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Long gone are the days when Swansea's nocturnal entertainment consisted of a handful of battered pubs with a jukebox blaring out pre-Beatles tunes. Since the 1990s gentrification of many areas of Swansea's central core, there has been an explosion of nightlife options, many of them focusing on the city's nightlife-related pride and joy -- Wind (it rhymes with "wined and dined") Street. The best way to explore the place involves popping in and out of any of the pubs, bars, and shops that appeal to you along this cobble-covered thoroughfare, especially on evenings when the city council has blocked off traffic, transforming it into a pedestrian-only walkway that on weekend evenings becomes very crowded.

Some of our favorites include the Bank Statement, 57-58 Wind St. (tel. 01792/455477; www.jdwetherspoon.co.uk), a pub and restaurant contained within the grandly ornate premises of what was built as a bank during the Victorian age. More self-consciously trendy, evoking a hip bar in faraway London, is the No Sign Wine Bar, 56 Wind St. (tel. 01792/465110), where you're likely to see members of the local TV news team, off-duty, sampling whatever French, Chilean, or California vintage happens to be uncorked at the moment.

Other streets, each nearby, but none as densely packed as Wind Street with bars and restaurants, also have goodly numbers of nightlife offerings. Exchange Bar, 10 Strand (tel. 01792/462896), offers glimpses of Ireland, with live music and generous amounts of Celtic joie de vivre. The Potters Wheel, 85 The Kings Way (tel. 01792/465113), a member of the same chain as the above-mentioned Bank Statement, offers food and drink in a setting that's nostalgically evocative of turn-of-the-20th-century Wales.

In addition to the Dylan Thomas Theatre, Swansea has a cultural side as well. The Grand Theatre, Singleton Street (tel. 01792/475715; www.swansea.gov.uk), adjacent to the Quadrant Shopping Centre, is a Victorian theater that has been refurbished and redeveloped into a multimillion-dollar theater complex. The venue hosts international opera, ballet, and theater companies, plus 1-night stands that often feature internationally known entertainers. It also has its own schools of song and dance.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.