CARTOON superheroes, doctors and nurses, an army of geeks and a troupe of mime artists.

These are just some of the colourful characters that were seen passing through the streets of Southampton as hundreds of students hit the town for a midweek night of partying in some of the city’s most popular nightspots.

Enticed with a selection of cut price drinks and free entry, students from the city’s two universities have been welcomed to ditch their studies for an evening dedicated to allowing them a night out while living on a budget.

From the moment revellers pour out of taxis pulling up to the kerb, they find themselves in a Tuesday night bidding war as bar and club promoters fight for their attention by handing out cards, flyers and stickers with the promise of free entry before 10pm, a free alcoholic shot and an enthusiastic reminder that some drinks will only cost £1 all night.

Within 30 seconds of walking through Vernon Walk it is possible to get an eager invite to the Buddha Lounge’s £1 vodka mixers, a “Free Shot With This Voucher” card from The Orange Rooms, a card from neighbouring bar Mono inviting you to “Have A Drink On Us!” and discount entry with a red wristband for Rhino.

And for anyone willing to go the extra half-mile, the Whitehouse in Above Bar, offers a flyer promising: Free entry for girls and “All Drinks Buy 1 Get 1 Free All Night”.

Straight away it is easy to see why anyone living on a budget, or looking for a night out while they wait for their delayed student loan, would be drawn to the area.

Around the corner in Carlton Place, nightclub Reflex offers student-only entry with bottled beers and alcopops £1 all night, and 90 Degrees gives free entry before 10pm and £1 drinks inside.

Across the road and another offer for free entry all night, and a free shot for everyone who wears the “I Heart Vodka” sticker is pulling visitors into Vodka Revolutions where special cocktails are £2.50.

Whether you carry a valid NUS card or are just out for a midweek party with friends, anyone who is looking to get into the spirit of a Tuesday night out is literally spoilt for choice.

Joining the parades of costumed undergraduates, one group of men dressed as female nurses admit they have already celebrated their friend’s birthday at the weekend, but came out especially to join in the high spirits.

“We are obviously not students but came out because the drinks are so cheap. Not only that but everyone is up for a laugh and having a good time,” said birthday boy Kevin Kench.

A feeling that seems to echo around the Bedford Place area. The feel-good factor continues as the pubs close and queues start forming around the nightclubs and late-licence bars that become the only option for anyone looking to party into the early hours.

Prepared for a large influx of drinkers ready to cash in their discount vouchers and flyers, doormen are seen checking the identification of everyone that enters.

At 90 Degrees, door staff turn away anyone with fake ID and later hand over a batch of false driving licences and passports to the police, who from 9pm can be seen patrolling the area.

Next door at Reflex, doorman Daniel Gray says Tuesdays are solely for students and anyone without valid identification is refused entry.

“We never have any trouble with the students. It used to be a lot busier before University term started with the younger college students who are local, but now it is actually a bit quieter,” he said.

In London Road, queues also form outside Junk nightclub where down the street random empty drinks bottles can be seen left on the brightly-lit pavements.

One bar owner says that although the special offers are designed to bring out students, his staff always have to deal with people who are just out to get drunk, and will often buy cheaper alcohol from nearby shops and drink it quickly before attempting entry.

“These are not students. But you get people like that when you offer a night of cheap drinking,” he says.

When it comes to home time, it is the turn of the taxi ranks and takeaways to cope with the huge influx of revellers.

But despite the obvious concerns of alcohol-fuelled violence and anti-social behaviour from the large crowds, it appears that the welcoming spirits that started the night filter through until the final hours.

Crowds of girls sit together on a pavement huddling for warmth as they wait for friends, while the occasional piggy-back is requested for someone who’s shoes are too tight.

A fight between two men just after 1.30am tenses the atmosphere in Carlton Place as nearby doormen break-up the brawl to shouts and jeers from onlookers.

Within minutes police are on the scene with two vans and two cars to question the pair and take witness statements while the bemused crowds stop for a second to look on – before continuing their walk home cursing the freezing night air.

Around the corner from some of the discounted drink suppliers lies the occasional pool of vomit, and an abandoned takeaway of chicken and chips.

While other footpaths are littered with small white paper squares which belonged to the backs of some of the sticky wristbands and stickers being handed out at the beginning of the night.


10pm – Well dressed and costume-loving revellers start arriving to the city centre bars and teams of promotional bar workers greet them with a selection of free or discount entry and promises of cut-price or free drinks.

11pm <– Queues start forming outside some of the busier bars as other pubs call time and people make the most of the discounted entry.

12am – Doormen are seen checking the identification of practically anyone who goes in the later licence bars. Police arrive at some entrances to speak to doormen although no action or arrests seem to be made.

1am – The smell of chips, fried chicken and kebabs start to take over Bedford Place as crowds begin to gather outside takeaways and linger in taxi queues. Huddling together for warmth as they wait for their ride home. Police seem to step up their patrols as more crowds take to the streets.

2am – Bars and clubs that are still open start emptying as the 3am closing time approaches and taxi drivers move quickly to clear their ranks.

3am – As the remaining revellers walk home random bottles, discarded food cartons and the occasional puddle of vomit is all that remains of the bustling weekday night out.

6am – Southampton City Council’s Cleansing Team begin the clean-up operation.

9am – The clean-up is completed as businesses, cafes and shops open their doors.