The Durham Pub Guide

Pip Marshall pulls himself a pint

Colpitts Lloyds Loveshack The Fighting Cocks The New Inn The Swan Wetherspoons

With Durham’s night life taking a turn for the worse over the past few months and the travails of the Epiphany term beginning to set in, maybe it’s time that we exchange messy, quaddie filled nights at Klute for a few civilised beverages at one of Durham’s public houses. Here’s a whistled stop guide to a few of them:

If it’s a stereotypical northern pub that you’re after then look no further than The Colpitts in the viaduct. Situated alongside rows of Billy Elliot-esque terrace houses it doesn’t get much more Durham than this. Inside it has two bar areas, a pool room and even a small, walled smoking area at the back; it’s decidedly quaint.


A pint of ale will set you back a meagre £1.62 and a lagers just £1.94, making this one of the cheapest pubs in the land. Plus it has the added bonus of a challenging pub quiz at 9.30pm on Tuesdays nights, although this tends to draw a more Palatinate-reading crowd. 


If you’re not a Viaduct dweller and it’s something more central that you’re looking for then head to The Swan and Three Cygnets, a well established student watering hole. With equally low prices (Ale £1.70 Lager £1.62) and set in a prime location, its ideal for an early evening pint. Park yourself on one of the tables on the front patio and you will be graced with river vistas and an opportunity to people watch. You could even drop in after a late lecture at Elvet Riverside.

If you’ve just finished a gruelling session at the library, on the other hand, or you are in need of a non-Yum lunch break, The New Inn is the perfect candidate. Between 12pm and 2pm on any given week day the New Inn is rammed with hungry library goers looking for some warm luncheon. With coats and hats sprawled across tables it somewhat resembles a restaurant on the slopes of the Alps, with slightly more affordable prices. The burgers are a particular winner starting from just £3.95.


Then there’s the young guard; Wetherspoons (The Water House), Lloyds (The Bishops’ Mill) and Varsity, which fall into an ambiguous pub/bar category.

Located on North Road and inhabited by local twenty and thirty somethings, Spoons reminds me of a college bar filled with Geordie shore socials (with a few shit shirt socials thrown in for good measure). If you’re ‘on it till you vomit’ and want to mingle with the natives, this is your best bet, if not, give it a wide berth.


Lloyds is much the same, except of course on Wednesday nights, when it’s the perfect pre-Loveshack appetizer. Although, with a dainty dance floor at the back, you may not even need to leave. Then there’s Varsity, not really worth frequenting on a night out but does offer hearty pub food and has big screens to watch the football or rugby. All best avoided at the weekends.


And finally, there’s The Fighting Cocks, the reputation of which precedes it. It could make an interesting visit – I wouldn’t know, I’ve never had the balls to go in there.