Whether you’re looking for a quiet rural pub, a Sunday roast and a pint, pre-dinner cocktails or to dance until dawn, we’ve got all the best spots in Essex covered in our nightlife guide.
Nightlife in Essex
If you want a celebrity-endorsed taste of Essex, head to Sugar Hut in Brentwood. Made famous by reality TV series The Only Way Is Essex, it’s a high-profile bar and nightclub on the High Street with table-service, wild Asian-style decor and a glamorous crowd.
Another nightlife hotspot is Colchester. High Street bar Three Wise Monkeys is a seriously cool venue stocked with one of the best ranges of drinks in Essex and some great bar food, while Twisters Bar a short walk away is the place to come for cocktails and cool, alternative music (and a snug little summer garden). Our other bar recommendation in Colchester is Silk Road Lounge, a trendy bar and nightclub with white leather sofas, VIP service and a 4.30am late-night license.
Southend-on-Sea’s nightlife reputation is well-deserved. Two of our favourite drinking spots are the East Coast Social and the Pipe of Port. East Coast Social on London Road is a bright, retro-style diner and bar while the Pipe of Port is another throwback venue, this time channelling Victorian-era England, with an excellent wine list and first-rate food.
Other bars worth checking out include Bar Vino in Chelmsford, a bright modern space with killer cocktails and Reids Billericay, a sprawling three-tiered eating and drinking destination with six bars, a large terrace, a wide range of cocktails and a popular brunch menu.
Pubs in Essex
Gastropubs, historic inns, pubs with their own breweries – They’re all here in Essex. Chelmsford is one of the best towns in Essex for pub crawls thanks in no small part to The Alehouse, our favourite town-centre pub, which boats over a dozen different real ales, lagers, beers and brews. From there, head into the countryside for the best boozers. To the west, we’d recommend The Queen’s Head and The Fox & Goose, two good-looking, historic gastropubs. Other pub highlights in the region include The Old Windmill, a rustic country pub close to Hanningfield Reservoir and The Square and Compasses, a 17th-century real-ale pub with one of the best Sunday roasts for miles.
Other excellent pubs in Essex include The Cricketers in Southend-on-Sea, The George and Dragon in Brentwood and the Fox Inn and The Bell Inn near Braintree. Take your pick, they’re all good.
Those looking for late-night fun in Essex need look no further than Chelmsford and Southend-on-Sea.
Chelmsford is home to several stand out nightclubs including Bassment, a cool indie/alternative club with an indie/disco soundtrack and CTZN, the polar opposite with a swanky neon-lit dancefloor and VIP table service. The other leading late-night spot is Bar & Beyond, a split-level bar and club with an on-trend graffiti-look, regular mid-week events and guest DJs at the weekend.
Southend-on-Sea is just as lively once the sun sets. There are plenty of options including the multi-faceted Coco, which blurs the lines between cabaret, cinema, restaurant, bar and club and Talk, one of the oldest – and biggest – clubs in the region, having been in the drinking and dancing business for over 40 years. Next to Talk on Lucy Road is Chameleon, a bustling club with regular free-entry deals, crowd-pleasing DJs covering a wide range of genres and well-priced drinks. Completing our Southend-on-Sea clubs roundup is Chinnerys. Located close to Chameleon and Talk on Marine Parade, Chinnerys is a thrilling live music club, having welcomed big-names like the Arctic Monkeys, Snow Patrol and The Libertines over the years.