Here’s a definitive guide to the best places to have pres as a York student

Because York nightlife is definitely not ‘dead’

We all know York is famous for its historical pubs, so we are certainly not lacking places to drink. Pre-drinks are one of the best parts of uni, until you realise you have taken it too far and find yourself lying on your bathroom floor thinking how the hell you’re going to make it to the club. But that’s all part of the fun. It’s happened to the best of us.

Navigating the best/cheapest places as a student can be difficult so here is our guide to some of the best places to have pres in York. Emphasis must be put on “some” because we are not short of places to drink in this city.

1. Student accommodation and houses

A student classic. There really is no place like home. Whatever year you are in pres at home are always the most chaotic (and cheapest). Quick trip to Nisa in the designated “sweet treat” outfit to grab the cheapest bottle of echo falls and you’re sorted.

House pres essentials: Alcohol, speaker, a pack of Cards Against Humanity, and pack of cards.

Drinking games must be played, although it can often be dangerous territory. It’s either someone taking “who is most likely” a little too personally or another person taking truth or dare to the extremes. Run if you hear the words “shall we play paranoia?”. We are at university, not in year seven guys, come on. Warning must go out for anyone in first year that may experience the rugby team invading their flat on a random Wednesday evening whilst you’re mid cooking only to then discover the following morning that the TV is broken, the floor is flooded, and the kettle has randomly found its way to the hallway.

Second and third year house pres never have a dull moment. Picture LEDs, cute fairy lights on, a handful of friends and a speaker playing those pre-club tunes. Cute right? Until half an hour later you get a ring at the door, some questionable language exchanged, a worried landlord on the phone and a final declaration “if you don’t shut this house party down we are going to call the police”. Whilst your neighbours may be expecting students to be curled up on the sofa with tea and The Antiques Roadshow on in the background on a Friday night, it is in your hands whether to prove them otherwise. A box of chocolates might ease the tension, but this can’t be guaranteed.

It is safe to say the neighbours can be very frightened with even the most innocent of pres, so maybe avoid pres at home if you actually like your neighbours because a rejected smile or wave from the sweet old lady next door is the worst of all pains.

2. Lowther

It is quite literally a madhouse. Located on the riverside of York city, Lowther is a York student favourite and evidently a local one. Be prepared for the massive crowds and endless groups of societies in this place. You will be bumping into everyone you know at Lowther – even the people you want to avoid. Don’t expect to actually get a seat. More than likely, you’ll be squeezing all 10 of your mates on one booth upstairs. The fact that you now have to own a Lowther card to purchase the famous blue and red shit’s is a crime against humanity. What student is willingly going to purchase a Lowther card. That’s got to be on a girls ick list somewhere.

3. Stones Roses Bar

My first visit to stones left me with about 20 questions: Why the hell is there a traffic light in the middle of the floor? Why is this drink called a “blue shit”? Why is there a bicycle hanging from the ceiling and why does every boy in this bar have a bloody mullet?

The Stone Roses bar is themed around the English rock band formed in Manchester (I personally had never heard of them). Its colourful posters and objects add to the overall lively atmosphere. A stones pres speciality pre drink consists of a triple vodka, otherwise known as the “blue shit”. Yes, it tastes and looks exactly how it sounds but it is a York student rite of passage so make sure you order and try one.

More to the point, absolutely no special card is needed to buy one! However, if you do go to stones for pres, don’t expect to be able to chat to your mates. The indie music is so loud that you have to shout to you friend that is sat right next to you. Don’t get me started on the juke box – you’ll be waiting in a queue for half an hour and then conned into giving the machine ten pound coins only to realise it does not in fact work. But there is a pool table which is the perfect pre-ing activity.

4. Dusk

Famous for its questionable cocktail names, to name a few “marge and rita” and “stormtrooper”, Dusk is the perfect bar for pres. Not only is it in the centre of the town, so no sobering up before the club, it also makes some of the best cocktails. To be honest I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when ordering “two Graham Norton’s please”. However, I was pleasantly surprised at the delicious cocktail consisting of vodka, peach and cranberry juice. Some nights feature a live band upstairs which always adds to the merry atmosphere of pres. To make things even better Dusk do a two for one deal Sunday to Thursday all day. What’s not to love?

5. Campus bars

Courtyard, V-Bar and Charles are York students’ home from home.

Shockingly cheap, the student bars never fail to provide us with the best pres before a chaotic clubbing night out. The bus ride to town after a campus bar crawl is always a humbling and slightly sobering experience. I would not recommend attempting the stairs to the top deck after several alcoholic beverages. Courtyards cocktails are severely underrated but you will undoubtedly catch the bar staff looking at their watches at 10.59pm praying that you will get lost within the next minute. Charles outdoor booths and benches are the perfect spot for group pres and come with heated lamps to endure the northern weather. Be prepared to get asked for ID at Charles – I’m pretty sure you could look 45 and they would still ask to see your ID.

6. Bobos

For those looking for a slightly classier pres, Bobos is the place to be. The two for £12 deal is dangerously addictive. Girl math works out that the cocktails are basically free. It also has an outside heated seating area, though be prepared to walk up the five flights of stairs to get to it. They also have a random popcorn machine behind the bar and hand out free popcorn during the night!

7. Spark

Spark is an outdoor space which has both food and drinks. It’s located in the heart of York, on Piccadilly and is the perfect spot for trying a different place for pres. The rooftop seating alongside the pop background music provides the ideal atmosphere for some tame drinking. The cocktails are delicious and reasonably priced so that your entire student loan doesn’t get wiped out in one night.

8. The Cosy Club

Another classy spot that we cannot gatekeep. The downstairs area has plenty of sofas and stools for you and all your mates to gather around and actually be able to chat. I’m not entirely sure why they have random lampshades hanging from the ceiling but it definitely makes an aesthetic Instagram Story. It’s not always the go to student hot spot, probably because its the prime location for first dates and old married couples, but it is definitely worth a visit!

9. Manahatta

Manahatta seems to be the prime target for people in their late twenties who are having a mid life crisis and can’t seem to give up the sesh. That being said it’s a bar and it serves alcohol, what more do you need for pres? If you enjoy a pre club dance, this is the place for you. The dance floor will have you making friends with all the hen party groups. On Fridays it also stays open until 2am and turns into a mini club night so you don’t even have to stumble your way to Ziggys or Salvos to queue for what feels like 10 hours.

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