This is a tough job. Combine the thousands of clubs there are in London with the overbearing feeling that I’m approaching a very premature mid-life crisis and you’ll understand why introducing London’s nightlife to a Fresher is incredibly difficult.
Not only do different people dance on different ends of the social spectrum, this said spectrum is multi-dimensional. From the kid that parties every single night to the occasional pub drinker; from the ladies’ night in Central to the hipsters’ night in East London; from Daddy’s girls on penthouse clubs to ‘yer mates’ on the £1 for shots deals. Spectrums within spectrums, and now you can see why I’m not simply listing off a number of clubs I think you should be heading to.
I’m afraid that I’m leaving the research and dog work up to you. This is not because I wish to remain blameless for a disaster of a night out, but no matter how honest and impressionable a reader you may be, it is likely most of my recommendations will be ignored. And by rights you should be ignoring me if I was just giving you an endless list of venues to frequent in this gargantuan city. Time Out magazine this is not.
Some cities sleep when the sun heads beyond the horizon, but some cities awaken. Fuck the small suburban town you call home, because while Watford, Thurrock and Wrington (wherever you might come from) doze off into a quiet evening, a bright-eyed London is most definitely awake.
You can discover London twice. Once during the day and once again come 10pm. Furthermore, discovery requires trial and error, and that’s another reason why I’m happy to keep tight-lipped on the recommendation front. Follow the crowds during Welcome Week and you may just find yourself in a shitty club that everyone except you seems to enjoy. Follow another crowd and you may end up snorting ketamine off the floor of a squat party in Hackney.
You’ll slowly build a black list of clubs and areas of London you vow to never return to
Whatever you consider a shit night out, you will inevitably have one. You’ll slowly build a black list of clubs and areas of London you vow to never return to. At the same time your taste in venues to get trashed in will start to refine and before you know it you’ll be the world authority on London nightlife. Maybe.
There are alcoholic wonders closer to home too; they are on your doorsteps in South Kensington. There’s a certain je ne sais quoi about home turf which turns even the most refined of your peers into bona fide waste gashes. You’ll witness the pissed of the very pissed in the Union and Eastside Bar. Hangovers the next morning should be as memorable as the actual night before, but that’s the charm of student life: lectures are effectively optional.
The measure of a hangover positively correlates with the probability that you’re not Peter Pan. The worse your hangover, the older you’re getting. Soon, each Facebook status that implies ‘worst hangover everrrrr’ (or to the same effect) will simply be a public depiction of your youth degrading before everyone’s eyes. No more will you be the sprightly litre-of-cider-an-hour 17 year old who could wake up the next morning feeling perfectly fine. (It is the social, and less illegal, equivalent of Michael Jackson getting away with fiddling with kiddies.)
We’re harping on about ‘London’ like it’s some sort of magical adventure world for forgivable drunken antics. It is, but there is such a massive variety of other things to do than shifting your liver function into top gear each night. There’s comedy clubs, after hours museum sand gallery openings, gigs, open-air cinemas, proms, and 24-hour cafes to name a just a few. There’s nothing a simple Internet search won’t find, and trust me on this, I’ve googled some sordid things indeed.
Welcome to student life in London. Believe me when I say it’s unforgettable.