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Nightclubs closing across the country amid changing student lifestyles

In recent years, the number of students clubbing and drinking has been in decline. A rise in options for today’s students in search of a night out has led to a corresponding fall in the number of students attending clubs across the UK.

The cost-of-living crisis has similarly made it less affordable for students to go clubbing on a regular basis, causing clubs to shut down as students tighten their purse strings.

The cost of living is singularly the biggest issue that we face

Peter Marks, Chief Executive at Rekom

Peter Marks is the Chief Executive of Rekom, which owns Pryzm and Atik, two of the largest night club chains in the UK. He has attributed the closure of 17 Rekom-owned venues to a lack of consumer demand.

Marks attested: “The cost of living is singularly the biggest issue that we face.” He claimed the strain on students was putting the clubbing industry more broadly under greater threat.

“They’re arriving in our doors later and they’re spending less. For every £100 we take, we are spending between £30 and £40 on wages.

Between full-time study and part-time work, many students can’t socialise at all

Chloe Field, Vice President for Higher Education, National Union of Students

However, experts have been less quick to pin a decline in nightclub outings solely on the cost of living. A total of 400 clubs have closed between March 2020 and December 2023 according to the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA).

Chloe Field, the Vice President for Higher Education at the National Union for Students (NUS), stated: “The behaviour of young people has also changed since the pandemic, with those who turned 18 in lockdown not getting into the habit of going out clubbing.”

Field also suggested that the fall in numbers is due to students working more: “Between full-time study and part-time work, many students can’t socialise at all.”

A rise in teetotalism amongst today’s students has led more and more staple clubs in the industry to shut their doors. The Drinkaware Trust, an alcohol education charity, stated that today, 26% of 16–24-year-olds do not drink any alcohol at all.

The figures for this age bracket were significantly lower than for 55–64-year-olds, with a total of 31% drinking 14 units of alcohol per week: the weekly recommended limit. Marks admitted that in the UK, “the nighttime economy is going through a tough time” and “it does need some help”.

Due to both the rising cost of living and shifting student lifestyles in recent years, the trend away from big nights out at UK clubs seems to be one that will not fade soon.


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