St Andrews is almost the perfect small town. It is well-located (if a little hard to access), is home to an incredibly diverse group of students (even if they may be a little posher than other unis), has relatively decent weather, has beaches and the sea, ruins and museums, a cinema, and an abundance of restaurants, pubs, bars, hotels, golf courses, cafes, shops, churches, supermarkets, bookstores, a brewery, etc. Despite this apparent abundance of things to do, places to be and food to eat, St Andrews is missing one very key thing for a university town: a credible nightlife.
Somewhere along the design process of the town, someone thought it would be a good idea to stuff 10,000 students into a small town with one nightclub that was shut down (RIP the Lizard), a bar-restaurant that sometime plays old music (the Vic), and a Student Union. Yes, that’s right, the only real “club” in St Andrews is Club 601, part of the Union, not a place anyone really looks forward to entering. It somehow accomplishes the feat of appearing both too full and too empty, depending on where in the large hall you stand.
But fear not, there is an answer to this blight: house parties. For generations, they have kept the population of the University entertained where its own “St Andrews nightlife” could not. And with so many beautiful houses all over St Andrews, there is no reason why we cannot turn them into BYOB nightclubs for an evening or three. House parties are a light of hope in the dark void of St Andrews night life. However, despite their legendary status, they have their downsides.
Above all, the police always show up when the party is at its best. This is a universal law. Party is going well, it is 2:30 AM (past closing time for all of the official night life venues), the music is loud, people are dancing, no one has thrown up all over your precious gap year Indonesian carpet. Suddenly, your favourite song comes on, you start dancing with all your friends. This is it! How night life should be! But wait. What is that you hear coming from the entrance? The police are here!
And it is always the same story – some neighbour thought you were having too much fun and called them. They come, shut down the party, give you a “verbal warning” (whatever that means) and kindly help you remove all your drunk guests from the property.
St Andrews needs better nightlife. You cannot simply place 10,000 students in an intense small town university and give them no way to let their hair down and have fun. If clubs are practically non-existent and house parties always end in disasters, something needs to be done. Whether it is allocating a space for students to be able to actually have good parties without being shut down, or drastically revamping the official night life experience, it is time to make St Andrews night life great again.