The UK’s 15 Best Bars for Debauchery

It’s not always about sitting down for a sophisticated cocktail. Sometimes you just want to cut loose, drink shots and party down until the sun comes up. Here are the UK’s BEST bars for debauchery. Now whatever mischief you get yourselves into, it ain’t our fault … enjoy!

LONDON

Aces and Eights Tufnell Park1. Aces and Eights, Tufnell Park

You can chuck out some proper shapes here. And the pizza is pretty damned good.

casita shoreditch tequila con verdita2. Casita, Shoreditch

It might be one of London’s teeniest charms, but what Casita lacks in square footage it makes up for in personality. This is the kind of bar you pop into for a quick one and then end up cancelling all of your plans (happily so).

Covent Garden cocktail club3. Covent Garden Cocktail Club, Covent Garden

Live piano music, sing-a-long throwback tunes, crazy-looking cocktails and some of the happiest party people in town. If you’re not feeling up to it, nip down here and they’ll turn that frown upside down — guaranteed.

El Camion Soho4. El Camion, Soho

An industry mecca, El Camion is where the drinks trade comes to party late into the night and sink back tequilas.

Modern love old street5. Modern Love, Shoreditch

With blackboard walls, plenty of chalk, and an easygoing crowd bopping about to garage rock — don’t be surprised at the more adult content drawn up on the walls. You can even have a go at one-upping them yourself. And remember, downstairs is for dancing. End of.

Slim Jim's Liquor Store Angel6. Slim Jim’s Liquor Store, Angel

You know you’re in for some good ol’ fashioned trouble when you step into a bar and immediately need to peel your shoes off the floor. This is party-time Americana at its best and grungiest. It’s open seven days, always late, with a (sometimes) free jukebox cranking out classic tunes – from BRUUUUUUCE to Joy Division. So let’s get turbo-sh*tfaced on the bountiful bourbons. And we should probably tell you, if you give them your bra, they’ll give you a free drink. Now the decision is yours.

The Dolphin Hackney7. The Dolphin, Hackney

East London hipsters are a given, but those fond of a tipple – or twelve – come in by the bus-load after 3pm. Music-lovers are also in luck, as it often holds free events showcasing upcoming talent – from acoustic guitarists to spinning DJs.

trailer happiness notting hill8. Trailer Happiness, Notting Hill

The 70s basement décor is cheeky and cheerful, much like their staff and drinks. So when you’re looking to cut loose, there’s little better than this ode to Polynesia/Tiki-Americana, kitted out with (un)ironic shag carpets and Tretchikoff prints.

EDINBURGH

Garibaldi's Edinburgh
Kinga Sosnowska

9. Garibaldi’s

This cheeky spot is where Edinburgh comes to play. Garibaldi’s is a colourful Mexican-themed institution, beloved by all, boozed in by all, pole danced in by all. It’s late-night partying seven days a week, and it’s impossible not to shed your inhibitions here … the tequila shooters will make sure of that.

LEEDS

Neon Cactus Leeds fire10. Neon Cactus

One tequila, two tequila, three tequila … and then it all gets a bit hazy, but we’re told Neon Cactus is home to well over 70 types of this beautiful spirit. The vibrant-themed joint not only specialises in Mexico’s infamous liquor but also brings the nation’s love for traditional street food, upbeat vibes and late-night partying to Leeds’ Call Lane.

Oporto Leeds hot dog eating contest11. Oporto

Oporto is a must-visit for music lovers and late night revellers. This Leeds rock bar certainly lives up to its slogan/hazard warning of “Go Hard or Go Home”. Prepare yourself: you’re in for a night of heavy music, all night partying and shots, lots and lots of shots.

LIVERPOOL

Rum Aloha Liverpool12. Aloha

So Tiki it hurts, Aloha’s Polynesian carvings, colourful flowery wallpaper and bars set in wooden shacks transport guests to tropical climes where rum is king and Piña Coladas are served in fresh pineapples. This large basement bar attracts a fun crowd who are keen to dance in the packed room to classic songs and cheesy numbers.

El Bandito Liverpool Millionaire cocktail13. El Bandito

Open every night until 5am with all the tequila you could ever want. Viva Mexico!

MANCHESTER

Liars Club Manchester bartenders and fire14. The Liars Club

A bright and flaming Tiki den, The Liars Club is all about having a real good raucous time. From cheeky flaring tricks from the bartenders to bangin’ reggae tunes to bamboo huts – you’d struggle not to cut loose down here.

MOJO manchester bartender15. MOJO

Rock ‘n roll tunes, shots galore and dancing on the bar. The party doesn’t get any better (or more debaucherous) than this.

— Sasha Filimonov, @SashaSips

Aloha

Treasure Chest Aloha LIverpoolSo Tiki it hurts, Aloha’s Polynesian carvings, colourful flowery wallpaper and bars set in wooden shacks transport guests to tropical climes where rum is king and Piña Coladas are served in fresh pineapples.

This large basement bar attracts a fun crowd who are keen to dance in the packed room to classic songs and cheesy numbers.

The bar staff are quick off the draw, firing through drinks to quench the thirst of the throngs. Pirate’s Grog – Aloha’s house punch – is an easy-drinking, fruity number with mystery ingredients in it that will please even the fussiest of drinkers.

Best Bars tip: Groups should pre-book a booth, with different packages available that offer sharing drink options in treasure chests, Aloha Doubloons to spend or just spirit and mixers brought to the table.   

— Laura Foster

Rum Aloha Liverpool

81LTD

81LTD LiverpoolThose looking for a slick, sexy evening of tunes and top cocktails could do worse than head to 81LTD. Situated above dive bar Salt Dog Slim’s, up a hidden stairway at the back, you gain access by typing a code that’s texted to you beforehand. Entering is like stepping into a cool Manhattan loft with a DJ set up in the corner, exposed brickwork, mirrored back bar and silver art deco ceiling tiles.

The beautiful crowd comes to drink here, and it shows, with a full champagne list on offer in the cocktail menu (no other wines are listed in it). The staff are particularly proud of their Old Fashioned twists. Or for a serious late-night tipple, try a Hold Your Plums, a rich concoction of Nikka from the Barrel, plum sake, date syrup and Angostura Bitters.

Pull up a pew, order a drink and watch everyone get down – or get involved and pull some shapes yourself. There’s room for everyone here.

Best Bars tip: Be sure to text the bar’s phone number well beforehand in order to get the access code for the door. 

— Laura Foster

81 LTD liverpool cocktail 2

Salt Dog Slim’s

Salt Dog Slims LiverpoolThe message above the entrance to this pub says it all: “steins and brines”. Across the threshold lies US-style dive bar, Salt Dog Slim’s, with graffiti on the walls, loud indie music and people waving large mugs of beer about good-naturedly.

The large Dortmunder stein will set you back £7, with beers on offer ranging from Anchor Steam through Coopers Ale to Leffe. There’s a small list of cocktails for those not wanting to indulge in the beers, and those with a preference for lighter cocktails that err slightly on the sweet side will enjoy the Pink Panther, made of gin, elderflower, and cranberry, apple and lemon juices.

Groups of friends looking for a fun haunt to start (or end) the night will find what they’re looking for in this rowdy good-time bar.

Best Bars tip: Get tucked into the reasonably priced hot dogs on offer – the perfect foil to soak up all that ale.

— Laura Foster

Salt Dog Slims interior Liverpool

The best bars to watch the World Cup around the UK

FIFA World Cup 2014 logo where to watch

From big screens in Brighton to beer gardens in Birmingham, here are some of the best bars (and pop-up pseudo-stadiums) around the UK to watch the 2014 World Cup.

Birmingham

The Lord Clifden
34 Great Hampton Street, Birmingham B18 6AA
Sun-Thurs: 12pm-12am; Fri-Sat: 12pm-late
With 12 screens throughout the bar including a giant one in their extra-large beer garden, the Lord Clifden is your go-to World Cup hub in Birmingham. To get completely in the mood, grab a drink from their new outdoors bottle bar and snag yourself a plate of hog roast, and continue the party after the games end thanks to the weekly DJ sets.

The Electric Cinema
47-49 Station Street, Southside, Birmingham B5 4DY
Doors open an hour before kick-off
The oldest working cinema in the UK is diversifying its offering a bit to show England’s group games. Book ahead to make sure you’ve got a seat saved on one of their sofas — tickets are only £7 and you’ll get to participate in the pre-game World Cup quiz. We hear there might be prizes …

Brighton

Brighton's Big Screen World Cup 2014
Brighton’s Big Screen

Brighton’s Big Screen
Approx. 3 Madeira Drive, Brighton, East Sussex BN2 1EN
Opens from 1pm or 4pm on weekdays, from 11am on the weekend
This free outdoor cinema comes back to Brighton’s seafront for its third consecutive year, and in between screenings of crowd pleasers and family classics, it will welcome football fans for the World Cup on a giant screen. Just turn up and enjoy the spectacle.

Bristol

Bavarian Beerhouse
46-48 Queen Charlotte Street, Bristol BS1 4HX
Mon-Thurs: 4pm-11pm; Fri-Sat: 12pm-1am; Sun: 12pm-10pm
Since “you can never write off the Germans”, why not watch them at Bavarian Beerhouse with massive litre mugs in hand? The bubbly dirndl-clad waitresses will keep things fun, light hearted and on-theme. You’re probably not the only one to have the idea to watch Germany here, so make sure to book ahead (it’s mandatory for all England and Germany games).

Cambridge

The Varsity hotel rooftop cambridge
The Varsity Hotel

The Roof Terrace at The Varsity
Thompson’s Ln, Cambridge CB5 8AQ
Mon-Thurs: 3pm-10.20pm; Fri-Sun: 12pm-10.20pm
The roof terrace is a show-stealer at this splendid Cambridge boutique hotel, with incredible views of the city and the river. They’re showing two of the England games, both accompanied by a special menu of Brazilian grilled meats. Tickets are £15 on the door, and since they come with a complimentary cocktail and what’s likely the best panorama in East Anglia, we’re up for it.

Leeds

Millennium Square
Calverley Street, Leeds LS2 3AD
Gates open 1.5 hours before kick-off
Leeds is not scrimping on its World Cup festivities: the city council is throwing caution to the wind and putting up huge screens in Millennium Square for the whole tournament. You can watch the first two England group matches live as well as a selection of other matches. Admission is free and on a first come, first served basis.

Liverpool

Camp and Furnace fanpark Liverpool
Camp and Furnace

World Cup Fan Park at Camp and Furnace
67 Greenland Street, Liverpool L1
2:30pm opening for days with 5pm matches; 6:30pm openings for days with 9pm matches
A reformed industrial warehouse where you can get a dose of art alongside the tournament. Expect vintage caravans and indoor foliage, this ain’t your local boozer. There will be Brazilian street food for nibbles with plenty of space to samba. It’s free to enter and strictly first come, first served. The DJs will be spinning a suitably carnival-esque playlist throughout the night. And on three big screens, they’ll be showing every. single. game.

Manchester

ITV Fever Pitch  World Cup
ITV Fever Pitch

ITV Fever Pitch
Old Granada Studios, Quay Street, Manchester M60 9EA
Gates open either 1pm or 3pm
World Cup fan parks are few and far between this time around, but Manchester is stepping up with a free football festival kitted out with 450 tonnes of sand shipped in to create a Brazilian beach stadium. You’ll be able to watch the action live on the arena’s 40sqm screen. If you keen for a kickabout, head to the High Tempo zone or refresh yourself at the Little Copacabana beach bar. Entry to this tropic delight is free, but you still need a ticket … there might be some on the door or you can volunteer to get in for free (just need to do a bit of work).

Maya

maya liverpool barIt seems Mexico’s Day of the Dead is alive and kicking in Liverpool. Maya is making the spirits rise and you’ll just have to find it for yourselves to see what we mean. It’s near impossible to spot from the street (do look out for the red crucifix), but if you’re munching away on tasty tacos at Lucha Libre – you can head straight downstairs into the underworld.

To get in touch with your dark side, either slip into one of the iron-gate booths or pull up a saddle at the bar (actual saddles). The drinks here play up to the theme, with an exceptional tequila Negroni a.k.a. “Negringo” with Tapatio Reposado Tequila, Aperol and Antica Formula Vermouth. If you’re looking for a smokier refreshment, try the Calavera with La Penca Mezcal, Pedro Ximenez Sherry, chipotle and a smoked hickory wood finish.

If tequila’s not your thing, don’t fret pet – they’ve got you sorted: try The Scorpion, less daunting than it sounds, with Ketel One Vodka, Chambord, pineapple foam and then dusted with raspberries.

Best Bars tip: This venue is sexy, dark and fun – ideal for a third date or a group of mates. Say it together now … viva Mexico!

— Sasha Filimonov, @SashaSips

maya liverpool cocktail bar

Santa Chupitos

Santa Chupitos LiverpoolThis is Liverpool debauchery at its finest. Santa Chupitos‘ seasonal menu of fun, festive cocktails never takes itself too seriously and the clientele is much the same. So when you find their nondescript black entrance on the corner of Slater Street, check your inhibitions at the door and hop straight into the fun.

“Santas” are always hard at work experimenting with homemade ingredients to put on the menu, but it’s wise to test out their signatures as well, like the 5 Dollar Shake which will bring you straight onto the set of Pulp Fiction. Served in a glass milk bottle, it’s a blend of vodka, Chambord, blueberries and ice cream then topped with whipped cream … not great for the hips, but delightful on the lips. Or if you’re more in the mood for a fiery concoction (it’s literally on fire, so don’t be too far gone when ordering this one) try the Passionfruit Zombie with four types of rum, some tropical flavours and a flaming goslings lime shell.

The bar gives you plenty to explore and is split into three parts: the main bar which is open throughout the week, the back room where they up the ante with even more adventurous boozing, and finally El Bandito, their sister basement tequila bar just downstairs.

Best Bars tip: This place never closes any earlier than 2am (4am on Fridays and Saturdays), so it’s ideal for finishing out your night with flair.

— Sasha Filimonov, @SashaSips

santa chupitos cocktail bar liverpool