Sanjeeta Bains spent a night in Coventry. This week, the city was named the worst place in Britain to spend a night out. From dinner to late-night drinks, here’s how it went…
Mr G’s nightclub and three-for-one Hooch make up my happy, if hazy, memories of Coventry nightlife. It wasn’t the most exciting place – clearly, if dodgy alcopops are my top takeaway from three years as a student there.
Still, I was dismayed to hear the city was this week named Britain’s worst night out, rated 50th out of 50.
So how bad is it really? Returning for one night only, I asked my cabbie, Abdul, where to go for a good time.
He reeled off a list of chains – Slug and Lettuce, Turtle Bay, The Botanist before adding most of his fares go to the station for a night in Birmingham.
Haven’t you heard the song? he said. “Coventry’s a ghost town – especially when the students go home.”
In the town center I stumble across crowds chanting, “We want answers, we want answers.” Turns out they’re on the Great Middlemarch Mystery Tour – based on George Eliot’s book – in celebration of Coventry’s status as City of Culture.
It’s nowhere near so lively in the Slug and Lettuce and friends Emma Logan and Laura Roughton, both 34, are shocked how dead it is.
Emma says: “Coventry used to be so good for going out. The nightlife has definitely got worse.
“Now, none of the older crowd goes out. Maybe they are too used to drink at home after Covid?”
Nikita Sharma, 22, and Millie Quinn, 21, are unsurprised by Coventry’s ranking. Nikita says: “It’s true there are not many places to go, that’s why we always end up in the Slug and Lettuce!”
The study by website Get Licensed gave the city a score of 2.16 out of 10 after looking at the number of venues and the cost of a pint.
But just across from the Slug and Lettuce is Coventry’s oldest pub, The Golden Cross. It also features in the Good Pub Guide for its quality ales. Regular Matthew Campbell says: “There are things happening, but you really have to seek them out.
“We have The Yard. There is also FarGo village, which is great for live music. Down Corporation Street you will find independent places.
“And we’re in a place of great historical significance.”
Historian Ruth Cherrington has written three books on her home city and says: “Locals don’t like how much of a student city it has become. Thankfully, there are a few good music venues.”
One is Coventry Empire, which has hosted Ed Sheeran and Paul Weller in recent years. I end up at gay club Glamorous Coventry. Staff outnumber clubbers, but a group of five are having a great time on the empty dancefloor.
One, Damon, says: “I’ve had nights out in Liverpool and Manchester but my best have always been in Cov. I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.”