sleek marble surfaces, and bespoke lighting features. It’s the perfect place to gather with friends, open a bottle of wine and soak up the ambiance of our city restaurant. The Jetty prides itself on using locally sourced, seasonal ingredients alongside an eclectic wine list and innovative cocktail menu.
Moored in a beautiful location in Hotwells, the Grain Barge is bursting with character. Within sight of Brunel’s SS Great Britain, it’s three decks offer great views over the harbor, making it the perfect place to relax and watch the world go by. The historic converted barge has established itself as one of Bristol’s friendliest, eating and drinking experiences. The specials menu is updated daily using locally sourced, fresh produce which is organic and fair trade where possible, and a superb range of craft beers is on offer, from some of the most exciting breweries around.
Bristol is known internationally for its nightlife and is one of the most popular stops in the South West for party goers. Bristol has a massive diversity when it comes to clubs, whether it’s dancing on Bristol’s iconic boat night club, the Thekla, all the way to dance super clubs like SWX and Przym. The center of Bristol is home to hundreds of night clubs, which are the most popular amongst the university students. So if you are brand new to Bristol, Park Street is always a good start. The long high street is full of clubs and bars to suit all audiences, few of them are also being listed here :
Five years ago, Motion was nothing more than a skatepark hidden away in an industrial complex behind Temple Meads train station. Today, the enormous multi-roomed venue isn’t just Bristol’s biggest nightclub – it’s regularly polled as one of the very best in the world. Very much a constant work in progress, Motion noticeably improves every year, with its owners making the most of the summer downtime to enhance the sound and tweak the venue layout ahead of the launch of In: Motion. This annual series takes place each autumn and delivers a 12-week program of killer parties that take in everything from disco, house, and techno to grime, D&B, and hip hop.
There aren’t many cities in the world that can boast a nightclub on a boat, but then, as we all know, Bristol is not like many other cities. Originally brought to the Mud Dock area back in 1982 as a floating theatre and art gallery, the Thekla became a nightclub in the 90s, providing a platform for early performances by the likes of Massive Attack and Bristol’s then-booming drum ‘n’ bass scene. Taken over by the owners of Nottingham’s Rock City back in 2006, Thekla repositioned itself as both a nightclub and venue for live gigs, with shows from bands such as The XX and Santigold helping make the old boat a firm favorite of Bristol’s indie and dance crowds alike.
If you’ve lived in Bristol for more than a minute, you will have no doubt heard the tales regarding the origins of this subterranean venue in the oldest part of the city. Rumour has it, the multiple rooms that makeup Timbuk2 were originally caves used for holding slaves on the midway point of the transatlantic trade triangle in which Bristol played a pivotal role. Fortunately, this is a fallacy, and the true origin of the space – as underground storage for wine – is much more relevant to its current incarnation as a night club.
For Bristolians of adult generation, Dojo Lounge will always be synonymous with illicit nights using an older sibling’s I.D. That fact alone is a testament to the club’s staying power; it’s been open for over 13 years, nestled away secretively between shops and hairdressers on Bristol’s trendy Park Row, where many legendary Bristol nightclubs have come and gone (Level, R.I.P.). The longevity is compounded by the music on offer. With Drum ‘n’ Bass vibes every Friday night, Dojo manages to stay true to its roots as one of Bristol’s primary proponents of underground music, with resident nights from promoters Intrigue and Foundation: Bristol on offer each month.
Last but not the least and at the end here, we had a brief introduction of the Bristol City along with touching some of its prominent norms, culture, and nightlife. We also went through different activities and places to enjoy the nightlife of the Bristol City with the aerial view tour of the city, Musical venues, Bars and eateries as well. Such activities provide a great source of entertainment for tourists and locals. Moreover, such activities also help in understanding the true cultural norms of a city.
We also established the diversity in terms of hotels, restaurants, and bars that the City offers. With that being said we went through the exotic options available over there. That led us to virtually visit some of the swankiest, finest, and renowned bars and restaurants of the Bristol City.
For your food cravings during the cocktail run, we also went through a detailed list of bar-restaurants which provide delicious and exotic food along with a touch of booze. This extremely delightful combination of food and booze really push the limits of Nightlife entertainment and add a great value to your tour.
In view of the aforementioned paragraphs, make sure that you prepare for the trip according to the explained guidelines, so that you never miss an important event or place while visiting Bristol City.