Whether you’re looking for live entertainment or just somewhere with a lively atmosphere, Suffolk can deliver a memorable night out. These are just a few of our favourite places where you can have a drink. The county town of Ipswich is blessed with a beautiful waterfront which comes to life at night thanks to venues like the historic Isaacs on the Quay. This oak-beamed building caters for all tastes, with the Merchant Bar a favourite of real ale connoisseurs and the Courtyard Bar the place to be for cocktails and wine.
You will always find something going on at the riverside Steamboat Tavern in Ipswich’s New Cut West. It’s a perennial local hotspot for live music, with regular jazz and folk sessions along with punk rock and blues gigs on the bill. Over in Bury St Edmunds, you will be similarly spoilt for choice thanks to its vibrant night-time culture. The Hunter Club has made a name for itself as a live music venue since its launch in a former Royal British Legion building in 2009.
For a chilled out evening of beer and chat, one of Bury St Edmunds’ most popular pubs is Edmundo Lounge, located in a prime central Cornhill position. It has been a pub for centuries, and today is characterised by traditional wooden beams, quirky portraits, upcycled furniture and laid-back ambience. Opt for a Long Island Iced Tea or a brambly Malbec and drink in the atmosphere of this much-loved hostelry.
Of course, the rest of this glorious county is just as well served when it comes to excellent places to drink, dance and be merry. Try the Firestation in Woodbridge on a Friday and Saturday when this quirky cafe becomes a bar, hosting live music and quiz nights. To revel in some mellow music, Milestones Jazz Club at Hotel Hatfield in Lowestoft is the place to be on the first Sunday of every month. From small trios to 18-piece bands, everyone from Don Weller to Roger Beaujolais and Polly Gibbons has played here.
Buttermarket Centre, St Stephens Lane, Ipswich IP1 1DT
Located in Ipswich town centre, part of Buttermarket Centre, Superbowl UK Ipswich has fun covered with a range of entertainment options under one roof where families can have fun together come rain or shine. Begin by bowling on one of its 12 state-of-the-art lanes. Then if you just want to have a run around the venue’s Ninja Tag Active experience. It’ll get the blood pumping and adrenaline rushing! Visit website
Marina, Lowestoft NR32 1HH
The Marina Theatre, sitting proudly at the centre of Lowestoft, is the second-largest theatre in Suffolk. It hosts a diverse programme of over 200 live performances and 275 films and screenings each year. From Jane Eyre to Dr John Cooper Clarke, and from Steeleye Span to Jimmy Carr… you’re sure to find something you like. The Marina Theatre has full cafe and bar facilities, is wheelchair accessible, and has a state-of-the-art infra-red hearing system. Visit website
Buttermarket Shopping Centre, St Stephen’s Lane, Ipswich IP1 1DT
Quirky, eccentric and playful, the Cosy Club offers informal casual dining, drinking and lounging in a family friendly environment. From a lazy breakfast to evening cocktails, or a light lunch to a hefty burger, Cosy Club is here all day! The interior of a Cosy Club is cosy! Eras and styles clash in an eccentric yet eclectic fantasia. The furniture is a mixture of dining tables, battered old club chairs, and sleek vintage 1930s sofas. On the walls you’ll see oil paintings opposite banners as well as portraits alongside flags. The occasional splash of taxidermy and all sorts of unusual pictures and prints. Visit website
St Andrew’s St S, Bury Saint Edmunds IP33 3PH
Oakes Barn is a freehouse in Bury St Edmunds serving six real ales. It also offers a range of excellent wines, ciders and lagers which have been selected to bring variety and excellence to complement the real ale selection. The freehouse is community spirited and Oakes Barn embrace their historical links to the medieval town. It is a simple place with simple values hoping that those who come enjoy themselves and want to return. Visit website
The Tented Building, Helena Road, Ipswich IP3 0BT
Ideal for pre-dinner cocktails, a morning coffee or drinks with friends, the Aurora bar has a sophisticated laid-back charm with stunning views of Ipswich waterfront. Join Aurora for lunch, afternoon tea or dinner in the beautiful restaurant. A simpler offering is available in the bar or outside from the downstairs menu. Unparalleled views, modern British cuisine and an intimate atmosphere ensures that the Aurora experience will be one to remember. Visit website
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Suffolk restaurants and cafes
Suffolk cultural attractions