Sometimes “The Bubble” can feel more like a cage. As a 4th Year, the three streets have become familiar at best, verging even on suffocating. We might have one of the highest concentrations of pubs in the UK, but many remain at stinging prices. The endless torrent of pricy balls and dinners only compounds this.
Don’t get me wrong: student creativity has done a tremendous job of transforming this little fishing village into a vibrant centre of nightlife activity. But the lack of an official, unaffiliated nightclub leaves little room for routine, affordable events.
The BOP might satisfy a specific itch but often falls short of providing a nightclub’s polished professional experience, hosting nationally and internationally renowned talent week-in, week-out.
What if you want to go to the pub or see your favourite musician without bumping into your old fling or tutorial group? Fear not. Edinburgh is just around the proverbial corner (and over the literal bridge).
As a fresher, the prospect of going out in Scotland’s capital city seemed both daunting and ruinously expensive. I was wrong on both counts. The journey itself is hassle-free, quick and affordable: the 30-miles can be covered in a little over an hour and for under £15 return, including the bus from Leuchars. Remember to ask for the student ticket!
Like St. Andrews, Edinburgh is brimming with pubs and bars. Trying to save a few quid? Look no further than my personal favourite, the Caley Picturehouse. Guests enjoy their drinks on one of three tiers in this repurposed cinema at as little as £2.39 a pint (cheaper than any St. Andrean pint).
For a more upmarket bar, look no further than Cold Town House. This après ski-themed rooftop bar, sitting in the shadow of Edinburgh Castle, is run by Cold Town Brewery, the successor to the oldest brewery in the UK.
Resting at the top of George Street, The Dome has an award-winning restaurant with 360-bar gazing up under the dome. And at £4.95 a pint and £9 a cocktail, this superbly ostentatious hotel are surprisingly reasonably priced for such an extravagant experience.
The nightclub scene in Edinburgh is equally attractive. Its wide array of clubs draws in the talent of all genres from the UK and beyond. Only last week, I was lucky enough to watch SHY FX, a lead figure in the UK underground music scene and champion of jungle drum & bass, for a mere £12. His production strikes a careful balance between underground sounds and more accessible commercial tracks, including Gold Dust, Roll the Dice, and Call Me.
Puns aside, it is by no means time to shy away from St. Andrews. Its charm lies in its close-knit community, its oddities and its quirks. But a trip to Edinburgh can add balance and colour to a nightlife that otherwise risks becoming a tad monotonous. And, on those occasions when St. Andrews does become stifling, it can act as a vehicle to both escape and, in doing so, re-appreciate our little town.