Nightclubs in York
York’s largest nightclub is Kuda and it is set across three floors of the old York Institute building on Clifford Street. They have different rooms accommodating different musical tastes, from House, Club and Dance anthems through to R’n’B and Hip-Hop.
The nightclub welcomes birthday parties as well as hen and stag dos – you can book VIP booths with ‘exclusive’ table service. Society and Salvation, on opposite sides of Rougier Street, offer a similar night to Kuda although on a smaller scale.
Mansion, the new name for the old Ziggy’s, seems to have rebranded itself as the home of more ‘serious’ dance music. Here, you can find Electronica, House and Techno played, however they don’t seem to have a regular set of events – you have to keep your eyes peeled for posters. Like Kuda and Fibbers, on weeknights during term time, Mansion hosts student events. These mid-week nights tend to be student only so no NUS card, no entry.
Fibbers in York operates as multi-function venue. On a Friday and Saturday night they usually have live bands from 8pm, however at 11pm it transforms into a nightclub. Fridays at in York is usually just a regular club night, although they also have more high profile DJs for one off shows. Lollypop! has transferred here from The Duchess and is the Saturday offering. Although you have to pay to get in, once inside drinks are cheap and the offers are plentiful.
The Duchess in York closed recently but their club nights have relocated elsewhere. F.U! – an alternative rock/punk night – is at The Drawing Board on New Street every Thursday and Phat Fridays has gone to Mansion.
Although not a nightclub in the traditional sense, The Crescent Community Venue York – originally a working men’s club – hosts regular music events. The Herbal Mafia York’s biggest and longest running Hip-Hop, Dubstep and D’n’B night happens here and Irie Vibes brings the Reggae, Dancehall and Dub with headline acts and local selectas. There are two bar areas so on some nights there will be two events running simultaneously.
Bars in York
York’s nightlife is not all about nightclubs however. There are plenty of places in the city where you can stay out and party till the early hours.
The Swinegate/Little Stonegate area has a number of bars with late licenses and DJs on a Friday and Saturday night (and often a Thursday as well).
Next to the cinema and overlooking the river, Revolution gets very lively at the weekend with DJs and bars across two floors. Back on Micklegate, The Artful Dodger has a Metal/Rock/Punk night on a Friday and The Falcon Tap a little further up hosts music events in its bunker room.
The Nook on Castlegate has a DJ on a Thursday and the atmosphere is a bit more relaxed here than in some of the larger bars (it’s not open that late however).
Live Music in York
Fibbers in York, with a capacity of around 500, hosts regular gigs from touring bands as well as some local acts. The bigger bands tend to play the Barbican which has a capacity of 1900 (York doesn’t have a mega-venue like the new 13,000 seat arena in Leeds). The Fulford Arms, The Spread Eagle and The Crescent both host gigs from local bands as well as more niche musical acts.
Perhaps due to the explosion of pubs in the city centre of York, the live music scene in York has thrived in recent years as bars compete for business. Whilst places like The Habit, The Victoria Vaults and The Roman Bath continue to offer live music most nights of the week, newer players like The Hop, Sutlers and now The Eagle And Child also host regular events.
The Spread Eagle on Walmgate champions the local music scene and The Phoenix Inn has become the unofficial home of the York jazz scene with bands two or three nights of the week.
Open mic nights suddenly also seem to be everywhere as well. You’ll find them in bars such as Dusk, The Nook and Sotano, as well as in The Hop, The Habit, The Golden Ball and The Three Tuns. The Edinburgh Arms and The Spread Eagle both host open jam nights – where you can just turn up and play, they provide the instruments. The Phoenix Inn even has a jazz jam night every Wednesday with a similar format.
As well as all the live music and open mic nights in York, you’ll also find a lot of local pubs hosting dedicated music events. The Spread Eagle has Northern Soul once a month on a Sunday and Dead Funky also put on regular monthly nights at Plonkers.
On Fishergate The Woolpack Inn is home to Bangarang an evening of Ska, Rocksteady and Reggae as well as a post-punk and new wave night. The Golden Ball in Bishophill has a monthly Soul evening and The Snickleway Inn hosts Snickledub – a night of Reggae, Ska and Dancehall.
Comedy in York
York has a number of comedy clubs with regular monthly nights.
The Wozzon Comedy Club can be found down in The Basement, The Sitting Room Comedy Club has it’s home at The Monkbar Hotel York, The Burning Duck Comedy Club puts on nights upstairs at The Black Swan and The Duke’s Comedy Night is a monthly free gig at The Duke of York on King’s Square.
Bigger names – your Jimmy Carrs and Dara O’Briains – usually bring their tours to one of York’s largest two venues the Barbican or the Grand Opera House.
The Grand Opera House, York
Theatre in York
York Theatre Royal is now back open after an extensive refurbishment, and has a varied programme of live performances. The other main theatre, the Grand Opera House York, tends to host touring musicals or popular West End shows, as well as the occasional concert and famous comedian. Ballet and opera can also be found at York Barbican, although not that regularly.
Both the Royal Opera House and the National Theatre have started screening their productions in cinemas across the UK – and City Screen Picturehouse just off Coney Street has regular showings of these performances.
The Joseph Rowntree Theatre, out on Haxby Road, puts on productions by local theatre companies and musical societies – both amateur and professional. York Settlement Community Players performs both modern and classical plays in venues across York including 41 Monkgate Theatre and The Basement.
Friargate Theatre, just around the corner from the Grand Opera House, is home to The Riding Lights Theatre Company but has a couple of performances every month by other local companies.