Gryphon study finds Old Bar and Terrace to be more expensive than local pubs and surrounding red brick universities.
After conducting an investigation into the price of alcohol at different universities and local pubs, The Gryphon concludes that LUU is more expensive than similar student outlets and unions across the country.
The study revealed that Leeds University’s Student Union Bars are more expensive than those at Manchester, Liverpool, York, and Leeds Beckett. The price of a pint of Carlsberg and a single Vodka coke were used to compare price, with LUU charging £2.60 and £2.65 respectively. Other Northern student unions charge substantially less, with a double vodka coke at Northumbria costing around the same as a single at Leeds.
Away from Student Union equivalents, the Union also ranked low in comparison to the pubs surrounding campus. Both Terrace and Old Bar were more expensive than The Fenton, The Royal Park, and Brudenell Social Club.
The question of affordability has led to some students deciding not to use the Union as a place to drink. “Where is the incentive to go to Old Bar or Terrace when you can go to surrounding pubs for less?” asked William Pickworth, a second year Politics and Parliamentary Studies student.
However, a number of students at Old Bar who spoke to The Gryphon felt that the venue offered fair value for money. Jonathan Wrights, a History student at Leeds said: “It is quite annoying, but I think Leeds is seen as not too expensive compared to places down South. It’s not pushing it but it could be cheaper.”
Union Affairs Officer Jack Palmer responded to the study, stating: “LUU has a Responsible Retailing Policy which sets out guidelines on our pricing, marketing and serving of alcoholic drinks; this means we will never serve an alcoholic drink for less than £1.50 and never sell a unit of alcohol for less than £1.
“However, we have a commitment to delivering an experience to students which is good value for money; we ensure the environment in which students drink is more entertaining, inclusive and safe. We maintain competitive prices at popular events like Fruity and we also seek out partnerships with local producers to bring independent Yorkshire breweries to our bars.”
Such guidelines contrast to the deals now offered at establishments such as the Hyde Park Pub, offering customers £1.50 pints for a small entry fee on a Wednesday.
At other universities, there is the additional offer of college and accommodation bars, as well as the main student union. At the University of Manchester, the main student union. At the University of Manchester, the main student accommodation premises, Owen’s Park, houses Squirrels bar, which serves £1.90 Carlsbergs and £1.50 singles. Manchester student Rose Mills emphasises the importance of having a student bar at the most affordable in the area: “The affordability allows everyone to let off steam without worrying about being over budget.
“There’s no discrepancy in class, anyone who wants to socialise in such a setting is able to. The only reason for not going out is usually money, and the prices at Squirrels eliminate this.”
Old Bar and Terrace offer discounted drinks from 5-7pm each evening, with Old Bar having reopened at the start of last term to widespread agreement that it has retained its charm.
There is a fine line between pricing drinks so expensively that students decide to drink at home instead, and too cheaply that alcohol is abused. Whether the union has achieved this balance is debatable.
Look out for The Gryphon’s ‘History of the Otley Run’ feature later this month.
Dominic Johnson & Jessica Murray
(Image: Adriana de las Cuevas)