Corner Club closes

The Corner Club, a private members’ club in Oxford, closed at the end of last month after failing to agree the terms of an extended lease with the council, which owns the building.

The members of the club received an e-mail stating, “The Corner Club located at 16 Turl Street closed its doors on Friday for the last time. For some months we have been attempting to negotiate an extension to the lease with the landlord and/or to vary the terms of the lease… Unfortunately, we have now been informed by the landlord that they are not prepared to do so and, as a result, the management has reluctantly decided to close the business.

“We very much regret having been forced to make this decision.”

The Corner Club, formerly The QI Club, was bought by A Curious Group of Hotels in 2007. For the past three years the club has been continually redeveloped to attract further membership.

Andy Hill, a spokesman for A Curious Group of Hotels, said, “We have invested an enormous amount – about £1m – in the business to get where we are now, and unfortunately six people have been made redundant… We had been talking with the council for a long time, but the cost of the lease and the rent were too high and the council wouldn’t shift.

“We were looking to redevelop the ground floor, with dining on the first floor and a club on the upper floors.”

The Corner Club was a popular meeting place for many of Oxford’s societies and a venue for Milkround companies to host recruitment events.

Carl Anglim, Chief Executive Officer of Oxford Fashion Week (OFW), hosted many OFW team meetings at the venue.

He commented, “The Corner Club was full of potential but over two-years it failed to make the most of Oxford’s creativity. The ground floor was wasted with the exception of a lacklustre attempt at a bar in early 2009 followed by a desperate attempt at a gallery in the latter part of the year.

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“OFW was well accommodated by the Corner Club so I am sad to see one of Oxford’s design conscious institutions disappear, but I cannot help but feel that it could have been so much more.

“Oxford demands creative places and as the economy improves we should challenge Oxford’s designers and entrepreneurs to bring us innovative new places to discover.

“Meanwhile, we will be making the most of Oxford’s rich existing collection including the Grand Cafe, Malmaison, the House, the Randolph, and the High Table.”

Minoo Dinshaw, third-year Balliol college student added, “The service was erratic and expensive but I certainly got fond of it. The cocktail manager impresario Frank is an exceptional human being.”

Cllr Colin Cook, the City Council’s executive member for city development, said it was marketing the building for new businesses.

“There have been expressions of interest and officers will be negotiating with potential applicants who want to take on the lease for the building. Hopefully a deal will be struck at some point in the new year,” he said.