UK nightclubs and dance clubs offer a great mix of live music and hot DJs. Whether you're after cutting edge and indie, avant garde or established acts, the UK's cities, with their large student populations, are packed with cool places for a wild night out. Some of the best UK night clubs have actually been around a while and established their hip credentials decades ago. And new ones pop up all the time. These are among the best places to go to hear what's happening on the UK music scene now and to shake your booty until the sun comes up.
Updated December 2012
The Academy group operate big live music venues and a handful of smaller live music clubs in all of England's major cities. These are usually the "must play" venues on major band tours. Most also have smaller performance spaces to showcase newer bands. Click on the following links for contact details and gigs in:
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Jazz pianist Jools Holland has become a kind of eclectic music empresario. His late night music program on BBC television is noted for its lack of dogmatism. You might find the latest rapper appearing beside a cool jazz saxophonist, a disco diva, a techno band, a girl singer-poet and a superstar like Sting or Paul McCartney. Holland's clubs offer the same cool mix with dinner and drinks available too. Dress is casual but smart and the club aims for an over 21 crowd. Admission is often free or under £10. Essentials
- Address:St.Pauls Square, Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham
- Phone +44 (0)121 200 3030
Live music and over-18 club nights on the seafront in super cool Brighton. This club is so hip that if you really want to know what's going on - including secret gigs, discount tickets and competitions - you have to make them a friend on "myspace" (www.myspace.com/concord2). Everything from Martha and the Vandellas to the latest Rock and New Wave. Essentials
- Address: Madeira Shelter Hall, Madeira Drive, Brighton BN 2 1EN
- Phone +44 (0)1273 67 33 11
Plan a Visit to Brighton
This is a multi-arts venue that hosts the hottest bands, club nights, cabaret and comedy. There are several different shows, clubs or acts performing most nights and a choice of bars for hanging out. Comedy, live music and cabaret evenings often have table seating and a dinner option. Booking in advance is essential, but, except for the most popular acts and bands, you can usually buy tickets earlier on the same day. Essentials
- Address: 44 - 47 Gardner Street, North Laine, Brighton BN1 1UN
- Phone +44 (0)1273 647100
Plan a Visit to Brighton
Thekla is a boat pulled up to Bristol's Mud Docks. On board there's a bar and restaurant and live music every day into the evening. Come 10:30-ish and the DJs take over with some of Bristol's coolest club nights. Popular, different, eclectic. Essentials
- Address: The Grove, East Mud Dock, Bristol BS1 4RB
- Phone +44 (0)117 929 3301
Henry's used to be a jazz club. It had a bit of a refurb a couple of years ago and now it is one of Edinburgh's top new music venues for the hippest audiences, looking for the next big thing. Expect rock, punk, garage, indie, electro, blues, alternative, country, hip hop, folk, hardcore and what Henry's calls "krautrock" -- and, oh yes, jazz too. It's small - it really is a cellar bar - and atmospheric and, if you don't like the music, there's a good bar right next door. Essentials
- Address: 8 Morrison Street, Edinburgh West End
- Phone +44 (0)131 228 9393
Like it's sister club in Birmingham, The Jam is a cool place for a grown up night out. An intimate music venue with an "unplugged" feel. Music during dinner tends to be soloists, duos and trios in what the club refers to as "a more acoustic vein" and coming from a variety of genres. At about 10 p.m., the bands shift the music up a gear and there are late night DJs from Wednesday to Saturday. The atmosphere is relaxed and "female-friendly". Essentials
- Address:5 Queen Street, Edinburgh, EH2 1JE
- Phone+44(0)131-226- 4380
Not affiliated with the Academy Group, the Manchester Academy venues and Club Academy - are a group of live music performance spaces on the campus of Manchester University. They include Manchester Academy 1 on Oxford Road, and Manchester Academy 2 and 3 in the Manchester University Student Union Building. Manchester Club Academy is also in the Student Union Building on Oxford Road.
Gigs are listed on the main Manchester Academy website. They tend toward the indie scene for which Manchester is known but can capture any interesting British and international acts that are touring - Lily Allen, Twisted Sister, Aimee Mann, Dirty Pretty Things. the Kaiser Chiefs, Meshuggah are among hundreds of acts that have performed since the 1960s.
The Ritz Manchester , on Whitworth Street, has been around since 1927 and is still topping best bar lists. The crowd is young and the club holds a mix of club nights, theme nights, live concerts and stage shows. Student only and under 25 nights are very popular. The club closed temporarily in May 2011 to undergo a major redevelopment by owner HMV. The newly refurbished, live music venue was set to open on September 6, 2011, featuring Dan le Sac vs Scroobius Pip. Essentials
- Address:Whitworth Street West, Manchester, M1 5NQ
- Phone+44(0)161 236 4355
Pink flamingos in Newcastle-upon-Tyne? Florita, self-described "Miami wild child and international socialite," brings a touch of Miami's South Beach to this northern city. Top DJ's keep the action going on what some describe as the UK's "sexiest dance floor." There's a big outdoor garden and a VIP room where you can try to book a table in hopes of seeing Will.I.Am, JLS,Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, Fergie and Rihanna, all of whom have dropped in when gigging in Newcastle.