I took my mum to some of York’s most loved student drinking spots

Witnessing your 56-year-old mother on the Jalou dance floor is something you can never unsee


My mum came to visit me over the bank holiday, and we were blessed with the hottest day I have ever experienced in this fine city. We had lunch and caught up and then she said she wanted some cocktails. That is when I realised this day was going to go down in York’s rich history.

We started off in Pitcher and Piano, and although it is not a famous favourite amongst students, due to the weather, the Revs balcony was as busy as circuit laundry on a Sunday, so we settled there. We had a few cocktails in the sun which she thoroughly enjoyed. However, she recognised how expensive it was and an idea was formed to show her how real broke York student’s drink.

We proceeded to the much-loved but severely underrated Dusk. Already slightly tipsy, my mum thoroughly enjoyed the busker who is commonly spotted on the corner by Starbucks but I’m sure is going to reach unmountable stardom with their cover of Sweet Caroline.

Dusk’s brilliant two-for-one cocktail deal demonstrated to my mum my concerning high tolerance to alcohol when I was going to order four for myself. My mum giggled at the creative cocktail names in honour of celebrities, and I giggled at my mum asking if I would prefer Graham Norton or Britney Spears. That’s a hard one mum, Graham is so dynamic and would kill at couples’ dinner parties, but on the other hand the I’m A Slave 4 U music video speaks for itself.

Sitting outside, we enjoyed watching the drunk locals fight for their lives in heels on the cobbled streets. It was like watching Total Wipeout, but the only obstacle was the pavement curve, Richard Hammond was nowhere to be found (to my upset), and you don’t have to wear silver lycra. Although some of the local’s outfits weren’t far off. A few cocktails down, my mum started developing a northern accent (we’re both from Devon) and demanded we find some “Chips and gravy” in order to immerse herself in the Yorkshire culture.

However, as we were leaving, The Drawing Board opened its doors, and I felt an intense pull to show my mother the place that has shaped my first year. The Drawing Board has a mixed clientele, but my flat are it’s most loyal customers. At this time of night, The Drawing Board was as empty as my last lecture of the year. I ordered two After Eight shots in order for my mother to be anointed into student drinking. I felt like I was in an alternate reality watching my mum down an After Eight shot under the bar’s red florescent lighting to the soundtrack of The Pigeon Detectives.

Like most of us after a few After Eights, one develops an unhinged thought process, and this happened to my mother. She declared she wanted to go to the “church club”. Now to anyone outside of York, that is a concerning statement for your mother in a pink denim jacket to say, but for me I am now bilingual in York culture, so I declared “let’s go to Jalou”.

Now if I thought mum in the Drawing Board was weird, I was unprepared for Jalou. My mother went up to the bouncer who was twice as tall as her and looked like the Hairy Bikers and asked if it was free for her to get in. The giant confusingly looked here up and down and clearly spelled out that it is always free as if she wouldn’t understand his northern accent.

She entered with childlike excitement and mounted the dance floor with her one signature mum move while Work by Rihanna rang from the speakers. Unashamed of the age gap between the rest of the crowd, she thrust her hand into the air next to 20-something girls twerking. At this point I was amazed with disbelief.

After all that excitement, she revisited the need for chips and gravy, like any York student does after a long night, even though it was about 23:00. Salt and Pepper was too far of a walk for my drunk mother with knee problems, so we settled for Chicos. I was sad mum didn’t experience having to fight with all your whole might to not drop your Salt and Pepper cheesy chips on the CB1, as that is 50 per cent of what it means to be a student here. But to be honest, I think she deserved to eat her chips in peace and get back calmly at the ripe age of 58 because frankly, she has done her time.

The most devastating part was watching my mum call it a night but then walk past Stone Roses, and seeing the pure devastation take over her when she realised, she hadn’t had a famous Blue Shit (or as she calls them “those blue Slush Puppy things you drink”). Even though not consuming any Blue Shits doesn’t qualify her as a York drinking legend yet, it does give me an excuse to force her out for round two next time she visits.

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