Where to go out for a Stag do in Bournemouth?
Unlike Newquay which has taken a particularly dim view of stag dos over the past twelve months owing, in part, to the outspoken words of Supt Jackie ‘Manikis are offensive clothing’ Whitmarsh, Bournemouth is much more accommodating of the modern stag do. This is perhaps not surprising when you consider Bournemouth was found to be the happiest place to live in a 2007 survey of local residents, where a whopping 82% said they were happy with their lot. This positive disposition may have taken a knock in 2012 when the town lost out to Chelmsford in a bid for city status (a bit of a sore subject) but it takes more than a bunch of pencil pushing bureaucrats to get this lot down! And who can blame them – seven miles of sandy beaches, glorious sunshine and a host of hen dos – Bournemouth has a lot going for it as a stag do destination.
Unlike the bigger city stag do locations like London, Manchester or Edinburgh, all the decent bars, pubs and clubs in Bournemouth are, by and large, near one another. In our humble opinion the main place to take your stag do in Bournemouth is the area around Old Christchurch Road. This part of town hosts more stag and hen do friendly venues and has the highest concentration of pubs, bars and clubs than anywhere else in town. If you’re looking for something a bit different then the Triangle area to the west of Central Gardens is home to the towns more bohemian establishments and local gay scene but isn’t particularly fond of stag dos so you’ll need to be low key if you’d like to visit these hang outs. Finally, if you’re too cool for school there are some high end bars closer to the beach that are out of the London/ Brighton mould but they have a very selective door policy and stag dos rarely make it past Go.
Our advice therefore is to start on the eastern side of Old Christchurch Street and make your way west towards the town (not city – sorry Bournemouthians) centre. In this guide we’ll talk you through the best places to go out on your Bournemouth stag do, what stag do activities you might want to consider during the day and places to sleep.
Of course, if you want the hassle taken away from organising a Bournemouth Stag Do then you may want to consider one of the many Bournemouth stag do packages put together by different companies. A bit like holiday deals there are bookers that specialise in putting together stag do packages where the accommodation, a stag do activity and often club entry are all included in one price. If this tickles your fancy then check out our Bournemouth stag do package price comparison section. Otherwise read on for your comprehensive guide for bournemouth stag do ideas!Compare Bournemouth Stag Do Prices
Bournemouth Stag Do Activities During the Day
An affordable and not terribly strenuous stag do activity to do in Bournemouth is Laser Quest. Of course you don’t get the satisfaction of seeing the stag bruised like a rotten apple as with paintballing, but what it lacks in physical force it makes up for in convenience as it’s based in the town centre. We’ve not heard any complaints about fancy dress so why not stick the lad in a stag do costume to make him easier to shoot?! A Star Wars theme could go down nicely here. Laser quest lasts about 80 minutes, you get two games and costs just under £12 a player.
If you’d rather something a little more action packed then head to Mega Paintball which is also centrally based. Being indoors means you’re not going to get wet and the team here provide all the essential equipment including face masks, overalls and the like. If you want a bit more space then they have another facility half an hour out of Bournemouth set in 65 acres of woodland. If you’re interested in Bournemouth paintball stag do packages, you can compare prices by clicking the link.
For a different stag do activity in Bournemouth then how about a spot of surfing seeing as you’re on the coast? Okay so it’s not quite Hawaii but you still get to experience the rough and tumble of some decent waves on a good day and the thoughtful folks at Bournemouth Surf School have even gone to the effort of creating an artificial reef. A sterling effort in our view. Dress the stag in a Baywatch outfit, call him CJ and watch him get hammered with waves! Prices range between £25 – £35 depending on group size, for which you get a two hour lesson, board and wet suit. Good fun and quite amusing after big night out.
Bournemouth Stag Do Activities in the Evening
The O2 Academy is impressive venue has gone through various transformations since its opening back in the 80s. Discotheques, circus entertainers and ball room dancers have graced its floors but nowadays this three story location plays host to leading music acts. Like its London namesake ‘the O2’ can attract some big names so if you fancy a bit of gig action this could be an option.
Alternatively, and arguably more of a traditional stag night out in Bournemouth is a comedy club. As we always say here at iamthebestman, giving the MC a heads up on the stag is a surefire way to get some cheap laughs at the lads expense! Fancy some of that?! If so, then make your way to the Funnybone Comedy Club. An entry fee of around £13 gets you a seat at a table and three comedians of which at least two are typically decent. You can buy food there but it’s fairly standard fodder. If you’re looking to make a night of it and want somewhere to eat nearby we suggest Da Mario’s which is next door and, believe us, is outstanding! They make all pizzas by hand and bake them in a woodfired oven. And it gets even better. Why? Because it’s BYO, meaning you can take your own beer (£1/can ‘corkage’). Head next door to the Pig & Whistle for a few cheeky beers and you’re away! One important and final recommendation – book your tickets in advance. This place gets popular and if you’re in a larger group its essential to give advance notice.
Where To Go Out on a Bournemouth Stag Do
Okay, so as discussed earlier our advice here is to do a bit of a pub crawl of Old Christchurch Road going from east to west which will mean you eventually arrive in and around the town centre where there are some decent clubs. Which ones you visit will depend on what type of places you like – traditional ale serving boozers or blinging bars and clubs. Below we give you a few options so you can tailor it to your own Bournemouth stag party.
A decent shout to start is The Litten Tree, particularly if there is a sporting event on as this place boasts a ludicrous amount of screens and will show any game that’s televised on any channel! BT, Sky Sports, Al Jazeera whatever! The food is good value and with an all-day breakfast coming in at under fiver it’s a decent shout for lunch or an early dinner. One to hang out with Stelling and the boys.
Practically next door is that popular Irish pub O’Neills. These guys are big on live music with a different act on stage every night of the week, so if you’re there early evening and are partial to a bit of Irish folk or indie music then this is a good place to hang out and enjoy the craic.
Maybe worth a look, if there aren’t too many of you, as it’s not the biggest of venues, is Bar Fruit which is a pleasant enough vodka bar on the right as you head down the hill into town. Spread over two floors, this place can be pretty good if you get there early as they’ve got table football. Also worth bearing in mind, is that like most vodka bars Bar Fruit have a lethal drink that the stag should almost certainly be made to consume. In this instance, the offending tipple is the somewhat mysteriously named Balkan 176. We’ve no idea what that refers to other than a broad geographic expanse of islands but what we do know is this – Balkan 176 is as close as you’ll come to rocket fuel! Or pure alcohol to be precise. Weighing in at a massive 88%ABV this bad boy packs a meaner punch than Klitschko and comes with no fewer than 13 health warnings on the labeling! You were warned!
If you continue your walk in to town Bar[Me] is worth a look in. They relaunched in July with special guests Letysha and Ricci from Geordie Shore (see our Newcastle Stag Do Ideas City Guide for more about that lot) and have some fun themes that play in to the hands of stag and hen dos in Bournemouth. Jocks vs. Cheerleaders Frat Party, Superheros Weekender and The Wild West Weekend complete with Rodeo bull are examples of recent events. Suffice to say, all of these antics lend themselves nicely to a decent stag do costume, and at £3.95 for a double JD and Red Bull it’s pretty good value.
Next up on the bar crawl of Old Christchurch Road is the infamous Walkabout! This chain of pubs are fairly common these days so you know what you’re going to get: cheap laaa-ga, sport on the TV and accessible crowd pleasing guitar music. Popular with stag and hen dos alike, the largely friendly door policy means you’re okay to don silly outfits (the dicksling aside).
If you’re on the look for another boozer (as opposed to bar or club) then a decent shout is Daisy O’Briens in the town centre. As the name suggests it maybe another Irish pub but unlike a lot of those that have jumped on the Celtic bandwagon over the years this one retains a bit of personality owing to its laid back attitude (they’ve been known to allow you to stick your own music on from time to time) and dare we use the word ‘charming’ interior. Although not great fans ourselves here at iamthebestman, The Mary Shelly is worth pointing out for one reason only – cheap booze. Basically it’s a Weatherspoons so you know the rest.
If you continue on your journey you’ll hit Lola Lo which is a cocktail bar spread over two floors styled with a Polynesian theme in keeping with Bournemouth’s coastal vibe. The waterfall in its annexed Tiki Club adds to the tropical atmosphere while Easter Island replica statutes and hand carved woods provide even further authenticity. These guys have spared no expense to give the venue a genuine beach feel and even do table service which can come in very handy. Hen parties love this place on account of the cocktail making classes, they have VIP booths and is open to 4am on Friday and Saturday’s. It’s between here and Cameo and Myu Bar for the end of night venue.
Cameo and Myu Bar is Bourenmouth’s biggest club and recently capitalised on the unexpected closure of two Bourenmouth favourites Chilli White and Bliss in January 2013. Investing a cool £1m, the Luminar group, responsible for the likes of Oceana, Liquid and Envy, have transformed the former Lava Ignite in to a superclub with a capacity exceeding 2000. Like Lola Lo, Cameo, which officially opened in April 2013, offers table service and VIP booths as part of the service making it ideal for a top stag night in Bournemouth. Myu meanwhile is the pre-club bar designed to lubricate before the main event! Personally, if we had to call it between the two clubs we’d go with Lola Lo not least because it’s at the end of the bar crawl but it’s a close call.
For The Bohemians Amongst You
On the Westside of Bournemouth’s Central Gardens is a The Triangle which is home to Bournemouth’s alternative scene. The venues here tend to be more arty, creative and unconventional than the rest of town so stag do fancy dress is a no-go and rowdy behaviour is not the done thing. You will therefore need to judge the suitability of this part of town according to the disposition and size of your group. This is more Will Young than Will Carling.
The venues here tend to be bars and cafes but there is one pub that is definitely worth a mention which is the Goat & Tricycle. What’s great about this place is the constantly changing beers on offer. Guest ales are a regular feature of the show and they have been known to stock as many as a dozen brews from independent small breweries across the UK. So trying all the different variants is a grand old way to spend a Bournemouth stag do. This characterful pub also does some hearty home cooked food to soak up the booze so you don’t even need to leave! Lovely. Other places popular in the area are The Winchester, Flirt Café and Smokin’ Aces Cocktail Bar & Whiskey Lounge, all of which tend to promote local music, story tellers and artists.
For the Discerning Bar Goers
Frankly, most stag dos that look anything remotely like a stag do don’t get in to these places but we’ll point them out anyway as they’re pretty cool hangouts if you’re the type of fellas’ who are low key, smaller in number and want to blend in. Sixty Million Postcards, named after the many dotted around the bar area, is a relaxed funky bar with big ass sofas and chilled out background music. You normally find this type of place in London or Brighton and offer something different to the rest of Bournemouth. For that very reason they can afford to be very picky on the door and do just that, pretty much selecting who they do and don’t want in their bar. Turning up here in a superhero costume is the equivalent of a loudmouth American rocking up in Cuba dressed in head to toe stars and stripes. Not a good idea. You can expect similar venues and door policy from the equally good but fussy Bar So and excellent 1812.
The final place to mention in Bournemouth that is a little further out (although we’re only talking a 10-15 minute walk from Old Christchurch Road) is Aruba. As the affable Phil Spencer and his posh property pal Kirsty Allsopp would say, this is all about Location Location Location. Aruba is a prime bit of real estate with stunning views overlooking Bournemouth beach so if you’re there in the Summer time this is a must to visit. They serve food throughout the day (but add a premium for the view so is not particularly cheap) which you can eat inside or out on the terrace. The bar is pretty cool. Fashioned on a Caribbean theme, it’s a 360 degree area and really bustling after hours. Like Lola Lo and Cameo, you can also book a booth if you get in there early.
Where to stay
One of the reasons why Bournemouth is a top stag do destination is because the accommodation is excellent value versus elsewhere in the country (London in particular). In this town you can get a place to lay your drunken head for as little as £20 a night.
The Chelsea Hotel caters specifically for Stag Dos and is close to both the train station and the beginning of our recommended pub crawl in to town at 32 St. Swithun’s Road, BH1 3RH. Rates depend on the time of year but average around £25 a person which is excellent value.
The Bournemouth Stag and Hen Hotel is very affordable with rooms also in the region of £25 a night depending on what time of year you go. It’s located just on the west of the city on Durley Road , West Cliff , Bournemouth , BH2 5JL.
And finally, as always, there’s the Premier Inn, who have a centrally located hotel not far from The Mary Shelly which is stumbling distance from Lola Lo.
If you’re still researching and are considering other stag do destinations then check out our London Stag Do Ideas Guide and Newcastle Stag Do Ideas City Guide for more ideas. As always here at iamthebestman, we’re interested to hear about your adventures and any places you think are worth sharing with other Best Men. If you have anywhere that you want to recommend then let us know by dropping us a comment below.