Ucas Listing: Scotland Late-night delights

The most liberal licensing laws in the UK and a huge variety of entertainment make Scotland the fun-lover's choice
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Indy Lifestyle Online
So what do students do when they have finished writing those essays, made the odd "I'm-okay-Mum-but-I-could-do-with-the-odd-fiver" phone call home, and had another feeble go at stacking the empty beer cans that have somehow managed to find their way under the bed? In other words, what is the nightlife like?

In Scotland, that is like asking if heather grows on the hillsides. Every city, housing even the smallest college, has something to offer its students from late to late-late, and even to early dawn.

Edinburgh, for example, has some of the most liberal licensing hours in Britain. Most pubs are able to keep busy until 1am and a few are allowed to reopen at 5am. Ostensibly, it is to let night workers, er, refresh themselves. Students who might have danced the night away at one of a dozen (at least) clubs, also need refreshing - but parents will not wish to hear that.

It is said that Edinburgh has more pubs, clubs and restaurants per square mile than any other European city. The average University of Edinburgh student has no need to step beyond his or her own doorstep for entertainment. There are scores of clubs and societies catering for just about every taste, from amateur radio to zoology. There is even a thing called the Huggabugga which, would you believe, is a jaffa cake appreciation society. The students' union is set to open a purpose-built live band venue in Potterrow, one of its many facilities. At other student buildings there are bars and jukeboxes galore, as well as games rooms, satellite television and well-stocked CD libraries. Among the many other venues frequented by students are The Venue for hardcore, Century 2,000 and The Subway. Many pubs also provide live music and other entertainment such as stand- up comedians.

For those who do not go in for sweaty jumping up and down all night and prefer more relaxing music, there is plenty to chose from as well, including the Usher Hall for classical concerts, the Queen's Hall for recitals and the Festival Theatre for Scottish opera.

Unfortunately the Edinburgh Festival is held out of term time. The city's universities cash in on tourist lets.

However, there are some lucky students who manage to take advantage of the festival - either by performing in it or working for it in ticket sales, guiding and cleaning.

Glasgow, of course, rivals Edinburgh in just about everything, nightlife included. There is an outstanding selection of bars, discos, clubs and theatres and, again, students need not move beyond their own union premises. For example, the Queen Margaret College Union has regular comedy nights and stand-up acts. There is a games room and Jim's Bar, a theatre which stages fringe productions, and a cinema with double features at weekends.

There is also the Qudos Cafe, which offers decent food at reasonable prices, and the Food Factory, a large and trendy self-service for cheaper varieties of food.

The University of Glasgow Union has a good reputation for its beer, snooker and lively debates. It has lots to offer - and with 6,000 members, it needs to. There are five bars as well as a nightclub. At the Beer Bar they serve foaming pints and a concoction called Iron Stomach, after which one is more than ready to take part in the debates.

The Hive is a union nightclub with cheap drinks and admission. Another bar is the Deep Six, which is a tight squeeze on a Friday night. With its 2am licence, it is the most popular student bar on campus. Off-campus clubs and pubs abound, with The Garage and Furry Murry's among the more typical student venues and there's an all-night "caff", appropriately called Insomnia. For dancing, students recommend the Sub Club and Arches.

Aberdeen's Lemon Tree provides a mixture of mainstream and alternative dance music as well as a stage for the university's smaller theatre companies. The Music Hall hosts the big bands.

At the University of Paisley student union, there are two bars, a lounge, a well-equipped stage and dance floor, with main attractions offered three times a week. On Tuesday it is karaoke, on Thursday live music and stand- up comedy and Friday is club night, with cool dancing into the early hours - all as a limbering up exercise for Saturdays, when the union is quiet.

Saturday tends to be a "town night" when many students converge on the Paisley Arts Centre, which provides music when it is not putting on plays and shows. And there is always Furry Murry's, which Paisley undergrads "share" with the crowd from Glasgow.