Entertainment, Restaurants and Bars in Dundee
With two universities in a relatively small city, nightlife in Dundee tends to be livelier during the academic term times than when the student population is not there. Having said that there are plenty of pubs, bars and restaurants to choose from that will give you a friendly welcome. Being one of the most northern cities in the UK summer evenings are that bit longer. Which means it’s all the better to enjoy a drink or meal outdoors until late into the evening. Of course the converse is also true, shorter daytimes in the winter, but that just gives you different good reasons to settle into a cosy and warm bar or restaurant to meet and chat with some friends.
Bars and Pubs:
The Doghouse on Barn Street is one of the newer ‘drinking halls’ that are prevalent in all the UKs cities. However, it has a good and relaxed atmosphere and regularly has live music from local bands during weekend evenings. There is also a regular comedy club, with an ‘open mic’ on Mondays. Although the beer served here won’t win any awards; pool tables and an out-door seating area make this a very pleasant doghouse to be in. The unlikely named Reading Rooms, at Blackscroft, is actually one of Scotland’s best live music venues, catering to a wide spectrum of tastes. Everything from big band to folk music can be show cased here, or if you fancy a free lesson in break-dancing then go along on a Wednesday evening. The pub has a beer garden, which is particularly pleasant on a summers evening. Some of the best pubs in the area are in neighbouring Broughty Ferry. The Fisherman’s Tavern on Fort Street, serves good cask ales and has plenty of nooks and crannies to sit in. This hotel and pub holds an annual beer festival in June, which can get a bit raucous but the proceeds go to support the Lifeboat Association. The Ship Inn is on the seafront at Fisher Street. It’s a small ‘cabin’ style pub, that would be quaintly described as intimate. Inside there are loads of nautical memorabilia and great views across the Forth of Tay.
With two AA rosettes the Alchemy Restaurant in the Dundee City Quay Hotel is definitely the place to eat the best food in town. The head chef, Bruce Price , has produced a menu with all the best in Scottish and European ingredients and cooking. The three course set menu is a little under £30 per head, excluding drinks. There is also the Highland tasting menu at £32 per head. The restaurants wine list, whilst not containing any great vintages, is accessible to everyone. Wine prices, excluding champagnes, range from under £12 for a Sauvignon Blanc to £40 for a Burgundy. A winner of the Scottish Good Curry Guide award is the Dil’se restaurant on Perth Road. Expect to pay around £20 per head, at this modern glass fronted restaurant, for a three course meal. Dil’se serves mainly Bangladeshi food including an excellent Chicken Tikka dish. If you’re feeling a little more adventurous, ask if the ‘Mas Bangla’ is on the menu when you’re there, it is an innovative dish using Scottish Salmon. Howie’s Restaurant and Bar is on South Tay Street. Although small and intimate, it’s contemporary and sophisticated ambience appeals to a clientele seeking a more ‘exclusive’ evening out at unpretentious prices. A two course dinner at under £20 a head makes Howie’s excellent value for money. The Jute Café-Bar is a popular place to lunch in Dundee, as well as being open for evening meals. Located in the Dundee Contemporary Arts Centre, on Nethergait, dishes include tuna and roast chilli wraps and spicy pork skewers with a honey glaze. Also on Nethergait is the Deep Sea. Run by an Italian family from Tuscany, this is the place to go if you fancy eating out on a fish supper - that’s fish and chips to most of us. You can eat in, or take out, these excellently prepared and generous portions. However, be aware that it closes early in the evening. Staying with an Italian theme, in Broughty Ferry there is an Ice Cream shop and cafe called Visocchi’s - which is also owned by an Italian family. If it’s hot and summery enjoy a gorgeous ice cream or if it’s cold and damp; an espresso in the morning or a pizza for lunch. Visocchi’s is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner on Gray Street, a couple of hundred metres above the harbour.
The largest night club in Dundee is Fat Sams, which is on South Ward Road, inside the city centre, near Marketgait. The club is used for just about everything from disco and rave nights to being a venue for ‘indie’ bands like The Cribs. Other clubs include; Déjà Vu on Cowgait and the Mono at Airle Place. With a seated capacity of 2300 and a standing capacity of 5000 the Dundee Ice Arena can be used for major touring bands and shows. There is a Dundee Repertory Theatre at Tay Square. The company was formed in 1939 and has been in its present theatre, with a 450 seat auditorium, for 25 years. It is currently the only theatre in Scotland with a resident ensemble of actors and is also home to the Scottish Dance Theatre. As well as mounting its own drama and dance productions the theatre is used by other touring companies. The city also hosts an annual Dundee Mountain Film Festival. The 2150 seat Caird Hall was once used only for classical concerts. However, now touring bands and musical shows are frequent visitors to this recently refurbished venue in the heart of the city.