The nightlife in Southampton has everything you would expect from a popular university city. However, it’s the quirky, unexpected venues which take the headlines in our guide. Whether you’re drinking in a bookshop or buying a round in a Caribbean consulate, there is plenty going on here to keep you occupied during your stay.
Nightlife in Southampton
Leading the line in our list of Southampton’s best bars is Overdraft Craft Ale Bar on Shirley Road. They have a constantly rotating selection of 10 cask ales, which are served straight from cask to glass. If you get peckish after a few drinks, try their vibrant Mexican street food. It is served from Thursday to Sunday, and the tacos are out of this world!
Another great choice for craft ale fans is The Dancing Man Brewery at Town Quay. Founded in 2015, this award-winning microbrewery has grown to become a city favourite with a fine selection of home-made beers and food. The location is stunning and the interior decor really catches the eye with a large spiral staircase featuring right in the middle of the bar.
If cocktails are your tipple of choice, you won’t be disappointed by what Southampton has to offer. Revolution on Bedford Place is just a five-minute walk from our Cumberland Place hotel and boasts an extensive selection. Choose from the vibrant main bar, the hip club room or the rooftop skybar. You can even book a cocktail masterclass if you fancy picking up a new skill on your visit to Southampton.
For a more retro night – or day – visit The Orange Rooms on Vernon Walk, just around the corner from Bedford Place. This bar hosts a collection of unique rooms. One minute you can be in a ski lodge, the next you're in a Tiki lounge, and that’s all part of The Orange Rooms’ charm. Alternatively, you can take your favourite spirit to Bring & Mix and watch their expert mixologists create the cocktail of your dreams. This unique bar is located in the bustling Bedford Place, although they pride themselves on a stress-free cocktail experience – that means no waiting in endless queues at the bar!
Sitting by the Ocean Village marina sipping a nice cold drink is one of the finest ways to spend some time in Southampton, and there is nowhere better to do it than Pitcher & Piano. With a great choice of drinks to suit any taste, and plenty of food options including their very reasonable ‘Lunch for Less’ menu, this bar is a popular spot. Plus, outdoor heaters ensure you can sit outside even when the weather isn’t at its best.
If you would prefer to be more central, The Social on Lower Banister Street is a great place to visit. The cool decor and good music make for a really nice vibe here. If you are heading to the 02 Guildhall, then this bar would be a good choice for a few drinks beforehand, as it’s just a short stroll away, through Watts Park.
When it comes to going out, you won’t be short of options in Southampton. Every genre is covered, whether you’re into house, garage or some pop floor-fillers. We start with the latter, at Popworld on Lower Banister Street. Weekends get pretty lively there, with endless pop anthems playing and inflatables flying around until the early hours. You can stick with the pop theme at Oceana on West Quay Road, but you don’t have to. This bar has five rooms, spanning different genres and styles. If you are staying at our West Quay hotel, you won’t have to worry about getting a taxi there, as it is just over the road at Leisure World.
Are you more of a house or techno fan? Fear not. Switch regularly hosts some of the world’s biggest DJs and is located on Above Bar Street in the Cultural Quarter of the city. Check out what events are happening here during your stay, but you may need to book in advance to avoid disappointment. Alternatively, you could head to Junk on London Road, which won DJ Mag's ‘Best Small Club’ at the Best of British Awards.
Rounding off the list is Café Parfait, nearby to Switch on Above Bar Street. This is undoubtedly Southampton’s most distinctive club venue, with acrobatic performers and live musicians regularly making an appearance there.
We start our guide to Southampton pubs with a true hidden gem. Caskaway Tasting Rooms is only a small microbrewery, but its mighty selection of beers, wines and spirits and ship-style decor make it a great place to stop and have a drink. It is centrally located too, just a short walk from Queens Park on Oxford Street.
Next up on our Southampton pub crawl is The Wellington Arms. A proper traditional public house, they serve a selection of 12 real ales and four real ciders, as well as a food menu of pub classics. And if you’re wondering if this place has character, then take a look at the plaque by the bar. It signifies that the pub is the official UK consulate of Redonda, a small Caribbean island – the landlord even has a Redondan knighthood! The Rockstone on Onslow Road is another traditional watering hole, with real ales and mouthwatering burgers.
Head up to the top of the city, and you'll find The Butcher’s Hook Alehouse on Manor Farm Road, just off Cobden Bridge. It is a restored Victorian butcher’s shop, and is packed full of quirky character. The hosts serve a fine selection of gravity poured ales and are even happy to provide plates and cutlery if you want to bring in your own takeaway. If this kind of off-the-wall micropub is to your taste, you may also want to visit The Bookshop Alehouse on Portswood Road. You would be forgiven for thinking you were walking into a bookshop, but the bar at the back makes this a great little place to drink, chat and read to your heart’s content.