From real ale and bespoke cocktails to four-room super clubs and gin palaces, we’ve got the best bars, pubs and clubs in Dorset covered in our nightlife guide.
Nightlife in Dorset
As the largest hub in Dorset, Bournemouth naturally leads the way when it comes to bars, pubs and clubs. Cheese and wine fans need look no further than Renoufs on Poole Road. It’s a cosy, welcoming space stocked with wine, gin and craft beer and a drool-inducing array of sharing platters, exotic cheeses and charcuterie.
Back towards the town centre, Sixty Million Postcards is another cool and fun bar. The American-style diner dishes up calorific treats, a tasty range of beer and craft ales plus regular live music and weekend DJs.
There are several cocktail joints worth exploring too. Be At One Cocktail Bar opposite the Square is a stylish chain bar with well-presented cocktails and masterclass sessions while Smokin’ Aces on Commercial Road is a fashionable cocktail and whisky lounge with exposed walls, subtle lighting and a cool crowd. There are plenty more great bars in Dorset’s leading town which we’ve rounded up in our guide to nightlife in Bournemouth.
If you fancy taking your bar-hopping a little later into the night, several venues offer a bar setting with later licensing hours. DYMK Bar & Club is a short walk from Smokin’ Aces and opens until 4 am at the weekend with an up-for-it crowd and a wide range of events including karaoke, pop, cabaret and club nights. Or try Canvas next door, a loft-style cocktail bar with a wide range of drinks and sharing plates, guest DJs at the weekend and an intimate live lounge.
There are plenty of excellent destination bars outside of Bournemouth. One of our favourites is The Pig on the Beach on the Studland coast. The bar is well-stocked with wine, beer and gin, but it’s the amazing food – which almost solely uses produce from a 25-mile perimeter – and the coastal views that make this a real stand-out.
Cellar 59 in Lyme Regis will make beer lovers very hoppy indeed. Not only does it have one of the best beer, ale, cider and lager ranges in the region, they also brew their own in-house supply with new additions most months.
Away from the coast, The Gin House in Wimborne is – as the name implies – a real gin palace, with a dizzying array of gin and nearly 100 cocktails all served in an intimate plush venue.
Bars in Dorset
Pubs in Dorset
With historic castles, Instagram-perfect coastal views and gorgeous walks, the Studland headland is a must-visit. And it’s also home to an array of excellent country pubs boasting large beer gardens, fine food, roaring log fires and a very decent range of drinks. The Greyhound Inn, the Square and Compass, The Anchor Inn and Bankes Arms are all highly recommended and close enough to each other for a stylish pub crawl although you’ll need a car to get around the area.
Another excellent seaside pub is The Cove House Inn overlooking the dramatic Chesil Beach. The seafood menu is outstanding and they also host regular folk nights, the perfect accompaniment to the crashing waves.
The Poole Arms in Poole is one of the oldest pubs in the region dating back to 1683 and is a traditional pub serving up hearty food, a wide range of real ales and regular acoustic music sessions.
If you’re staying near one of our Weymouth hotels, make sure to check out Smugglers Inn near Ringstead. It’s a wonderful country pub offering gorgeous coastline views and incredible food. Heading inland a little, Springhead is a Victorian-era pub with a log fire in the winter and large beer garden for sunnier days, plus a winning combination of real ale and classic British pub grub.
Bournemouth already features large in our nightlife roundup, but one of our favourite pubs in the city is The Inferno. Combining split levels, plenty of sofa seating, pool tables and a large beer garden, it’s a large, relaxed pub with diner-style food, retro games consoles and all the sporting action on big screens.
As the largest city in Dorset, Bournemouth is the place to come for late-night fun. The Lost Paradise in the heart of Bournemouth is a fun, lively cocktail bar with a lush tropical theme while a short walk away is Cameo, a four-room space with club nights every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. Perhaps the coolest of the lot is Halo Nightclub on Exeter Road. Housed in a converted church, the four-room club covers a wide spectrum of music including more alternative sounds, with international DJs most weekends.
Weymouth is another hot spot with plenty to offer once the sun goes down. The Lazy Lizard overlooking the seafront is a cool pub with a lively live music roster while a few streets down is The Closet which mixes up weekly quiz nights, karaoke and weekend clubbing sessions.