For Londoners, Harlow sometimes seems like a dot on the sat nav just off the M11. But there’s more here than meets the eye. Instead of rushing back to the Big Smoke, opt for a proper Essex night out. This is the birthplace of Victoria Beckham, after all – if it’s good enough for Posh, you can bet there are some hidden gems scattered around!

You’ve spent a long day sitting around a board table and it’s time to shake off the stress with a few post-conference drinks. Where to turn? Harlow’s a lot like London with its varied neighbourhoods, each with a unique set of public houses and watering holes. Here’s our guide to some of the best. 

Bijou boozing 

The charming Rainbow & Dove was voted the “Best Little Pub in Essex,” but it’s also a winner with the local crowd. If you find the big chain pubs a bit soulless, the homespun atmosphere here is the perfect backdrop for your post-conference pint. If you’re a seafood fan, stay for the weekend – “Fish Friday” is one of the pub’s most popular nights, and the party continues late into the evening with live music performances and a real buzzing vibe around the outdoor barbecue area. 

Big night out

If you really want to let your hair down, you can’t go wrong with Yates’s Wine Bar. Situated in the Market Square – an ideal meeting point in the city centre – this venue is known for its large outdoor area and lively dance floor. Take advantage of the plethora of drinks offers, from standard happy hour to a range of 2-4-1 deals and promotional nights, all of which make it easy to get a round in before the early commuters start slipping away. 

Back in time

If you prefer quaffing real ales in a historic pub atmosphere – think old beams and an Old Town setting – then head out of Harlow New Town for a night at The Green Man. The old Jacobean coaching inn is truly picturesque, with whitewashed walls, green shutters and plenty of exposed wood to go around. You’ll find local ales for a proper pint and an extensive wine selection. Make it a pub crawl by heading next to The Dusty Miller, where you can set up camp beside a roaring fire with one of their McMullen ales. Cosy. A real pint of bitter and ambiance to match. Who doesn’t love an authentic local?

Best for an early night

Too many spreadsheets? If you want a quiet debrief with your colleagues, you might as well stay close to home. Check out the RBG Bar and Grill at our Park Inn by Radisson Harlow Hotel – it’s open until midnight in case you catch a second wind.