A beginners’ guide to campus bars

(Or: Where to drink when you can’t be bothered to go to town)

After the dizzying thrills of Freshers’ Week, where you will be cajoled, guided or dragged to every club in town, you might want something a little more low-key for your second week at university. And where better to bond with your new friends and flatmates than one of our campus’s own bars? Drinks are (relatively) cheap, the atmosphere is friendly, and best of all you’re only a five-minute stumble away from your bed. The YUSU bars are also run by the Student’s Union which means all profits go back into big student events and societies…you’ll never need to feel guilty about spending money again!


The biggest bar on campus. This is where various societies hold meetings under the guise of being productive, and the start of many a pub crawl as well as Derwent students’ catering joint. There’s a mix of sofas, comfy chairs, bar stools and dining tables to sit at, as well as pool tables to hang out around. It’s where friends meet, relationships are made and broken, and glasses get stolen with alarming regularity.

As the biggest bar on campus, it tends to get busy quickly – especially on nights when the television screens show sports games. Your best bet is to head there early with some mates, order a pitcher of cider, and slowly but surely pre-drink your way through £8 of liquid confidence while chilling on the sofas.


Located in Vanbrugh College, V-Bar is more into events than its similarly-named Derwent counterpart. There are jazz nights every Monday which attract a crowd from across the colleges, and Barry’s Bar every Thursday where uni bands try their hand at performing. The crowd here tends to be Vanbrugh students too lazy to walk anywhere else, and music students looking to unwind.

Otherwise, it’s a fairly standard bar. Seating is in booths, so it feels more formal than D-Bar but still retains a pleasant vibe. On Tuesdays, expect to see some interesting characters in here as it’s DougSoc’s first stop after their weekly meetings. It’s also where Muse holds its edition meetings, which speaks volumes for its artsy sensibilities.


Photo Credit: YUSU Bars

Photo Credit: YUSU Bars

The University website doesn’t list The Courtyard as a bar. The University website is wrong. While The Courtyard does serve delicious food during the day and serves as a favourite lunchtime spot in between lectures, it’s also great in the evenings. And on the rare days when we experience sunshine, the outdoors seating fills up in a snap.

The selection of drinks isn’t as wide as the dedicated bars, but located right next to Hendrix Hall in Derwent College it’s much more central. Plus, it plays host to on-campus club nights twice a term. Coup D’Etat, on Saturdays, is an indie/alternative night that’s a much cheaper alternative to York centre on a townie night.

The Edge

Wentworth’s bar feels like it aims at hip and just slightly misses the mark. Located in the postgrads’ college, undergraduates don’t tend to venture here so much. But it is a fairly laid-back place, and not nearly as edgy as it might want to be. There are weekly pub quizzes to test your knowledge and a selection of squishy chairs as well as tables.

The best part of Edge might be its exterior, reflecting magnificently in Hes West’s toxic lake as a symbol of the postgrad’s superior age and wisdom over the rest of the students. That, or the fact that it’s within Wentworth College nucleus itself, where many seminars are held: don’t be surprised if you drag some mates in here after a particularly dull hour only to find your supervisor’s had exactly the same idea.

The Lounge

Photo Credit: YUSU Bars

Photo Credit: YUSU Bars

The Lounge is located in James College, near the Exhibition Centre and YUSU. It’s also the Sports bar of choice, and it’s best avoided on Wednesdays unless you like 100 sweaty jocks jostling for position at the illuminated bar. It’s adjacent to the Roger Kirk centre, meaning all the big YUSU nights – elections, students vs staff University Challenge, comedy night – tend to be in the large seating space at the back, meaning Lounge gains a lot of business from thirsty patrons.

The pizzas they serve are supposed to be pretty good, but The Lounge is most notable for its cocktail menu. Not as good as Evil Eye or as cheap as Dusk, they’re still reasonably-priced beverages for those craving more than a beer or double vodka … and have the advantage of being much closer to your room. Not forgetting there are regular 2-4-1 deals.

The Glasshouse


Heslington East, the modern wasteland of York which the University is desperately trying to promote, is home to all the newest and shiniest buildings on campus. Langwith, Goodricke and Constantine Colleges therefore have to share The Glasshouse, which is a very chic but slightly cold eatery-come-bar. It serves food till late though, which is great if you get hungry when you’re drunk.

Besides being the lone watering point on the new campus, Glasshouse is also pretty cool to hang out in, with plasma screens and a (slightly dilapidated) range of board games, but watch out for the people studying during the day. In weeks 4 and 8, Glasshouse also plays host to Marmite, YUSU’s dedicated cheesy club night. If you’re un-ironically into the stuff that Willow plays, then twice a term this is the place for you.

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