Having attended a crewdate at pre-season, I thought I had experienced everything that sports’ drinking culture entailed. Yet, in the first week of Michaelmas I was introduced to the mysterious ‘Vinnie’s’ that I had heard being mentioned maybe only once or twice before.
I was told to adhere to a dress code that prohibits denim and sneakers and make my way to Vinnie’s for a social. Vincent’s Club, I found out, is a members-only club predominantly for Oxford Blues, which only let women become members a few years ago, with them not even being allowed to enter the club until a few years before. It lies behind a blue (of course) door, and as I walked up the stairs to arrive into the main room, I realised that Oxford Blue was very much a theme of the decoration, which also included pictures of male-only sports teams.
The place we went to was essentially a living room, filled with sofas and a bar area in a corner. Buying a Pinky was a must in preparation for Fuzzy Ducks, so I ordered my first one for a costly £5. It is usually served in a pint glass, and it’s made of grapefruit juice, orange juice and five shots of gin. Anticipating a gin-fuelled burn in my mouth, I took my first sip and was more than pleasantly surprised.
This was a truly delicious fruit juice, surely. “Pinkies are lethal,” I had been informed, and I could see why before I had got to the bottom of my glass. The cocktails are famously extremely alcoholic, yet also refreshing and alarmingly drinkable. Although seemingly expensive, the drink ends up being the equivalent of £1 per shot, which definitely seems more reasonable.
Pinkies are not the only drink that Vinnie’s has to offer. Its Perkies consist of grapefruit juice, lemonade and five shots of vodka to replace the gin. Its lesser-known ‘Shredders’ are also made of five shots of vodka, but instead of juice, soda and lime are added. Reminiscent of what one might order on a tropical holiday, all of these drinks are far too easy to consume, considering their alcoholic content. You can see why it’s a favourite location for sports teams to spend their Wednesday evenings.
Vinnie’s does see its spaces fill up in the evenings, particularly after Bucs. Whether its cocktails are enough to erase its questionable history (along with your memory) is for each person to decide.