The ten coolest bars in Leicester...according to a student


By Niamh Kirk

Leicester is a funny old city. It’s not huge, but it’s not tiny. Swamped by students in term-time the nightlife can be a busy place. However it does have a few pretty cool places to hang out. Here’s a list of just a few little hidden gems. 


Gate 38

This bar is unusual too. It’s themed around features of an aeroplane. You can sit in real life aeroplane seats with your friends which act as booths with a table in the middle. There are even aeroplane windows to really set the scene. Open from 9pm to 3:30am this quirky little bar is great to start off your night or finish up here. Signs all around the bar carry the airport theme too. You really need to see the inside of this club to enjoy the concept!


Wygston's House

Leicester’s oldest standing house. It has recently been converted into a bar and restaurant. It is a part of Leicester’s history. Located in the heart of the city’s historic old town; serving ale, beer and high end food. The medieval timber frames gives the restaurant an authentic and rustic feel. 


The Bottle Garden

The Bottle Garden is Leicester’s newest ‘Urban Garden’ Bar. Everyone enjoys sitting in the garden with a nice drink in the sun. Unfortunately, we live in England and the sun doesn’t come out much so we are limited to only maybe a month of outdoors drinking. However, the bottle garden replicates this feeling. Being able to sip your drink in the garden but in the warmth, and also you aren’t just limited to a Pimms as they have an extensive list of cocktails that unless you are a professional cocktail maker, you can’t just whip up at home! 

It really does feel like you’re in a trendy urban garden with lush greenery on the walls, trees and plants and herbs in pots. There’s even plants hanging from the ceiling. There’s brick effect on the walls and ambient lighting of fairy lights and wall lights made from conduit lighting to really to set the scene. Mega Instagram-worthy!



Next is Leicester’s own Pacific Island Paradise Hakamou. They offer some extraordinary drinks whilst you relax and live the island life. It is a special kind of place where you must see it to believe it. You find yourself drinking out of coconuts, sea shells or even a pineapple, flower necklaces around your necks and partying on under the Hawaiian-like hut. 

The drinks aren’t normal. There something you won’t have experienced before. They contain freshly sliced exotic fruits, rums and homemade syrups. The island lifestyle even dictates that they give you extra-long straws so you don’t have to even waste your energy picking up your drink!


The Queen of Bradgate

Fancy a game of ping pong? The Queen of Bradgate has just launched a brand new Ping Pong area located upstairs. The Queen of Bradgate is a thriving bar with gastro pub style food offering, a vast range of cocktails, real ales, live music every weekend and 3 bars spread over 2 floors. From the very traditional looking outside, the only clue to what lies within are the craft beer, Brooklyn and Duel, neon signs above the front doors. As you enter you find a traditional looking pub with a twist a Gin bar to the left, a full-on cask ale and craft beer bar dominating the main room and a secret upstairs bar specialising in Rum. This place has a understated elegance about it. You are met with a copper bar, red velvet booth seating, bare brick walls, blue and gold velvet drapes, a large dance floor, a private lounge area and, low and behold, 3 full size ping pong tables. It is a great space for live music, ping pong, private parties and cocktail masterclasses. They have also just launched a Vintage Cinema too! 


Pi Bar

Pi Bar. Yes, as in the mathematical Pi, but I assure you, the only math you will be doing here is prices of drinks. The ideal place for a quiet drink or a big night out. With comfortable leather sofas, a contemporary cosy design and a huge selection draught beers, spirits, cocktails and a new wine menu. What makes it so good is that it is very student friendly. They have the best student deals valid with an NUS Card. An acoustic open mic every Sunday and even quiz nights! 



Turkey Café

Next here is the Turkey Café. A building with a flamboyant Art Nouveau façade, or art movement. Built in 1900 this building is another historic character building focusing on a vaguely Eastern exotic style of architecture. A fantastic bar with great cocktails which have the most creative presentation there is something for everyone. One of the cocktails “The Refresher” has an actual ice lolly in it! The bar has a relaxed sophisticated atmosphere to it. 


The Gadabout

The first bar in the midlands to serve cocktails on tap. Our little student ears pricked up then for this one. The perfect solution to tackle long waits for a drink. The idea of cocktails on tap are featured at premium bars such as Shoreditch House in London. Bringing a bit of the London luxury lifestyle to Leicester.  With an around the world theme, the first draught cocktail was the classic Piña Colada. They are made by bartenders and once perfected are put into a keg and run through the tap. They offer a range of interesting hand-mixed cocktails inspired from all-round the globe. 


Bar Dos Hermanos

Bar Dos Hermanos, a 1940’s style Cuban American if you fancy something a little different. It boasts an extensive range of Cuban cocktails with happy hour EVERY DAY!!! Also offering Tapas and Bar Tapas and also Breakfast and Brunch this place has it all. 



Niamh Kirk