Weekends out: unusual city breaks

by Katie Rowe

Category: Culture vulture
September 29 2014

Unusual nights out in Brighton include The Basement, pictured. Credit ROGER BAMBER

Looking for unusual nights out? Look no further, we’re full of ideas on how to cram cultural activities into a city break with your mates. Give the pub a miss and have a weekend to remember instead…

Find more unusual things to do in England's cities.

Step back to the jazz age in Manchester

Sip on a Smoked Old Fashion as you listen to live jazz and soul acts until the early hours, 2am to be precise, at The Fitzgerald. Aptly named after the 1920s author F. Scott Fitzgerald, this free-entry speakeasy bar is tucked away on Little Lever St in the heart of Manchester’s Northern Quarter, an area teeming with independent bars, cafes, restaurants and shops. Once you’ve had your fill of Billie Holiday classics, check out the many late night hangouts nestled on the surrounding streets. 

Go underground in Brighton  

Head below North Laine’s Kensington St for an evening of the unexpected at The Basement. This independent venue is well known with the art crowd in Brighton but you’re unlikely to find it in the guidebooks. Good job we’re writing about it then! The Basement is famed for its innovative and experimental theatrical performances and discussions covering topical themes. Leave your preconceptions at the door and prepare for a night of entertainment like nothing you've experienced before.

Enjoy burlesque thrills in Leeds 

Get your glitter and top hats ready for a night of all-out vintage thrills in Leeds. The Wet Spot has been wowing audiences with a magical mix of burlesque and cabaret performances since 2007 thanks to Ryvita Von Cheese. The cabaret performer has established this extremely popular event in Leed’s nightlife calendar which features performances from burlesque artists, live bands, fire eaters, magicians, comedians, acrobats and DJ’s spinning vintage music into the small hours. It’s now so popular it’s moved to a bigger venue with more seats and two VIP booths. Make sure you grab yourself a pew for full-frontal views.

Bristol Harbour Have an arty adventure in Bristol 

Bristol’s art scene is buzzing, especially along the harbour where former warehouses and factories have been transformed into a collection of contemporary art galleries and event spaces. Take the Arnolfini for example. This contemporary art space houses five large galleries packed with cutting-edge exhibitions and is always hosting an eclectic programme of events. Nearby you’ll find Spike Island, another great spot for catching the hottest talent in contemporary art, and The Water Shed, famed for showing art house films and its ‘plot to plate’ café which only serves food sourced from the South West.

Go all-star bowling in London

This isn’t any old bowling, this is boutique bowling complete with cocktails (make mine a Tom Selleck Sour), DJs playing the best rock ‘n’ roll, motown and northern soul tunes and lots of decadent diner-style food, including the King Pin Burger topped with a mac and cheese croquette…Nom. All Star Lanes Holborn hosts events throughout the week but if you really want to be whisked back in time, book tickets for Shake Rattle and Bowl, a highlight on London’s vintage calendar taking place every second Saturday of the month. 

Discover more city secrets over on our Pinterest page...

Katie Rowe

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