A celebration of our favourite Bristol dancefloors

A celebration of our favourite Bristol dancefloors

Posted on: 28 May 2020

We pay homage to some of the city's top events spaces as doors remain closed during the coronavirus crisis.


We miss Bristol parties. The city is a proud home to a huge range of venues, talented artists, dedicated promoters and keen crowds, and life hasn't been the same without that magical balance of good music, free spirits and genuine closeness you can only find on the dancefloor.


As we approach the summer months, we're already starting to see how much of a hole has been left behind by the loss of some of Bristol's favourite events.


50,000 people should have flocked to Eastville Park for Love Saves The Day last weekend. Rave on Avon was ready to take over Old Market for the very first time in May. Motion's YARD: Open Air Club, expanded into a huge two-day event for the first time in 2020, would have been one of the venue's biggest-ever parties.



It's becoming more and more apparent that venues and events spaces across Bristol are about to be hit hard by the fallout of the coronavirus crisis, and many may not survive. It could still be several months until venues are able to operate at full capacity.


Sadly, there are more dark times ahead. But, in anticipation of a time in which we can start to pick up the pieces, we've decided to put together a quick rundown of our favourite Bristol dancefloors to remind you that there are still reasons to be positive.


Things are looking pretty bleak right now, but it's important to remember that the spaces that hosted some of your favourite dancefloor moments are still out there, figuring out how to navigate an uncertain future. Be sure to get behind them however you can.


Trinity Centre


Few venues encapsulate the spirit of Bristol like the Trinity Centre, and the atmosphere when everything falls into place in the main room will have a lasting effect on you.


It's not the calibre of artists you'll find performing, it's not the community spirit of the venue team nor the vibe of a centuries-old church structure, but rather a combination of the three. It's almost as if you can feel the history and heritage of the Trinity Centre when an event is in full flow.


Speaking to LOUD Magazine in February, Edson Burton, Trinity's Heritage & Engagement Coordinator, explained that the venue's sense of history, community and infectious positivity gives it a totally distinctive feel: 


"Because of the eclectic nature of people who come here, the pricing and where it’s situated, there’s a good vibe here. When people feel safe they also tend to have a good time, and a band get to enjoy that and feel that energy.


"There’s an alchemy between artist and audience, and that alchemy, I feel here, is really quite unique.”

Timedance: 5 Years at the Trinity Centre, February 2020. Photo: Ollie Kirk, Here & NowTimedance: 5 Years at the Trinity Centre, February 2020. Photo: Ollie Kirk, Here & Now


The Lock Yard @ Motion


No list recognising Bristol venues would be complete without a mention of at least one part of the Motion complex, and while spaces like The Marble Factory and the club's sprawling main room have their charm, The Lock Yard is one-of-a-kind.


Tucked away alongside the river, The Motion team have managed to hide the secluded dancefloor away just enough for it to feel like its own space, a welcome break from the busier and more expansive rooms elsewhere on site.


Motion's Friday evening parties last summer were an absolute highlight of 2019, hosted by revered local crews including Bitch, Please!, Emergency Room, 1020 Radio and many more across May, June, July and August.


Bringing popular local promoters to a small, secluded, waterfront (sort of) stage to dance as the sun went down was a masterstroke from the Motion team, and those intimate Friday evening get-togethers will be sorely missed this year.

The Lock Yard at Motion.The Lock Yard at Motion.


The Island


The Island feels at times like it was made for the Bristol music scene; a deep, dark maze of tight spaces and low ceilings, a perfect fit for weighty club music and a no-frills atmosphere.


From the old Timedance parties to Pretty Pretty Good's long-standing series and sets from the likes of Pangaea, Luca Lozano and Josey Rebelle, The Island has seen the very best of Bristol's party scene in recent years.


Whether the space will continue to host parties in the future remains to be seen, but there's no doubt it will continue to serve a purpose as a dedicated community and arts space for years to come.

Navigating the tunnels at The Island. Photo: Alex DigardNavigating the tunnels at The Island. Photo: Alex Digard




Another major champion of local artists and promoters, you can't match the family vibe at Cosies when things fall into place and you find yourself in amongst it with a rum in each hand at 2 in the morning.


Programmed to feature something for everyone, you're as likely to come across a world-renowned DJ on a Cosies lineup as you are an emerging local artist or Bristol veteran.


Whatever's on, you're sure to find an abundance of positivity on the Cosies dancefloor, making it one of our absolute favourites and a true hidden (depending on who you ask) gem of the Bristol club landscape.

Inside Cosies on Portland Square. Photo: Absolute Body ControlInside Cosies on Portland Square. Photo: Absolute Body Control


The Love Inn


Nobody really knows what's about to happen to Stokes Croft. Lakota is officially making way some time in the near future, and will probably be followed by Blue Mountain. The Crofters Rights and No.51, as well as The Love Inn, may struggle to make it through the coronavirus crisis.


The latter would be a huge loss to Stokes Croft and to Bristol as a whole if it closed, given the memorable parties it's hosted over the years and the platform it's provided for local initiatives like Mix Nights and Cause.


Consistently ambitious bookings over the last few years have earned The Love Inn a stellar reputation, and whether it's down to the decor, the location, the soundsystem or the crowd, there's something special about it in the right hands.

Mix Nights' Term 15 Showcase at The Love Inn. Photo: Ashley ReynoldsMix Nights' Term 15 Showcase at The Love Inn. Photo: Ashley Reynolds




Tucked away on Willway Street in BS3, Fiddlers is a proper, stripped-back music venue that retains the feel of an old working man's club but hosts some of Bristol's most exciting bookings year in, year out. 


A firm favourite of the Worm Disco Club crew as well as the array of world-renowned artists that have played there, Fiddlers is another space that has that heartwarming Bristol community feel in abundance.

Kongo Dia Ntotila on stage at Fiddlers, September 2019. Photo: Maria Arvanitaki / Worm Disco ClubKongo Dia Ntotila on stage at Fiddlers, September 2019. Photo: Maria Arvanitaki / Worm Disco Club


The Dungeon @ Dare2Club


We're not sure if it's officially called The Dungeon, but it's the best way to describe the basement at Dare2Club, so we're going with it. The Alfred Street club is certainly one of Bristol's most unique venues, and its tight, claustrophobic underground room stands out.


Why? The DJ plays through a hole in the wall to a tiny dancefloor with a capacity of no more than 60 people, there's bondage gear all over the walls, and there's an ever-present danger of bouncing your head off the ceiling if you're any taller than 5'10.


You're unlikely to find another room quite like it in a club anywhere else in the UK, let alone anywhere else in Bristol. If nothing else, the sheer 'what the fuck is going on here' value of a trip down those stairs makes it a worthwhile venture.

AKA x Deep Discs at Dare2Club, March 2020. Photo: Khris Cowley for Here & NowAKA x Deep Discs at Dare2Club, March 2020. Photo: Khris Cowley for Here & Now


Take Five Cafe


Everybody's got a story from Take Five. If anyone you know runs parties in Bristol, chances are they've put something on here before, such is its popularity with first-time promoters.


Located underneath an innocent-looking cafe across the street from Turbo Island, Take Five is the perfect testing ground for a brand-new event, or the ideal spot for a party between friends if you can get enough people together. 


The cramped ceilings and narrow hallways may be difficult to navigate when you're in a state, but Take Five has got all the makings of a top-notch starter venue.

NSC Launch Party at Take 5 Cafe, March 2020. Photo: NSCNSC Launch Party at Take 5 Cafe, March 2020. Photo: NSC

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Article by:

Matt Robson


Editor - 365Bristol.com & LOUD Magazine

Matt is a Journalism graduate and writer, passionate about supporting Bristol music, art and independent business. Get in touch via email at matt@365bristol.com.