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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Leeds chapter.

This week, the (BA) Creative Mind series details a collaborative article, in the sense that the idea presented is inspired by a cancelled and dearly missed event at Leeds Old Red Bus Station bar. Drink & Draw balances art and design with university social life perfectly and is no more complex than what it says on the tin: drunken doodling! The possibilities of this activity are endless – it transforms your standard Pictionary challenge into a hilarious drinking game, drawing competition, or simply a new way to express yourself creatively. 

When the event was running at Old Red, there would be long scrolls of plain white paper laid out to cover every inch of every table in the bar area, with pots of colourful felt tip pens dotted around like beacons of creativity and imagination. Seating sizes varied from tables for two to large group sittings, making the venue ideal for all groups attending the event. Remember the best white tablecloths from your childhood that, saved by your parents or grandparents for dinner parties, were strictly banned for use with arts and crafts? Well, unlike those pristine linens, these fresh canvases cried out to be splattered and stained with rainbow sketches and caricatures. This leads me to my personal favourite part: the tipsy giggles and drunken drawing. Though alcohol consumption is implied by the name, Drink & Draw does not have to resemble a drinking game if that’s not your thing, instead it could complement mocktails or a ‘picky bits’ spread tastefully. However, in my experience, drinking is the cherry on the cake with this activity. Old Red offered a two-for-one deal on cocktails for the duration of their event, and though as a tequila fan the margaritas were a little questionable, the mojitos were delicious and very strong. My flatmates and I drew each other and competed for sips of the loser (i.e. worst artist)’s drinks, and the tipsier we got the funnier it became. Eventually, the scrolls were filled by our own colourful universe, our scribbles deformed to even more comical images by small spillages or the condensation of our downed drinks. There was something poetic about this bleeding of ink as a merging of social companionship with playful art, and I would recommend Drink & Draw to any creative individuals and students. 

Petition to bring back Drink & Draw at Old Red, am I right? I’ll take signatures at the end of the article please… Though the idea is credited to Old Red, I have played Drink & Draw on various occasions with my friends during game nights or at pre-drinks. It is an innovative game that can be developed in various ways, and I’ll bet you a mojito that your friends won’t have played it before! Squiffy self-portraits, drunken Pictionary, or simply therapeutic adult colouring are all on the cards, and not to mention forfeits for disastrous designers. 

Calling all the competitive creative students, you’re destined to win this game! It is of course very student friendly to reproduce in terms of prices, all you need is plain paper, big or small, colourful pens, thick or thin, and lots of booze of your choice. My housemate transformed her masterpiece into wall art for her bedroom, and the collaborative illustrations were sellotaped together and pinned up in the group living spaces. Like I said, endless possibilities and results! Hopefully this has inspired some of my readers to embrace their inner artist in parallel with their student living. 

Despite this wonderful event being cancelled at Old Red, the bar still has plenty more to offer, including art shows, music events, and club nights out for students. Located on Vicar Lane in Leeds City Centre, it is easily accessible for both university students and Leeds locals. Full Fat Thursdays are a must in terms of nights out, with three rooms of music and free doughnuts dished out throughout the night! With tickets as cheap as £4, what more could you ask for? Once upon a time, the bar was a real working bus station, and now it acts as a ‘Northern hub for electronic music.’ If you’re looking for a more chilled visit, the food menu is mouth-watering and offers vegan grub from Cantina Leeds, which is served throughout most of the venue’s opening hours. These can be found on their website: theoldredbusstation.com. It is certainly a place that radiates creativity; their ‘The Walls’ exhibitions speak for themselves and for many aspiring as well as known artists. Graphic prints are also listed for sale on the Old Red website under ‘Shop’ for very affordable prices, so why not take a piece of the action home with you? I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this mash-up style article, and if you have, why not transfer it into a mash-up night: Drink & Draw at pre-drinks before Old Red Bus on a Thursday night! 

Written by: Ella Gale

 Edited by Uta Tsukada-Bright

Ella Gale

Leeds '24

Calling all creative enthusiasts and NP personalities… I give you the (BA) Creative Mind series, where I talk about seeing university life in Leeds through imaginative eyes. As a Bachelor of Arts student, I'm always looking for instagrammable places, unique style and artistic hobbies to fill my life in the city and on social media! Do you consider yourself a creative person, inside or outside of your degree? Take a look at my articles and uncover the inspired side of Leeds.