A sparkling evening in Durham


Durham is a pretty little treasure trove dotted with a small stash of sleek bars, hidden away like coyly winking gems in the nooks of the city (well, mainly under Elvet Bridge). To discover the best coves in which to carbonate an evening of Prosecco-fuelled fun, why not try...

Fabio’s Bar

Low-key everyone’s favourite bar-slash-nightclub, Fabio’s sits on top of La Spaghettata at the bottom of the Bailey. Beyond the chilled open-air smoking rooftop lies the dark-hued and tightly packed floor to the bar, bathed in a ruby glow and swirling with neon lights. Always busy and always fun, you can find yourself dancing the cèilidh as you queue. A secluded lounge draped with soft sofas overlooks the main floor, allowing you to sit, chat and sip whilst listening to the DJs choice of hip-hop and RnB. The bar staff can make an impressive number of cocktails, but if you’re not in the mood for a whisky or tequila-infused pitcher, one can purchase a bottle of Prosecco for under £20.

The Boat Club

If you’re looking for somewhere dark where you can enjoy your drink whilst glancing dreamily at the River Wear, The Boat Club is the bar for you. If the air isn’t too nippy, The Boat Club’s balcony is a prime perch for chatting the evening away, but if you prefer somewhere warmer, one of their rustic candle-lit tables will more than suffice; you can marvel at the vision of Elvet Bridge bathed in moonbeams from inside whilst getting additional sensory benefit from the in-house DJ. The Boat Club serves their Prosecco with a refreshing little raspberry, and how can your evening possibly be flat when you’re holding a flute full of fizz?

Whisky River

A stone’s throw away from everyone’s 2am backdoor Jimmy Allen’s exit – and a world away from the chaos – sits Whisky River, chic and sophisticated. Submerged in a deep golden glow, Whisky River is spacious yet cosy, with soft-setteed booths lining the open lounge, and tables perfect for every big party sitting beside the bar. As if you’re back in Paternoster Chop House opposite St Paul’s Cathedral, rows of posh wine glasses shimmer over the counter, with the cocktail of the day (Autumn Russian anyone?) chalked in charming calligraphy behind the bar. Their passion-fruit and Prosecco mix, served with a sliced strawberry on the lip of the glass, is a fabulous way to start a fruity evening!

NB - This article was written for Palatinate's 'Celebration' Issue, and can be found in Issue 800 under the title 'A sparkling evening in Durham'!

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