Caffeine – the student’s friend – is in plentiful supply all over Bristol, with hotspots clustered around the University precinct. You’ve got your tried-and-trusted international chains, of course, and regional outlets like the Boston Tea Party, but there are also smaller-scale, more local affairs that fly the flag of independence: Café Sazz in Bedminster, Café Kino in Stokes Croft, and dozens of others.
To say that clubbers are spoiled for choice in Bristol would be putting it mildly. Close to the University precinct is the Bunker, open six nights a week and almost always packed to the rafters. Closer to the city centre is Motion, something of a legend on the underground scene and responsible for an autumn-long season of live music and DJ sets.
Bristol’s nightlife has been going strong since at least the early 17th century, when pubs such as the Llandoger Trow and The Hatchet Inn first opened. Younger establishments have sprung up in every quarter, from the classy hangouts on Park Street and the Harbourside to the older, wood-panelled pubs on St Michael’s Hill, Gloucester Road and elsewhere.
Bristol’s eateries are as diverse and international as its inhabitants: the city’s neighbourhoods often spring surprises on you in the form of funky little outposts of world cuisine. Fancy trying Greek, Polish, Nepalese, West African, Lebanese...? Close to the University are a gamut of restaurants, including famous names such as Jamie Oliver’s Italian, Wagamama, Ask, and Pizza Express.
Whatever your musical bag, Bristol has a venue for it. Some, like the Bristol Folk House or the Old Duke jazz pub, specialise in particular genres; others cover the whole spectrum. Foremost among the latter is Colston Hall, which since 1867 has hosted the likes of Sergei Rachmaninov, Paul Robeson, Duke Ellington, Jimi Hendrix, The Beatles, and Portishead.