A drinking revolution?

Everyone is talking about the new licensing laws, but have they really made a difference? Flora Bradwell and Vicky Hallam launch themselves into the seedy underwold of late night drinking

The new late licensing laws seemed to many to be the dawn of a new era. They would transform York and the rest of England into a continental paradise where drinkers would imbibe responsibly throughout the evening and into the morning, basking in the warm glow that only steady drinking can produce, and renouncing all their binge drinking ways.

Sadly, however, on the eve of this potentially momentous occasion, nothing really seems to have changed. Kate Harris, a third year English student, went out on the town to mark what she thought would be a life-changing event. Although the experience of staying in the Punchbowl in Micklegate until 1am was a novel one, her hopes for all night long partying were dashed when Toffs closed at two thirty instead of the much anticipated four a.m.

It wasn’t just the revellers who missed out; many clubs and bars in town closed early or made losses due to the new late night culture in York not kicking off with the predicted bang. Harkers is rumoured to have only taken £20 in the extra hour it was open, which does not even cover the staff overtime. Katie Elliotte, barmaid at The Maltings, confirmed that many bars and pubs won’t even use their late licenses on most nights, as it is too expensive to do so. There are also many pubs that failed to get late licenses or did not even apply for them. Benjamin Anderson, barman at The Charles XII, explained that there were around eighty-five complaints from Heslington locals about the pub attempting to apply for a later licence. Benjamin himself grumpily stated that he was “pleased they didn’t get one, because it would mean I would have to work later”.

The sense of anticlimax surrounding the changes in licensing seem to have saturated campus. Adam Harrington, a Langwith first year, described his fears: “I don’t think it will make much difference, but I do have a feeling it will make my nights out more expensive, as I will be inclined to drink for longer”. Chemistry first year, Peter Rayner, agreed, saying, “‘I don’t think it will have much effect in a small tourist city like York”. The student population seem to be united in their disillusionment with this drinking revolution.

However, Garry Sellers, bouncer about town, is not so convinced by the apparent serenity of our quaint York streets: “the fact is that the first weekend of late licensing was the calm before the storm. Local people avoided town like the plague because they knew what was coming.”

Although this seems like an extreme view, there has been a worrying development among the student population. All of us know somebody who has attempted all day drinking sessions to mark the change in licensing laws; even the computer scientists are at it.

Daniel Whitehead, a second year computer scientist, boasted: “a bunch of my compsci mates went out drinking for seventeen long hours the other night, they were battered. They did the time warp down Coney street, they’re mental”. This worrying incident could set a precedent for future timewarp trends on the streets of York. The Home Office are heralding the new laws as a way of eradicating ‘yobbish behaviour’. However, these public displays of drunkenness and musical abandon seem to suggest otherwise.

The idea of York becoming a den of iniquity and sin due to later drinking is far less terrifying than the point raised by Peter Rayner: “I am more concerned about the takeaways not being open when I eventually leave the club. Will I be able to get a pizza at four a.m.?”. This is a serious issue and one that was happily anticipated by York’s takeaways themselves.

Several have successfully applied for late licences, including the legendary York’s Yummy Chicken on Pavement, possibly the best takeaway in town, which has been made even better by the fact that discerning late night party beasts can sate themselves on filthy greasy meat there until four a.m. This innovative adjustment to the opening hours of takeaways will not only insure that later nights out will not be tainted by dull hunger on the walk home, but will also allow students who have chosen to enjoy recreational activities at home the chance to purchase late night snacks if the need arises. This culinary step forward is marred, however, by the fact that Ali G’s pizza, the proud sponsor of Derwent bar quiz, is the only pizzeria to have failed to achieve a later license. Obviously this is a lamentable spanner in the works and there is currently a petition circulating campus calling for this discrepancy to be addressed.

At the end of the day it seems that most students welcome the change in licensing laws. The ability to drink later does enhance student life, as now on a Friday you can watch all the great telly and have a night out, which is certainly a bonus. And despite the horrifying prospect of computer scientists musically taking to the streets, Garry Sellers, the prophet of doom, admitted that it would most likely be the “stag and hen nights and chavs” that caused the most problems for bouncers and bar staff alike. Unless any of you are planning on getting married or drinking White Lightning outside Costcutter, then you won’t be tarred with the “yobbish beahviour” brush. Embrace the new drinking revolution, you might like it.

Late Night Licenced Take Aways

Golden Dragon, 3 King Street.
Monday to Saturday 2300 – 0300
Sunday 2300 -0200

Salt and Vinegar, 13B Bridge Street.
Monday to Thursday 2300 – 0030
Friday to Saturday 2300 – 0230
Sunday 2300 – 0100

Micklegate Takeaway, 36 Micklegate.
Monday to Saturday 2300 – 0300
Sunday 2300 – 0100

Golden Grill, 10 King Street.
Monday to Thursday 2300 – 0300
Friday to Saturday 2300 -0330
Sunday 2300 – 0200

Efe’s, 26 Heslington Road.
Monday to Saturday 2300 – 0300
Sunday 2300 – 0100

Marmaris Grill, 3 Lawrence Street.
Monday to Sunday 2300 – 0300

York Yummy Chicken, 28 Pavement.
Monday to Sunday 2300 – 0400

Zaf’s Tandoori Takeaway, 33 Heslington Road.
Monday to Sunday 2300 – 0300

One comment

  1. I think most students welcome the change in licensing laws.

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