The University of Portsmouth has announced that it will close its Students’ Union (SU) bar after alcohol sales have dropped by 20% year on year over four years.
The decision to close The Waterhole Bar came a fortnight before the start of Freshers’ Week.
According to The Independent, alcohol-free university events are in high demand as one in five students do not drink alcohol.
Next month, The Waterhole will close and will be replaced with “a social space with street food, a coffee shop, microwaves and comfy furniture”.
Many universities and students’ unions have already increased the number of alcohol-free events, including offering alcohol-free halls.
The University of St Andrews said the alcohol-free student accommodation was so popular, they were unable to offer everyone a place with more than 400 students applying, exceeding the 132 rooms available.
Other universities which now offer alcohol-free living options include Chester, Bristol, Canterbury Christ Church and the University of West England.
Graham Galbraith, vice chancellor of the University of Portsmouth, said: “We recognise that student tastes have changed in recent years and most students who want to drink alcohol would prefer to do so at other city venues.
In response, we believe redesigning and refurbishing that area, offering street food, coffee, microwaves and comfy furniture will help open it up for all to enjoy and help them feel part of a bigger student community
– Graham Galbraith
“Only a minority of students have been using The Waterhole bar and we’re aware that many avoid it. People were simply not using it enough and the bar has become financially unsustainable.”
Galbraith went on to say: “In response, we believe redesigning and refurbishing that area, offering street food, coffee, microwaves and comfy furniture will help open it up for all to enjoy and help them feel part of a bigger student community.”
Helena Schofield, Portsmouth SU’s president, said: “Myself and the sabbatical officer team are sad to see the bar go but we understand that it’s not financially viable to keep the bar open.
“We’re excited to hear student ideas on what the new space should bring to the experience of students here in Portsmouth.”
Earlier in August, Abertay University, Dundee took a similar decision and replaced the student bar with a café.