Clare Ents: An outsider’s perspective

Ru Merritt 26 October 2014

Stranger: “Oh hey there, do you go to Clare?”
Me: “Um no”
Stranger: “Ah…right, it’s just I see you around here all the time…what’s with that?”

This is the very succinct, and rather oversimplified story of my life.

I then spend 10 minutes trying to justify my unnecessarily keen attendance at Clare Ents nearly every week, with a vaguely pleading tone and a few too many hand gestures, in an attempt to make myself sound less bizarre but failing miserably. But now, I have finally decided that I will no longer attempt to make excuses for myself as to why I am always at Clare Ents, the answer is oh so simple: I go because I enjoy it.

In my first week at Cambridge my college mums told me that Clare Ents was a good pre-drink party before heading on to the exciting, grimy night ahead of you at Friday Life. Having come to Cambridge with a friend there, I decided to pursue this further and it was a brilliantly bizarre ‘only in Cambridge’ experience.

The low arched ceilings lit up by colourful strobe lights create a contradictory atmosphere of the modern imposed upon the ancient whilst the music is often so very up-to-date, alternative and of a “one-to-watch” nature that to be quite honest, I often have difficulty pronouncing the bands’ names, let alone knowing about them in advance. But this doesn’t deter me from an evening of bopping away, and when the occasional tune does come on that I know, it’s even better because that gives me the chance to complement my dancing skills with my singing skills. I am the gift that keeps on giving.

The bar is the central room and is often jam-packed. Staffed by students, everyone is friendly and it is only towards the end of the night that certain beers can tend to run out. However, as a Southern Comfort-and-Lemonade girl myself, this has never been a problem. Perhaps the only annoying fact is that the bar is cash only, but if you come prepared this really isn’t a problem. The shots bar is also a popular place to be – if you fancy A Lonely Wank, it’s only £1.50.

I’m not going to pretend like I’m a massive raver, if you know me, you’ll know I am definitely not. And this is why I would like to take a whole paragraph to commend Clare on their cloakroom area. Filled with large comfy sofas, this is perhaps what really sells Ents to me. I can go for a drink, have a good ol’ dance and lounge around chatting to my friends within one underground cellar. In addition, there’s a free cloakroom – Ents is getting more tempting by the minute.

The price for Clare students and the guest college chosen that week is £3, all other colleges are £4 and guests from outside of Cambridge University are £5. With this you get a wristband for £1 entry to Life (this can be interpreted as a positive or negative, depending on your life experiences). Clare Ents is on every Friday in their Cellars from 21:30-00:00. But get down there quick, going from their attendance this term, if you’re even 10 minutes late you’re in for at least a 30 minute queue.

No excuses, I expect to see you there.