With Fresher’s fortnight at a close, you’ll most likely be exhausted from the near constant going out, waking up to God awful hangovers, finding random numbers or blurry selfies on your phone, the list can go on and on. Now, you’ll have to accept that you’re here for your degree and you’re ready to study (which hopefully doesn’t include 9am lectures: those are hard!). In my mind, the best way of balancing the books is trips to the pub with your flat and course mates.
Don’t get me wrong, I love clubbing; more specifically, I love Jesters and I intend to go there as much as I can now that I’m in possession of a Gold Card (I can’t say no to free entry to the Palace of Dreams). Personally, drinks at a pub is a better way of getting to know your friends. My first night at Southampton was a trip to the Stags instead of clubbing and I look back on it with real gratitude due to the night being a lot more laid back instead of a thumping four to the floor house beat stinging my eardrums. If you’re up for a simple pub crawl with your mates, these are the best pubs to start with, especially for Freshers. Without further ado, here are my essential go to pubs:
Starting with The Stags, this is a fantastic starter for any student at Southampton. This student only pub is located on Highfield campus and offers a great section of larger, cider, spirits and ale at a great price. In my mind, if you’re trying to budget but still want to go to a pub then I’d definitely recommend a night at the Stags. It’s perfect to go to take a break from lectures, as a starter for pub crawls and always has the fixtures for things related to football and rugby. Besides that, there is karaoke every Thursday night for those who can sing (and those who have had a few and like me, sound a little bit like Tom Waits) Not only that, The Stags also serves amazing pub grub such as toasties, hot dogs and pizza at prices you can’t say no to.
THE DRUMMOND ARMS
The Drummond, located in between Highfield and Portswood is a relaxed pub with awesome drink deals such as two craft beers or wine for £5 on Monday alongside a cocktail jug and sharer platter for £12 on Friday. It’s also very friendly and great to mingle with the locals along with free pool on Monday and Tuesday (with Tuesday being the day the local pool team assembles). There’s also karaoke nights on Friday alongside regular showings of football, F1 and cricket.
The Talking Heads is not only a great pub with a posh seating area but also an amazingly intimate (260 max) music venue with an eclectic range of bands playing all year round. For instance, Skindred performed there last November and I really could not get over how small the venue was for a band like them. Located on Portswood Road, just 5 minutes from Sainsbury’s, for Freshers and beyond, it’s a very easy place to get to. If you’re a member of the Real Ale and Cider Society, with a membership card you’re allowed 50p off whatever draught ale or cider you purchase. Besides that, other events and concerts in the future include Wheatus (Teenage Dirtbag anyone?), regular open mic and Irish jam sessions along with a wide variety of tribute bands ranging from Kings of Leon to Judas Priest.
Located next to Sainsbury’s on Portswood Road, The Mitre is a well-priced pub that’s part of the Greene King Meet & Eat chain of pubs across the country. Like Wetherspoons, it has excellent deals on food and drink such as 2 bombs or 4 shots for £5 alongside curry and a pint for £7.49. It’s also a great place for a game of pool considering the pub has 3 tables, so you definitely have no excuse in getting a table if you’re a keen player.
Located next to St Denys train station on Adelaide Road, the Southwestern Arms is a cosy two floor pub with a reputation for showcasing a wide variety of ale, serving one regular cask alongside nine ever changing casks from different breweries across the country. There is also music nights on occasion such as a Motown and Soul DJ night alongside live music from folk and bluegrass musicians. There is also a beer festival every summer which showcases over 60 ales. In terms of food, from Wednesday to Sunday there is a pizza van just outside the pub which offers a large amount for only £6. Perfect for closing time when you’re suffering from the beer munchies.
And last but not least, there can be only one pub to rule them all. The Hobbit is a place which, for over 20 years, has catered both locals and students and still to this day remains a favourite amongst Southampton students. Obviously, the pub is themed around The Lord of the Rings and has a gigantic beer garden filled with graffiti artwork featuring the Balrog and Orcs (it looks incredible I might add). The pub received media coverage three years ago after being threatened with legal action by a US production company over its name and resulted in a Facebook campaign, along with support from Stephen Fry and Sir Ian McKellen. The Hobbit also has 12 notorious pint sized cocktails named after characters from the books such as Bilbo and Legolas. Normally, they cost £4 but Wednesday and Sunday is Fellowship night where its £2.50 instead. Having completed the Fellowship challenge twice, I can say it’s definitely worth giving a go, especially since you get a free t-shirt. I will warn, however, (as do the staff) please be responsible and don’t finish the Fellowship in one night, from what I’ve heard, it’s just not worth it. The Hobbit also has tons of events ranging from acoustic singer songwriters, open mics, gigs by local and international bands, games night, Trance DJs and Rocksoc’s Dominion night. If you’re craving food, the bottom of the beer garden has Bag End burgers which serves up burgers, hot dogs and chips at a solid price.