After Hours: When it's late, there's Bar 3
November 8, 2006
BURY ST. EDMUNDS — For some folks, the echo of “last call” through a crowded bar is the sign of a good night out ready to perish.
But for those in the know, there’s a place not too far from the good-time bar circuit that keeps the good times rolling when most establishments are counting the take and cleaning the floors.
Bar 3, located two blocks from the town square of this charming Suffolk town, is unique because it has kept its doors open until 3 a.m. since 2000, when it applied for and received what was then Britain’s most liberal alcohol license.
“We’re the first bar in East Anglia to get the late liquor license so we’re used to the late-night crowd,” said manager Matthew Kennedy. “People around town know us as the bar that everyone comes to finish out the night.”
But, like so many good things in life, there is a catch.
First, by English law, the bar cannot accept any new patrons after 2 a.m., even though the bartenders will be slinging drinks for another hour.
The policy has caused confusion. Kennedy said some American servicemembers feel discriminated against when they are turned away at the door from a bar still hopping inside.
“They’ve got cameras on the street that are pointed right at this place so there’s no way we can get away with it,” Kennedy said. “But it’s hard for people to necessarily understand that when you’re trying to explain it at 2:15 to someone who’s had a few too many drinks already.”
There’s also a dress code that, while not ridiculously framed, is strictly enforced.
Basically, don’t plan on wearing shorts, jogging suits, jerseys or hats inside Bar 3.
And finally, there is a steadfast no-rap policy.
“It’s simply music with attitude that has no place,” Kennedy said.
So, if you can handle wearing proper attire, leaving the Tupac and DMX at home and not hassling the doorman for refusing you entrance at 2:05 a.m., Bar 3 is about the best place around to close out the night.
It’s also recognized as having one of the widest ranges of spirits in town.
DJs spin tunes that keep the crowd peppered with dancers every Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
“We don’t have a dance floor, per se, but people will always dance if they want to dance,” Kennedy said.
Location: Rigsbygate Street. From RAF Mildenhall follow the A1101 to Bury St. Edmunds. Park in the main car park across the street from the Abbey Garden and walk through the town square north toward the bus station. It’s on the left on Rigsbygate.
Cover charge: none.
Entertainment: DJs spin until closing time on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
Clientele: A mix of come-as-you-are Brits and up-all-night servicemembers.
Dress: Dress code is not strict, but it’s strictly enforced. No jogging suits or shorts.