The Student
shows skyline of Edinburgh at night
Features
Tequila shots and pricey pints – the cost of a night out in Edinburgh
by Issy Clarke, 12/10/21

The start of a new academic year has seen thousands of students descending on Edinburgh’s clubs for the first time in over twelve months.  Despite relief at the restoration of what to many students is a central aspect of uni life, for many the experience of clubbing again has brought with it an unwelcome reminder of how expensive a night out can be.

One student at the University of Edinburgh told The Student:

“It’s definitely been a shock experiencing again how expensive clubbing is; once you’ve paid for Ubers, a £10 entrance to the club and drinks at the bar, you can easily find that you’ve spent £25 in one night alone. Compared to last year when you’d go to the pub as the main event of the evening, now it’s often just the first phase of the night.”

Others are adamant that prices have gone up since the start of the pandemic.

A third-year student at the University of Edinburgh told The Student:

‘‘Liquid Room stuck out to me the most; drinks and entrance prices are more expensive now.  But it’s also the ticketed events which are getting stupidly expensive – I saw some Church [a weekly club night hosted at the Liquid Room] tickets getting resold for £20-£25, and even those on second release are around £12.”

A Liquid Room representative responded to a request for comment by saying:

“Our drinks have remained the same as it was in 2019, and in regard to ticket prices we as a venue don’t set the ticket prices, the promoters do. Our hire fee is also still the same and we haven’t seen a price increase on events.”

The perception of price increases could in part be borne out by an increase in the associated costs of clubbing.

The still relative-novelty of clubbing post-pandemic combined with the arrival of a new intake of Freshers has led to hours-long queues outside Edinburgh’s biggest nightclubs, with no guarantee of admittance.  

One student recently reported queueing outside Why Not nightclub on George Street for an hour and a half before being finally granted entry.  The same student described “arriving to queue outside Subway at 9.30pm [a nightclub in Cowgate] for an hour…before being turned away due to lack of capacity.”

Some clubs have been accused of attempting to exploit the explosion in demand. Last week, reports revealed that Rascals [a club night hosted at Bourbon on Frederick Street] were offering clubbers £15 to skip the long waiting lines.   

Another student claimed that increases in other associated costs of clubbing such as Ubers are the main culprit behind clubbing costs.

“I’ve noticed a massive increase in the cost of Ubers since this time a year ago. Last year an Uber from Newington to George Street would cost under a fiver, the other day I ended up paying £21.58 going from Marchmont to George Street.  As a female and following the murders of Sarah Everard and Sabina Nessa, I never feel comfortable walking around at night. For me that’s been the most noticeable price rise from clubbing.”

Students commenting on Edinburgh’s pub scene had similarly mixed stances. As the home of the United Kingdom’s 2nd most expensive pint, costing on average of £4.40 (falling just short of London’s £4.50), it’s no secret that Edinburgh’s students shell out considerably more than their peers living in other parts of the country.  

One third year claimed that “pubs such as the Pear Tree have become so expensive; I just find it cheaper to buy drinks before and pre at someone’s flat, rather than go to the pub.”

However, another student claimed not to have noticed a marked difference in price compared to 2020, despite visiting many of the same pubs.  

“I think it’s more that people now have more to spend money on which has made people think that they’re paying more, when in fact it hasn’t really changed that much.”

While evidence of significant price differences since 2019 is patchy, the answer perhaps lies in taking a longer view of how students recall the prices of a night out in Edinburgh. 

One recently graduated student at the University of Edinburgh told The Student:

“A lot of the student deals I remember from first year have stopped now.  I remember some places charging £3 for a shot which used to be considered really expensive whereas now that’s either fairly standard or on the cheaper end of things.”

Image via iNews