Pubs & Bars

After a hard day of sightseeingshopping or exploring you may find you want to unwind in one of Colchester’s many watering holes. There’s plenty to choose from around the city centre.

Keep an eye out for Colchester Beer Festivals too. Colchester Arts Centre hosts summer and winter events in conjunction with Colchester CAMRA, and the East Anglian Railway Museum is home to the popular Chappel Beer Festival. Plenty of other pubs, breweries and organisations hold further events throughout the year as well.

For Real Ale

If you’re after a classic pub with original features, low lights, occasionally sticky carpets and most importantly great beer you will need to wander slightly out of the city centre. To the North, towards the mainline station, lies The Victoria Inn, and Bricklayers Arms, whilst south of the city you can find The Odd One Out and The New Inn - all heartily recommended in CAMRA’s good beer guide.

In the city centre you can find some excellent craft beer bars as well, most notably the Queen Street Brew HouseThree Wise Monkeys and Church Street Tavern. Tucked away unassumingly, the seemingly quaint Two Brews packs a big punch with its extensive craft beer and dedicated cellar for events. From local brews to European favourites, you'll be able to sample the best of Colchester - and wider Essex - at these venues.

For Cocktails

There’s plenty of bars serving both classic and original cocktails around the city.

Why not start with some of Colchester's local bars? The ever-popular Twisters Bar on North Hill for great music and iconic drinks in their outside garden, or you can indulge in the tantilising offerings of Chappells Cocktail bar as they put modern twists on tasty classics. For a spot that ticks the boxes for everyone, the homegrown, independent tap house Three Wise Monkeys has a small selection of classic cocktails, including a Havana Club 3 Year Old based mojito, making it the perfect place to find a tipple for every taste.

If you're looking for something familiar, you'll find a wide selection of classic cocktails at Slug and Lettuce or, for a bit of Caribbean inspired flair, Turtle Bay offers plenty of rum based drinks and great vibes. 

For Food

If you’re after a bite to eat with your drink the historic and popular Purple Dog in the heart of city serves traditional pub food. You can find fancier fair at the excellent Church Street Tavern, which is Michelin Recommended, or The Old Siege House Bar and Brasserie or tuck in to some American-style barbeque food and burgers at Three Wise Monkeys.

For Dancing and Live Music

Fancy letting your hair down on a Saturday night? You’ll find plenty of pubs with live music and DJs. The Bull on Crouch Street has a great reputation for traditional pub bands playing originals and covers, there’s often great bands of exciting theme nights on the top floor of Three Wise Monkeys, and don’t forget to stop by Twisters Bar for a venue that prides itself on the music it plays. Not ready to end the night yet? head towards Queen Street where bars like the Silk Road and Fashion Cafe keep going as late as 4am.

For Something Familiar

For the comfort of the familiar, Colchester has plenty of household-name chain pubs and bars; most notable is the Wetherspoons called the Playhouse, which is located in a former Theatre and has the very impressive décor to match. You'll also be able to enjoy the fun, bright energy of Carribbean-inspired Turtle Bay, or the cool, laid back vibe of Slug and Lettuce, who boast a great cocktail menu.