From hedonistic nightclubs to laid-back boozers and everything in between, a Reading night out doesn’t disappoint.
A chain bar that’s slowly taken over the south of England, Be At One Reading was their first venture out of London and has been a resounding success. Situated on Gun Street, the classy two-floor bar is known for its cocktails and fun atmosphere. As well offering over 100 cocktails, they run masterclass sessions so you can learn how to make your Banoffee Old Fashioned. Stay upstairs in the chic bar or head downstairs to the second room and the dance floor as the night grows longer. Be at One stays open until 3am every Friday and Saturday night.
Part live music venue, part craft beer outlet and all very funky, the Oakford Social Club on Blagrave Street is a lively bar that has something going on most nights of the week. From guest bands and DJs to pub quizzes and acoustic sessions, this is one of the coolest new spots in town.
Just as intriguing is Smash, the only place in Reading where you can play ping-pong (on Olympic-standard tables, no less), grab an artisan pizza and sink a few craft ales. The 12-inch pizzas are the perfect pre-game food, and with dozens of beers and cocktails to try out, you won’t have far to wander in between games to get your next drink.
Caffeine and Cocktails, as the name suggests, does two things and it does them extremely well indeed. The coffee during the day is first-rate, while the coffee cocktails at night will have you buzzing around this cool, neon-lit bar until closing time.
A Reading institution since opening in 2012, Milk Bar Reading is what happens when you mix rum, cocktails, music and comedy and host it all in one bar. Located off Merchant’s Place, they have live music and DJs at the weekend and regular rum and whisky sessions during the week.
If a quiet glass of Merlot or Pinot Grigio is more your scene, Veeno – The Italian Wine Café is one of the best in town. The nationwide chain bar has a great wine-tasting set menu including nibbles and five glasses of wine and is located near Reading Museum and the town hall.
Around the corner on Station Road is Revolution Reading, a busy cocktail bar that’s open from lunch to late-night dancing.Their Secret Garden is a great spot to soak in the sun and drink your way through their cocktail menu – their Dark and Stormy is said to be entirely worth a try.
Being the same brand as the legendary Brighton club, you can expect the same style of cutting edge live music and DJs at Reading Coalition. Just off Gun Street in the centre of town, this stylish club is a blend of dark wood, exposed brickwork and neat metalwork giving a cool and contemporary feel. The ambience is backed up by the service and music which spans everything from hip-hop to commercial and underground house.
Spread over three floors, Q Club takes a more in your face approach. Here fire breathers, entertainers and over the top pyrotechnics supplement a soundtrack that veers from R&B and rock to chart and house music. With two rooms, the 920-capacity club is also home to Propaganda, the popular nationwide indie night which is on every Thursday.
One of the longest-running clubs in Reading, After Dark is the place to head for retro kicks. With dedicated club nights covering the 80s, classic pop and the baggy sound of Madchester, the London Street club also offers some of the best drink deals in town. If you want to get nostalgic and sing your heart out with a club full of like-minded people – and still have change from £20 – this is the place for you.
Previously mentioned as the home of the Maiwand Lion, Forbury Gardens is a lovely, relaxing park with a popular café that borders the Abbey Ruins. Grab a latte on a sunny morning and take a stroll around the park, one of Reading’s quieter pleasures. It’s also home to the Blue Collar Feastival held every summer, featuring live music, bars and some of the region’s best food stalls.
If you’d like to take your singing a step further, Kinky Koala is one of the leading karaoke bars and clubs in Reading. The ground floor is a tree-house-themed club and bar, while upstairs there are VIP suites and private-hire karaoke rooms, plus a rooftop terrace that is perfect for summer months.
A cool bar and late-night dancing spot, Matchbox Reading takes its inspiration from Berlin, East London and New York and has a cool hipster feel to it. The 320-capacity venue varies its soundtrack from UK garage throwback nights to R&B sessions, while the rooftop terrace smoking area is a great place to take time out.
A true Reading institution, The Purple Turtle has been delivering groundbreaking club music and live bands for nearly 30 years and shows no sign of slowing down. Mining an alternative sound including drum and bass, reggae and dub, underground disco and up and coming acts, there is something on every weekend until 3.30am.
Bringing some tropical colour to town, Lola Lo Reading is a fun tiki-themed bar and nightclub that caters to a younger crowd. The playlist is a mix of R&B, indie and chart hits, with the array of cocktails keeping the dance floor lubricated until 4am at the weekend.
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