Last updated on December 24, 2022 by Wandering our World
After a long day of touring Canterbury and all its historical landmarks and buildings, an evening winding-down is much needed.
Luckily, there are as many bars in Canterbury as there are churches, and we happen to know which are the best ones.
We have put them on this list to guide you through the sea of options. Expect to find a bar with magicians as bartenders, a cocktail bar set in the former city jail, and even a bar that hosts open mic nights and offers excellent happy hour deals, among other exciting alternatives.
So let’s get started!
- The Best Cocktail Bars
- The Best Bars For Beer, Cider & Gin
- The Best Bars For Live Music
- The Best Bar For Food
The Four Best Cocktail Bars In Canterbury
1. Houdini’s Magic Bar
Unconventional bar that offers exciting magic shows, a magical cocktail-making process, seasonal signature drinks, and outdoor seating.
This bar’s eccentric decorations give off quite a quirky vibe. There are bookshelves, old colourful lamps on the tables, posters on the walls and the ceiling, and fairy lights, among other odd yet fun details.
However, the bar’s uniqueness is not exclusive to its decor—Houdini’s provides customers with a one-of-a-kind experience by combining magic and mixology: the bartenders are also magicians and prepare your cocktail while performing magic tricks to make the wait more entertaining!
The illusions are excellent, but so are the drinks. Tasty and original, the signature cocktails are seasonal—during summer, they are more on the fresh fruity side. But on the other hand, in winter, they include ingredients like coffee, caramel syrup, flavored spirits, and cream on top. You can also request your favorite classic, and the bartender will gladly mix it up.
Recommended: The Pubs In Canterbury Everyone Should Visit When In Town!
While you sip your cocktail, staff members will swing by your table and continue to surprise you with more magic. If you can’t get enough of the tricks, know that Houdini’s offers live magic shows by professional magicians, not amateurs, hence the unmatched performances. We recommend booking a table in advance for the shows, as it can get quite crowded during them.
If you are not interested in magic and only want to try Houdini’s superb cocktails, you can always enjoy your evening in the outdoor seating space. It is at the front of the bar, and although there are only a couple of tables, it is an excellent spot for people-watching and relaxing.
This bar is excellent for a family outing with children, as Houdini’s is more than suitable for kids too. After all, the fun magic tricks will certainly keep them entertained and engaged!
Houdini’s Magic Bar remains closed on Mondays and Tuesdays but opens from 4 pm to 11 pm Wednesday through Sunday.
Address: 6 St Peter’s St, Canterbury CT1 2AT
2. The Falstaff Cocktail Bar and Lounge
Laid-back bar that offers incredibly creative cocktails, some wine and craft beer options, Italian dishes, a lounge area, and an outdoor terrace.
This bar operates in The Falstaff Hotel. Its lounge area features numerous sofas, armchairs, coffee tables, and a soothing atmosphere. The bar and terrace area feel a bit more sophisticated, with stylish bottle displays and stools, but the vibe is equally as relaxing.
Aesthetics play a big part at The Falstaff, as the venue’s decorations are tasteful and well thought out, and the cocktails’ presentations are beautiful and classy. However, the drinks are not all looks—their first-rate ingredients and original flavour combinations are their standout characteristics.
The Falstaff doesn’t just stick to classic recipes, a few signature drinks, and a decent wine and draft beer selection. Instead, this bar also creates themed menus and updates them regularly. Each menu has different cocktail recipes, so you can only imagine the creativity that goes into them.
The now-retired Cocktail Chemistry menu is the perfect example—it included a fun periodic table of ingredients, in-depth but dynamic explanations of the chemical processes present in the making of each cocktail, and an unmatched design.
This bar’s food menu is neither as creative nor diverse as the drinks menu, but the dishes’ quality certainly matches the drinks. The most requested item on the menu is the thin-crusted pizza. It comes in numerous varieties, such as Margherita and Brocoletti, and has the perfect not-too-crunchy and not-too-chewy texture. Charcuterie boards and Italian dishes are other popular options.
You can visit The Falstaff Cocktail Bar & Lounge from 12 pm to 11 pm Sunday through Thursday and from 12 pm to 1 am on Fridays and Saturdays.
Address: 8-10 St. Dunstans St, Canterbury CT2 8AF
3. The Pound
Historical bar set in the old city jail that serves signature cocktails crafted with unique ingredients and offers an inclusive food menu and a terrace with river views.
When you arrive at The Pound, you will know. The all-glass, modern box standing among the old brick prison buildings certainly stands out!
In addition to its picturesque setting, this bar is also well-known for its craft cocktails. With jail-inspired names, such as the Convict Colada and the Life Sentence, these drinks are made with rare ingredients and heavy mixology knowledge from the bartenders. The recipes are so exceptional and carefully crafted that some were featured and praised in The New York Times.
The food menu at The Pound is also remarkable and broad—it covers snacks, salads, sandwiches, burgers, puddings, and main gourmet dishes. It features many tasty vegan, gluten and dairy-free options, which is not the norm at most bars.
The bar and the tables in the glass box are excellent seating options to enjoy your cocktail and food, but they are not the only ones. The old building is part of the bar as well, and its cells are now private booths—we highly recommend them as you don’t get to eat and drink in a prison cell every day!
The alternative is the Riverside Terrace, beautifully adorned with flowers, which provides scenic views of the River Stour and the Westgate Towers.
The Pound opens at noon and closes at 2:30 am every day.
Address: 1 Pound Ln, Canterbury CT1 2BZ, Reino Unido
Laid-back bar with the most extensive rum selection in Canterbury, a good international wine menu, and several excellent cocktail options.
If you are looking for the best rum selection in the area, Alberrys is your place. This bar offers over sixty rum varieties and groups them into seven categories: Mellow & Dark, White, Spiced, Overproof, Sipping, Gold, and Flavored.
You can sip your rum of choice neat or on the rocks, but you could also order one of Alberrys’ rum-based cocktails.
The recipes are classics, such as the Daiquiri, Mojito, and Mai Tai, but they are far from standard or ordinary. Alberrys only uses top-shelf rums and ingredients, which results in exceptional beverages.
However, you are not obligated to be a rum lover to enjoy your night at Alberrys. The cocktail menu is extensive and features over ten Martini recipes, fifteen classic cocktails, shooters, and even more recipes that are served by the jug. As you can see, the options seem endless and are as varied and diverse as it gets.
Alberrys wine selection is extensive, too, with over twenty-five options to choose from and order by the glass or the bottle. All the varieties are international, imported from Italy, France, New Zealand, and Spain.
Regarding the food, this bar offers diverse boards, bread and hummus, and other appetizers. For a bigger meal, Alberrys have teamed up with Tacos Bills and now offers Mexican food, such as loaded nachos and tacos.
Alberrys opens at noon Monday through Friday and stays open until late. On Mondays, it closes at midnight, whereas on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, it closes at 2 am. On Fridays, the close is at 3 am.
What about the weekend? Hours of operation on Saturdays are from 10 am to 3 am. On Sundays, the bar remains closed.
Address: 38 St Margaret’s St, Canterbury CT1 2TY
The Two Best Bars In Canterbury For Beer, Cider & Gin
1. The Thomas Tallis Ale House
Cozy, pet-friendly brewpub that offers thirty beer varieties from around the world, award-winning cider, and some pub food options.
We have covered the most extensive rum selection in Canterbury with Alberrys, and now it is the best beer selection’s turn.
The Thomas Tallis Ale House offers thirty varieties of beer, and it has everything from cask ales to specialty beers to bottles and cans. The beer list includes local and international brews and is rotating, with new beers constantly coming in and replacing the existing ones.
The extensive and ever-changing nature of the beer menu often overwhelms customers, but the staff are always willing to advise anyone wisely on which brew is the best for them.
Apart from being one of the best ale houses and bars in Canterbury, it is also an excellent cider pub. In fact, The Thomas Tallis Ale House won the Cider Pub of The Year award in 2017.
Cider is usually too sweet for beer lovers, but not the one sold in this bar, which is local Kent cider. The flavor is balanced and harmonious—worth a try, even if you are not a frequent cider drinker.
You can pair your drink of choice with pork scratchings and Scotch eggs, two popular snacks in this bar, and wind down surrounded by a laid-back atmosphere and a cozy venue that feels like home and is pet-friendly.
Hours of operation are from 5 pm to 11 pm Tuesday through Thursday, from 2 pm to 11 pm on Fridays, from 12 pm to 11 pm on Saturdays, and from 2 pm to 7 pm on Sundays.
Address: 48 Northgate, Canterbury CT1 1BE
2. Pegasus Tap Room
Small taproom that offers over a hundred gins, fourteen tap beers, and all kinds of international wines.
Stepping into this stylish and colorful venue, you will be met with the bar which has an impressive gin bottle display behind it. Pegasus Tap Room offers over a hundred different gins, which makes for an insanely broad selection.
This bar does not craft cocktails at the time of writing, so you can order your gin neat and taste the juniper and other plants that went into its making.
Gin tasting is not the only experience available at Pegasus though, as it offers its fair share of tap beers and wines from various local and international breweries and wineries.
IPAs, Imperial Stouts, and Lagers make up the 14-beer list, in addition to some innovative specialty brews that introduce unusual flavors such as cranberry, raspberry, cherry, and orange.
Regarding the wines, red, white, rose, and sparkling are all available, including varieties like Malbec, Merlot, and Sauvignon from South Africa, Argentina, Italy, and many more.
Two things to keep in mind before visiting Pegasus is that this bar is not pet-friendly due to the size of the venue, and it does not have a kitchen as it is a tasting room, so food is unavailable for the time being.
Hours of operation are from 4 pm to 11 pm Monday through Friday, from noon to 11 pm on Saturdays, and from 2 pm to 11 pm on Sundays.
Address: 86 St. Dunstans St, Canterbury CT2 8AD
The Three Best Bars For Live Music
1. Lady Luck
Rock N’ Roll bar that offers live music shows in the evenings, a wide selection of craft beers and ales, a quality food menu with many vegan and gluten-free options, and a dog-friendly beer patio.
This bar is for Rock N’ Roll lovers! Green Day, Guns N’ Roses, and Iron Maiden posters cover the walls while 80’s rock classics play through the vintage jukebox’s playlist.
However, most evenings, the records stop playing, and live music shows take their place. The rock bands that perform are usually local artists, but that doesn’t make their music any less good. They always wow customers with their talent and lift the already great atmosphere when showcasing their art.
No visit to Lady Luck would be complete without trying the bar’s food. Homemade pies, baguettes, and burgers are some of the options available, in addition to the uncountable vegan and gluten-free dishes.
Every meal on the menu pairs perfectly well with Lady Luck’s ice-cold craft beers and real ales. You can enjoy your meal indoors or take it to the cosy outdoor beer patio, which is pet-friendly.
Hours of operation are from noon to 8 pm Monday through Saturday and from noon to 6 pm on Sundays.
Address: 18 St Peter’s St, Canterbury CT1 2BQ
Vintage bar that offers excellent classic and signature cocktails, pizza and cakes as food options, daily happy hour deals, and a large stage where open mic nights and live performances take place.
This bar’s interiors are fascinating—they present 19th-century decorations, such as old bookshelves, vintage sofas, and paintings, which create a unique atmosphere that combines nostalgia and class. Despite the venue being small, there are many seating options.
Most tables face Bramleys’ stage, where the bar hosts its Open Mic & Showcase nights at 7:30 pm on Wednesdays. Music genres vary along the evening since anyone can sign up to perform.
Although that’s not the case on Folk, Blues & Country nights because artists have to stick to those genres. That event is held monthly at 8 pm on Wednesdays.
Apart from being a live music venue, Bramleys is a cocktail bar too. Bartenders can craft anything from a simple Margarita to a signature or premium cocktail, such as the Rhubarb Rumble and the Dry Martini. Beer, cider, and wine are also available on the drinks list, while pizza and cakes are the two options on the food menu.
Given that Bramleys uses first-rate ingredients and pours outstanding drinks, it is surprising they have such good happy hour deals—you can order two drinks from the Standard Cocktails section for only £10 every day until 8:30 pm.
Hours of operation are from 6 pm to 11 pm on Tuesdays, from 7 pm to 11 pm on Wednesdays and Thursdays, and from 7 pm to 12:30 am on Fridays and Saturdays.
Address: 15 Orange St, Canterbury CT1 2JA
3. The Ballroom
Fun bar that offers open mic nights with diverse live music and DJ performances, and serves classic cocktails that are included in happy hour deals.
This place stands out from many other bars in Canterbury because it functions as a live music venue and a dance hall.
On Tuesdays, the stage welcomes anyone who wants to perform during Open Mic nights from 7 pm to 11:30 pm. You can sit at one of the many tables that face the stage and have fun listening to diverse artists or amateurs exploit their talent (or lack of!).
On the other hand, on Saturdays, The Ballroom hosts live DJ performances. The tables are removed, and the dancefloor is set for a long night of dancing that lasts until 2 am. Although there are no tables, you can still head to the bar and order from the 20-cocktail menu, which includes classic and premium recipes.
The Ballroom also hosts Ping-Pong tournaments every Friday night from 7:30 pm to midnight, during which there are multiple cocktail happy hour deals.
This bar only opens on the weekends. Hours of operation are from 7:30 pm to 1:30 am on Fridays and from 7:30 pm to 2 am on Saturdays.
Address: The Ballroom, 15 Orange St, Canterbury CT1 2JA
The Best Bar For Food
1. Two Sawyers
Cozy pub that offers homemade meals, a wide beer selection, a pet-friendly outdoor patio, and a pleasant atmosphere.
Two Sawyer’s friendly staff and cozy venue create an incredibly welcoming atmosphere that is hard to find anywhere else. Adding this pub’s homemade dishes into the mix, you will feel right at home.
The Beef Chilli, Sausage and Mash, Cottage Pie, and burgers are some of the favorites among regulars. However, if you are in a rush and need faster food, the menu also includes appetizers and baguette sandwiches that are just as good as the main dishes we mentioned.
Apart from cooking some of the best homemade food in town, Two Sawyers offers a broad selection of draught beers, cask ales, and beer bottles. The spirits list is also quite long, featuring many quality rums, gins, and vodkas.
Two Sawyers is the perfect shelter during winter time as well, thanks to its coziness and generous warm dishes, but it is just as enjoyable during the warmer months too. That’s because it has a beautiful sunny garden where you can sit and enjoy a cold beer and a dish of your choice. This patio is also pet-friendly, so you can bring your dog along!
This bar opens at noon every day and closes at 11 pm on Mondays, Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, at 10:30 pm on Wednesdays, at 11:30 on Thursdays, and 10 pm on Sundays.
Address: 58 Ivy Ln, Canterbury CT1 1TU