St Andrews’ nightlife: not a totally lost cause?

Lewis Frain discusses some of the problems with the Bubble's nightlife, whilst offering hope for the future.

Illustration: Gabrielle Wolf

Let’s face it: the nightlife is not the reason any of us decided to come to St Andrews. We may have a great collection of pubs, but generally, the tendency is to rely on the next ball or fashion show to have a “proper” night out. Unfortunately, these are often marquee events which come at a cost. Relying on the big events to get us through is indicative of the already limited nightlife options having dwindled considerably even in the year and a half I’ve been a student here.

We all mourn the loss of the Lizard, the only place in St Andrews that we could seriously call a nightclub. It may have been small, and would be the laughing stock of any city if it
were based in one, but it did provide an almost guaranteed fun night filled with popular music that didn’t need to be cheesy from Iain, the DJ who became a local hero. The Lizard shutting down is a relative tragedy and the town already feels worse for it.

We now have only two club venues: the Vic and Club 601 at the Union. Their weekly fixtures, in my opinion, can be improved upon. First of all, 601 has the potential to be a good venue and has been successful with packed events like Wiley (even if he did have a “crisis” and come on hours late) and Hot Dub Time Machine, but its resident events are largely uninspiring. The BOP consistently books underwhelming themes for its Friday night, the biggest night of the week. Case in point: the “Miley vs Nicki” night that was supposedly one of the “headline” events of Refreshers Week. I appreciate that the Union has to put on popular music events to appeal to the general student population — some people may well be satisfied with what it offers — but surely there could be improvement.

Why not make themes broader — 80s, 90s, 00s, etc — or learn from the successes of the bigger events and allow DJs to put on their own nights on Fridays in 601?

Hector’s House at the Vic has proven successful and offers a more unique night. Once again, however, the volume of club events put on at the Vic is a little disappointing — it appears us students seem content with our nights out being a carbon copy of the one before. The students have to be the ones taking control of this. An example of a promising event is the upcoming St Patrick’s Day party at The Rule, another venue that could probably profit from staging more events like this. It is an affordable event with a musical line up of an Irish band to fit the theme, followed by a DJ to turn it into a proper party night. The potential of a packed venue, specially selected music, and a popular theme are truly encouraging. Hopefully, this event will be a success and inspire more students to put on their own events to provide the St Andrews nightlife scene with some much needed variety.


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