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Nightlife and Entertainment in Leicester - Chic Bars, Rustic Pubs, and Exhilarating Live Music

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Nights on the town in Leicester often involve edgy stand-up comedy and intimate live music venues, which host some of Britain's most popular bands and lots of emerging talent. Visitors are also treated to their pick of cosmopolitan bars, rustic pubs with real ale, and student hangouts.

Vibrant live music scene


Music fans can enjoy the city's dynamic live music scene at venues including the 02 Academy, where local and touring musicians gather to play gigs for capacity crowds. Elsewhere, The Donkey is known for its energetic atmosphere, just outside the city centre. This small and friendly pub venue has hosted big acts, including the Fun Lovin Criminals and Drugstore Cowboys, among many others.


02 Academy


You'll be able to enjoy talented local and national musicians, like Scouting for Girls and Funeral for a Friend.


University Road, Leicester LE1 7RHTel: +44 116 223 1111


02 Academy website


The Donkey


This popular venue has a pub setting coupled with the excitement of a music club. Highlights include a wide selection of drinks and great views of the stage, no matter where you're standing.


203 Welford Road, Leicester LE2 6BH. Tel: +44 116 270 5042


The Donkey website

Bustling bars


Leicester's bar scene has some great choices for nights when you're looking to relax and people watch. The Exchange Bar is the star of the Cultural Quarter, just opposite Curve Theatre. Inside is shabby-chic decor, exposed floorboards, and vintage furniture. Hot food comes at affordable prices, while friendly bar staff serve jam jar cocktails and real ale. The Orange Tree, in High Street is another popular spot, frequented by a mixture of university students, locals, and young professionals. There's a cosy beer garden overhung by trees and strung with lights.


The Exchange Bar


The cozy cellar bar hosts comedy nights, live music, and book launches. It's a welcoming venue favored by the creatives who work nearby and community groups, including poetry clubs and moms with toddlers.


The Cultural Quarter, 50 Rutland Street, Leicester LE1 1RD. Tel: +44 116 251 3434


The Exchange Bar website


Orange Tree


The Orange Tree serves signature cocktails and generous helpings of food, including sweet potato fries, Sunday roasts with all the trimmings, inventive burgers, and generous salads.


99 High Street, Leicester LE1 4BJ. Tel: +44 116 223 5256


Orange Tree website


Friendly pubs


If ale is your interest you can check out some of Leicester's finest pubs, where the atmosphere is friendly and you can sample local and imported beers. The Globe has been serving filling food and fine ale since 1720, like locally brewed Everards Sunchaser Golden Ale and Tiger Bitter. At The Criterion there's a wide selection of imported beers, ales, and ciders as well as hand-tossed pizzas made to order.


The Globe


The Globe has comfy seating so you'll be able to sit back and enjoy a refreshing pint of beer in a warm, friendly atmosphere. The pub is also said to be a hotbed for hauntings, with ghosts from bygone eras said to make spine-chilling appearances.


43 Silver Street, Leicester LE1 5EU. Tel: +44 116 253 9492


The Globe website


The Criterion


The Criterion, listed in the CAMRA guide to real ale, has a friendly atmosphere topped off by a fine selection of beers and hearty meals, including authentic Italian-style pizzas made with fresh dough.


44 Millstone Lane, Leicester LE1 5JN. Tel: +44 116 262 5418


The Criterion website


Exhilarating pub theatre


There's nothing quite like a night of live performances from talented actors, enjoyed in a friendly ambience. Upstairs at the Western delivers just that, with live comedy and plays - featuring some of the best and brightest local talent - in a pub setting.


Upstairs at the Western


You'll be able to enjoy a pint of ale at the bar of The Western pub before heading upstairs for an exhilarating live performance.


The Western Pub, 70 Western Road, Leicester LE3 0GA. Upstairs at the Western website