Privy Bar: Canterbury’s hidden underground cocktail bar, built in a former toilet block
Having spent my college years in the city of Canterbury, there aren’t too many bars that I haven’t sampled.
From The Cherry Tree to The Ballroom – if it serves alcohol, I’ve been there.
However, one venue that opened after I left Canterbury and returned home was the Privy Bar.
READ MORE: The 10 best things about Canterbury and why I would love to still live there
I know what you’re thinking, “Privy…that’s another name for a restroom, not a cocktail bar.”
Well, before opening as a cocktail bar in 2019, that’s exactly what the site was like. It was an underground toilet block located close to the main bus station.
In 2015 the toilet went up for sale at an auction for around £198,000.
Bought by the owners behind The Loft Bar, the site is hidden from the usual passers-by and in fact, if you didn’t know it existed, you’d walk past it.
That’s exactly what I did when I returned to Canterbury before the pandemic with old university friends.
By signing up for the KentLive newsletter, you’ll get the latest news straight to your inbox twice a day.
It couldn’t be easier and it only takes a few seconds – just tap here, enter your email address and follow the instructions. You can also enter your email address in the box below the image on most desktop and mobile platforms.
You can also sign up to our website and comment on our stories by tapping here and logging in.
Confused as to why my friend was telling me the bar was on the right hand side, I kept walking around the next bend before being informed that the reservation for the evening was actually underground.
The only resemblance that things aren’t quite normal as you walk past is a security guard (turns out to be a bouncer) guarding two small doors and stairs that dive deep below the historic town.
If you walk past it late at night, you can also see glass windows that look directly into the bar, and although you can’t see inside, you can see disco lights when the bar is busy .
The hidden gem is located on the corner of Burgate and Lower Bridge Street and when busy the bar sells cocktails galore and has a 1920s theme.
If you’ve ever wanted to step back in time and feel like you’re visiting a speakeasy then this is the place for you in Kent.
Open until 2 a.m. and even 3 a.m. on certain evenings of the week, you can have a drink there, sheltered from the rest of the world.
According to their website, there is also live music and entertainment on the weekends.
The site can even be rented out for special occasions if you have a birthday or party coming up.
Sign up to get the latest stories from Kent straight to your inbox here.