Student Guide 2015: Best Bars
There's more to drinking in Scotland than Tennent's and whisky. We pick out some of the best bars in Glasgow and Edinburgh for any occasion
Best for tight budgets
Vodka Wodka, 31 Ashton Lane
Situated among the plethora of drinking and eating spots on Ashton Lane, it is easy to overlook this quirky little bar – but don't make that mistake. Offering a selection of £3.50 cocktails, including Cosmopolitans, Bacardi Mojitos and French Martinis, plus house bottles of wine for just a tenner, this is the place to go when you're nearing the end of your overdraft.
Also try: Flat 0/1, Bread & Butter, Driftwood, Moskito.
Bar Soba, 104 Hanover Street
This pan Asian restaurant is a haven for students, generously providing anyone with a matriculation card 2-for-1 meals during the week. However, it's the tasty £3 apple and ginger Mojitos, £2 spirit mixers and £2.50 pints of Carling that really draw in the bargain-savvy.
Also try: The Chanter, Thomson's Bar, The Greenmantle, The City Café.
Best for large groups
Drygate Brewery, 85 Drygate
The craft beer company's vast premises in the East End allows them to host a restaurant, beerhall, terrace and bottle shop. The Vintage (restaurant) offers small plates ideal for sharing and there is an equally impressive range of beer to keep you satisfied.
Also try: Brel, West Brewery, Coopers, Sloanes.
Akva, 129 Fountainbridge
With the ability to host up to 250 people for parties upstairs and one of the largest beer gardens in the capital, this Swedish bar is ideal when you need to find a drinking spot to fit you and a lot of your friends. Plus, when the weather is nice enough to sit outside, you'll be treated to a wonderful view over the Union Canal.
Also try: Hemma, The Beehive Inn, The Caley Sample Room, Le Monde.
Best for activities
The Flying Duck, 142 Renfield Street
Hidden in the bustling city centre, this bar not only offers cheap drinks, but a weekly pub quiz, open platform performance evenings and club nights too. They've also had a go at hosting a number of other events including graffiti jams, life drawing and film screenings, so it's definitely the place to head when you fancy more than just sipping a pint.
Also try: The Butterfly and the Pig, Firebird, Òran Mór, Lebowskis.
Brass Monkey, 14 Drummond Street; 362 Leith Walk
Screening classic movies every day from 3pm and serving affordable drinks, this well-known Drummond Street haunt is very popular with students. It now has a sister venue in Leith as well, complete with its own big screen, weekly pub quiz and jam sessions.
Also try: Frankenstein, The Tron, Clerk's Bar, The Three Sisters.
Best for free live music
Bloc+, 117 Bath Street
An independent pub renowned amongst the city's music aficionados for the free alternative concerts it provides before midnight. It also offers a wide range of deals on food during the week, so you can get a good meal from as little as £3.
Also try: Waxy O'Connor's, Blackfriar's, Babbity Bowster's, The Rio Cafe.
Whistlebinkies, 4–6 South Bridge
Featuring bands every night of the week and offering free entry (before midnight on a Friday and Saturday), this bar is ideal for music lovers short on cash. They aim to host four bands per night Sun--Thurs with more on at the weekend. Plus, they have a wide selection of beers and whiskies.
Also try: The Royal Oak, Finnegan's Wake, The Black Bull.