It has descended. Freshers Week (or Fortnight if you live in Reading, Berkshire) is upon us. The streets shall be full of awkward teenagers, cheesy chips and vomit, in that order. My own Freshers Fortnight occurred in September 2008 and I have been in Reading for every Freshers since then. The first three were fun, the two that followed were met with a sort of morbid curiosity on my behalf. Every Freshers Fortnight since has been met with nothing but dread.
There are ways and means to avoid the tidal wave of teenagers dressed as traffic lights and foam party angels or whatever the hell Q Bar is doing tonight. Surviving Freshers Week; Your Guide On Where to Head if You're a Non-Fresher:
The cocktails are amazing, the Secret Garden (garden/bar/smoking area) is gorgeous in good weather and the staff are friendly and, most importantly, very good at their jobs which equals speedy but tasty cocktails and a very minimal wait for food from the kitchen. There are loads of lovely comfy sofas and you can always find somewhere to sit unlike some other Reading venues.
RYND Bar & Kitchen describes itself as "an American dive bar with a cocktail menu that pushes the boundaries of bourbon & rum". It's located over on Castle Street (more near the Oracle Shopping Centre than the train station) and it's one of the coolest venues in Reading, if you will deem me an appropriate judge of 'cool'.
RYND tend to have something going on most nights; Monday is pancake day, Tuesday is Film Club with an awesome selection of cult movies and popcorn, Wednesday is fresh Atlantic Lobster Day, then there are DJ nights, live music nights and also the occasional Comedy Night.
The drinks are amazing, the atmosphere is friendly and relaxed and the staff are expert cocktail connoisseurs who are often happy to make you a bespoke cocktail based on your preferences, i.e. fruity, floral, and the spirits you like most. RYND usually caters for a more mature crowd (21+) and is perfect for avoiding the Freshers plague.
The Bowery District is a cocktail bar & nightclub venue located on Friar Street which is about a 3 minute walk from the train station. It serves a good selection of very fairly priced cocktails and on Fridays it has an 'After Office Club' that boasts 50% off all drinks between 5pm and 10pm every single Friday night. This makes a glass of wine or a vodka mixer really bloody good value for money; you certainly won't get a better deal on a Friday night in any other Reading bar if you're trying to avoid Freshers and students.
The Bowery District is home to Club Reckless every Friday night once the After Office Club is finished. This is the only bar in Reading that plays rock music on a Friday (that I know of!) and is a very welcome change to the boring house music that is on everywhere else. This Friday (September 25th 2015) The Bowery District have Bullet For My Valentine hosting a DJ set and partying until the early hours. You can get tickets here.