Looking for a cheeky Rizla? Ranking eight smoking areas at our favourite Bristol clubs

From the genuine dungeons to places you spend half your night yapping

Looking for a lighter or a Rizla is an issue half of Bristol Uni’s population face. Some of us act like parasites with our mates’ pouches, whilst others end up flirting with half the club for a cheeky little straight.

Even if you don’t smoke, we all need some fresh air after enduring the sweaty depths of the dancefloor; it’s just a shame La Rocca’s idea of fresh air is one square metre and a staircase. So, here’s a ranking of the worst to best smoking areas in our favourite student spots.

La Rocca

Also known as claustrophobic hell, the smoking area of La Rocca has you feeling constantly confused as you fumble around to sit at the top of the staircase before you’re told to fuck off and shoved down to the sopping-wet benches. After getting pushed left, right and centre while trying not to drop your drink and run into every situationship whilst dancing, the smoking area will have you crying in a damp, unlit, corner as you chug four VKs for a tenner.

The Crofter’s Rights

This smoking area is a myth, it is literally just on the scary side of Gloucester Road. No cigs can even be enjoyed here, mainly as you live in fear that your pint by the door is going to get stolen as the bouncer rages at you for going back in the wrong way.

Mbargo and Lizard Lounge

Similarly to Crofters, the smoking area is what we call a pavement. These Triangle smoking areas are only saved by being the perfect people-watching spots for nighttime antics, as princesses or Magic Mikes dash off to bigger and better things. Trying not to fall over the barriers when you see your long-lost bestie from Freshers’ is an Olympic sport.


Running out to the pillars during the middle of the strip show is a saving grace after you’ve seen enough men in this club getting their kit off for a hoover or toaster that will instantly break. Even if you’re fighting off the balloon men attempting to make a profit, at least you’re slightly warmer as you watch everyone firm the queue and fumble to get up the OMG app.


The world is your oyster at Motion, as it is literally impossible to fill this smoking area (no more being herded in like sheep at La Rocca). Having picnic benches scattered around, you can actually take a breather and debrief with your mates whether the Jägerbombs are actually worth it (they’re not). One major issue with this smoking area is the Motion vape squad forcing you to sign up for a free vape that is guaranteed to taste like a combination of battery acid and vomit – resist the temptation.

Brass Pig

Heaters and a balcony: What more could you ask for? Queuing for the toilets will make you contemplate running away to Mbargos to pee, but walking out onto the balcony brings you back to first year (whether for better or for worse). Everyone you’ve ever gossiped with on the U1 will appear automatically in this space. Depending on how gone you are, chucking plastic cups off the edge at the one awful Hinge boy can either be hilarious or the most embarrassing thing you ever do at uni. Despite the Christmas fire, I’ll still spawn in on that balcony purely to gossip and hide from people trying to get me to go to Gravity.


Riverside accommodation, you know all about this one.  The people you meet in it are not real, they have to be ChatGPT-designed NPCs. Love them or hate them, you’ll be wetting yourself with laughter when a leather jacket-wearing vinted-fiend appears, ready to steal a cigarette. Somehow you’ll end up beefing the Rock Society from the top deck about your favourite song by The Cure, but it is this randomness of the Thekla smokers area which makes it one of the best. Not even torrential rain could ruin the chaos of running back and forth for songs on the bottom deck, followed by two hours of yapping and flirting with some of the most insufferable people alive. You then end the night on a high, clambering across City Centre to Sirin’s Kebab.

Mr Wolfs