Scottish University closes student union bar due to a lack of demand

Scottish university is shutting its union bar because students prefer afternoon lunch and coffees instead of cut-price pints and shots

  • Dundee-based Abertay University has closed down its Student Union bar
  • The college claimed the decision was in response to demand from its students
  • A National Union of Students survey found one in five UK students are teetotal
  • The college said students were now more interested in coffee rather than beer 

A Scottish university announced it is shutting its union bar.

Dundee-based Abertay University says student tastes are moving away from drinking and there is no longer enough demand for alcohol.

Income at the bar is said to have ‘dropped drastically’ in recent years as many students now prefer afternoon lunch and coffees to cut-price pints and shots.

Bar One, on the first floor of Abertay University’s Dundee union building, will now act only as a bookable events space.

Abertay University in Dundee has closed down its student union bar, pictured as a result in a drop in demand for alcohol among young people going to college

Abertay University in Dundee has closed down its student union bar, pictured as a result in a drop in demand for alcohol among young people going to college 

A recent survey by the National Union of Students found that one in five of those going to college are now teetotal

A recent survey by the National Union of Students found that one in five of those going to college are now teetotal

It comes as a recent survey by the National Union of Students (NUS) revealed one in five UK students are teetotal while demand for alcohol-free university events is rising.

An Abertay spokesperson said: ‘We recognise that student tastes have shifted away from a bar setting and towards a daytime café culture offering.

‘Just last year we opened a new Library Café as part of the £5m refurbishment of the Bernard King Library, which has been a success with both students and staff.

‘In contrast, sales income in Bar One has dropped by two thirds in the last five years, and from September we will no longer offer food or drink provision in this area.’

The spokesperson said food, snacks and non-alcoholic beverages would still be available in the Aroma Café on the ground floor of the Student Centre, as well as the library café and the campus shop. Official health data shows a third of 16 to 24-year-olds in 2015 said they didn’t drink, compared with around one in five in 2005.

Neighbouring Dundee University Students Association (DUSA) says it union, which is regularly named among the UK’s best, has also tailored its offering in recent years due to falling alcohol consumption.

Hannah Adams, vice-president of communications and campaigns at DUSA, told a local paper (The Dundee Courier): ‘A shift in student culture and demographics in recent years has led to falling alcohol sales at student union bars across the country.

‘In light of these changes, DUSA has changed its provision to ensure we cater for all students, whether they choose to drink or not.

‘We are always striving to provide our students with the best university experience possible.

‘We have no plans for downsizing and will continue to provide a safe space for both nightlife and student activities.’

A spokesperson for St Andrews University said it has no plans to close any of its student bars.

The Abertay move comes a day after Goldsmiths University in London announced it was banning beef from its campus as part of the fight against climate change. 

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