The Alumni Guide to Oxford Clubs

Dear Freshers,

Just over one week till the big move. You’ve already been inundated by your nana’s collection of 20ps for the laundry, you’ve been to Sainsburys to buy value bags of Uncle Bens rice and you’re now frantically trying to complete the reading list. Relax, newcomer to higher education. These things do not matter for now. Your priority now is to decide which club  night tickets you might want to buy for freshers week. At this moment, we cannot actually transport you to the nighttime watering holes of Oxford to give you an idea of each venue’s relative pros and cons. What we can do is to show you which clubs the famous alumni (living or dead) of Oxford (probably) would have gone to if these venues had been around in their day. So sit back, and see if there’s anyone from your college on this (very comprehensive) list.

Inspector Morse (St Johns)- Bridge

Inspector Morse is the most quintessentially Oxford-y of our celebs- and Bridge has the distinction of being the only club on our list which displays big photos of Oxford sights on its walls. Bridge is also a massive crime scene- the crime being that after queueing for 45 minutes you end up getting sent round the side entrance into Anuba (Bridge’s lame sister bar) to queue some more.

In addition to this there are many mysteries about Bridge that Morse could solve- namely, what is that smell coming from the toilets? Where have all your friends disappeared in the packed and dark dance floor? And most of all, just who exactly is Old man Bridge, a 50-something man who frequents the nightclubs of Oxford (especially Bridge) posing with girls half his age for photos?

Nigella Lawson (LMH) – Camera

Camera is the most toffish of our clubs- with it’s a closeted VIP area (notoriously hard to get into) it models itself on a posh London club. Nigella, as the daughter of a Tory cabinet minister, would fit in fine with it’s red-trousered clientele. As an avowed epicurean, she would love the regular champagne and chocolates evenings (courtesy of law soc and the business guild). Also, during the day, camera does food- need we say any more?

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Bill Clinton (Univ.) – Park End

Park End is nicknamed ‘Shark End’ due to the fact that it effectively functions as a place to get disgustingly drunk and then meet strangers with whom you may or may not fornicate with. This makes it ideal for renowned ladies man, Bill Clinton. As a simple son of Arkansas he would much prefer the laid-back atmosphere here to the metropolitan pretensions of Camera. As the only American on our list, bigger is better, and with 3 floors, Park End is distinguished from the other clubs  on our the list. The cheese floor plays many a cheesy 90s hit, thus making it perfect for the man who epitomised the 90s in the US.

Harold Wilson (Jesus)- Junction

The man who headed the British government during the era of swinging London in the 1960s (and gave the Beatles OBEs) would love the London Underground themed Decor of Junction as well as the retro music played at Itchy feet on selected Tuesday nights. The working class lad from Huddersfield would not be put off by the somewhat grotty exterior of this establishment either.

Al Murray (Teddy Hall)- Wahoo

Wahoo is the most laddish of our venues, frequented by rugby players following crew dates. It describes itself as ‘sports bar and comedy club’. This makes it the most difficult club to pair with one of Oxford’s celebrity alumni, given that most are sensitive, reserved, intelligent types. There is however, one man who fits the bill – Al Murray. As a comedian he would fit right in with the comedy club, and in his pub landlord guise, he would not be afraid to tackle its beer-swilling patrons on a Friday night. 

CS Lewis and JRR Tolkein (Magdalen and Pembroke)- Lola Los

Lewis and Tolkien frequented the Eagle and Child, just up the road from this venue on Magdalen Street. It’s tucked away behind a faux-bamboo door, much like the famous wardrobe in Narnia. As an underground venue, it also puts you in mind of a hobbit hole. One further parrallel (sadly) is that as no-one in reality has ever visited Narnia or Middle Earth, no-one in reality has ever actually visited Lola Los.

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Oscar Wilde (Magdalen)- Babylove

As the most dandyish celeb on our list, Babylove with its cocktails, hipsterish indie music, and Instagram-esque photography would be right up our Oscar’s street. As a man who in the 19th century endured persecution for his homosexual orientation, this establishment with its weekly gay night (Poptarts) would have been a welcome destination for someone looking for a bit of tolerance in fin de siecle Britain.

Clement Atlee (Univ.)- Clems

Not much to say here. Both share a first name. Churchill said of Attlee ” a modest little man with much to be modest about”- applicable to this nightspot located across the river from Magdalen Bridge. There however the analogy stops. That, in a nutshell, is Clems.

Richard Dawkins (Balliol)- Carbon

As a biologist Dawkins would love the name of this place (situated next to Camera) – as it is the most basic element in life on earth. It also tried to get a zebra for its May morning party last year. But wait a moment, does Carbon even exist? Hasn’t Camera had more noble prizes for its patrons in one year than Carbon has had in its lifetime? Possibly.

Aung San Suu Kyi (St Hughs)- Cellar

Playing the most international music (Latin jazz, funk and reggae), an internationally renowned stateswoman such as Aun Sang Suu Kyi would probably head here on a night. She might also have caught fellow Hughsie Joe Goddard (of Hot Chip fame) playing here.

(For the older ones amongst us unfortunately ‘Roppongi’ was not deemed worthy of an entry in this list)