The best things to do after dinner in Leicester include edgy stand-up comedy and intimate live music venues. The city is known for its arts and culture, so you’ll catch a show by among Britain's most popular bands and emerging talent.

    You can find cosmopolitan bars, rustic pubs, and student hangouts, especially in areas surrounding the city’s top educational institutes like De Montfort University and the University of Leicester. During summer, beer gardens are wonderful places to enjoy real ales and classic British grub. Check out our guide to the best places to go in Leicester at night.

    1

    Clarendon Park

    Home to Leicester’s artistic community

    • Shoppers
    • Nightlife
    • Food

    Clarendon Park is known for its extensive range of independent boutiques, cafés, and vintage stores, making it a favourite spot for the city's students, trendsetters, and artists. Daytime is excellent for shopping and café-hopping, as well as exploring the University of Leicester and King Richard III Visitor Centre.

    The creative spirit extends into Clarendon Park’s various restaurants and bars. Barceloneta offers a wide choice of meat, fish, and vegetarian dishes, so there's something to suit diners’ tastes. The nearby Victoria Park often hosts outdoor events, including Leicester Pride and Leicester Caribbean Carnival.

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    photo by John Sutton (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified

    2

    Narborough Road

    A multicultural street in Leicester’s West End

    • Nightlife
    • Food

    Narborough Road is one of Britain’s most multicultural streets, where you can find just about any type of cuisine. Located in Leicester’s West End, there’s a huge array of shops, bars and restaurants run by international residents.

    After sunset, Narborough Road becomes alive with dozens of late-night restaurants and bars. Enjoy Chinese takeaways at Wok Supreme and New Hong Kong or Indian curries at Star Vashnu Dhaba and Mithaas Leicester. End the day with a pint at popular hipster bars like Breeze, The West End Brewery, and Nine Bar.

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    photo by Mat Fascione (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified

    3

    O2 Academy

    A dynamic live music venue at the University of Leicester

    • Nightlife

    O2 Academy is one of the best places in Leicester to enjoy the city’s dynamic live music scene. The concert hall is on the University of Leicester campus, occupying the award-winning and multipurpose Percy Gee building.

    One of the city largest music venues, O2 Academy can accommodate around 1,450 people. Since 2010, its huge stage has hosted notable acts like Blondie, Nero, Bastille, Ben Howard, and Funeral for a Friend. Club events and student nights regularly take place in the venue, as well.

    Location: 12 University Rd, Leicester LE1 7RH, UK

    Phone: +44 (0)844 477 2000

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    4

    The Donkey

    A 200-seat pub that hosts big-name acts

    • Nightlife
    • Food

    The Donkey is a must-visit if you want to enjoy live music in Leicester. The small yet energetic pub is quite popular with students, as it’s within a 10-minute walk south of the University of Leicester. Highlights include a wide choice of drinks and splendid views of the stage, no matter where you're standing.

    The Donkey has hosted big acts over the years, including the Fun Lovin Criminals and Drugstore Cowboys, among others. Its intimate, Victorian-style space can accommodate around 200 people, and there’s a large beer garden if you want to drink alfresco.

    Location: 203 Welford Rd, Leicester LE2 6BH, UK

    Open: Tuesday from noon to 8 pm, Wednesday from 4.30 pm to 8.30 pm, Thursday from 4.30 pm to 11 pm, Friday from 1 pm to 1 am, Saturday from noon to 1 am, Sunday from noon to 9 pm (closed on Mondays)

    Phone: +44 (0)116 270 5042

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    photo by Mat Fascione (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified

    5

    Upstairs at the Western

    Leicester's pub theatre that presents a wide range of shows

    • Nightlife

    Upstairs at the Western hosts live performances by among the best and brightest local talent in a pub setting. Also known as Leicester’s pub theatre, it occupies the top floor of The Western, a pub specialising in cask ales and traditional ciders.

    With a black-box theatre setting, Upstairs at The Western produces around 150 shows per season. Depending on the night, you can enjoy comedy, poetry, musicals, drama, and music performances. It can accommodate up to 50 people, so it’s good to book tickets early.

    Location: The Western Pub, 70 Western Rd, Leicester LE3 0GA, UK

    Phone: +44 (0)116 254 5287

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    6

    Kilworth House Theatre

    An open-air venue to end the day

    • Nightlife
    • Couples
    • Luxury

    The Kilworth House Theatre occupies a wooded glade in Lutterworth, about a 30-minute drive south of central Leicester. Opened in 2007, the open-air theatre has elegant sail-like canopies overhead, so you'll be able to enjoy a live show regardless of the weather. A total of 550 comfortable, tiered seats ensure that everyone has a splendid view of the stage.

    The Kilworth House Theatre is known for hosting quality productions, like Happy & Glorious, a musical by the British Philharmonic Orchestra that celebrates Queen Elizabeth II. The theatre is right by a lake, great for strolling before or after a show. It’s also in the grounds of Kilworth House Hotel, which has 2 onsite restaurants serving British cuisine.

    Location: Lutterworth Rd, Lutterworth LE17 6JE, UK

    Open: Box office: Monday–Friday from 10 am to 4 pm

    Phone: +44 (0)1858 881939

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    7

    The Exchange Bar

    A great place for comedy and live music

    • Nightlife
    • Food

    The Exchange Bar is one of the best nightlife venues in Leicester’s Cultural Quarter. Located just opposite Curve Theatre, it has a rustic-chic decor, with exposed floorboards and vintage furniture. Hot food (try the grilled cheese sandwich) comes at affordable prices, while they serve alcoholic and non-alcoholic cocktails in jam jars.

    The cosy cellar bar regularly hosts comedy nights, live music, and book launches. The Exchange Bar is a welcoming venue favoured by the creatives who work nearby and community groups, including poetry clubs.

    Location: 50 Rutland St, Leicester LE1 1RD, UK

    Open: Monday–Friday from 8.30 am to late, Saturday from 10 am to late, Sunday from 11.30 am to 9 pm

    Phone: +44 (0)116 262 1811

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    8

    Curve Theatre

    For big sets and glitzy costumes

    • Nightlife
    • Families

    The Curve Theatre is a modern performance venue in Leicester’s vibrant Cultural Quarter. Designed by architect Rafael Viñoly, it offers an innovative theatre experience with no backstage area so that you get to see what happens behind the scenes first-hand.

    The Curve Theatre has a 970-seat auditorium and a 350-seat space that can combine for large-scale performances. With ultramodern facilities, runs of stage shows like Hairspray, Breakfast at Tiffany's, and Mary Poppins here rival the West End. Workshops, activities, and backstage tours are available for all ages and abilities, including dance classes for seniors and singing workshops for kids.

    Location: 60 Rutland St, Leicester LE1 1SB, UK

    Phone: +44 (0)116 242 3560

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    photo by NotFromUtrecht (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified

    9

    The Tree

    A popular hangout spot for students and young professionals

    • Nightlife
    • Food

    The Tree is a hangout with a youthful vibe, thanks to its mixed clientele of university students, locals, and young professionals. The neighbourhood pub has a dog-friendly bar area and a cosy beer garden with trees strung with lights.

    You can enjoy signature cocktails like Pink Steel and Vanilla Espresso Martini with generous helpings of food, such as wood-fired pizzas, Sunday roasts with all the trimmings, meaty burgers, and fresh salads. You can find The Tree along High Street, about a 5-minute walk of De Montfort University, Leicester Cathedral, and The Guildhall Museum.

    Location: 99 High St, Leicester LE1 4JB, UK

    Open: Monday–Saturday from noon to 10 pm, Sunday from noon to 9 pm

    Phone: +44 (0)116 223 5256

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    10

    Firebug

    A prominent Leicester hangout

    • Nightlife

    Firebug’s laidback setting attracts a mix of young professionals and university students in Leicester. It has about everything you’d need for a night out, such as a relaxed dress code, great entertainment, inexpensive food, and drinks, as well as excellent service.

    Pub quizzes, film nights, and art exhibitions regularly take place at Firebug. It has a small stage upstairs for bands and comedy – past performers include Foals, Frank Turner, and Russell Howard. The large main bar complements a sheltered beer garden that’s great for quiet and balmy evenings in Leicester.

    Location: 1 Millstone Ln, Leicester LE1 5JN, UK

    Open: Tuesday–Friday and Sunday from 5 pm to 10 pm, Saturday from noon to 10 pm (closed on Mondays)

    Phone: +44 (0)116 255 1228

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    Penny Wong | Compulsive Traveler

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