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York Nightlife: The Lowdown

York may be small, but in terms of nightlife it packs an almighty punch. Seasoned clubber Neil Johnston relives the highs and lows of a night out in York after dark

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Wednesday nights at Salvation are the latest addition to the YUSU sponsored line-up. Credit: Petroc Taylor
Wednesday nights at Salvation are the latest addition to the YUSU sponsored line-up. Credit: Petroc Taylor

It may be a small city, better known for its history than its nightlife but you'll probably find you visit the city centre more after dark than you do during the day. Soon you'll be rolling down Clifford's Tower at the bidding of some seditious STYC on a cold Freshers' night. But what exactly is the nightlife like in York?

Whether it's clubs, pubs, cocktail bars or even late night restaurants and discos, York punches well above its weight when it comes to nightlife.

Cocktail Bars

Two student favourites are Dusk and Blue Fly, offering a range of cocktails at affordable prices. Sitting side by side you can breeze in and out of both while grabbing two for one cocktail deals from Monday-Thursday. Both have a lively atmosphere and aren't far from two of the best clubs making them an ideal place to start the night.

For something a bit more upmarket Evil Eye would be the place you are looking for. A huge selection of cocktails and a quirky setting have made it a popular venue. But don't ask us, ask Johnny Depp, as it's his favourite bar - or so the story goes.

Another one to look out for is Bar Esperanza, a bit more pricey than Blue Fly and Dusk, but well worth it for the larger selection of cocktails and spectacular range of flavours in the drinks as well.


They say there is a pub for each day of the year in York, so if you are a fan of beers or ales you really are in for a treat.

The Rook and Gaskill is one popular venue, hosting a range of beers and ciders that change regularly. Reasonable prices mean you get a great pub at decent value as well.

Another great pub on the other side of the town is the Lamb and Lion, great inside but even better outside where you find a beer garden beside the city walls and overlooking the Minster. As well as a range of ales to enjoy in the garden, they also do excellent food, although a bit pricier than some other student venues.

The House of Trembling Madness is probably York's most popular pub and is a great place to start or stay in for a 'bars night'. Unique ales and any bottle of wine for £12 mean you can enjoy a quality drink while not breaking the bank. The menu is also tasty with platters and specials that can include some unusual additions. Get there early though as you may have to wait for a seat, but if you are patient you will be rewarded by a stuffed boar as an extra guest above your table.


The city has five main clubs; Tokyo, Mansion, Rev's, Salvation, and Kuda which are popular during on selected days throughout the week.

In addition to these you have Fibbers and Duchess which are busy on Fridays and Saturdays, and hold selected club nights and live sets.

However, the main attraction of York's nightlife is something special. A disco that started out as a Chinese restaurant, you're unlikely to find anything quite like it anywhere else. It is The Willow, a venue on Coney Street which boasts a big cult following amongst Uni of York students. It's Marmite-esqe slogan does hold true but the majority do love it, but it may take you an hour in the queue before you get a chance to taste it yourself.

You may not want to ruin the surprise, as the first trip to Willow really is special, but here's a littletaste of what it's like.

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Anonymous Posted on Saturday 10 Aug 2013

this is shit.


Johnston Grammar Bastard Posted on Wednesday 14 Aug 2013

"It may be a small city, better known for it's history than it's nightlife"

Oh, dear...

Maybe Nouse should be more concerned with proof-reading their shit articles than adding stupid hashtags at every given opportunity.


Pebbles Posted on Wednesday 28 Mar 2018

That kind of thinnikg shows you're on top of your game


Lavon Posted on Monday 12 Nov 2018

So that's the case? Quite a reiolatven that is.


Nettie Posted on Friday 23 Nov 2018


Keyanna Posted on Sunday 25 Nov 2018


Mr Warning Posted on Wednesday 14 Aug 2013

To any freshers reading this, the night-life is truly awful don't get your hopes up!


Washington Irvine Posted on Friday 16 Aug 2013

@Mr Warning.. Wow, so pleased you're having / you've had such a fun time at York...


Musically unsatisfied Posted on Monday 11 Nov 2013

Avoid Willow like the plague, it is tragically bad. As for the rest of York... it's very average. If you want good music, get yourself down to Leeds (25-30 minute train journey, a return ticket with railcard PS12, 3 world top 100 clubs: Warehouse, Mint Club and the Garage and loads of other epic clubs and gig venues to explore).


Fleta Posted on Tuesday 27 Mar 2018

A proocvative insight! Just what we need!


Keyla Posted on Tuesday 3 Apr 2018

That's 2 clever by half and 2x2 clever 4 me. Thasnk!


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