Nightlife Reopening | Bristol venues confirm new COVID-19 safety measures

Nightlife Reopening | Bristol venues confirm new COVID-19 safety measures

Posted on: 23 Jul 2021

Clubs and live venues across Bristol are tentatively opening their doors after almost 18 months of closure.


Bristol's nightlife venues have finally been given the green light to reopen in full, with UK government coronavirus restrictions officially lifted from Monday 19 July onwards.


After almost 18 months of closure, the nighttime economy has been hit hard by the pandemic. Grassroots venues have experienced a near-total loss of income, and are understandably eager to return to normality.


Many have announced, however, in order to minimise risk to visitors, staff and performers, that they'll be keeping some safety restrictions in place.


Read on for an up-to-date rundown of Bristol venues' safety measures, and be sure to co-operate and be respectful of their decisions to give them the best chance of staying open for the weeks and months to come.



A quick disclaimer: the 365Bristol team would like to urge everyone to stay home if you have tested positive for COVID-19, been asked to self-isolate or shown any symptoms. 


We feel that the UK government has effectively passed its public safety responsibilities on to venue owners and operators, and if a link between nightlife and the spread of COVID-19 is established, the sector could well be scapegoated and venues nationwide could be required to close once again.


Please be considerate of venues, venue staff and those around you - be safe, be responsible.




Bristol's biggest club venue has been sorely missed over the past 18 months, forced to remain completely closed until the launch of its socially-distanced outdoor programme in April.


With a full reopening imminent, Motion have outlined their full COVID-19 safety policy, requiring attendees to show a negative lateral flow test (taken no more than 24hr before the event) upon entry. Anyone without a negative test can take one on-site at a cost of £10.


All staff, security and performers will be tested prior to each event, and the team will be providing hand sanitiser throughout the venue, as well as completely sanitising the entire space before and after events.





Lakota has arguably had the most success of any Bristol venue in adapting their operations during the pandemic, opening their hugely popular, socially-distanced outdoor space Lakota Gardens in July 2020.


The historic Stokes Croft venue is now ready to open its main doors, however, and they're requiring attendees to show EITHER a negative lateral flow test (taken no more than 24hr before the event) or proof of double vaccination upon entry.


Lateral flow tests can be ordered here for free, while the COVID vaccination pass is accessible through the NHS App.

Inside Lakota.

The Fleece


Long-standing live venue The Fleece are marking their reopening with a range of new and updated facilities, including a "bigger and better" stage area, updated accessible area for disabled attendees a new-and-improved soundsystem.


While the venue team aren't requiring negative test results or proof of vaccination as requirements for entry, they are asking that visitors act as responsible members of the Bristol music community and complete a test beforehand to minimise risk of passing the virus on to others.



O2 Academy Bristol


Central Bristol's O2 Academy hosts some of the city's biggest and most eagerly-awaited live gigs, so fans across the city are understandably keen to return to Frogmore Street as soon as possible.


The O2 are requiring gig-goers to show a negative PCR or lateral flow test, proof of full vaccination or proof of immunity (based on a positive PCR test within 180 days of an event, and after the mandatory 10-day isolation period) upon entry.


The venue are also asking attendees to consider wearing a face covering. "While it's no longer a requirement, we'd encourage you to be mindful of others and follow advice about personal responsibility to cover your face," their official COVID-19 policy states.





After briefly reopening as a riverside bar last summer, Bristol's first and only water-based music venue is making its long-awaited return this month.


For the time being, Thekla are not requiring a negative test result or proof of vaccination to gain entry, but are asking that people do what they can to ensure they're not infectious before arriving, i.e. taking a test prior to an event.


Wearing masks is no longer compulsory inside the venue, but the team have asked that attendees wear a mask when possible to minimise risk to others.



The Crofters Rights


A firm frontrunner of Stokes Croft's cultural offering, The Crofters Rights is a vital platform for emerging local musicians and promoters.


Confirming their new COVID-19 safety measures online, the Crofters team said the safety of customers and staff is of "utmost importance", and that they'll be asking everyone to do their bit to ensure their space is as safe as possible this summer.


While the venue will not be requiring negative tests or proof of vaccination to gain entry, the owners have requested that people take lateral flow tests and get vaccinated of their own accord to help keep the virus out of the venue.


The team will do their bit by maintaining extensive cleaning schedules before and after each event and providing hand sanitiser, while attendees will be asked - not required - to wear a mask while ordering at the bar.



The Louisiana


Popular Harbourside live venue The Louisiana are asking attendees to do everything they can to ensure they're not infectious prior to their arrival.


Posting a statement online, the team said: "To be clear, we don't believe we should operate a policy of excluding you from our venue because you haven't done those things.


"But you, personally, can make sure you aren't adding to anyone's risk by keeping your record of immunity up to date, getting vaccinated when you can and taking a free lateral flow test before you arrive.


"No one is forcing you to do this. We're just asking you to be kind and thoughtful and do it for the safety of everyone else and our staff."



The Exchange


Old Market staple The Exchange hosted its first reopening gig on Thursday 22 July, and the team have been hard at work through successive lockdowns ensuring the venue is as safe as possible for returning locals.


Attendees won't be required to show a negative test result or proof of vaccination upon entry, but as part of their full reopening statement the Exchange team encouraged fans to take their own tests before arriving.


As part of an array of new facilities and features installed and updated at The Exchange, UVC air filtration units have been set up throughout the venue to reduce risk of virus transmission during events.



Strange Brew


New(ish) central Bristol venue Strange Brew has been restricted to hosting socially-distanced shows for its entire lifespan so far, but this week's removal of restrictions will allow operators Dirtytalk to finally put the space through its paces. 


To minimise risk to attendees, staff and performers, the venue will be requiring masks upon entry and while ordering from the bar, and taking card and contactless card payments only. 


Proof of a negative test result or confirmation of vaccination status isn't required, however Strange Brew are requesting that visitors take a test at home for the safety of others.


The team have also installed a new ventilation system throughout the venue to ensure no recycled air is circulating indoors.



Highrise Hub


Opened in 2020, this year presents BS2 venue Highrise Hub's first opportunity to jump into a full-scale events schedule and give Bristolians a real taste of what they've got to offer.


Set to host a wide range of day and night events throughout the summer, the Highrise team are requiring attendees to show a negative lateral flow or PCR test upon entry, and wear a mask in crowded spaces where possible.



Old Crown Courts


Bristol's Old Crown Courts is expected to return with a bang this weekend, hosting a wide range of events spanning the full scope of the city's revered underground music scene.


The venue are requiring attendees to show a negative PCR or lateral flow test to gain entry, which must be taken no more than 48 hours before an event.


Announcing their policy online, the Old Crown Courts team said:


"We understand some of you may not be favourable of such a system but we firmly believe if you can take 5 minutes out of your day to do an incredibly quick, easy and free test, you may just save someone from contracting COVID and allow us to remain open - we think that’s worth it."

Bristol's Old Crown Courts.

The Black Swan


Much-loved Stapleton Road venue The Black Swan is an integral part of Bristol's underground scene, and fans of a range of bass-driven genres will be heartily welcoming its return after close to 18 months of closure.


To gain entry you'll need to show a negative PCR or lateral flow test result, regardless of vaccination status. The team explained that while vaccines prevent people suffering from COVID-19, vaccinated people can still carry the virus and pass it on to others.



The Jam Jar


BS2 venue The Jam Jar is among the renowned grassroots venues making a welcome return this month, and they are advising attendees to take their own safety precautions to minimise risk to each other, venue staff and performers.


The Jam Jar team are asking that people take their own lateral flow tests at home before arriving at the venue, or wear a face mask inside the venue if unable to take a test.


Additional sanitising stations and venitlation systems have been installed throughout the venue, and staff will be operating a vigorous cleaning regime before, during and after events.



Thanks to SaveBristolNightlife for compiling this information - find out more about the organisation and follow news and updates regarding Bristol nightlife over on their Facebook page.


If you're a venue owner or a member of staff at a venue we've missed from this list, please let us know via our Contact page, and we'll make necessary additions.


Main Image: Motion

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Article by:

Matt Robson


Editor - & LOUD Magazine

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