Historic pubs that have stood the test of time, swanky cocktail bars and dancefloor clubs that go all-night – there’s something for everyone in Canterbury’s nightlife.
Nightlife in Canterbury
You know you’re in for a good time just by the sign at the top of Alberrys – bistro/wine/cocktails/rum. With a central location just behind the Canterbury Tales, the cosy bistro and bar is a great hangout, with tasty food, excellent drinks and a welcoming, friendly atmosphere.
Cross St Margaret’s St and you’ll find The Loft, a lively bar with four resident DJs, two outdoor gardens which are perfect for summer drinking and dancing and a list of cocktails as long as the BFG’s arm. Stylish and fun, it’s a great place for a group of friends to hangout from Wednesday to Saturday night.
Heading north towards Orange Street and The Friars and you’ll find a neat cluster of bars and pubs a short walk from each other. Our picks are The Canterbury Tales and Bramley’s. The Canterbury Tales is a cosy bar with a great range of drinks and cocktails and a lively jukebox, regular karaoke sessions, live music at the weekend and darts and pool table action. Alternatively, Bramley’s is a laidback candle-lit speakeasy with some of the best cocktails in Canterbury. They have live music every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and daily cocktail happy hours from 6-8pm.
As the name suggests, The Champagne Bar on the High Street and near the Beaney House of Art & Knowledge delivers when it comes to bubbles. As well as a head-turning collection of Champagne by the glass, bottle or even the magnum, they do a range of cocktails and are also open for food and afternoon tea if you start to get a bit peckish.
Cocktails in Canterbury
The Lady Luck
If you like your pubs packed with real ale by day and, erm, real ale and punk bands by night, you’ll love The Lady Luck down near Westgate Gardens. Billed as Canterbury’s rock’n’roll pub, they have a traditional jukebox rammed with punk, metal and rock anthems with guest Djs and live bands. The drinks are just as impressive, with a diverse range of real ales, craft beers, cocktails and specialist rum, while the kitchen serves homemade pub grub including vegetarian and vegan options. With a large beer garden and board games as well, it has most bases covered – but being a rock-loving, beer-drinking sort will definitely make you fall in love with the pub that little bit faster.
Head along The Friars and over the Great Stour and you’ll find the Thomas Becket, a laid back but occasionally lively traditional pub. With real ale on the bar, an open fire and exposed wooden floors and gastropub style food, it’s a welcoming pub after a long day seeing the nearby sights.
Just down from The Lady Luck on the other side of the River Stour is The Foundry Brew Pub. A quiet and relaxed pub, you can choose from one of their home-brewed beers or delve into their range of craft ales, ciders, wines and spirits, while if you’re hungry their restaurant covers everything from light bites and homemade pies to sharing platters, steaks and a pudding menu.
At the top end of Canterbury’s city centre, The Penny Theatre is a true all-rounder. With all the big sporting action, a wide range of meals including daily deals, a pool and ping pong table and guest bands and DJs at the action, it covers a lot of entertainment. There’s a beer garden where you can rest and recuperate, and with a late weekend license until 1am, you might well need to take a breather or two.
Halfway between the Lady Luck and The Penny Theatre is The Dolphin. If you’re looking for a quiet pint of cask ale, a few board games, a weekly quiz, gentle background music and a cracking range of food, The Dolphin comes highly recommended.
While you’re there, you should definitely stop in at the Parrott next door on the quaint cobbled street. Harking back to the 14th century, the pub boasts oak beams and real fires with modern furniture and a cracking line up of real ales. And built on Roman foundations, it’s also one of the oldest buildings in Canterbury.
Close to the Canterbury East train station at the southern end of the city, Club Chemistry is a three-floor club known for its eclectic range of dance music in each room spanning chart, RnB, house music and more. The converted warehouse is open Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday with a strong student following (especially for the mid-week nights), an impressive range of entertainment including LED robots and fire performers and some big name guests including Pendulum, Fatman Scoop, CamelPhat and Danny Howard.
The other late-night spot in Canterbury is The Ballroom on Orange Street which is open until 2am from Monday to Saturday. Wednesdays are dedicated to live music with guest acts and an open mic session while on Friday and Saturday nights they hand the 18th-century ballroom to their resident DJs who keep the party going.