Support 110 years of independent journalism.

  1. Quickfire
1 September 2022

Why young people don’t like nights out any more

Rising prices has destroyed our hopes of post-Covid escapism.

By Zoë Grünewald

A few weeks ago I piled onto a bus in Brixton with ten other young, drunk people at 2am. I had been waiting for thirty minutes, alone, for an Uber which had cancelled on me three times before the price inexplicably doubled. On the bus the man next to me gently drooled onto my shoulder and no amount of shoulder-jerking would displace him. Forty-five minutes later I arrived home, having spent almost one hundred pounds on this night. Filled with regret, I realised: this just isn’t fun anymore.

The days of a good night out are over. Bars and clubs frequented pre-2020 are beyond recognition. One in five nightclubs have closed since the pandemic and those that remain have become busier and more expensive, making it almost impossible to gain entry anywhere after midnight.

Even before the cost-of-living crisis, consistently rising rents were causing prices in big cities to shoot up. A mediocre Latin restaurant in South London that clears its tables into a church-hall clump at 10pm and plays Pitbull’s greatest hits now charges ten pounds for entry to the sweatiest room on earth. Overserved rugby players spill Jägerbombs down your top and drinks are double the price they once were. Add in a nationwide taxi shortage, the closure of night-tubes and reduced bus timetables, and any night out is a costly logistical nightmare.

Nights out with friends have gone from a stress-reliever to an anxiety-compounder. When pay cheques barely cover the basics, throwing caution to the wind can entirely destroy your monthly budget. Keep Hush, an underground dance music platform, conducted a poll in which a quarter of 18 to 25-year olds said they were now “less interested in clubbing”, with Gen Z-ers feeling that clubbing is simply less financially viable these days.

This isn’t just a shame – it’s a tragedy. Two years of our youth was swallowed up by the sacrifices of Covid. We sat in cramped houseshares, pining for just one night of dancing and making mysterious, fleeting connections with strangers in dark rooms . There was no respite from work, bills and responsibilities.

Select and enter your email address Your weekly guide to the best writing on ideas, politics, books and culture every Saturday - from the New Statesman. The New Statesman's quick and essential guide to the news and politics of the day. Stay up to date with NS events, subscription offers & updates.
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how New Statesman Media Group may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.

As things have opened back up, our sacrifice has not lessened. Covid anxiety has been replaced by a flailing economy that will leave the young most financially vulnerable, according to the think tank Demos. Add to this the escalating climate crisis and work leading many young people to the brink of burnout, and one starts to wonder what exactly the young have to look forward to.

Yet there is no sympathy for our plight. Nightlife is left to burn. The culture war against the young has rendered our desires selfish, our joy unimportant and our rewards even smaller.

Content from our partners
On the road to Cop28
How are new rail networks boosting the economy?
Setting the stage for action on climate finance

Come this hellish winter, our choking nightclubs will be the first to fall. Thousands of pubs are already reporting possible closures as a result of extortionate energy bills. Those that can survive will be forced to raise their prices even further. Maybe it is too late for some of us as our lives move on and responsibilities grow, but I hope the younger generations get to experience the brilliance of a proper nightclub and an alcopop that costs less than a fiver. They need it more than ever.

[See also: The Rings of Power is bold, beautiful, thrilling television]