It might not be full of banging clubs and fancy bars, but the Dover nightlife still has a lot to offer. From an award-winning microbrewery to a wine bar with stunning views across the marina, a night out in Dover is a relaxed affair where the beer does the talking. The pubs here are full of character and history, where soaking up the atmosphere is almost as good as the fantastic selection of craft drinks you’ll find on offer across the town.
A bar with personality, The Thirsty Scarecrow is a hidden gem of wooden tables, vintage furniture and unique mix-match decor. A tiny place that only seats around 30 people, the speciality booze here is cider. There are 20-25 different ciders on the menu and, as they go major on Kentish makers, expect some tastes you’ve probably never come across before. They also offer a fantastic selection of craft gins – all for a very reasonable price. Just around the corner from Charlton Shopping Centre, there is always something going on at The Thirsty Scarecrow. So whether you visit during an event or when they’re hosting a games night, you’re guaranteed to have a good time.
If you’re looking for a bar with a view, you need to visit Cullins Yard Wine Bar. Located next to Dover Marina, it overlooks the water which offers spectacular scenery. It’s the same story inside as well, with a clean and classic aesthetic that perfectly reflects the maritime location. The food is some of the best in the area too, as everything is made to order with local butchers and fishmongers supplying the freshest ingredients every day. As you would expect, fish is your best bet here. With cod, sea bass, mussels, haddock and much more on the menu, you’ll be spoilt for choice. If you’re looking for something lighter, why not sample a classic Dover docker – a large doorstep-style sandwich with a selection of fillings. If you just want to pop in for a drink, Cullins Yard offers exclusive imports from the renowned Hallgarten Wine Company and premium beers from across the globe.
Cullins Yard Wine Bar
The White Horse Inn is a classy place with a passion for creating great-tasting food. Following a major renovation in 2013, it’s made a name for itself as a venue that takes pride in what it serves. Everything from the food on the menu and the drinks behind the bar, to the special events and themed dining offers, has been carefully selected with the punters in mind. The food is all delicious, but the pizzas are a real treat. With unusual toppings such as chilli beef, avocado and nachos, you’re in for a unique dining experience at The White Horse Inn. With an extensive selection of craft ales and specially selected wines, this is a great place to spend an evening out in Dover, especially if you’re staying at our Dover Central hotel which is just a seven-minute walk away.
More traditional in style is The Lanes Micropub on the corner of Worthington Street. As the name suggests, this place is compact, but the selection of Kent’s finest ales more than makes up for it. The beer here is so good it was named Branch Pub of the Year for the Dover district in the 2017 Campaign For Real Ale Awards. With plenty to keep you occupied, you can easily waste a couple of hours here throwing some darts and getting to know the friendly locals.
Another established pub, the Crown & Sceptre has been serving pints to the people of Dover for over 100 years. Located by St Martin’s Church, this place is well loved by locals who are always happy to extend a warm welcome to visitors. A great spot to catch some live music, local bands and solo artists perform here regularly throughout the year. If the music doesn’t do it for you then maybe the games will as there is a dart board, pool table and card decks available for anyone to play. If you’re staying in one of our hotels in Dover in summer, you can also play skittles outside in their own skittle alley.
Another micropub, this time situated a two-minute walk from the Dover Museum, is The Mash Tun. What was once a thriving shop is now a great place to relax with a glass of wine at the end of a hard day's retail therapy. They don’t sell lager here – as the sign at the front makes perfectly clear – but they do have a good selection of draught ciders and real ales dispensed from a temperature controlled cellar room. Inside there are lots of original features, like the 200-year-old church pulpit that serves as the bar, a piano, and a guitar that any willing visitor is welcome to pick up and play.
Nestled along the River Dour, you’ll find The Red Lion. Built in 1850 this welcoming pub was the first to build a skittle alley outside – a trend you’ll find in many watering holes across town – and it still has a local team today. The vibe is friendly and they’re always changing the ales on offer, so there is usually something new. The perfect pub for all the seasons, the lovely outdoor area is ideal for soaking up some rays in summer, and a stunning open fireplace keeps you warm in winter.
Located in St Margaret’s at Cliffe, The Smugglers is named after the village’s rich history as the centre for importing and distributing illicit alcohol in the 1700s. Today the pub is still providing guests with the best booze around, with a large selection of lager, cider and real ale – including a new ‘guest’ ale served every week. You can also fill your stomach in the conservatory restaurant which offers a great choice of grub. From poached salmon and breast of duck, to pizza and sizzling fajitas, you’re sure to find something you fancy on this extensive food menu. If you’re staying at our Dover East hotel you can also pick up a takeaway from here, as it’s only a five-minute drive away.
If you’re a live music lover then you need to head down to The Louis Armstrong on Maison Dieu Road. Dover’s premier local music venue, bands and singers have been entertaining punters here for over 50 years. A six-minute walk from Charlton Shopping Centre, it’s had the same landlady for decades, so there is a real family atmosphere in here. When it comes to the drinks, expect your usual selection of lager, wine and spirits and up to four craft ales, all from local Kent microbreweries. They don’t usually serve food but if you happen to visit on a Wednesday, you can expect beer at a discount and very reasonably priced meals in the evening.
As a smaller town, Dover isn’t known for its world-class clubs, but if you do want to hit the dancefloor during your visit, The Funky Monkey is your best bet. This has been Dover’s top late-night venue for over 10 years, so the team know how to have a good time. It’s also the best venue in town for watching live football, as it’s one of the only places around that shows Sky Sports. Expect great music, fancy cocktails and plenty of spirits to help you party the night away. Located on Bench Street, The Funky Monkey is open until 2am on Thursdays and 3am on Friday and Saturday nights.