I went to Hive completely sober – but was it worth it?
Tbh probably not
While anyone can get behind a good tune or a night out with friends, a major component of clubbing is what turns the tunes into bangers and makes the socializing much easier: alcohol. However, after learning that there are actually people out there who voluntarily cross the Hive threshold without a drop of drink (I am as shocked as you are), I decided to investigate for myself whether or not a fun night was to be had without drinking.
As fun as alcohol can be, it most definitely has its downsides. For one, drinking and going out on the whole can cost a ridiculous amount of money over time. The average Saturday night out at Hive (the cheapest club in Edinburgh) can cost anywhere from £10-15. That broken down is at least £5 on pre-drinks, £2-5 entry, £1 coat check, and £3 spent on drinks. And that is being relatively light on the drinking. The opportunity to save about £8 a night could nearly convince me. All that was left for me was to see if I could actually have a good time.
Before I went out, I asked a couple of students who can't drink if the act of clubbing sober is really worth it. Amelia, a third year studying Social Anthropology, says: "Sometimes I get a bit more tired at the end of the night but really, it's not that big of a deal." She notes she "can still have fun, save money, and get to make sure everyone's alright."
Giles, a second year studying Politics, agrees and says: "I do enjoy dancing to music, being in that sort of atmosphere, and going out with friends." He did admit that "some experiences are much better than others" and that he "definitely [wishes he] could drink sometimes – it just seems to make things a lot easier."
These answers did not totally convince me, and I was ready to see for myself.
My sober night out
With nothing but water in my cup, I set out for a stone cold sober night at the pride and joy of the Edinburgh club scene: Mixed Up Mondays at Hive.
I'll be honest: it was a little rough from the get go. I never realised how much alcohol could prolong a night, but I was ready to head out around 10:15pm. Without those trusty cocktails, I couldn't imagine lasting into the early hours of the morning.
My energy returned when we arrived at Hive about an hour and half later. Stepping through the front doors reminded me of one distinct feature of being sober: my senses were in peak condition. This meant not only did I actively notice the smell that can only be described as a mixture of sweat, alcohol, and just a touch of urine, but the music was absolutely blaring. Clubs are, in fact, very loud.
To stay on brand, I ordered a water at the bar. I couldn’t even finish it because it tasted like it was at least 25% vodka. Clearly you don't have to wash your dishes too thoroughly if the only users are very drunk.
The dancefloor was pretty dead when we arrived, but in true Hive fashion, it got plenty busy as the night went on. Much to my surprise, I managed to have a decent time. I was hyper-aware of every time I got shoved or a drink spilled on me (frequently), but the less I resented the drunkenness around me, the better I felt. I was very ready to go at the end of the night, but let’s be honest: cheesy chips taste good regardless of your mental state.
All in all, I did have a good night. As an added bonus, I didn't spend a thing. However, much of my fun came from the fact that before I went out, I had exceedingly low expectations about how the night was going to go. To those who manage to make every night out a good and sober one, I salute you. You are much stronger than I am.
Yes, it is possible to have a good night out completely sober. No, I will not be doing it voluntarily in the future.