Red7 , July 22, 2013
When picturing a raucous night out, Southampton may not spring to mind. However, as a born and bred Sotonian, I can assure you that it can hold its own in providing a night to remember. From the most intimate cocktail bars to clubs stretching three floors, Southampton has a lot to offer. Choosing to have your hen party in Southampton means you have all of the activities, booze and clubs of a bigger city, but with the price tag and intimacy of a port side party. Its great mix of shops, cocktails and dance floors make this a truly underrated destination for a hen party, but without a doubt, one of the best nights out in the South.
For a hen party experience you’ll never forget, Southampton’s Mo’roller nightclub combines retro club classics with four wheels. The UV roller disco makes this a great place to celebrate your upcoming nuptials: impress your friends with your groovy moves, or create a skate train if you need to cling on tight to your bridesmaids!
One of the most popular things hens choose to experience is the party boat, but Southampton proves that this isn’t just confined to the Mediterranean sea. Setting off from the city’s marina Ocean Village, you get to explore the views of the Solent with drink in hand. If you can tear yourself away from the great views of the Isle of Wight, then the booze cruise has a dance floor for you to show off your best moves, that is if the combination of waves and cocktails let you stay upright!
Southampton has a great range of shops to explore in both its two malls and on Above Bar Street, so make sure you save some time (and money!) to visit them. West Quay shopping centre is the main shopping hub, and this makes it a great place to buy clothes for your honeymoon. You can even try and drop subtle hints to your hens for any wedding presents you may see in John Lewis, Ikea or Debenhams.
One of the reasons Southampton is such a great place to drink in the South is as it is home to Orange Rooms. The independently owned club won Southampton’s Best Bar Award due to its cocktail menu full of old favourites, and exciting new creations by their experienced team of mixologists. If you have a sweet tooth, try the Teddington for a naughty version of jelly and ice cream in a glass. The retro décor makes you feel as if you’ve dropped into a classy seventies bar, full of fish tanks, disco balls and lamps. It is the ideal chill out place to begin a night out that is certain to get rowdy.
If you’re more of a pub girl, The Rockstone has the most expansive range of ales, rums, whiskies and wines in the city. Their aim is to be a country pub in the centre of town, but in reality they have become more known for their food. Whether you’re drawn to The Pig Lebowski, or The Highway to Halloumi, the landlord’s love of locally sourced food makes this the best place to experience Hampshire’s finest dining. Its warm and cosy atmosphere will really help you and your party in recovering from the night before with a huge burger and Southampton’s friendliest bar staff.
And if you’re the sort of group who prefer an ‘alternative’ night out, The Hobbit is the pub for you. It acts as home to both the city’s vast student population, and like-minded locals who know how to drink. It is very much an ‘anything goes’ pub, so this means that for many it leads to an unexpected party. The huge pub garden makes this a great place to spend your days, or if you’re so inclined, your nights. Its cheap and cheerful cocktail menu is based on the world of J.R.R. Tolkein: a pint of Gollum is vodka, orange juice and blue WKD. Throughout the week it is one of the best places to enjoy live music in the city, and is great for any bride-to-be who knows her rock.
If you’re bringing out a lot of people for your hen party, there’s no better place for you than Oceana in the Leisureworld complex opposite Ikea. Its three bars and two clubs mean that you can flit between depending on the mood of your group. Start off the evening with a chilled out glass of wine in glass of champagne in a VIP booth; move upstairs to Icehouse to dance to the latest club songs, and finish the night in the clubroom Disco, singing the Spice Girls with your nearest and dearest.
For those of you who are into dance music, head to Junk club. It has been nominated as Britain’s best small nightclub, and it’s easy to see why. Flanked by the best DJs, both local and worldwide, Junk is Southampton’s place to be seen. Its intimate two rooms make this Southampton’s most exclusive venue, but if you want to let your hair down and dance, it’s worth the wait.
If you want a more intimate, but equally wild night, head to the main bar district, Bedford Place. Revolution is not only Southampton’s home of cheap and cheerful cocktails, but they run masterclasses so you can recreate your favourites at home. In the sun, the rooftop Skybar is without a doubt the best place to be. Grab a seat on the most comfortable seats around the edge, order a Frozen Strawberry Daiquiri, and get psyched for the night ahead. Once the sun sets you can head down to the ground floor bar to try some of the thirty different flavours of vodka. But, speaking from experience, I urge you not to forget that the tasty shots of bubblegum and bakewell tart are actually really strong so go easy if you want to make it to the dance floor!