We’ve already covered all the fun things you can do during the day in our best student getaways and day trips from Leicester article, but what about when the sun goes down? Don’t be fooled, as despite being a small city, Leicester nightlife is banging!
Sure you could head out to Brum or Nottingham, but why pay the cab fare when there are so many amazing pubs, bars, nightclubs and live music venues in the city?
As for the cost of a student night out, according to the Natwest Student Living Index 2021, Leicester is ranked as one of the most affordable university towns and cities for students.
But where should you go? With so much choice for a great night out in Leicester, we’ve done our best to round up our fave spots to save you time.
Pubs & bars in Leicester
Cookie (High Street)
This list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning Cookie. Technically, it’s now called The Big Difference but locals will always refer to it as Cookie!
Timing your visit here is key depending on what you’re looking for. During the day it has all the ambience of a chill coffee shop or bar (with added board games). However at night this place comes alive and could feature in multiple sections of this article due to the range of activities that take place here.
From live comedy performances in the cellar to live music with local bands in a small, intimate environment, Cookie has it all. We’ve listed it here as it’s a versatile, multi-functional venue but it would definitely be at home in the music venue category too!
The Distillery (Market Street)
Formerly the Slug and Lettuce, The Distillery is a great student-focused pub in Leicester with affordable food options and an inviting atmosphere. It’s a great place to meet after a long day of lectures and at the weekends you can turn it up with their resident DJs and live music.
The alcohol options available here are endless, with a wide selection of craft beers on tap, spirits, Prosecco and even decently priced cocktails.
It’s also one of the best spots in Leicester for a bottomless brunch if you fancy an early morning or late afternoon drinking sesh (or pre pre-drinks, if you like)! Sports fans will also love the fact there is booth-style seating with personal screens as well as multiple large TV screens dotted throughout!
The Loaded Dog (London Road)
This pick is a little further afield but it’s only 8 mins away from the station by foot. With it’s red brick exterior and monochrome signage, it gives off a modern vibe
It’s a student pub through and through, meaning it always has awesome drinks deals, good food (with plenty of vegan options) and a chill atmosphere. You can enjoy live sports, pool, bottomless brunches, regular pub quizzes and a great selection of craft beers. It even has a special student only loyalty app, UniCrew; sign up and you’ll get a free bevvie plus exclusive access to all their best offers and access to prize draws!
Given the name, you might imagine it’s also dog friendly and you’d be right. Dogs are allowed inside too, provided they’re well behaved. If that’s not a reason to visit, we don’t know what is!
Student nightclubs in Leicester
Mosh (St Nicholas Place)
This is Leicester’s indie and alternative nightclub but DJs here spin more than just rock, alt and indie tracks, occasionally throwing in the odd dance, DnB or pop song. The perfect excuse to bring along a friend who claims that they just aren’t into the alternative scene. In fact, if you’re a student in Leicester, you’ll likely visit here at least once – even if it’s just for the cheap drinks!
Mosh is huge and spread over three floors. Despite its size, it’s almost always heaving, as it’s one of the few places that has regular club nights and events. Alternative club nights take place every Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. It is a legendary club for Leicester students, you can expect to see everyone there at some point, and the perfect end to a midweek night out.
Firebug (Millstone Lane)
Looking for a big night out, Firebug’s got you! As well as hosting live music, Firebug boasts some of the best student-friendly club nights in the city and much like Cookie, has a reputation for being a bit of a Leicester student rite of passage.
For those who’d rather indulge in culture, they also hold immersive cinema events, and other quirky nights to enjoy. Oh, and did we mention the massive beer garden which always seems to be open, no matter the hour? What’s not to like!?
Venom (Belgrave Street)
Want to feel like a celeb for the night? Then book an exclusive booth at Venom for some VIP treatment (you can even get your own personal host for the night!). Venom is in the heart of the city centre but feels miles away from many of the other nightclubs that call the city home.
It has an upmarket feel, due to its cutting-edge, absolute beast of a light show and soundsystem. With multiple rooms each with its own musical style and vibe you can be sure to find a dancefloor for you. Venom is perfect for those special birthday bashes, or for those nights where you’re feeling yourself and want to live out your celebrity fantasy for the night.
Sports in Leicester
Leicester Tigers (Aylestone Road)
Recent winners of the Rugby Gallagher Premiership, Leicester Tigers are based at the Mattioli Woods Welford Rd Stadium, just a short walk from the train station. It’s a great time to attend a match too, as the atmosphere in the stands is electric with fans still buzzing after their first Premiership Rugby win since 2009!
Enjoy a night out by attending one of their evening matches then celebrate (or drown your sorrows) at a local pub or sports bar. Grab your tickets online or splash out on an Under 25s Tigers season ticket from as low as £220, or £40 for the women’s team!
Leicester City FC (Filbert Way)
Football fans rejoice! Because nothing beats being surrounded by chanting fans and being part of the celebratory roar that can be heard far and wide across the city when a goal is scored. You can purchase match tickets on the LCFC website, and cheaper tickets are available for Under 22s (around £30). Alternatively, you can make the most of the season with a season ticket (prices start from £295).
Just 8 mins by car or around 20 minutes on foot from the city centre, the King Power Stadium is also near to an Indian restaurant which is a bit of a hidden gem. Book yourself in for a post-match meal at Spicy Haandi to stuff yourself full of fresh naan and finish off what will no doubt be a great evening.
Leicester Riders Basketball (Charter St)
If rugby or footy isn’t your thing, there’s always basketball and when it comes to this sport, you can’t go wrong with the Leicester Riders! Current reigning champions of the British Basketball League, winning both the 2020/21 and 2021/22 leagues.
Experience the energy of a first-rate team as they slam dunk to victory at the Morningside Arena. Concession tickets can be purchased on the Leicester Riders website (available from £18.50). But check with your university beforehand as many universities in the region have special partnerships with the club and in the past have offered exclusive student tickets from as low as a fiver!
Leicester’s best live music venues
O2 Academy Leicester (University Road)
Located on campus at the University of Leicester, this venue which was established in 2010 has seen new and classic acts including Mahalia, Aitch, Pale Waves, Bring Me The Horizon, The Darkness and Enter Shikari.
As it’s an O2 venue, it’s widely considered to be the primary live music venue in the East Midlands music scene, attracting some big name talents and hosting one-day music fests and events. One such event is Bingo Lingo, a wild, wacky night full of bingo mayhem, party anthems, epic stage battles & prizes! Whether you’re attending a gig or event here, one thing is guaranteed, you’ll have a fun night out – plus you can even pop to the SU bar beforehand for some pre-gig drinks!
Nestled away in an unassuming street, The Musician is a haunt for many who prefer the independent music scene. With live music on most nights, this venue can hold around 220 people making for some unforgettable, intimate gigs from a range of international talent to the very best local bands and home-grown gems.
It has a reputation for its eclectic booking which spans multiple genres including soul, reggae, indie, metal, ska, punk, avant-garde lofi, ska, world music, rock, contemporary singer-songwriters and everything in between. Don’t recognise anyone in the upcoming gig line-up? Why not choose an artist or band at random for a fun and unexpected evening? You may even find the next big thing or discover your favourite new band.
Unusual nights out in Leicester
Firebug (Millstone Lane)
Don’t panic, you don’t have déjà vu! We did mention this pick further up in this list but the fact is, due its immersive cinema events, and various other quirky nights, Firebug deserves a spot here too.
Due to the ever changing schedule, you could catch anything from Wifi Wars (a live comedy game show hosted by Steve McNeil where you play along on your smartphone and compete in a range of games, puzzles and quizzes) to a range of Edinburgh Fringe comedy acts and themed film nights.
And for those of you who love gaming, you can now experience the new upstairs expansion…an old skool arcade area, complete with a vintage pinball machine, pool table, upright arcade machines and more. Get your game on with classics like Time Crisis, Pac-Man and Gauntlet for some retro fun.
Caddyshackers (Calais Hill)
This venue is much more than crazy golf, there’s axe throwing and a VR escape room here too! Want to impress your friends with your inner Viking axe-throwing skills or let your inner child out and shout “Bogey!” at your mates when they score one over par? Well, you can do it here.
There’s plenty of craft beer on tap and an amazing selection of cocktails and mocktails too. We dare you to take on their VR escape room after a few bevs!
From Sunday until Friday, Caddyshackers offer a huge 50% golf discount for students and teachers or lecturers (just £6 per person!). Why not battle it out against faculty members to make things interesting!?
East Street Lanes (East Street)
This is the sister venue of Caddyshackers, and they’re also neighbours being located just a street away. This stunning, 8-lane boutique-style bowling alley is a great place to kick back and relax, whether you’re hitting the classic Brunswick style lanes or not.
It’s everything you expect from a bowling alley including a gaming arcade – with loads of current and retro arcade classics as well as pool and air hockey! And it has a great selection of drinks and a banging pizza menu.
What’s more from Sunday to Friday, students who show a valid student card only pay £5 per game. There’s no excuse not to take advantage of some bargain bowling with your besties.
End your night in style and comfort
There’s so many student-friendly nights out in Leicester to suit everyone. Whether you want to have a wild night of partying, a relaxing pub sesh watching the football or a midnight cinema screening with your new friends. The above list covers just a handful of places in Leicester for a fab night out.
But whatever you decide to do, end your fun night out by chilling out at home at Study Inn Leicester, the ultimate luxury student accommodation. Located close to all of the places mentioned it’s the perfect place to start and end any night out. Find out more and get ready to live your best student life!