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From clubbing to BYOB, beat the January Blues with these cheap(er) nights out

Because January’s dry enough


As the New Year rolls around, you may find your bank account looking rather depleted. In the frenzy of the festive period, it seems capitalism has once again reigned supreme. Yet the fun doesn’t have to stop.

If you’re in the mood for a catch up with friends, without the full commitment of a night out, BYOBs are your best friend. Luckily, Edinburgh has many tasty options. In Tollcross (and another branch recently opened on Drummond Street), there’s the delicious Tuk Tuk, which offers Indian street food dishes all for under £10. Combine this with their BYOB policy (which excludes spirits) and you can enjoy a good quality meal with generous portions that won’t cost the earth.

Another great option is the Pakistani and Indian restaurant, Roti on South Bridge. We ordered two dishes per person with a side of bread or rice and with the free corkage, the bill was less than £20 each. Honourable mention to Roti’s manager David who kept us entertained throughout the night!

Pre-club Roti (making full use of the BYOB)

If South Asian food doesn’t take your fancy and you’re looking for something more intimate, walk into Chez Jules on Hanover Street and be immediately transported into a cosy French brasserie, complete with flickering candles in wine bottles (they were doing it before the Pinterest girlies) and waitresses in Breton striped tops – a much more budget friendly substitute than the Paris trip during flexible learning week unlikely to make it out the group chat! (This is a particularly popular choice, so I recommend booking.)

Feeling sophisticated at Chez Jules

For those of you undertaking the admirable cause of dry January, I salute you and offer up suggestions for a booze-free night. To escape the cold of your student flat, (you’re lying if you haven’t had at least one argument about the heating), the Vue in the Omni Centre in New Town has very reasonable cinema tickets (£5.49/person) and makes for a lovely night out. If you’re looking for more of an arthouse cinema, the Cameo Picturehouse in Tollcross is a very cosy venue, and the staff sometimes even dress up according to what’s on! Sign up for the free membership to access student deals (£6.60/person) that work in Picturehouse cinemas across England and Scotland.

Perhaps you’re itching for a night out and, having had butter pasta for dinner again, you have a few pounds to spare. Start the night off at Finnegan’s Wake for pres and live music (especially good on a Thursday), or The Tron for £2.50 pints. The Globe on Niddry Street also offers pints from £3.30 and very reasonably priced spirits. Come here on Mondays and challenge yourself at their pub quiz. (The potential £50 bar tab prize will undoubtedly bring out the University Challenge candidate in you!)

Perhaps you’re itching for a night out and, having had butter pasta for dinner again, you have a few pounds to spare. Start the night off at Finnegan’s Wake for pres and live music (especially good on a Thursday), or The Tron for £2.50 pints. The Globe on Niddry Street also offers pints from £3.30 and very reasonably priced spirits. Come here on Mondays and challenge yourself at their pub quiz. (The potential £50 bar tab prize will undoubtedly bring out the University Challenge candidate in you!)

A recent love of mine is Stramash, which even has free entry on Saturdays. With two lives bands on a night, it makes a great alternative to other clubs as it feels far more like going to a gig, without the extortionate ticket prices.

And finally, a few extra tips to hang onto those precious pennies:

Mix up a strong journey juice to have on to the way to the club. I mix mine with squash (double strength) and water, to convince myself my hangover won’t be hellish (it always is.) This is not only a great way of using up whatever alcohol is knocking around your flat, but also warms you up quite noticeably as you battle against the Edinburgh climate. In the same spirit, simply ignore all instincts of self-preservation and refuse to wear a coat. A hoodie will have to suffice (nothing feels more like daylight robbery than the £1 cloakroom fee – it all adds up).

Once outside the club, charm your way inside by gently haggling down the entry fee with the bouncer (note: this has only worked for me once at a club, there is a very high likelihood of getting very publicly humiliated and turned away). Finally, having made it inside and having completed the epic quest that is navigating the cobbles and hills whilst absolutely steaming, flirt unashamedly with an older man at the bar with no intentions other than hiding from him for the rest of the night having secured a free drink. Cheers!

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