The research is wrong: London doesn’t have the best nightlife in the UK

All work and no play makes LSE a dull uni


Still reeling from the rugby-freshers-leaflet incident, the LSE welcomed some good publicity late last year with claims that it had the best nightlife in the UK.

Yes, you read that right – the very university that has produced students who nap in sleeping bags on campus 3 months before exams, apparently knows how to party hardest.

But as Abraham Lincoln supposedly said – “Don’t believe everything you read on the internet”.

When I came to LSE I was under no illusion that I would have a wild social life, I knew that I was coming for the academia, the quality of teaching and the prestige attached to the reputation.

I don’t appear to be the only one. Other LSE students have (anonymously) been honest about what an LSE social life is like.

“It’s pretty bad compared to other unis, most of the students are 100% focused on education 100% of the time, because they are so academically driven.”

“You can’t go to LSE expecting a brilliant social life.”

“The social life is pretty shit if you’re a massive party fan.”

And it isn’t just LSE students who are sceptical of the survey results.

William, a student at similarly bum-out Cambridge: “I think it’s odd, considering that LSE must share much of the same nightlife as the other London universities. Does LSE actually have the best nightlife of all? Or just the most receptive students?”

Leo, currently studying at Nottingham added: “Going out in London is like clubbing in a straight jacket with the barman at your pocket.”

Exeter undergrad Alex said: “An LSE night will be one massive syntax error. I imagine it to be a forum for ‘dazzling’ moves and average to poor chat.”

Ewan Collinge, a student at Manchester and one half of hit DJ duo Cassio Co, says: “London has some great parties but nothing on the scale of The Warehouse Project in Manchester or Good Life in Leeds.

“There’s a party culture in the North that London universities don’t come close to. Manchester’s Antwerp Mansion is an example of something great that could never exist in London’s expensive, regulated scene.”

Cassio Co performing in Leeds

Cassio Co performing in Leeds

I gave the SU a chance to prove me, and all the other haters wrong, and went to my first Saucy night during freshers.

Pre-drinks were complicated. People were coming from halls and accommodation spread all over London. By the time everyone got there, and got past the grumpy hall security, it was time to leave.

London is not a small, campus city where you can get a cab at 1am for a fiver and let pre-drinks go on for as long as they like. The last train into town is our unwelcome dictator.

Saucy was hectic. The queue was long, and we got split up. When we finally got in, people were packed tighter than a Central Line carriage during rush hour.

The train ride, the long queue and the hot, sweaty, overcrowded basement of Saw Swee Hock had sobered everyone enough to know its time for another drink. But the bar was too crowded to even get close to. On the way back to the dance floor I somehow acquired a Mexican Sombrero.

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It was time for Plan B – Zoo Bar. We did some shots, we danced, we fended off creepy Thursday-night middle-aged attendees, and we paid too much money for all of it. Then we dispersed home, with a compulsory 9am induction lecture to try and crawl to the next morning.

Zoo Bar was fun, but it was nothing to do with LSE, or the SU, I had just been lucky enough to end up there with the few people who wanted to make the best of what had been, initially, a big flop.

I stayed away from LSE nights for a while, until the desire to be Cinderella, sick of my summative chores, made me buy a ticket for the LSESU RAG Ball. Pre-drinks, the trek to the venue, and “student” prices were just as disastrous as Saucy, and had me sober by 1am.

The people in the venue were either visibly uncomfortable at the loud music and lack of personal space, or obnoxious, upper-middle class plonkers who sounded like they must’ve gone to Eton or Harrow, darling.

Both groups had awkward dance moves, and a difficult time fooling anyone that they had the faintest idea who Sean Paul was, let alone the words to his songs.

Apparently tired of the effort that the pretence takes, the aforementioned plonkers clearly needed a bit more of a buzz – an hour later I was being offered lines of cocaine left, right and centre.

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S.O.S

I had fun, again only by the grace of having picked two great girls to go with, who laughed and danced with me until the lights came up (and tolerated me while I argued with a bouncer over why I wasn’t allowed to dance on a table).

Luckily, my nightlife opportunities didn’t have to die as soon as I accepted my LSE offer – I had friends at university in Leeds, Manchester and Nottingham who could keep me going. But why is it so much better there?

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Yes, London is a beautiful city, with a wide range of nightlife options, but not all of them are suitable or plausible for an LSE student.

I have had some fantastic times out in London but they’ve been nothing to do with the university or its students. Value for money is harder to find in London than other places. Everything is more expensive here, from your booze, to your taxis.

Students are spread far and wide too, so you’re not likely to get the same best-friend reception when you bump into a drunk stranger on the street.

The survey, for me, begs the question of when LSE students really even have time to go out? Maybe you were letting loose in Michaelmas term, but when it hits Lent, you know it’s time to get serious. The student body is known for its studious nature, not for being party animals, and is that such a bad thing?

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Pre-drinks get weird in Leeds

The LSE is a fantastic institution, and I would rather be here than any other university, but it should stick to its strengths rather than pretending to be something its not. After all, if you party too hard, when will you have time to fill in your JP Morgan internship application?

I suppose, at the very least, this is yet another ranking where we beat King’s and UCL.