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By Sam Fury on 22.9.2023

Cavorting in Canterbury: Clubbing Guide

Right, you’ve made it. You’ve applied, you’ve got the grades, you’ve moved in (with a little help from the parents and possibly some unforgiving siblings) but now you’re finally a fresher at the University of Kent (get to know it as UKC). Now what to do? Apart from attending the obligatory introduction lectures for your course and the fresher’s fayres, I’m going to throw some advice your way on the all-important night life we have here in Canterbury, during and after fresher’s week.

Campus Bars

Mungo’s Bar

Firstly, each college, including Parkwood, has its own bar. Eliot College’s Bar is called Mungo’s. As well as a bar they also do a wide selection of food and snacks, from sandwiches to jacket potatoes and burgers, all at a great reasonable price. A few times through the year Eliot holds an event called ‘Massive Mungos’. This is where the college opens up the bar into the entire dining hall, minus dining room tables, and you have a cavernous space for an organised rave. There is also a games room within
the bar with games consoles and pool tables for your enjoyment.

Rutherford Bar

Rutherford’s in-house bar is called ‘Rutherford Bar’ (a lot of work went into this name, please don’t knock it!). Once a week they have karaoke which does get very popular and competitive. Along with a sing-along you can go to Rutherford to pick up a pizza to either eat in or takeaway for around £7.
If you’re feeling a bit nostalgic, too, why not pop along to Rutherford Bar and with a group of friends and drag out one of their board games stacked around the bar?

Origins Bar

In Darwin College you will find ‘Origins’ on the first floor. This bar serves a full menu of food throughout the day and is mostly Tex-Mex themed. You can’t say we don’t give you a variety here at UKC! Origins also hold a weekly event called “Ruby Tuesdays’ which is a great Indie night (funnily enough on a Tuesday), with some impressive drinks deals. It’s great, as apart from this night not much goes on in Canterbury on a Tuesday.

K – Bar

Keynes College is home to ‘K Bar’; as well as the obligatory bar there is an interactive jukebox, a pool table and an extensive outside area surrounded by the College walls. This is probably the most relaxed place on campus to go for a drink on a night out. They serve a small selection of pizzas, great for a quick bite.

Woody’s Bar

‘Woody’s’ belongs to Parkwood. Woody’s greets you at the entrance of Parkwood, if there is any live sport to be watched Woody’s is the place to view it! The competitive streak follows on from the sport to the bar, where each year during fresher’s week each fresher has the chance to take part in many drinking game traditions. If lucky enough to succeed, they will earn their place on the wall of fame (actually, will get their name engraved onto a plaque and placed on one of the many beams around the bar – where it will stay, well after you’ve left). Again there is a pool table and a decent varied menu, you know when you’ve finally settled in and secured your place at Woody’s once you can manage ‘The STACK’ burger.

The Venue

The Venue is our main Club on campus with a capacity to hold around 1500 people. This is where you will find the biggest acts and DJs performing on campus. At Venue, drinks are cheap and service is fast, entrance is normally £5. However, watch out for Kent Union’s promo team for free entry on certain nights.

The Venue

There are two bars one on each floor and one shot bar. Each night has a different theme so this is the time you are going to need to dig deep into that wardrobe and get creative. On Saturdays the Venue will be home to Soap, one of Canterbury’s largest student nights, with music provided by DJ Stephen Sullivan. The first edition of Soap gives us Neon Halls War Party where each Flat/Hall will go head to head in a neon paint battle to determine which flat or halls will come out on top – ‘it is going to get messy’. Monday night of this year’s fresher’s week features the Beach Party, with the whole club and everyone in it decked out in beach gear and summer get up. You’ll be reliving your summer in the middle of September! Wednesday night is the School Disco, so drag out that school uniform, pull up those ties and do up those top buttons and get ready from a nostalgic night down memory lane; best part is that its open until 4am!

Friday is one of the biggest and most popular nights out in Canterbury, which is all down to the launch of ‘YEAH!’, last year. ‘YEAH!’ brings us some of the best DJs around and together with an ultimate sound system filling up the Venue, it makes every Friday night an unmissable event. A word of advice for YEAH! Events, though: get there early and join their Facebook groups. They have regular giveaways from free entries to ‘meet and greets’ with performing guests. I got to meet Radio 1’s Kissy Sell Out who is performing in the Attic on Saturday 19th. On the Friday of Welcome week we are lucky enough to have the return of Nero, they performed last year at YEAH! and it was the busiest and most energetic night I’ve ever seen or been to while at UKC; this night is a MUST!

On the last night of Fresher’s week, the Venue plays host to the Fresher’s Ball, which this year has been given the theme of Cirque de Venue with decor to match. The night includes guest DJs, BBC Radio 1’s Edith Bowman, and Canterbury celebrity Stephen Sullivan. As well as the DJ sets, the night also includes a silent disco and much more to be revealed on the night.

The Attic

Above the Venue we have the slightly smaller ‘Attic’. Home to local live music, it allows local bands and artists to come and perform in front of a live audience and get themselves heard. The Attic stage has also featured many popular names over the last year, since its vibrant makeover; Devlin, Chase and Status, Zane Lowe, The Holloways and Toploader, to name a few.

The Attic Stage

On the 17th Attic are hosting an awesome 3D disco. On the Sunday if you’ve ever wanted to sing in front of an audience with a live band here is your chance with Rockaoke. Then on the Tuesday of Welcome Week, Attic are laying on ‘International Night’, which will provide you with music from all around the globe, and get the chance to meet others from across the pond.

Off Campus Nightlife

Off campus we have two nightclubs in Canterbury. My personal favourite of the two is Club Chemistry. This club is great on a Monday, Wednesday and Thursday night as these are student nights. Monday is UKC’s night and Wednesday is Christchurch’s, but all students are welcome to both nights.

First Floor of Club Chemistry

The club is separated over three floors, each giving a different genre to each floor. On the ground floor you will hear recent chart music to start the night off with and then going into cheesy pop and American classics by the end of the night. The second floor is R&B and hiphop based. This leads us to the biggest and top floor, which provides its listeners with house and club mixes. Entrance is £5 and the queues can get very long, especially at the start of term, so get there early to avoid waiting out in the cold. Monday nights are named “Pop Ya Cherry” nights. For £10 you get a Membership card which allows you to queue jump every Monday night until the end of the year – I recommend one, I could not have lived without having one of these, I hate queuing, especially in the rain). Thursday night has become a recent addition to the week at Club Chemistry thanks to ‘Indiecate’, this night is a must for any Indie fans out there!

Chill nightclub offers Canterbury residents a more commercial nightclubbing experience. It’s nowhere near the size of Club Chemistry but still attracts a huge crowd and the music is just as good (more along the lines of Club Chemistry minus the ground floor).

Main Room of Chill Nightclub

Off Campus Bars

The Cherry Tree Pub
Great alternative pub, cheap drinks! – Especially the “Pig F***er” (great novelty straw)

The Cuban
Mexican style cocktail bar – also does food during the day. Great for Thursday Evenings (BOGOF on all Cocktails)

The Loft
Great cocktail bar with a very metropolitan vibe, word of warning the prices aren’t exactly student friendly but definitely worth saving for!

Great split level bar, gets very busy and great dancefloor in the basement.

The Penny Theatre
This place gets rammed on a Thursday – great deals being handed out and on Sundays for the Penny Theatre quizzes again great prizes to be had – start getting that team together!

From the ominous moving in day there’s always something going on. We have the traditional UKC bar crawls. These start in one of the college bars and make their way around to all of the colleges – Rutherford, Eliot, Keynes, Darwin, making its way out to Parkwood, then finally making its way to the on campus nightclub the Venue.

In conclusion, Canterbury has much to offer by way of nightlife both on and off campus. So whether you’re a hardcore clubber or just enjoy a glass of white by the bar, there’s no excuse for not going out and enjoying your fresher’s week!


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