The big one. The fabled one. It’s talked about a lot, but to conquer all nine campus bars in one night requires some dedication and planning. But if you don’t fancy sampling all the drinking holes in one night, here’s a quick overview of all the college bars.
The Northern Oak – County
The Oak has received a bit of stick over the years, as it’s shifted its focus more to the diner and café side of the business, so for a quick pint, there are definitely better options. But Live at the Oak on Wednesday nights is always worth a visit, showcasing the best local (and sometimes national) music. The beer range is hardly mind-blowing, but it does usually showcase an ale or two, which is more than some. A conclusion? Better in its heyday.
The Trough of Bowland
It’s all about Bowland pie, many will claim. Each bar has some sort of selling point, and Bowland’s is its pie. But beyond this pastry lies a fairly decent place for a drink. The range of beers is amongst the best on campus, as it stocks some decent ales along with the standard lagers and ciders. Perhaps the only drawback is the awkward narrow room in which the bar resides.
Trevor – Furness
The only bar on campus which people call by its actual name, rather than its residing college. The beer selection is usually pretty good, as it more often than not stocks some of Lancaster Brewery’s fine ales. In addition to this, the Furness Beer Festival runs every year at the beginning of December, but the last event was unfortunately cut short by Storm Desmond. Oh, the humanity.
The Mill – Fylde
I’ve got mixed feelings towards Fylde bar. On one hand, the food is pretty good, the ales on tap are usually stellar (Swan Blonde and Cracker to name but two), and they show football semi-permanently. But at the same time, it always seems like it was just an empty room that needed filling, and a bar fit the bill. Overcome the basic furniture and surroundings and Fylde becomes fine. After all, there’s no better place on campus to let Man United put you to sleep.
Gz – Grizedale
Grizedale’s bar is without doubt the swankiest on campus, mainly thanks to its interior depicting some sort of Ikea showroom. It serves no ales, but at least has adopted Heineken (along with Trev) recently to stop it becoming a Carsberg/ling hole. But beer has never been the selling point for Grizedale. The central bar is for the cocktail connoisseurs on campus, and serves an array throughout the week. It brings a little sophistication to a night inevitably ending up listening to Mr. Brightside in Sugar.
For a while last year, Pendle Rooms was known as Bar 74 for no obvious reason, before reverting back to its current moniker. And that kind of sums Pendle’s bar up; it doesn’t really know what it wants to be. Last year it was the butt of jokes due to the fact it was never open, but thanks to good work from the JCR, Pendle Rooms saw a new lease of life last term. However, its ‘partnership’ with Dalton Rooms was unfortunately short-lived, thus drying the college up of its new-found clients. Pendle Live is still worth a visit on Thursday nights but, apart from that, has nothing unique to offer.
The Red Lion – Lonsdale
Well Lonsdale are supposedly the party college, but in recent years The Red Lion has been another bar that’s fallen by the wayside. Aside from sporadic club-esque nights, Lonnie doesn’t really offer that much. It offers the best selection of international beers on campus, but in such a big and expansive bar, it never really has the atmosphere it deserves. Best saved for a special event.
The Winning Post – Cartmel
Poor old Cartmel, even their inhabitants (Cartmellians?) accept that their bar is poor. Similar to County, it’s more of a diner and a café (courtesy of Starbucks) these days. And particularly in close proximity to Grad Bar, it’s doomed to inadequacy. But speaking of Grad Bar…
The Herdwick – Graduate
Grad Bar is possibly one of the best pubs in the whole of Lancaster, let alone just the campus. It’s a typically classic British pub, and holds the proud honour of being named in CAMRA’s Real Ale Guide since 2001. And that’s with good reason too, as the bar has a constant rotation of ales available, as well as Erdinger on tap most of the time. There’s always a warm atmosphere at Grad, and is without a doubt the best bar on campus. And no, I’m not on commission.