Norwich is a hive of activity at night and, like it’s daytime persona, there’s something for everyone. Whether you fancy hitting the clubs and bars down Prince of Wales Road or prefer something a bit more sedate, Norwich is alive with atmosphere every single evening.
If it’s cocktails you’re after, you can’t go wrong with a trip to Mr. Postles’ Apothecary or head down St Benedict’s to the likes of the Tipsy Vegan, Platform 12, and the Ten Bells. Here you’ll find an extensive selection of gin with an interesting cocktail menu to match. The bar is also home to Norfolk’s first gin distillery. Pair world tapas with your cocktails at 42 King Street. This little bar serves delicious small plates alongside an interesting drinks menu. It’s the kind of place you can spend hours in, working out just what to try next. The menu changes frequently to reflect trends and the available seasonal ingredients, and you can tell that a lot of love goes into what they produce.
For a quirkier experience, visit Gonzo’s Tea Room where, if you like, you can get a cup of tea then stretch out on one of the many comfy sofas and people watch. Of course, you can order from the extensive cocktail menu – or ask for a classic of your choice – then turn your attention to the big screen where they’re often playing cartoons. There’s a choice of board games, too, for those who fancy a bit a competition while you socialise. Gonzo’s is known for its cocktails but so many people come back for the amazing burgers and wings – the Nutella flavour is highly recommended.
Norwich has a vibrant gay scene with two clubs and friendly little pubs that welcome anyone through their doors. A relaxed evening, perhaps with a little karaoke, starts at the Catherine Wheel on St Augustines Street. If you’re looking for a more lively night, start at the Castle Pub and it’s very own U-NITE club – located in a converted barn – on Kett’s Hill before making your way down to The Loft on Rose Lane. There’s also an annual Gay Pride event during the summer where the city covers itself in rainbows and the party lasts a whole weekend.
If dance music, sugary cocktails and regular drinks deals are more your style, head to Prince of Wales Road. This stretch is where you’ll find the majority of Norwich’s clubs. Mercy XS hosts sets from well known DJs, Mojo features the latest in R’n’B and hip hop, and Bar and Beyond is a new addition that’s perfect if you’re after a hefty dose of cheese.
For a quirkier experience, visit Gonzo’s Tea Room where, if you like, you can get a cup of tea then stretch out on one of the many comfy sofas and people watch
Something for everyone
Not far from one end of Prince of Wales Road is the Riverside Leisure Complex, near the train station. If you visit the Odeon cinema or Hollywood Bowl, you’ll be able to get free parking – this makes the area great if you fancy a night out. There are plenty of chain restaurants to eat at here to get your night started including Las Iguanas, TGI Fridays and Coast to Coast.
If you prefer your music a little heavier, head to The Waterfront where you’ll find bands of all sizes and genres. The likes of The Darkness, Pulp, Radiohead and even Adam Ant have played here and there are regular indie and rock club nights on Fridays and Saturdays. It’s the UEA’s LCR that hosts some of the biggest bands visiting the city. This 1,500-capacity venue has brought big acts such as U2, Kasabian, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Coldplay to Norwich over the years. Look out for the most recent listings to see what’s coming up during your stay.
A more intimate setting for music would have to be the Rumsey Wells. This pub often has live music nights that perfectly compliment its hip, alternative style that doesn’t skimp on the good stuff. They only serve premium drinks and don’t go for cheap imitations. The rum bar in the basement offers a selection of cocktails, too. For more live music from local and touring bands, visit The Brickmakers and its B2 music venue. You can find everything here from a great covers band through to the newest up and coming artists. Even if you aren’t looking for something specific, pop along for the friendly atmosphere, talented musicians and a few drinks.
If you prefer your live music in a more tranquil setting, Thetford’s High Lodge offers a real festival atmosphere with its outdoor stage. For a night of belly laughs and cheap drinks, Norwich’s Red Card Comedy Club is where you need to be. It’s at this Carrow Road venue that you’ll be able to see some of the funniest people in the industry. The club also puts on an annual comedy festival in Chapelfield Gardens called Laugh in the Park.
If you prefer your music a little heavier, head to The Waterfront where you’ll find bands of all sizes and genres
Olde worlde pubs and beer festivals
Norwich is full of pubs, in fact there’s an old adage that says the city has a church for every week of the year and a pub for every day. It’s not far off! There are so many fantastic places to go for a drink in the city; from the 800-year-old Adam and Eve – its sign states it’s ‘probably Norwich’s oldest pub’ – through to more recent favourites like the The Fat Cat pubs that are dotted around the city. The Brewdog brand has also recently opened up a bar in Norwich, much to the delight of locals who enjoy these unique beers. The bar itself is bright and welcoming with plenty of outdoor seating and a great atmosphere.
Once a year towards the end of October, the Norwich Beer Festival invades the rooms of St Andrew’s Hall, which is now most often referred to as The Halls. Brewers from all over the country gather to offer interesting beers and ciders to excited punters. This is the best place to sample some of Norfolk’s finest tipples from the likes of Wolf Brewery, Woodforde’s, Wild Craft, The Norfolk Brewhouse and Redwell Brewing. If it’s cider you’re after, look out for local favourites such as Whin Hill and the Norfolk Cider Company. You can also find the Winter Ale Festival in The Halls in February.
If your idea of a great night out involves watching a film with friends, Cinema City makes a real experience of it. With the latest releases on offer as well as cult films and classics, it’s easy to find something to watch while you relax with a drink in hand. There’s also a lively night out to be had in Great Yarmouth and you should start your evening at The Tombstone Saloon Bar, which is full of Wild West character and has its own on-site brewery.
Once a year towards the end of October, the Norwich Beer Festival invades the rooms of St Andrew’s Hall, which is now most often referred to as The Halls. Brewers from all over the country gather to offer interesting beers and ciders to excited punters
Wine bars and comedy nights
If you want the club experience and fancy doing it in style, Yarmouth’s Tower Complex hosts a wine bar and huge club space. The listings are varied so check what’s on as you’ll be able to find anything from the country’s biggest DJs to themed evenings. There are plenty of bars and pubs in King’s Lynn to choose from, most of them around the Vancouver Quarter in the town centre.
If you’re looking for inventive drinks and sharing plates of food, stop by Archers Kitchen on Purfleet Street. For something comfortable and familiar, head on over to the Globe Hotel, a Wetherspoon pub featuring an extensive and affordable menu with regular deals.
The King’s Lynn Corn exchange features great nights out for music and comedy lovers too. The listings are very varied so check to see what’s on during your trip. Thetford also has its share of night life with the ICE Night Club taking centre stage. It’s open Fridays and Saturdays with free entry before 11pm and features two bars, a VIP area, friendly staff and a wide range of DJs. The music varies from funk, to drum and bass, to classics.
Much of Norfolk is set at a slower pace but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a great night out and some of the smaller towns have their own night clubs. For those calm nights when you want to listen to some live music in great company, try The Crown in Sheringham, The Haig in Mundesley or The California Tavern in Great Yarmouth. A night out doesn’t necessarily need to be about loud music and garishly coloured drinks, in fact, Norfolk’s theatres provide a whole host of entertainment, especially when coupled with a pre-theatre meal.
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