People who don’t drink at uni are the most sinister tribe around

‘Just a J2O for me tonight’

The best thing Jesus – by all accounts a pretty boring bloke – ever did, was turn water into wine. Who wouldn’t do that if they could? 

Alcohol makes bland food tasty, disgusting food irresistible. Find something tedious and do it while you’re drunk: it will be less tedious.

Best of all alcohol makes boring people bearable, even interesting.

You’ll meet some boring people at university. Moronic rugby boys who drink each others piss out of shoes and chandeliers. Ralphie road men who won’t shut up about Stormzy. Student union freaks, badly tailored and desperate to enforce their bizarre views on everyone else.

Drinking doesn’t make being surrounded by them better, but it can make you have so much fun that you forget they exist.

There’s one sinister group at uni who are determined to let you know they exist: the non-drinkers, the pintless, the shot refusers, the teetotalers.

What amazes me about this growing group is how they publically broadcast the very thing – not drinking – which ought to embarrass them. No one cares if you quit drinking.

It’s Sophie from floor 3 telling the entire seminar group she has a skin condition that prevents her from sinking tequilas. It’s Andy only downing Fanta Fruit Twist at pres. It’s Arthur’s “dry”January, which ends in a disastrous Spoons trip on February 1st, where four pints see him vomiting all over the bar.

Arthur had too many

Arthur had too many

Apparently nothing will ever teach these people that no one gives a fuck if they’re drinking or not. Sobriety isn’t interesting and it isn’t aspirational.

Andy and Sophie and Arthur are the future though. The number of nightclubs in the UK halved between 2005 and 2015 – from 3,144 to 1,733.  A quarter of 16- to 30-year-olds here don’t drink at all. Our parents go harder than most of us now.

This grim trend is playing out in all kinds of interesting ways. The future of going out is clubs like Redemption in West London. The bar there only serves superfood-filled mocktails, such as the beet-o-tini and coco-rita, which includes coconut water and agave syrup. Their slogan is “spoil yourself without spoiling yourself”.



London’s first tea pub is opening soon. They’ll be offering premium loose-leaf teas during the day and tea-infused cocktails at night.

The driving philosophy behind these places is to make going out healthier. These are nights out for the Deliciously Ella generation. To spoil yourself without spoiling yourself exchanges fun for feeling superior to shrieking Harvester barmaids getting ruined on a hen night in the plub across the road.

But the whole point about going out and the alcohol that fuels going out, is to have a good time. You won’t be embarrassingly candid and unstoppably flirtatious if you’re only on the soft drinks tonight. You’ll just be a bore.