Often doubling as live music venues, the city has night clubs on boats and in basements, themed around different music styles or cultures, karaoke or the 80s. Whatever you’re looking for, chances are there’s a Bristol night club that delivers the vibe you’re looking for.
Regarded as one of the best clubs in the world, Motion has made the transition from skatepark to one of the UK’s top venues for world-renowned DJs in just a few short years. This massive club close to Temple Meads station may look unprepossessing but the names behind the decks are world class. There’s something for everyone across the entire complex from homegrown nights like Futureboogie to major global club nights like Cocoon and Defected, as well as the legendary In:Motion nights. If you’re in Bristol looking for a big club night, then you’d be hard pressed to beat Motion. The club regularly hosts big nights which often sell out so pre-buying tickets is recommended.
Another Bristol institution, the discreet frontage on trendy Park Row hides one of the best-kept secrets. Dojo has held true to its underground roots and hosts many of Bristol’s pre-eminent promoters. With an authenticity that some clubs would die for and some legendary all-nighters that go on beyond 5am, Dojo is at the heart of Bristol’s West End and has endured for decades, as other clubs have come and gone. The music is authentically underground with everything from full-on drum and bass to deep house and techno.
3. The Bootlegger
Craft beers, cocktails and music combine to make the Bootlegger Bristol’s number one rated nightclub on Tripadvisor. Although technically a cocktail bar, the Bootlegger has a dancefloor so we’ve decided to include it in this list (as we love it!). The cocktail list is extensive (they even serve vegan cocktails) and it’s a perfect Gloucester Road venue if you’re not up to heading down to Stokes Croft for a 5am’er. The venue also plays host to some great live bands.
When most people think of a big nightclub, they think of a venue like Pryzm, with its 7 themed rooms and 5 different bars. With a shisha room, different club nights, and a luxurious VIP suite this is a state of the art club that bills itself as a ‘modern-day Colosseum’. It certainly won’t suit your average Motion clubber, being far too mainstream for those more into their underground beats. It certainly goes down well with stags and hens though and those looking for stylish surroundings and wall to wall music across every genre, from EDM to pure 80s cheese.
5. Love Inn
In the heart of fashionable and party central Stokes Croft, the Love Inn is one of the best clubs in central Bristol for a late night boogie. In the daytime, the venue serves food (with a fantastic pasta menu) but by night it becomes one big dancefloor; all that the venue is not particularly big that’s certainly part of its intimate charm with clubbers literally arm’s length from the DJ booth. Brought to you by the people behind Love Saves the Day, you would expect high-quality DJs and the venue doesn’t disappoint. The music varies but the club is known for hosting some of the best minimal house and techno nights in Bristol. It’s one of the city’s latest opening venues as well, with some nights going on until 6am.
6. Blue Mountain
Blue Mountain is another venue located in Stokes Croft. With a long and well-established reputation, the club is easily identifiable by its mural and is still one of the best in Bristol for drum ‘n’ bass nights. There are plenty of indoor and outdoor events thanks to the split-level roof terrace, and though it might have seen better days in terms of decor, the sweaty patina of years of raves gives it that sought-after authenticity. This is one club that has stayed absolutely true to its roots and is all the better for it.
7. The Queenshilling
Bristol has one of the best LGBT scenes in the country and at its heart is the venerable Queenshilling, the oldest gay club in the city. Housed in a fabulous Art Deco building, this award-winning club hosts a number of themed nights plus one of the best karaoke nights anywhere. Located at the centre of Frogmore Street, Queenshilling is the beating heart of the gay scene alongside the Bristol Bear Bar and a host of other great bars and clubs.
The brainchild of Marco Bernardi, the respected DJ and techno producer, the cave-like interior of Timbuk2 brilliant and compact raver’s favourite was once old wine cellars. Another stalwart of the Bristol club scene the no-frills club (think cans of beer, not cocktails) hosts some of the biggest names in techno and house and is open very late.
9. Basement 45
Three dance floors, three bars and a location in one of the most dynamic areas of the city make Basement 45 one of the best DJ led clubs around. A fixture since 2009, this 300 capacity club is an intimate venue with a reputation for promoting local labels, artists, and promoters. Located very centrally on Frogmore street, there’s always a good crowd and this subterranean club is at the heart of city centre dance culture. Over the years Basement 45 has mutated from just another drum ‘n’ bass venue to something much more interesting with a broader spectrum of music and offering DJ lessons and equipment hire as well as banging club nights.
10. The Black Swan
No Bristol club list would be complete without mentioning the Black Swan. Not for the faint-hearted, the Black Swan doesn’t attract people for it’s interior or fine selection of drinks. This is a proper underground clubber’s paradise, located in a not particularly salubrious part of Eaton. Known for its massive dub and bassline parties the venue has a huge sound system that will leave your eardrums ringing the next day (earplugs recommended). There’s a big outdoor space where you can get away from the wall of sound though.