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A Great Night Out in Cambridge - Clubs, Bars, and Shows After Dark

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Cambridge's student-driven nightlife scene is youthful, vibrant - and often loud. Young hipsters head for the clubs around Market Square. Music bars cluster around Market Hill and Trinity Street, right in the center, and on Downing Street and Regent Street. For those who prefer fewer decibels with their drinks, there are several bars and pubs featuring live or background jazz and acoustic folk music.

Drama, dance, and comedy

 

You'll discover plenty of venues serving up a program of stand-up comedy, experimental drama, and dance performances in and around the city center. You may even spot stars in the making here. Many British leading lights of stage and screen made their dramatic debuts in the city's theaters while studying at Cambridge.

 

ADC Theatre

 

The student-run ADC Theatre's resident companies include Cambridge Footlights, the ensemble that launched the careers of Monty Python and Hugh Laurie, among others. Expect raucous comedies, live music concerts, and pantomimes.

 

Park Street, Cambridge CB5 8AS. Tel: +44 1223 300085

 

ADC Theatre website

 

Cambridge Junction

 

Located in Cambridge Leisure Park a short bus-ride from the city center, Cambridge Junction is an edgy venue for contemporary and experimental drama, cabaret, dance, and spoken-word performances. It also hosts late-night club events with guest DJs.

 

Clifton Way, Cambridge CB1 7GX. Tel: +44 1223 511511

 

Cambridge Junction website

Bars with live music

 

There's no shortage of bars and pubs hosting live music concerts in Cambridge. You'll find old-school rock, disco, heavy metal, jazz, and acoustic performers in venues such as The Portland Arms, which lies in the residential neighborhood of Chesterton just outside the city center. Tucked away under a neoclassical building in town, the Hidden Rooms is a good bet for live jazz.

 

The Portland Arms

 

With just enough space for a crowd of 200, the Portland Arms pub presents stand-up comedy, rock, soul, and metal. It also doubles as a sports bar, showing major rugby, football, and cricket fixtures.

 

129 Chesterton Road, Cambridge CB4 3BA. Tel: +44 1223 357268

 

The Portland Arms website

 

The Hidden Rooms

 

The Hidden Rooms lives up to its name - it's tucked away beneath a historic building in what were once Victorian Roman Baths. Once you've found the bar, you can enjoy jazz from the Cambridge Modern Jazz Club and visiting musicians.

 

The Basement, 7A Jesus Lane, Cambridge CB5 8BA. Tel: +44 1223 514777

 

The Hidden Rooms website

 

Cocktails and dancing

 

Fruity cocktails shaken and stirred by hip mixologists liven up the scene at Cambridge's buzziest bars. DJs spin tunes that keep the dance floor moving until the small hours.

 

La Raza

 

The bartenders at La Raza will mix a cocktail to your recipe if it's not on their extensive drinks list. Sip it while listening to live rock from the house band, or everything from funk to hip-hop from resident DJs.

 

4-6 Rose Crescent, Cambridge CB2 3LL. Tel: +44 1223 464550

 

La Raza website

 

Fez Club

 

Fez is where young locals go when they really want to let their hair down. There's something different every night at this Moroccan-themed bar, from disco nostalgia to cutting-edge dance music. For personal attention from the staff, you can book a VIP table.

 

15 Market Passage, Cambridge CB2 3PF. Tel: +44 1223 519224

 

Fez Club website

 

Movie theaters

 

Cambridge has a thriving cinema culture. Interest in the movies peaks during the annual Cambridge Film Festival in September. You can catch edgy independent productions as well as mainstream blockbusters at several cinemas in the city center, including an 8-screen movie theater in the Grafton Centre and the larger Light Cinema in Cambridge Leisure Park. The best place for arthouse movies is the Arts Picturehouse, located above a pub on bustling St. Andrew's Street.

 

Arts Picturehouse

 

The Arts Picturehouse shows mainstream movies as well as foreign films and works by independent directors. You can also watch live opera broadcasts from New York and London. Make time for a glass of wine and a crêpe in the café-bar, which is popular with students.

 

38-39 St. Andrew's Street, Cambridge CB2 3AR. Tel: +44 871 902 4720

 

Arts Picturehouse website

 

Light Cinema

 

Located slightly out of town in Cambridge Leisure Park, this multiplex movie theater hosts all the latest blockbusters in 2D and 3D. It's surrounded by family-friendly restaurants, cafés, and other entertainment spots.

 

Cambridge Leisure Park, Clifton Way, Cambridge CB1 7DY. Tel: +44 1223 612210

 

Light Cinema website