Hi everyone, it’s Amelie again, and this time I’ll be talking you through some of the best nights out in Exeter. With the end of assessments approaching, it has never been a better time to share Exeter’s finest institutions, and even if you don’t drink or enjoy the typical nightclub experience – fear not – this list will cover more than your typical Timepiece night out.  

First up, it’s a bonafide Exeter institution: The Old Firehouse on New North Road. The best thing about here is the huge pizzas, which are perfect for sharing with friends and really delicious. It can get super busy, especially at the end of the week, and booking isn’t an option, so I always opt for going early – say around 6pm – and having a drink and a chat before I place my order. Pizzas are relatively inexpensive once shared between two or three (it’s around £20 on average for a pizza) and they give student discounts as long as you bring a valid student id. Some nights they host pub quizzes, and sometimes there is live music, but even on the nights where there’s no entertainment the atmosphere is always great. If you don’t fancy a pizza, it’s also just a great spot for a drink – they have a lovely outdoor courtyard area that’s great in the summer, and a cozy vibe inside. They also serve roasts on Sundays, so there really is something for everyone. However, with the rustic decor (think red walls, wooden benches and candle-lit tables) you really get the best version of the place in the evenings, and in my opinion, the pizzas are a must-try.  

Epic pizzas at the Old Firehouse, Exeter

If it’s more a casual drink you are after, then the Imperial – lovingly nicknamed by students as the ‘Impy’ – is the pub to go to. Also a bit of an Exeter favourite, the Impy is actually just a Wetherspoons, but has a massive beer garden which is always buzzing in the summer and is also very roomy inside. It’s also conveniently located near the university, so it is great for socialising after lectures. In terms of drinks, it’s pretty self-explanatory and no different from any Wetherspoons pub. Everything is cheap and cheerful, and while the quality of the drinks isn’t anything to write home about, it’s great for a fun and cheap night out with friends. Even if a sober pub trip is more your style, there are plenty of non-alcoholic drinks also at a good price, and the vast outside area means things don’t feel quite as intense as a typical pub. In general, it’s a great place to have a quick catchup with friends over a cheap drink, or a good starting location before going on to spend the night elsewhere.  

The Imperial – huge pub, decent prices, near to Streatham Campus
The Imperial or ‘Impy’ – beer garden (usually super busy in summer!)

For a more sophisticated night out, the Phoenix is the spot. Everything culture and entertainment in Exeter happens here – they have a small cinema where more indie type films are screened, and spaces which house bands, comedians, exhibitions and group workshops on the regular. Located at the top of Gandy Street, it is positioned conveniently in the middle of town, which makes it easy to have food and drink before or after you go there (it does have a bar, but it is a little bit on the pricey side). What’s on changes constantly, so I recommend visiting their website to decide what it is you may be interested in, but there really is something for everybody. If you’re into entertainment that is a little more straightforward, then not far away are the Vue and Odeon cinemas, located on Summerland Gate and Sidwell Street respectively. Here, you can catch the biggest blockbusters that are showing at the moment, albeit at the sacrifice of supporting a locally-owned venue. 

Some of the bars and restaurants at Queen Street Dining quarter

Of course, this couldn’t be an Exeter night out post without mentioning the nightclubs. The biggest are TP (Timepiece) Wednesday and Saturday – the former is the night out for sports societies. Timepiece is great because it has a downstairs and outside area that works more like a bar, and then a dance floor upstairs. It is also usually lively no matter what time of week because it is such an Exeter favourite. On Mondays some people choose to go to Fever, another club that is a little further down the high street, and then Tuesdays are usually spent at Cavern, located underground in Gandy Street. The music at these places differs depending on the night you go, but most of it is quite generic. Move, a bit further afield at the quay, is the place to go for anything like Drum and Bass. While I would be lying if I said that these places weren’t home to lots of drinking, it is still possible to go sober. Timepiece especially opens its doors at 7pm and has a more relaxed area so it is definitely possible to go just to socialise and have a soft drink. As long as you buy a ticket as soon as they come out on Fixr (buying a TP Wednesday or Saturday ticket is like buying a ticket for Glasto), you can have fun there no matter your drinking habits.  

Fever nightclub

Hopefully this little guide has given you a taste of what Exeter has to offer in the evenings! Not included in this post, but also worth a mention, are exclusively student events such as Fight Night and university’s summer ball which happen once a year. No matter how you prefer to spend your nights out – whether it be a nice meal with friends, something cultural, or an indulgent evening in a bar, there is something for everyone at Exeter.

What really makes this city and its nightlife to me is the student community. On every night out, you are bound to bump into some friendly faces, and the student atmosphere that dominates the clubs, bars and restaurants makes you feel part of one big community. I may be biased, but I doubt that is something that you would get at larger university cities.