UCL Freshers’ Guide to London

Congratulations, my dear fresher! You managed to get into one of the best universities in the world and I am sure you are excited to begin your rigorous academic training. […]


Congratulations, my dear fresher! You managed to get into one of the best universities in the world and I am sure you are excited to begin your rigorous academic training.

But before you do, you should carefully read this guide to UCL nightlife and come to terms with the fact that it’s not going to be that simple.

Instead of being allowed to spend your nights blissfully researching for your next paper in the library, you will probably be peer pressured into throwing away your money, liver and future for a few hours of awkward dancing and more tequila shots you can count. And you know what else? You’re going to love it.

Café de Paris (3-4 Coventry Street, W1D 6BL)

Visit it during freshers week, because it will be years before you can make an ass of yourself in such a fancy setting again.

The Court (108a Tottenham Court Road, W1T 5AA)

With relatively cheap food and drinks, this little pub near our Bloomsbury campus is the perfect place to meet other students and sing Burlington Bertie in drunken unison. You can also watch sports on one of their TVs, which is a fantastic excuse for more drinking and singing.

Fifty Five Bar (31 Jamestown Road, NW1 7BD)

Their all-night-long 2-4-1 Sunday Sessions make up for the fact that you cannot hear a word of what anyone is saying. Take this opportunity to get drunk on delicious cocktails and insult your new friends to their face without them ever finding out.

ICCo (46 Goodge Street, W1T 4LU)

Mmm, delicious £3 pizza. Perfect as stomach lining before your next big night out – or as silver lining after your big night out. Located near Ramsay Hall, you’re bound to end up there at some point during Freshers.

The Loop (19 Dering Street, W1S 1AH)

Ah, Loop. The light of my life, the fire of my loins. Home to our legendary Wednesday Sports Night, The Loop is trashy fun at its best. With £3 entry before 11pm and 2-4-1 Stella bottles, nothing – not even Thursday 9am lectures – is a good enough excuse not to go. And if you overdo it at predrinks, fear not – there are free shuttle buses departing from UCLU, which ensure you and your drunk entourage will make it to the club even if you’re no longer capable of walking upright.

Moonies (17 Greek Street, W1D 4DR)

Located on Greek Street, in the heart of Soho, Moonies is a little gem of a club. And by gem I mean a filthy little dive with carpeted walls which give off a suffocating stench of vomit, courtesy of hedonistic UCL alumni. Whatever you do, make sure you are drunk and don’t pay too much attention to the décor or your one night stand’s appearance – conquering Moonies sober is not for the faint-hearted.

O2 Academy Islington (16 Parkfield Street, N1 0PS)

On a Friday, the O2 Academy in Islington houses Propaganda – the biggest student indie night in London. This is your chance to sing along to Fall Out Boy and Blink 182 as if you were a 13-year-old high school outcast again.

Patisserie Valerie (24 Torrington Place, WC1E 7HJ)

Despite their overzealous social lives, many freshers always seem to have money to burn. If that’s the case, why don’t you stop by Patisserie Valerie on Torrington Place with your friend and chat about that time you vommed on each other’s shoes over a plate of overpriced eggs Benedict? Classy!

Piccadilly Institute (1 Piccadilly Circus, W1V 9LA)

Home to Vodpop, the Piccadilly Institute is one of those places you will inevitably visit during Freshers. I don’t have many fond memories of this place to share with you, but that’s probably only because I have no memories of this place due to excessive inebriation. The decor is over-the-top and absolutely ridiculous and the place is so crowded that you will get some heavy petting action whether you want it or not.

Proud (Stables Market, Chalk Farm Road, NW1 8AH)

Formerly home to Bad Sex, Proud was the place to be some two years ago – a little-known haven for those who like to dance to great contemporary hits surrounded by an attractive and slightly alternative young crowd. But then the word spread and scores of people began pouring in, which resulted in a lot of resentment among some of the Thursday event’s biggest fans. Nevertheless, it’s new incarnation ‘Rude’ remains one of the quirkiest – and certainly most popular – student nights in Camden. With free entry for those who email [email protected], you have nothing to lose but some sleep.

The Rocket (120 Euston Road, NW1 2AL)

The same thing as The Court, but with cheesier music.

The Roxy (3-5 Rathbone Place, W1T 1HJ)

The old Mecca of our Sports Night, the Roxy has seen better days. But if you’d like to reminisce a little or explore the humble origins of the popular Wednesday event, this is the place to be. For a truly authentic experience, don’t forget to drink more Jägerbombs than your body can handle and then proceed to make out with the one person in the club you are least attracted to.

Thirst (53 Greek Street, W1D 3DR)

A cute little bar across the street from Moonies, Thirst is the ideal pitstop to fill your tank with delicious drinks if you would like to retain a smidgen of class. Don’t miss out on their amazing stupid hour (12-7.30pm on most days) prices and extremely decent cocktails. The bar is usually open from 12pm till 3am, so feel free to stumble in whenever your heart (or liver) desires.

ULU (Malet Street, WC1E 7HY)

You might run into King’s students and other arguably inferior creatures here, but the cheap drinks make up for this shortcoming. With amazing week-long drinks deals like  four pint jugs for £9 or 2-4-1 bottled beers, this is the perfect place for reckless prinks. They also have regular karaoke nights, which is perfect if you enjoy embarrassing yourself in front of an inebriated audience. Oh, and their main bar is called The Library – let’s see how that impacts your grades.

UCLU (25 Gordon Street, WC1H 0AY)

Whether you decide to visit The Huntley, Phineas or Richard Mully basement bar, there are a two guarantees – plenty of cheap drinks and, consequently, drunk students. With amazing events like Tuesday Jazz Jammin’ and Thursday Brainsqueezer quizzes, Phineas is probably the most popular of the three. Visit for a chilled evening pint or pre-drink here before Sports Night if you wish to observe rugby lads in their natural habitat.