The 9 best bars in Dundee – where to drink after visiting the new V&A museum

by Jennie Patterson and Alex Watson

Dundee has always boasted fantastic nightlife – particularly for students – but the city’s ongoing waterfront redevelopment has brought with it a flurry of new cocktail joints and café bars that are well worth a visit.

If you’re in town to visit the brand new V&A design museum, here are 10 fantastic places to stop for a drink or two.

Malbar at Malmaison

Close to the V&A, the stylish Malmaison hotel is home to the glamorous Malbar.

Generously spread out over two floors of the hotel, featuring a mezzanine level with velvet clad booths and banquettes, low lighting and quirky décor, this is a relaxing spot for a quiet evening with friends or a great place to start a night out.

Their lengthy and seasonally-changing cocktail list features twists on the classics, as well as some inventive pours.

Visit: 44 Whitehall Crescent, DD1 4AY – malmaison.com

Jute Bar at DCA

It may be nearing its 20th anniversary, but this light-filled, converted brick warehouse remains at the heart of Dundee’s cultural social scene.

DCA (Dundee Contemporary Arts) is home to the Jute Bar, where a relaxing and slow-paced day time or week night evening atmosphere evolves into a much livelier vibe come the weekend, with DJ sets.

The eclectic bar list offers everything from cocktails to craft lagers, with the adjacent restaurant and cinema making this the best kind of meeting place for when you’re just not sure where the day might take you.

Visit: 152 Nethergate, DD1 4DY – jutecafebar.co.uk

Clarks

Clarks has a strong connection with the local music scene and is home-from-home for many a local band, and on most nights you’ll find some sort of live music or event taking place here.

Cocktails and spirits dominate the menu, but you can still get a decent bottle of wine or a beer here. It’s a good sized space, with a stylish modern-meets-rustic feel.

Visit: 80 North Lindsay Street, DD1 1PS – clarksonlindsaystreet.com

Draffens

Somehow simultaneously off the beaten track and at the heart of the city, speakeasy-style bar Draffens is hidden on Couttie’s Wynd, running between Dundee’s waterfront and the city centre.

Once you’ve found your way in, treat yourself to an innovative cocktail or two, and rub shoulders with the locals. If you want a drink that isn’t on the menu, the experienced bartenders may well be able to mix it up for you.

Visit: Couttie’s Wynd, DD1 4ET 

The Phoenix

Regularly voted by locals as the best pub in Dundee, The Phoenix has a traditional heart that always feels in step with the city.

Attracting a mixed crowd that will do their best to make room for you during busy periods, this bar has a pleasantly bustling atmosphere.

It offers a great range of beers and food, friendly service and an impressive art collection that constantly seems to be jostling for wall space.

Visit: 103 Nethergate, DD1 4DH

Duke’s Corner

With more than 30 types of beer, and a decent selection of classic drinks, cocktails and food, Duke’s Corner isn’t far from the University of Dundee campus, and is always bustling.

The cavernous space accommodates everything from live gigs to film nights and DJ sets, with plenty of space to dance, as well as an outdoor courtyard with fire pit and barbecue for extended summer evenings.

Visit: 13 Brown Street, DD1 5EG – dukescorner.co.uk

The West House

Situated on the popular West Port in Dundee’s cultural quarter, The West House is a small but well designed space that transforms itself from laid back coffee house and early evening dining spot to a lively pre-club DJ bar.

Experienced staff mix up cocktails by the glass or pitcher, while the open kitchen serves up delicious wood fired pizzas and pasta dishes that are excellent value for money.

Visit: 2 West Port, DD1 5EP – thewesthouse.co.uk

The Speedwell Bar (Mennies)

Full of character and entwined into Dundee’s history, The Speedwell Bar was built in 1903 and was referred to by generations of locals as ‘Mennies’ after a much-loved landlady who ran the place for over half a century.

The original and well worn Edwardian interior with real fire, and glass partitioned lounge, is a sight worth seeing, as is the bar’s collection of cask-conditioned ales and 150 malt whiskies.

‘Mennies’ is everything you could ever want in a well-loved local.

Visit: 165-167 Perth Road, DD2 1AS

Artbar

This is the kind of place you could visit every night of the week, such is its laid back, living-room like atmosphere.

As its name suggests, Artbar is a favourite hangout for the students from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design just over the road, and this basement pub has an underground vibe that’s never trying too hard to impress.

Charmingly scruffy, the candle-lit pub offers reasonably priced drinks, mid-week open mic nights and resident DJs at the weekend.

Visit: 140 Perth Road, DD1 4JW – facebook.com/theartbarofficial

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