“Not tonight, lads.” No matter how refined we might be dressed, as groups of men, we have all been denied entry to bars and clubs on a night out. It can be, quite frankly, a right pain.
However, we’ve scoured the country to find some of the best activities that a group of male friends can enjoy. Whether you want to have a drink, some laughs, or even some golf, there are enough great things to do when catching up with your pals.
Bloomsbury Bowling Lanes
Tavistock Hotel Bedford Way WC1H 9EU London; bloomsburybowling.com
There’s nothing like a dose of healthy competition to fuel a night and Bloomsbury Bowling Lanes offers the perfect backdrop. Boasting London’s only virtual cricket net (alongside perfectly-polished retro lanes) and a huge diner that serves up award-winning burgers, this is a sporting mecca for the discerning gentleman. Just add a bunch of friends and see that competitive spirit flourish.
Chambers St, Edinburgh, EH1 1JF; Nms.ac.uk
Gamers rejoice, for this is nirvana. The National Museum of Scotland provides the first European venue for this awe-inspiring interactive exhibition, featuring over 100 playable games from more than 30 of the world’s best video game designers. Ideal for anyone worth their pixelated salt, it also boasts original game artwork, interviews with designers and information on the next wave of indie games.
Liverpool Sound City
Bramley Moore Dock L3 0AP Liverpool; Liverpoolsoundcity.co.uk
When it comes to music, the home of Mersey Beat knows a trick or two, Liverpool Sound City is a treat, combining local talent and some of the best bands on the planet (this year’s line-up includes The Flaming Lips, Belle & Sebastian and The Vaccines). Sound City’s Conference also boasts two days of music, digital, art and film discussion, with guests including Ramones manager Danny Fields, The Fall’s Mark E Smith and James Barton, creator of Cream.
1 Little Neville Street LS1 4ED Leeds; golfbarleeds.co.uk
The latest high-tech equipment, friendly staff, some of the best clubs around and an array of courses to choose from. You sense that one day all golf will be like this. Golf Bar Leeds is perfect for a group of friends as you can hire out a couple of bays and let the evening take full swing (sorry – but just one golf pun is surely acceptable).
Sleuthing with Sherlock
Museum of London 150 London Wall EC2Y 5HN London; museumoflondon.org.uk
For those with a penchant for murder mysteries and reckon Sherlock Holmes is a Victorian hero, The London Museum’s late-night workshop is spot on. ‘Sleuthing with Sherlock’ runs into the early hours and is set against a modern science lab scene where groups of friends are given different forensic tasks. Want to know how dirty that shot glass really is? This is your domain.
42 Albemarle Street W1S 4JH London; gymkhanalondon.com
When entering this Michelin-starred eatery, there’s an immediate colonial vibe. Retro ceiling fans, marble table tops and vintage photos of polo and cricket dandies create a sense of high society with an Indian twist. Inspired by Delhi street food, the menu is packed with authentic spices and even punchier cocktails – all served in ice-rammed silver goblets. This is the ultimate spot for the modern men about town.
Gateshead Beer & Music Festival
Gateshead Rugby Club Eastwood Gardens Low Fell Gateshead; gatesheadbeerfestival.co.uk
Has any event ever had a more pleasing “Does what it says on the tin” title? Since its inception six years ago, this has grown into a beloved celebration of the North East. Produce is locally sourced, with finds also going to local charities to add to the community spirit.
The Rhythm Parlour
CLF Art Café (The Bussey Building) SE15 4ST London; clfartcafe.org
Can’t find the time to get a beard trim? Looking for an achingly cool night out with mates? Kill two birds with one stone at monthly pop-up The Rhythm Parlour. This musical barbour shop in Rye Wax Records opens its doors to those seeking a trim, quirky cocktails, upbeat DJs and palate-sating Vietnamese fare. There are few clubs that you’ll leave looking more dapper than when you entered.
Who was the real Thomas Cromwell?
Secret location London; nadfas.com
There’s a Fifties-inspired private club in the heart of Covent Garden that few know about. Run by the National Association of Decorative and Fine Art, this hush-hush location houses inspiring talks by some of the finest history of art lecturers on the grid. This April sees lecturer Tracey Borman take on Thomas Cromwell and his celebrated past. One for history buffs who like a fine tipple on the side.
The Lowry Theatre
Pier 8, Salford Quays M50 3AZ Manchester; thelowry.com
Comedy on TV is great. But nothing comes close to capturing it live and the Lowry is regarded by many acts as one of the best places to perform. You’re spoilt for choice in the weeks and months to come, but we’d like to steer you towards the great Tim Vine, who is performing two nights there 23-24 April.
Whether you’re out with friends or simply having the boys round for a night in, Haig Club Whisky makes the perfect accompaniment to any social gathering. Here, we’ve teamed up with Haig Club to present three great bars in which to enjoy the beloved whisky.
And, if you're having a night in, we kick-off with a recipe for the popular Haig Clubman serve.
“It has a delicious freshness to it and is really simple to make at home,” says Haig Club ambassador David Sinclair.
Method: Build over hand-cracked ice in either a highball or tumbler, garnished with a long slice of root ginger
Ingredients: 50ml Haig Club / 35ml sparkling apple soda / 6 dashes ginger bitters (2 units of alcohol per serve)
Claridge's, 49 Brook Street, London W1K 4HR; claridges.co.uk
Looking to add a touch of Thirties elegance to a night out? This hidden gem, all art deco and leather upholstery, is the place. What’s more, given the refinery, Fumoir is the perfect place to kick back with friends and enjoy a Haig Club cocktail, a suitably classy drink for a classy night out.
31 Kensington Park Road, Notting Hill, London W11 2EU; montgomeryplace.co.uk
Perfect for a group of friends, Montgomery Place is everything you want from a cool cocktail bar: great drinks, a relaxed-yet-exciting vibe and excellent service. You could just stay for one, but there’s a strong chance you won’t leave.
5th floor, 240 Regent Street, W1B 3BR, London; regentstreetonline.com
Set on the fifth floor of the old Dickins and Jones department store off Regent Street, Aqua Spirit combines Japanese glamour – rich kimono silk decks the walls and bar staff look like they’ve walked off a catwalk – with a masculine edge. Whether pre-or-post dining, this central hotspot is one for the 21st century dandy who enjoys a fine tipple like the Haig Clubman, surrounded by equally fine company.
The HAIG CLUB word and associated logos are trade marks. © Diageo Brands B.V. 2015