Dundee: Student Venue Guide

The student-friendly pubs, restaurants, galleries and bakeries to check out in Dundee

Feature by Kate Pasola and Peter Simpson | 08 Sep 2017

The Speedwell Bar
165 Perth Rd
Generations of Dundee students have taken their first brave steps from the Union bar into the pub world at this Edwardian institution. Grab a pint, pull up a chair and constantly refer to the place as 'Mennie's' – the nickname given in honour of its former landlady – and you'll fit in in no time at all.

40 Gray St, Broughty Ferry
Over in the Ferry, Visocchi’s started out over fifty years ago as a traditional sweet shop, before venturing later into the gelato arena. With what’s been pinned as the best ice cream in Scotland by all kinds of movers and (milk)shakers, it’s no wonder Visocchi’s has queues right outta the door.

Art Bar
140B Perth Rd
01382 641366
Practically on top of Duncan of Jordanstone art school, this one’s a bar especially for the art folk of Dundee. Thanks to the creative clientele and their cravings for out-of-hours arts, you can look forward to open mics and regular live music slots. Drinks are beautifully affordable too.

Clark’s Bakery
Unit 3, Annfield Row
Rescuing hangry people in Dundee since 1950, Clark’s Bakery stays open all day and all night too. Home baked cakes, pastries and burgers that’ll clog yo' arteries to boot. Heard of the helicopter yet? Won’t be long til you do, so enjoy your coronal health while you still can.

141 Nethergate
Would you like to consume a 24oz burger? Who doesn’t want to consume a 24oz burger, right? Well, Tonic’s got that pretty much covered, along with a wicked atmosphere, drinks at prices that won’t slay your student loan and squishy chairs fit for lecture dodgers from far and wide.

The Phoenix
103 Nethergate
01382 200014
Schlap-bang in the centre of Dundee and straddling both the pub genres of ‘Old Man’ and ‘Bohemian Cool Person,’ Phoenix is a definite shout if you just fancy hanging around and flaunting your free time like the lucky dickhead you are. 

142 Perth Rd
Managed by the same bunch of maestros behind Edinburgh’s woodfired hipster den OX184, Drouthy’s is as hip’n’happening as you’d expect. They keep things simple, but make sure there’s plenty going on, whether you’re ravenous for hearty grub or craving an ale.

Brewdog Bar
Chamber Building, Panmure St
You know what you're getting with Brewdog – which is handy in Dundee, 'City of Discovery'. This branch of the Fraserburgh craft beer monolith is slap-bang in the middle of the city, and inside you'll find the usual Brewdog scenario: wooden furniture, loads and loads of beer from home and away, and surprisingly refined meat and cheese boards. 

The West House
2 West Port
It's a younger resident of Dundee's bar-restaurant scene, but The West House is a good'un if you fancy drinks and snacks in a chic setting. All white walls, big windows and champagne flutes suspended in anticipation above the bar, it's just a nice place to be. 

Duke's Corner
13 Brown St
Beer, BBQs and bands is what Duke's professes to do best, and to be honest we're sort of inclined to believe them. They've got 30 bar taps which deliver a whole host of ales and craft beers into the happy bellies of Dundee punters, smokey pub grub all day long, and a decent roster of live music.

Dundee Rep
Tay Square
The Rep is home to one of the country’s most renowned theatre companies, but also accommodates some of the best touring theatre productions as they make their way around the UK. It’s not all highbrow stuff though, you’ll also catch a bit of stand-up, dance and live music there too.

The McManus
Albert Square
Built atop a former marshland, The McManus has suffered its fair share of structural difficulties. But it’s returned better than ever after a major structural refurb, and back to demonstrating the history of Dundee in an impressive fashion. Those feeling peckish after perusing the gallery can sip on something caffeinated under rare rays of Dundonian sun, too.

Dundee Contemporary Arts
152 Nethergate
What's got a two screen cinema, professional printmaking kit and features heaps of high profile exhibitions? DCA, that's what. Basically a Mecca for Dundee’s artist community, DCA also has its very own café-bar and a gift shop, making it a pleasant place to spend a couple of hours browsing and people watching.

Cooper Gallery
13 Perth Rd
Part of the University of Dundee, the Cooper plays host to a series of large-scale exhibitions over the course of the year, offering DJCAD students an ideal opportunity to mingle and draw inspiration.  

Generator Projects
Unit 25-26 Mid Wynd
Generator was launched in 1996, and has provided a space for new and established artists to exhibit their work ever since. Its projects are run by a team of six artists who rotate every two years, keeping things super fresh and exciting. Oh, and membership is a fiver. A FIVER.

40 Dock St
01382 204440
A triangular tattoo and piercing shop found at the corner of Dock St and Commercial St, this place is our recommended putting-needles-in-your-face shop. They’ve got a talented group of tattoo artists on the go there, too – just don’t waste them on an infinity loop on your wrist.

Dundee Women's Trail
A trail of 25 plaques dedicated to some badass women who made Dundee the place it is, including Janet Keiller (the hero who invented marmalade) and Jean Thomson, who's thought to be Scotland's first ever female police officer. Complete with an interactive map and spanning four centuries of history, it's feminist AND fun AND free. A pretty decent way to get yourself stuck into the streets of ol' Duntay, too.

South Tay St
Tell you what’s helpful when you’re with a group of new pals who have inconveniently diverse tastes – a mixed music policy at a club, that’s what.

Reading Rooms
57 Blackscroft
Festooned with camouflage roofing and full of people out of their joyous minds, the Reading Rooms is a bit different. It’s loud, intimate and soundtracked by everything from Afrobeat to hip-hop. 

15 Ward Road
A venue that's been through more names than you've had hot dinners, Church remains a reliable location for those fancying some live music. Catch local and touring bands, along with rock and indie nights too.

V&A Dundee
OK, it isn't open yet. OK, it isn't even finished yet, but that Kengo Kuma-designed monolith on the waterfront is set to be the biggest thing to happen to Dundee's creative scene in a long time.The design museum will feature a host of exhibitions, touring shows and collaboration opportunities when it opens its doors in 2018.

Conroy's Basement
51-53 Meadowside
One of Dundee's most important DIY venues, Conroy's plays host to a wide range of up-and-comers from across the UK punk and metal scenes and beyond. It's also the main place to catch shows from Dundee DIY promoters and record label Make That A Take. 

The Bach
20 Exchange Court
A slice of New Zealand cafe culture in the heart of Dundee, The Bach is inspired by the Kiwi holiday homes of the same name. Once you find your way in up the stairs, you'll find a cracking flat white, great all-day food, and a selection of imported Antipodean goodies.

Bird & Bear
2 Whitehall Crescent
A lovely copper bar, a brilliant selection of local drinks, hip-hop brunch parties every weekend, a cracking all-day food menu and a brilliant location in the middle of town; Bird & Bear has a lot going for it. To be honest, they had us at 'hip-hop brunch'.

Assai Records
241 King St, Broughty Ferry
Vinyl's back, baby! Prove your impeccable musical cred at Assai in Broughty Ferry, which specialises in the format with a great mix of brand-new releases and classic vinyl reissues. Assai also host in-store gigs throughout the year, and bring a slice of Record Store Day fun to Dundee every April.

Clarks on Lindsay Street
80 North Lindsay St
Gigs every weekend and a host of tasty beers await at Clarks, while the free wi-fi, big ol' televisions and lovely coffee make it an ideal spot to while away a weekend afternoon.