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Freshers: Guide to clubbing in York

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Chances are, you probably didn't come to York for its notoriously off the charts night life. Yet what the clubs here may lack in number, they make up for in character: you'll be sure to have found your clubbing spiritual home by the end of first term, if that's your thing. To help you avoid wading through the endless stacks of promotional leaflets that will cascade through your campus accommodation windows throughout Freshers' Week, here's a rough guide to York's clubs from an inside perspective. Take everything with a pinch of salt, tequila, lemon, and be sure to pay them all a visit yourselves before jumping to any conclusions.

The Duchess

"Drop it like it's hot" takes on a whole new meaning at Phat Fridays as you find yourself getting low whilst being soaked in strangers' £1 drinks and sweat.

One of the only club nights to live up to its hype on Facebook, Phat Fridays at The Duchess do indeed offer "phat parties, slim prices," and a whole lot more in between. Celebrate your conquering of the monstrous queue by purchasing a round of mouthfuls of alcohol for anybody nearby, and then attempt to booty shake to 90's R&B and hip hop forgotten gems to which you will unashamedly remember every single lyric. If you haven't got the stamina to queue in often Arctic conditions for up to an hour, invest in a queue jump ticket or get your name on the guest list for discounted entry before midnight. Queue jumps often sell out within hours so be sure to 'like' Phat Fridays on Facebook to be in the loop. Be warned: The Duchess gets very hot. You will sweat, and your makeup will melt off, so embrace the less is more approach to your get-up and keep it phresh.

Club Salvation

Image: Petroc Taylor
Image: Petroc Taylor

Undoubtedly the best location in York to practice your David Attenborough voice whilst observing the greater-spotted BNOC in his natural habitat.

Wednesdays in York mean only one thing: "Salvooo!" Host to YUSU's favourite club night, dress to impress as cops rub shoulders with robbers across two floors of sports clubs celebrating victories, or drowning their sorrows together to Tinie Tempah. Heated in winter and breezy during the summer, York clubbing's best smoking area compliments/compensates for the mandatory queuing alongside semi-naked, sweaty cowboys and cave girls at the bars on especially busy mid-term socials. Take advantage of the club's great deals on VKs, after all, alcopops are all you'll need to keep you going through the night following your inevitably legendary pre-drinks. As an alternative to Phat Fridays, explore Salvation's 'Koh Samui' beach party.

Vodka Revolution

Immediately regret the pose you chose for the compulsory Revs photo as you experiment with overpriced birthday cake flavoured vodka (regret this also).

The place to be on a Sunday night, Revs offers students an excuse to close the lid on the fancy dress box and dig out the ironing board for a more 'sophisticated' evening. See chinos of every colour of the rainbow peacocking at the bars and groups of girls dancing in circles attempting to slut-drop in high heels. The heated outside areas with river views offer a pleasant respite from instantly losing all of your friends the moment you step indoors. Be warned: the bouncers do not enjoy you trying to sneak drinks outside. Revs is notoriously expensive. A night to leave your bank card at home, consider also buying a drinks discount card. You'll easily make back its cost from the savings on a couple of doubles.


York's answer to Narnia. Mingle with both legitimate, and Derwent wannabe hipsters over surprisingly expensive drinks.

You'll only hear people talking about the fabled Fibbers if they've already attended a night there. Birthplace of alternative music nights in York, Fibbers also plays host to smaller, student run events such as last year's popular Gin & Juice as well as various indie nights. Sure to attract an eclectic crowd, Fibbers harbours no concrete expectations so often makes for a memorable night, for better or for worse. Described by a regular attendee as, "just one big, smoky, sweaty room with lots of flashy lights and hidden steps to trip over," Fibbers is not for those who expect disco balls, an illuminated dance floor and a night of organised fun.


An adventure playground for spontaneous nights out: lose all of your friends as you try to navigate the multiple staircases and end up in Tiki Bar's caravan with a group of strangers.

Whilst you may well never again pay Kuda a visit during your time at university beyond the UV night in freshers' week, play it right and YUSU's official Tuesday night can have a lot to offer. Whilst the dance floor turns into a particularly clammy mosh pit whenever the club gets busy, the balcony that overlooks it provides an ideal viewpoint to find/laugh at your struggling friends trying to survive another rendition of 'Mr Brightside', or to make awkward eye contact with the person you've been trying to subtly check out from afar. A significant perk is the minimal queuing time for drinks at the venue's four bars. Guys be warned: the door staff are particularly insistent that you wear smart enough footwear to gain entry.

Tokyo & Mansion

York's hybrid clubs: Will they play any chart music soon? Is this dancing on the spot for hours a warm up for the Macarena? Am I supposed to be here?

Tokyo and Mansion have both seen their time as the crown jewels of YUSU club nights, but in recent years both have had somewhat of an identity crisis. As Mansion takes over from Tokyo as YUSU's official Thursday night this year, the future of the latter is up in the air. Having played one-off host to alternative nights such as Music Remedy, Nightvision and Get on Up with great success, will Tokyo become the new home of house/electro/garage/disco/funk/anything that avoids Jason Derulo's frustratingly catchy riffs? Keep your eye out and Air Max on for Milli Vanilli's popular, monthly nights at Mansion. Remember: regardless of your experience of these events, be sure to relentlessly go on about how you had the Best. Night. Ever. for several weeks to follow.

Willow Marmite

Last but by no means least...


Tequila, Bon Jovi and regret, in that order, with a few stale prawn crackers thrown in for good measure.

Both your best and worst nights out in York will find their grisly conclusion on owner, Tommy Fong's, Chinese restaurant turned sticky dance floor (we can't really call it a club). With the promise of £1 shots and staying open until 4am every night, head to Willow at student night rush hour and you'll hit major queues, particularly on a Sunday post-Revs. Steal our Editor's favourite tip and pay entry fee at the beginning of the night to collect a stamp, then waltz your way past the 2am traffic to throw some aggressive shapes to 'Livin' On A Prayer' until your heart's content. Be warned: whilst asking the bouncers to stamp your forehead will seem beyond hilarious at the time, it will not in your seminar three days later.

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7 Comment

Wizened old 3rd year Posted on Friday 18 Sep 2020

Revs is cheap as chips?
It also used to be the best night of the week. Never missed a single one in my first year.
I suggest you go freshers.


Another wizened old 3rd year Posted on Friday 18 Sep 2020

Revs is only cheap as chips if you buy your chips from Waitrose and eat them with gold plated forks.


Anonymous Posted on Friday 18 Sep 2020

Fibbers has been shut down!
It was the best place in York :(


Anonymous Posted on Friday 18 Sep 2020

Fibbers moved to where Tokyo was, Toft green near salvation. Tokyo is no more... (probably a good really)


Anonymous Posted on Friday 18 Sep 2020

Don't worry Fibbers will still be alive! Moved locations - big refurb!


Lannister Posted on Friday 18 Sep 2020

If you want cheese, go to Flares. Less queues than willow, better drinks selection, funner dance floor. Just remember to go in large enough numbers to crowd out the creepy middle aged locals.


Pete Posted on Friday 18 Sep 2020

Debates over clubs aside, can we all just appreciate what a great job the Nouse team has done on its fresher's guide this year? A* for you, Nouse!


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