The 10 Best Bars In Leicester, England

Linn Vardheim

While Leicester is an old city with an impressive historical heritage, as the last resting place of Richard III and home to an overwhelming number of listed buildings, the city’s contemporary endeavours should not be forgotten. A hub of cultural activity, home to a lively music scene and a teeming student population, Leicester is a vibrant place after dark. Here are some of Leicester’s best bars at which to quench your thirst.

Leicester at night

1. The Looking Glass

Bar, Pub, Pub Grub

Premium quality
© paride de carlo/Flickr
As the name suggests, this pub’s title was inspired by Lewis Carroll’s novel, Through The Looking Glass.In a world succumbing to nonsense, The Looking Glass would still be a bar to which Alice could turn to for consolation. Specialising in cocktails and premium lagers, with an emphasis on acoustic live music and an affinity for comedy, this is a place to find whatever it is you desire in the evening hours. A relaxing atmosphere and a great selection of spirits and liquors makes The Looking Glass a perfect evening haunt for students and locals alike.

2. The Exchange

Bar, Pub Grub

The Exchange Interior
Courtesy of The Exchange
In the middle of Leiceister’s Cultural Quarter lies The Exchange, an ‘eclectic and bohemian’ bar with a cosy interior and a friendly atmosphere. This is also the place where some of the best coffee in all of Leicester is served, though their main focus is also on their selection of wines, ales, ciders and sparkling drinks. Head over to The Exchange for a casual drink with friends, or grab a bite to eat from their breakfast, lunch and dinner menus.

3. Hakamou Bar

Bar, Pub Grub

© goshehe/Flickr
Hakamou Bar is a lively place with a vibrant atmosphere, ready to whisk you off to the tropics. With a tiki theme, and an extensive cocktail menu to match it, the bar is full of creative concoctions of rum and exotic fruits. Hakamou Bar is a place suitable for many different kinds of people, with its casual and thorough interior design fit for a much warmer climate. Visit this busy and vibrant place, have a pint with friends, or dare to try a Flaming Zombie.

4. The Orange Tree

Bar, Pub, Pub Grub

The Orange Tree exterior
Courtesy of The Orange Tree
Opened in 1997 and still going strong, the Orange Tree is a Leicester institution. Located on the High Street, it has a fantastic atmosphere, regular evenings of live music, a great selection of cocktails, ales and beers and wholesome, home cooked pub food. Their lovely private courtyard garden is also a wonderful treat for any outdoor loving drinker, just be quick to get a table in the summer.

The Orange Tree exterior | Courtesy of The Orange Tree

5. The Terrace

Bar, Wine Bar, Pub Grub

© Anders Adermark/Flickr
If you’re looking for a bar experience in sophisticated surroundings, The Terrace might be the place for you. This bar serves a wide array of different champagnes and cocktails in a refined environment with a strict ‘no trainers’ dress code. Perhaps catered towards a more mature audience than the typical student crowd, The Terrace features live performances every Thursday and DJ sets every weekend. If you’re looking for a lively evening in classic surroundings with a diverse crowd of people, head over to The Terrace and have a glass of champagne.

6. Sumo

Bar, Pub Grub

© nataliej/flickr
Spanning three floors, Sumo is an opportunity for a diverse night out in Leicester. The fun starts in the bar’s basement where there is a small live venue hosting different bands and artists several times a week. Moving upwards, you will encounter a bar serving everything from beer to classic cocktails, such as mojitos and piña coladas. Sumo is a popular place for venue hire, and among students, which means this place is bustling with activity at all times. There’s live performances, R&B, indie music, house music, pool tables and a laid back style – suitable for all.

7. Natterjacks

Bar, Restaurant, Pub Grub, European

Natterjacks Interior
Courtesy of Natterjacks
Another contribution to the Braunstone Gate bar scene in Leicester is Natterjacks, a bar and kitchen with a homely touch and a good reputation. Natterjacks serves tasty food from a simple menu, and drinks out of an extensive selection of classic cocktails, mocktails, smoothies, milkshakes, hot drinks, soft drinks, wines, draught beers, spirits and champagnes. Spend your evening at Natterjacks in a friendly atmosphere, catch up with friends, have a snack and enjoy a live performance, or have a go yourself at the open mic on Thursdays.

8. Firebug

Bar, Pub, Pub Grub

Theoretical Girl at Firebug
© craigboney/Flickr
An essential part of the Leicester bar scene since opening in 2004, Firebug is a frequent host for live music performances, stand-up comedy, album launches, film screenings, exhibitions and numerous other events. For example, they regularly participate in the Leicester Comedy Festival. Firebug has a spacious venue and a diverse cocktail menu sure to satisfy the pickiest of customers. The bar serves a simple selection of food suitable for lunch or dinner, and provides customers with a resident beer garden – a quiet hideout from the hustle and bustle of the city.

9. The Lansdowne

Bar, Pub, Pub Grub, British, Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten-free

The Lansdowne Interior
Courtesy of The Lansdowne
Home to the Lansdowne Live Session and a London Road favourite, The Lansdowne is a bar with a reputation to uphold. In retro-inspired surroundings, The Lansdowne serves a simple and tasty menu with much celebrated vegan and vegetarian options, as well as a range of cocktails so wide that they have their own categories. This bar offers a funky and relaxed experience for all and is a great place to stop by on more than one occasion. Lounge on a comfortable sofa, enjoy their Wednesday all-day cocktail hour, or hire the entire venue for you and your friends.

10. The Basement

Nightclub, European

The Basement Interior
Courtesy of The Basement
When all other places in Leicester close their doors for the night, The Basement is the one left standing. Venture under ground for a late night experience in a busy bar, bustling with the late night, early morning energy. The Basement is bound to get hot and sticky, and perfectly so with decently priced drinks, alternative music and entertainment at all hours. Available for private hire, this is a great venue for celebrations of every occasion, or just a big night out with your favourite group of people.

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