Despite the wind and rain, queues could be seen extending from Astoria and Mr Miyagi’s in Guildhall Walk with many excited for their first ever night out in the city.
Among the revellers was 18-year-old Olivia Hilsden who had travelled from Belfast in Northern Ireland to study fashion and textiles in Portsmouth.
She said: ‘I’m looking forward to anything and everything. This is my first night out in Portsmouth.’
Her new-found friend and international development student Noura Kone, 18, said: ‘I’m most looking forward to getting drunk for sure. It’s my first night here.’
For criminology student Edward Lye, 18, it was his second night out in a row. ‘I went out last night and it was really good,’ he said.
His friend Robyn Tames, 18 - who is studying biomedical science - said: ‘I’m just looking forward to meeting new friends and getting to know people a bit more. This is my first night out at uni. It’s nice to be able to go out and see everyone, it’s like nothing has really changed.’
Sociology and psychology student Mia Lloyd, 18, added: ‘It seems good, this is my first night. I’m looking forward to getting in and having a drink.’
19-year-old Toby Smith from Fratton had been to Astoria before, but never as a university student. The aspiring sports journalist said: ‘It is more exciting coming here for university. I’m looking forward to seeing new faces and making new friends tonight.’
Sports science student Ryan McInerney, 18, from Chichester added: ‘I’ve been looking forward to tonight. It’s going to be fun and I reckon it’s going to be really busy.’
Astoria nightclub owner Alistair Ritchie was pleased to see students return after a difficult year and a half.
He said: ‘It's great to have the students back in town and as the chosen official event partner of the University of Portsmouth students union, we have a whole host of events planned from our regular busy weekly events to specialist nights featuring the UK's best Abba tribute event right through to drum and bass.
‘Covid is still very much on our minds and we encourage customers to follow government guidance
‘Tonight we were expecting over 2,000 people through the doors for our popular Dirty Disco event, we linked up with our sister venue to increase capacity. The event sold out earlier on today.’