Area Guides

A Guide to Nightclubs and Music Venues in Bristol

Posted June 7, 2024
A Guide to Nightclubs and Music Venues in Bristol

Bristol is famous for its lively nightlife. This cultural hub boasts many nightclubs that cater to different musical tastes and vibes. Whether you love electronic music, raves, live bands, student nights, or underground beats, Bristol’s nightlife has something for everyone.

This guide highlights some of the best nightclubs in Bristol so you can find your ideal venue.

Before exploring specific clubs, it’s important to recognise the city’s rich music history. Bristol has always been a key player in the UK music scene. The rise of the “Bristol Sound” in the 1990s blended hip hop, dub, and electronic music. This trend cemented Bristol as a musical hotspot and continues to shape its diverse club offerings today.

Most of these fantastic venues are within walking distance from our latest development in Bristol McArthur’s Yard, which offers one, two, and three-bedroom apartments and two-storey 2 & 3-bedroom duplexes.

Motion

Where: 74-78 Avon Street, Bristol, BS2 0PX

Motion stands as a key part of Bristol’s nightlife scene. Housed in a large warehouse, the club features several rooms designed for different musical styles. It’s famous for featuring top electronic music artists, including house, techno, and drum and bass genres. Motion regularly ranks among the best nightclubs globally.

Highlights:

  • Outdoor Terrace: During warmer months, the outdoor terrace offers a refreshing space to catch your breath between sets.
  • The Marble Factory: A separate room within the club known for its eclectic bookings and industrial aesthetic.

Lakota

Where: 6 Upper York St, Bristol BS2 8QN

Lakota is a key nightclub in Bristol, loved by locals and visitors. With over twenty years of history, it captures the city’s underground vibe with its basic setup. The club has several floors and rooms, hosting various events like intense techno nights and relaxed house parties.

Highlights:

  • The Courtyard: A semi-outdoor area perfect for those who want a break from the main dance floors.
  • Community-Focused Events: Lakota often hosts charity events and collaborates with local artists and organisations, cementing its role in the community.

Thekla

Where: The Grove, East Mud Dock, Bristol, BS1 4RB

A nightclub on a boat? Thekla provides exactly that—a unique mix of maritime history and lively nightlife. Docked in the Mud Dock area, Thekla has been central to Bristol’s music scene for years. Hosting live gigs and DJ nights, Thekla is famed for its diverse range of genres, from indie to drum and bass.

Highlights:

  • Live Music: Thekla is particularly known for its live music gigs, often featuring up-and-coming talent.
  • Unique Atmosphere: The maritime setting adds a unique flavour to any night out.

Cosies!

Where: 34 Portland Square, St Pauls, Bristol BS2 8RG

Cosies! is a smaller, intimate venue located in the St Pauls area. True to its name, it offers a cosy atmosphere. This basement bar and nightclub is known for reggae, dub, and roots nights. However, it also features various music genres from funk to jungle.

Highlights:

  • Intimate Setting: With its basement location and snug interiors, Cosies! offers an intimate vibe that’s perfect for a laid-back yet vibrant night out.
  • Reggae High Nights: These are a staple, often featuring top-notch DJ talent in the reggae and dub scene.

The Love Inn

Where: 84 Stokes Croft, Bristol BS1 3QY

Located in the edgy Stokes Croft area, The Love Inn focuses on creating a community atmosphere while delivering top-tier house and techno music. Known for its friendly crowd and intimate setting, The Love Inn is where you go for quality music without the impersonal feel of larger venues.

Highlights:

  • Early Hours: The Love Inn often becomes a hub for nightlife goers before they venture to larger venues.
  • Community Focus: The bar not only offers great music but also regularly hosts community events, from art shows to food markets.

Strange Brew

Where: 10-12 Fairfax Street, Bristol, BS1 3DB

A relatively new addition to the Bristol scene, Strange Brew is fast becoming a favourite for its eclectic programming and underground vibe. Offering a mix of music, art, and community activities, it stands out for its commitment to diversity in both sound and culture.

Highlights:

  • Versatile Space: From DJ sets to live experimental music, the venue can adapt to host various events.
  • Cultural Hub: More than just a nightclub, Strange Brew also serves as a café and exhibition space, making it a cultural hub.

Pryzm

Where: The South Buildings, Canon’s Rd, Bristol BS1 5UH

A more commercial option, Pryzm caters to a broad audience with its multi-room setup. Each room offers a different musical style, from mainstream chart-toppers to R&B and dance. While it may not have the underground flair of clubs like Motion or Lakota, Pryzm is a popular choice for students and those looking for a more commercial night out.

Highlights:

  • Multi-Room Experience: Offering different genres in each room, it caters to varied musical tastes.
  • VIP Areas: For those looking to splurge, Pryzm offers VIP packages with private booths and bottle service.

Lola Lo

Where: 67 Queens Road, Clifton, Bristol, BS8 1QL

Situated in the student-heavy area of Clifton, Lola Lo offers a tiki-themed party experience. With its tropical décor and vibrant cocktails, Lola Lo is a hit with university students searching for a fun and lively night out. Music ranges from commercial dance to hip hop, making it accessible for a wide audience.

Highlights:

  • Themed Nights: From neon parties to themed costume events, there’s always something different happening at Lola Lo.
  • Cocktail Selection: Known for its extensive cocktail menu, featuring tropical and tiki-inspired drinks.

Crofter’s Rights

Where: 117-119 Stokes Croft, Bristol, BS1 3RW

Perfect for those seeking a more alternative vibe, Crofter’s Rights is both a nightclub and a craft beer bar. Located in the bohemian Stokes Croft area, the venue is known for its diverse range of events, spanning rock, electronic, and even experimental music.

Highlights:

  • Craft Beers: A broad selection of craft beers makes it popular for both music and beer enthusiasts.
  • Artistic Vibes: The venue regularly showcases local art, adding another layer to its eclectic offering.

The Loco Klub

Where: Clock Tower Yard, Temple Meads, Bristol BS1 6QH

Hidden beneath the tunnels of Temple Meads train station, The Loco Klub provides an atmospheric setting for those who love a good underground party. The venue has earned a reputation for high-quality electronic music and immersive events.

Highlights:

  • Unique Location: The tunnels add to the mystique and make every event feel like an exclusive secret.
  • Art and Performance: Alongside DJ sets, the venue often hosts performance art and installations.

O2 Academy Bristol

Where: 1-2 Frogmore St, Bristol BS1 5NA

While primarily known as a concert venue, O2 Academy Bristol also hosts some of the biggest club nights in the city. From live music gigs to themed club nights, the O2 Academy offers a versatile and large-capacity venue for party-goers.

Highlights:

  • Big Names and Acts: Regularly features notable artists and DJs, offering a more mainstream experience.
  • High Capacity: Can accommodate larger crowds, making for an energetic atmosphere.

SWX

Where: 15 Nelson St, Bristol BS1 2JY

Located in the city centre, SWX is one of Bristol’s biggest and most popular nightclubs. The multi-room venue offers different musical experiences, from house and EDM to R&B and hip-hop, ensuring there’s something for everyone.

Highlights:

  • State-of-the-Art Sound and Lighting: Puts on a real show with impressive production values.
  • VIP Areas: Offers a more luxurious experience with private booths and bottle service.

The Black Swan

Where: 438 Stapleton Rd, Easton, Bristol BS5 6NR

Lovingly referred to as ‘The Dirty Duck,’ The Black Swan is one of Bristol’s quintessential underground venues. With a history steeped in reggae and dub, it has since expanded its musical offerings to include jungle, drum & bass, and techno.

Highlights:

  • Outdoor Space: Features an outdoor garden area for those who need a breather.
  • Underground Cred: Known for its authentic, no-nonsense approach to clubbing.

Cube Microplex

Where: Dove St S, Kingsdown, Bristol BS2 8JD

Although not a nightclub in the traditional sense, Cube Microplex deserves a mention for its unique approach to entertainment. This volunteer-run arts venue frequently hosts eclectic club nights, experimental music events, and quirky themed parties.

Highlights:

  • DIY Ethos: Run by volunteers, the Cube offers a genuinely alternative venue.
  • Mixed Programming: From cinema to live music to DJ nights, you never know what to expect.

Exchange

Where: 72 – 73 Old Market St, Bristol BS2 0EJ

Known primarily as a live music venue, Exchange also delves into the nightclub scene with DJ nights and eclectic events. Located in Old Market, the venue offers a raw, unpolished space that appeals to both live music aficionados and dance music fans.

Highlights:

  • Live Music Credentials: Often hosts live bands before transitioning into DJ sets.
  • Inclusive Atmosphere: Known for its LGBTQ+-friendly events and welcoming crowd.

Basement 45

Where: 8 Frogmore St, Bristol BS1 5NA

A favourite among students and young professionals, Basement 45 features a maze of rooms and bars, offering a variety of music styles from drum & bass to house and garage.

Highlights:

  • Multiple Dance Floors: Offers different music genres across its various rooms.
  • Themed Nights: Frequently hosts themed events, making each visit unique.

The Fleece

Where: 12 St Thomas St, Redcliffe, Bristol BS1 6JJ

Primarily a live music venue, The Fleece also hosts club nights. With a well-respected live music legacy since 1982, it attracts bands and DJs across all genres.

Highlights:

  • Historic Music Venue: A mainstay of Bristol’s music scene.
  • Diverse Events: From tribute bands to indie nights, there’s always something interesting on offer.

The Star and Garter

Where: 33 Brook Rd, Montpelier, Bristol BS6 5LR

Famed for its reggae and dub nights, The Star and Garter offers an authentic community-based experience in the Montpelier neighbourhood.

Highlights:

  • Reggae Roots: Known for its authentic reggae and dub nights.
  • Community Focused: A staple in the neighbourhood with a devoted local crowd.

The Louisiana

Where: Wapping Rd, Bathurst Terrace, Bristol BS1 6UA

Primarily a live music venue but also offering club nights. Featuring indie and alternative bands with a lively nightclub atmosphere post-gigs.

Highlights:

  • Historic Venue: Known for hosting up-and-coming bands.
  • Intimate and Lively: Combines a close-knit feel with a lively atmosphere.

Trinity Centre

Where: Trinity Rd, St Jude’s, Bristol BS2 0NW

Housed in a converted church, Trinity Centre hosts electronic music nights to reggae and world music events. Its architectural grandeur adds a unique charm to any night out.

Highlights:

  • Stunning Venue: Unique ambiance in a converted church setting.
  • Diverse Programming: Offers a wide range of musical styles from world music to electronica.

Crofters Garden

Where: 117 – 119 Stokes Croft, Bristol BS1 3RW

Adjacent to Crofter’s Rights, Crofters Garden is an outdoor venue that comes alive during warmer months. Known for its laid-back atmosphere and indie music, it’s perfect for summer evenings.

Highlights:

  • Outdoor Vibes: Live music and DJs perfect for summer evenings.
  • Eclectic and Relaxed: Laid-back setting with vibrant energy.

The Old Market Assembly

Where: 25 West St, Bristol BS2 0DF

Located in Old Market, this venue combines a lively bar, restaurant, and performance space under one roof. Popular for its varied events including live bands, DJ nights, and theatre performances.

Highlights:

  • Multi-Purpose Venue: Exciting mix of food, drink, and entertainment.
  • Community-Oriented: Regularly features local artists and performances.

Final thoughts

Bristol offers an incredibly rich and varied nightlife scene. Whether you’re an aficionado of underground techno, a lover of live music, or someone just looking to dance the night away to mainstream hits, Bristol’s nightclubs have you covered.

The city’s blend of history, community focus, and musical diversity ensures a night out you’ll not soon forget. So lace up those dancing shoes and dive into the diverse world of Bristol’s nightlife—you won’t be disappointed.