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Attic, Bristol
Photograph: Attic

The 10 absolute best clubs in Bristol

From a world-renowned super-club to the city’s edgiest DIY spaces, these are the best clubs in Bristol for any kind of night out

Written by
Sammy Jones

Bristol’s nightlife scene is legendary. Brizzle has been a habitual presence in the ‘Best Night Out in Britain’ debate, and you don’t need to be a clubbing guru to understand why. The city’s roster of clubs touches all bases, from internationally renowned super-clubs to heart-and-soul DIY joints. 

That isn’t to say that Bristol has been immune to the seemingly unstoppable force of gentrification. Many popular DIY venues (Clockwork, Brunswick Club, and others) have closed under pressure from encroaching developers. Despite the pain, Bristol only goes forward, and the best clubs in town are a homage to the multi-faceted magic of the city itself.

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🛍️ The best vintage shops in Bristol

At Time Out, all of our travel guides are written by local writers who know their cities inside out. For more about how we curate, see our editorial guidelines.

Top Bristol clubs

The Island
Photograph: James Reilly, Pretty Pretty Good

1. The Island

By day, this former police station smack bang in the city centre rents affordable studios to artists and hosts an array of fun-sounding creative classes. But The Island doesn’t switch off when that afternoon crowd piles out at 5pm – it also hosts a winning array of club nights. Our top tip? Head to one of the parties in the original early twentieth-century police cells that stretch under the main rooms.

  • Clubs

If you fancy a few quiet drinks and a catch-up with mates, best give Lakota a swerve. But if you like the sound of a three-room rave, it should definitely be on your agenda. Back in the heady days of ’90s raving, Lakota was one of the UK’s best-known clubs, regularly booking superstars across house, techno and jungle. Since the turn of the millennium, the vast space has also hosted many of the city’s larger drum ’n’ bass and psytrance parties. Lockdown signalled the opening of Lakota Gardens: an outdoor space where a chiller set of events like beer festivals and vintage markets happen.

The Crofters Rights
Photograph: Crofters’ Rights

3. The Crofters Rights

As you go in, this craft beer bar-slash-pizza joint may seem like your average trendy boozer. But head to the large room at the back, and you’ll find a much more party-ready atmosphere. You can jam a surprising number of clubbers into the Crofters’ wood-lined interior – come here for a cosy, crazy and probably boozy night out. Just be careful on the spiral staircase down to the loos, won’t you?

  • Clubs

Cosies has rightfully earned a rep as one of the city’s most legendary party spots. A long-standing focus on all things dub and bass means this tiny basement has become synonymous with the sound system culture that helped birth Bristol’s club scene. The Sunday reggae sessions remain essential for those of a roots persuasion, while for those who like their riddims a little tougher, dancehall dons Ruffnek Diskotek are regularly on hand to cater to all your basement needs.

  • Music

Fancy clubbing on a boat? Of course you do. Originally brought to the Mud Dock area back in 1982 as a floating theatre and art gallery, the Thekla became a club in the early ’90s, providing a platform for early performances from the likes of Massive Attack. Thekla has repositioned itself as both a club and gig venue, making it a firm favourite with indie and dance crowds alike.

  • Clubs

Sharing an enormous courtyard with the Full Moon pub and a backpackers’ hostel, you don’t even need to step inside this Stokes Croft venue for an idea of what to expect. Resembling some sort of year-round festival, complete with outside bars and an array of picnic tables, Attic and its sister pub are hugely popular, its clientele drawn in by an impressive musical menu of reggae, ska, drum ‘n’ bass and live bands.

  • Clubs

A decade or so ago, Motion was nothing more than a skatepark hidden away in an industrial complex behind Temple Meads train station. Today, the enormous multi-room venue is one of Bristol’s biggest nightclubs. With a cavernous main room at the heart of a sprawling complex of smaller spaces, outdoor areas and the adjacent Marble Factory venue, Motion provides a regular home for home-grown Bristol institutions and global mega-brands.

  • Clubs

This subterranean bastion of bass and beats is one of the only places you can hear dance music on this side of town. B45 suffered somewhat from a saturation of dark drum ‘n’ bass nights in its early years, but these days, the musical menu is noticeably broader. While quality D&B is still the venue’s bread and butter, you’re now just as likely to hear basement, deep house or UKG blasting out in its compact main room.

  • Clubs

This Bristol clubbing institution is hidden among a long line of shops and hairdressers on trendy Park Row. Many legendary venues have come and gone in these parts, but one quick glance at the programme here will sufficiently explain Dojo’s longevity. Thanks to its excellent drum ‘n’ bass nights, the club has stayed true to its roots.

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