It’s time for a little bit of much needed honesty here, okay? No one comes to Exeter for the nightlife. At no point in human history have the bright lights of Unit 1/TP/Rosie’s/Lemmy featured in anyone’s decision to go study here. Having said that, I’ve always thought there’s something disarmingly weird about people who decide to come to Exeter out of 50 million other university towns, and then moan about the nightlife. You signed up for this, guys. Phew. Okay, great. Glad we had that chat.
In all seriousness though, it’s something of an understatement to say that Exeter’s nightlife does, rather deservedly, have a wee bit of a reputation for just being a bit… rubbish. But that’s okay! If you want warehouse raves (and really, does anyone wake up in the morning with the burning urge to dance around an industrial estate?), you go to Manchester. If you want ducks, you go to York. And if you want the kind of tameness that verges on just the right side of ‘uneventful’ before entering fully blown ‘boring’ territory, you come to Exeter.
If anything, I’d argue that the predictability of Exeter’s nightlife is something reassuringly constant in what can be a fairly chaotic lifestyle at university. You might not know where your seminar is this week, but one thing we can all agree is that Top Top’s lights WILL come on at 2am sharp. Yes, we can all pretend we loathe the early-start early-finish hours but honestly who doesn’t like the satisfaction of being in bed by 3am, cheesy chips in hand, make up scrubbed off with a nice Louis Theroux documentary on?
if you want the kind of tameness that verges on just the right side of ‘uneventful’ before entering fully blown ‘boring’ territory, you come to Exeter
Belonging to that rare intersection of both Exeter local and Exeter Uni student, there is a strong probability that I may be a bit biased here. So I asked my housemates their opinions regarding the scene (or lack thereof) here in Exeter. The London-dwellers were quick to point out how they were expecting drinks to be much cheaper than they are – a fair point. The early finishes kept cropping up, as expected. I guess I can kind of see where they’re coming from. If Fabric was your local haunt whilst growing up, Cheesy Tuesdays may not be quite your scene. Even an Isle of Wight resident described Exeter’s nightlife, in a devastating takedown, as both underwhelming and “pedestrian”. Vicious.
I guess there is some room for improvement. But beyond petitioning Exeter City Council to extend opening hours, I’m not really sure there’s much to be done about the situation. We could all stage a mass protest by just not going out for, like, a bit? I don’t know. It’s important to remember we’re in South Devon, not South London. Exeter never claimed to be anything more than it is – and if a few warm VKs in an equally warm club aren’t your thing, please just let the rest of us enjoy them.