A city with a long and illustrious after-hours history pushed forward by its large student population, Leicester continues to evolve and adapt with nightlife trends – as well as some impressive clubs that spurred on its ‘90s house music history. The city is home to on-point cocktail bars, themed pubs and laid-back haunts providing a full range of drinking establishments.
A city steeped in history, Leicester has been a pub stronghold for centuries, and that fine tradition continues with some seriously impressive establishments catering for today’s discerning drinkers.
If you want a pub with 300 years of history behind it, serving ales that are brewed using spring water taken from its own well, then The Globe on Silver Street fits the bill. Dating back to 1720, it’s been serving Leicester's eating and drinking needs for almost three centuries, with a rotating gallery of beers, a classic food menu and its famed Sunday roast. With restored vintage oil lamps and a wood-worn interior, this is Leicester’s oldest pub and still one of its most popular.
Less than two miles from our Central (A50) hotel, the King Richard III is a Victorian alehouse that is also steeped in history and prides itself on its selection of craft beers, well-travelled wines, St. Martin’s coffee and locally sourced food. The food seals the deal, as the meat is reared and butchered by the head chef and owner, while a three-tiered Japanese BBQ is used in the kitchen to achieve stunningly smoky flavours through their carefully selected cuts.
Another pub as dedicated to its food as its drink is The Rutland and Derby Arms. An award-winning pub in the heart of the city, just a stone’s throw from the cathedral, the kitchen is its beating heart. Food is ethically sourced, with seasonal vegetables and produce used where possible to create new menus on a regular basis, offering burgers and pizzas often with enticing culinary twists (like the black forest ham pizza).
Conveniently located for commuters, The Salmon is near the main bus station and a vital stop on any city centre pub crawl. With 12 cask ales and ciders at any one time, it’s an unfussy pub targeted towards beer fans, with high quality and incredibly diverse guest brews sourced from across the UK. It also offers a range of bar snacks, including the highly recommended pork pies, with a good-sized outdoor beer garden and screen for all the big games.
A club stronghold in the 90s when dance music took over the UK, Leicester continues to be a shining light on the club scene, with an incredibly diverse range of nightlife options on offer.
Be it breaks, garage, funk, soul, Motown, disco or RnB, The Basement has got you covered. Weekends reverberate to the sounds of indie, funk, soul and electro on Fridays, with a more disco/funk orientated mix on Saturdays. It’s a 6am finish at weekends for those with the stamina to see it through until sunrise.
With a strong focus on soul, jazz, funk and reggae, Jukebox is a true gem in Leicester’s nightlife, having hosted big-name acts like Soul 2 Soul’s Jazzie B, Aswad and Alexander O’Neal for live shows and DJ sets. A 15-minute walk from our Leicester City Centre hotel, the bar is a great place for a chilled night out, overlooking Jubilee Square, attracting a musically knowledgeable and often more mature crowd.
As the name evocatively suggests, Mosh is an alternative indie haven. You’ll be playing air guitar riffs as soon as you step inside. Open four nights a week – Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday – the three-floor club largely caters to the indie and rock market, but also offers up a diverse range of sounds via its third room, including dance anthems, RnB and bass house. Popular with students, the drinks are cheap and flowing.
Another three-tiered club but very, very different is Venom Nightclub, in Belgrave Gate, which aims to give its clubbers the VIP treatment. With a dazzling audio-visual setup and a VIP room featuring table service booths and an all-bases-covered music policy that includes hip hop, chart tunes and house, Venom is all about the luxury experience.
Part live music venue and part dance music basement, the Dryden Street Social boasts one of the best booking policies in Leicester, with disco stars Horse Meat Disco booked in the same venue as performance poet Dr John Cooper Clarke. With a bustling 450 capacity and a finely tuned sound system, this multi-purpose venue has quickly marked itself out as one of the most forward-looking club spaces in the city.
With many bars now boasting late night licences, Leicester’s bar scene has blossomed in recent years and includes a wide variety of options.
Jazz, blues and cocktails – what’s not to love at 33 Cank Street? Not only do they have a live band covering jazz and blues classics you can flapper to, they also serve a cocktail high tea; an amazing twist on the high tea classic featuring bespoke cocktails. With cocktail masterclass sessions, guest bartenders and a tapas menu to keep your energy levels up, it’s worth booking a table in advance, as this city centre bar can get very busy.
One of the highest ranking bars in Leicester on TripAdvisor, The Orange Tree is a one-stop venue offering good food and music, as well as drinks, making it the perfect place to start your night out. With a drinks menu that spans 16 pages, you’ll be sure to find the right liquid refreshment for you. The food has a strong focus on vegetarian options and can even be ordered to take away if you’re in a rush.
Part of a chain, BrewDog Leicester maintains the strong ale-leaning principles as the rest of the outlets. With dozens of beers on offer, including a rotating cast of guest beers and up to 16 taps, the pub is housed in a 19th century building and features vintage pinball, games consoles and stonebaked pizzas. It’s also a short 10-minute walk from our Leicester City Centre hotel.
Often referred to as a hidden gem in the city, we’re happy to share the secrets of Bossa Bar. With friendly staff who have an encyclopedic knowledge of spirits, you’re in good hands when you’re ordering at the bar. They have a dizzying array of bottles, spirits and cocktails for you to try. It’s not just a top-notch liquor joint though – the daytime coffees and cakes come just as highly recommended.
With a hidden garden, comedy nights, a happy hour lasting four hours and expertly made cocktails, Manhattan34 is one of Leicester’s outstanding bars. Perfect for a pre- or post-theatre drink, it’s a five-minute walk from our Leicester City Centre hotel and a short walk from other city centre attractions. With cool prohibition-era stylings and bartenders happy to go off menu, you can happily stay here until the 1am weekend curfew.
A gastropub with beautiful wood-lined interiors and a quirky art nouveau exterior, 1901 - The Turkey Café is a fantastic spot for afternoon tea, cocktails, a quick pint or a lazy three-hour session putting the world to rights. With a good city centre location on Granby Street and only a short stroll from other city centre attractions and five minutes from our Leicester City Centre hotel, this Grade II listed bar is as quirky as it is enticing.
There are no fewer than seven Leicester hotels to suit your needs when planning a visit - so you can choose whatever's best for you, whether you're indulging in some retail therapy or treating yourself to a night out.
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