Don’t expect very much out of the nightlife here. Sure, there are parties, and there are bars and clubs in the area, but it is entirely possible to go through your four years here and never go to one. It seems that you have to choose between expensive, upscale breweries and sketchy bars, with almost nothing in between. You will find college students nearly everywhere, just because there are so many in the valley, but few places cater specifically to them.
However, you don’t have to settle for staying on campus and trying to enjoy yourself at a party where the guy to girl ratio is 50 to 1, nor do you have to go to some frat party at UMass. (Though, not all parties at UMass are bad, and if you go with a bunch of friends with the intent of making fun of it, even TAP, the notorious Amherst party, isn’t awful.) You might not be able to include alcohol in your evening, unless you just want to sit around a bar and grill or tavern for a few hours and then get kicked out at midnight, but you certainly can take advantage of the nightlife in Northampton, which centers on indie music. Pearl Street and the Iron Horse Music Hall are magnets for small-name artists, some of which are quite good and have diehard followings. There’s always Haven, the Goth club (held at Diva’s Nightclub), which provides a good occasion to dress up and dance—and it’s not just for hardcore Goths.