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Content, perceptions and impact of alcoholic drink promotions in nightlife venues that are targeted towards studentsBinge drinking is generally considered socially acceptable for students across Western culture. Social norms within the student population have meant that excessive drinking plays a key role in socialising and reinforcing peer group identity. Research has highlighted the United Kingdom (UK) as having elevated levels of alcohol consumption especially within the student population, and the role that drink promotions have in influencing consumption practices. This paper considers promotions of alcoholic drinks in UK nightlife venues and student perceptions of these promotions. Bourdieu's concepts of social and cultural capital are applied to the findings. Method Content analysis of social media posts by nightlife venues (n = 12), observations of nightlife venues (n = 20) and semi-structured focus groups and paired interviews with 32 undergraduate students, from one city in the North West of England. Results Nightlife venues target promotions of alcoholic drinks at students through social media, advertisements throughout nightlife venues, and by promoters outside of venues. These promotions will often influence the course of a night out in terms of venues visited and the drinks consumed. Alcohol holds importance within mainstream student culture; it plays a key role in achieving cultural capital and is a means for students to obtain social capital through the creation of shared experiences, which are key for those who are new to university. Conclusions Nightlife venues will target alcoholic drink promotions at students and will use the notion of creating a shared experience as part of this targeted promotion. This contributes to the overall social and cultural capital that alcohol holds within the student population. This is an important consideration for alcohol policy – it demonstrates how prevention activities need to take into consideration the importance of shared experiences for the students; alternatives to excessive alcohol consumption need to offer a similar opportunity.