The subject of Winchester’s nightlife has been one to cause controversy for many years. No-one can particularly agree on a good balance between historic city that preserves old Winchester values and the vibrant city that is required to attract a good night time economy.
Many of the older city folk complain that there are too many pubs and clubs in town and that people drinking spoils the beautiful atmosphere that marks Winchester as special place to live. They don’t like the mess created after a night out, the violence that alcohol can bring and the way it stretches resources for the city. But what town doesn’t have this?
At the same time, young people have claimed for years that the Winchester pub, bar and club scene just isn’t up to scratch for those looking for a ‘good night out’ (however subjective that is). ‘There’s not enough clubs’ is a frequent complaint, or ‘there’s nowhere to go out in town late’ is another.
Without a variety of venues, young people will opt for a town or city where they can get the ‘vibe’ that really suits their drinking and dancing habits. But is Winchester really suited to that audience?
I’ve had the pleasure of DJ’ing in Winchester on and off for a good six years, and in that time, there have been some wonderful and enjoyable experiences at a wide range of venues that can cater for all tastes. Hat Fair Weekend and Winton Weekend, for example, always prove that the city’s nightlife can really pitch up against the best.
Unfortunately, I’ve also seen my fair share of criminal behaviour, and have been personally affected numerous times by silly behaviour by drunken or immature people. Maybe there needs to be some compromise. A good night out needn’t mean destroying our beautiful city and leaving the results for others to clean up or repair. Young people can’t complain about a lack of bars and clubs if they can’t look after themselves, and yet an older faction must realise the value of the city’s night-time economy, which funds so much of the public services they have come to rely on.