Handily, most of the best drinking spots in Preston are located down Church Street; a 400-metre-long stretch of pubs, bars and clubs which also offers plenty of takeaway options.
Just off Church Street, you’ll find Baluga Bar and Club, a cosmopolitan watering hole matching good service with an impressive range of top-shelf drinks. Once you’ve perused their jaw-dropping cocktail and champagne menu, take a seat in their main bar, playing a toe-tapping mix of funk, soul and disco or head into the livelier club – open until 4am at weekends – and dance the night away to a mix of house and hip-hop.
Just down the road on nearby Fishergate is Kuckoo. A dark, neon-lit bar, they specialise in cool cocktails, with dozens to choose from. With a banging indie, alternative and rock soundtrack, it’s lively late into the night at weekends, while they do a popular cocktail making masterclass that makes for a fun and intoxicating way to start your evening.
The other recommended bar in Church Street is Hogarths. Stocked with over 80 different gin varieties, it’s a gin lover’s paradise. Set in an impressive Victorian townhouse, there’s a large beer garden for sunny days and roaring log fires for winter evenings. And, naturally, their cocktail menu is off-the-charts good. If you can’t make up your mind from their Gin Bible menu, they’ve made things a bit simpler with a range of gin sharing platters, as well as a strong collection of real ales and TV screens showing the latest sporting dramas.
Located in the former Corn Exchange, Bar 1842 has some seriously impressive heritage – bands like the Beatles and Led Zeppelin strutted their stuff there in the 60s and 70s, while the 1842 part of the name comes from the date of the Plug Plot Riots, when Prestonians stood against unfair wage reductions. A high-class outlet, the welcoming copper-clad bar serves an impressive range of cocktails and craft ales and is open from Wednesday to Sunday and until 2.30am at the weekend.
And finally, there’s the Mad Ferret. A cute Northern pun (‘I’m mad ‘fer it’), the name also aptly describes this music-centric bar. They take their food and drink very seriously, with five hand-pulled real ales and a raft of craft beers from around the UK, as well as a wide selection of gins, rums and whiskies. Their food menu, meanwhile, favours the slow-cooked and smoked approach, with burgers, pulled pork, ribs and chicken wings among the highlights.
There's a great choice of hotels in Preston which make an ideal base for exploring the city's renovated docks and marina or indulging in some retail therapy at its impressive shopping centres and markets.
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