The second furthest north city in the UK certainly knows its nightlife – from whisky dens and historic pubs to some of the best cutting-edge clubs in Britain, you’ll find it all on nights out in Aberdeen.
Start your journey at CASC on Stirling Street. One of the most popular bars and pubs in the city, it’s got one of the most impressive drinks menus in Scotland – choose from over 24 draught ales and lagers, hundreds of bottled beers and, the jewel in the crown, more than 500 different bottles of Scotch whisky. They also do an impressive range of coffee and cigars, including their own walk-in humidor.
If Scottish ales, bespoke cocktails and casual dining are your thing, then the Tippling House might just be your new favourite bar. An underground late-night tavern, it serves food until 11pm, with bar snacks and platters available until 2am – which is just as well, as after a whisky, gin or wine tasting session, you’ll probably have the munchies.
Cocktails are king at Orchid, a classy establishment just off Union Street. They boast a range of classic and contemporary cocktails, as well as regular gin and whisky tasting sessions, while the stylish bar is adorned with paintings and art from local artists.
Nearby in the West End is Dusk Cocktail Bar, a classic cocktail joint that’s romantic, intimate and the perfect place for a cosy drink after dinner at the nearby 8848 restaurant, which we’ve covered in our Aberdeen restaurants page.
If you fancy something a little more alternative, Ninety Nine Bar & Kitchen combines cocktails, craft ales, gastropub food and a quirky edge – think classic cartoons playing on the big screen and cool music. Plus, it’s just a short walk from our City Centre hotel.
Housed in a converted church on Union Street, Soul Bar has long been one of Aberdeen’s most popular bars. With a sleek and stylish interior, and plenty of original church features, it’s one of the most striking bars in the city and comes backed by a great food menu, a courtyard terrace, live music and DJs at the weekend. And, in what could be a clincher for business types, it boasts the fastest free Wi-Fi service in the city.
A growing Scottish chain, Six Degrees North take their inspiration from Belgian beer, and thanks to their own microbrewery, they have a range of ales and beers that pay homage to the Belgian craft. With hundreds of bottles from across the world, you’re bound to find the right beer for you – and you’ll have fun discovering new ones on your journey.
Finally, Paramount Bar on Bon-Accord Street brings together the old and the new in style. You can take a seat on a vintage leather sofa and enjoy a spot of shuffling – that’s not a new dance by the way, but an old-fashioned game a little like curling. Alternatively, you can grab a cocktail from their impressive menu, head to the dancefloor near the giant neon Paramount sign and cut loose a little.
Our video guide to nightlife in Aberdeen
We’ve rounded up six of our favourite drinking dens in the city in our Aberdeen pubs guide.
One of the largest clubs in the city, The Garage comes alive every Friday and Saturday night when hundreds descend for their chart-topping mix of music and cheap drinks. If it’s a lively, youthful atmosphere you’re after, this popular club just off Union Street is a big hit with students and young professionals.
Literally over the road is The Institute, a three-room club boasting two huge bars which run events every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. The music sticks with tried-and-tested club classics, including commercial house and RnB.
If you’d rather belt out the classics in your own VIP suite than in the middle of a heaving dancefloor, Sing City on Chapel Street is the spot for you. Aberdeen’s only private karaoke bar, they have six fully equipped rooms loaded with thousands of tracks and even host under-18 sessions every weekend if you want to get the family involved.
If you’re looking for something truly alternative, Krakatoa is the answer. A dive bar in the best sense of the phrase, this cool club closes at 3am – by which point you’ll be very well acquainted with their jukebox full of rock and metal, their impressive drinks menu – including Absinthe served the authentic way with ice-cold water, a serving spoon and sugar – and their almost entirely neon-lit bar. Posh and preening VIP spot this is not, and it’s all the better for it.
Finally, Cheerz on Exchange Street is Aberdeen's oldest and most established LGBT venue and a true Aberdeen institution. Open daily, they host a variety of events, including drag acts, musicals, karaoke sessions, quiz nights and an annual panto.