Popular crew date venue, The Big Bang, is returning to Oxford two months after its closure on Jericho’s Walton Street. This time around however, the bangers and mash eaterie will reopen on Oxford Brookes University’s Headington campus in Gipsy Lane, a bus ride away from the city centre. It will exist as a pop-up, sharing the same space as Brookes’ existing restaurant. This is already open to the public from noon to 2pm, allowing the Big Bang to have the space from 5pm to 11pm on from Thursdays to Saturdays.
The Big Bang was one of a number of independent businesses forced to move from its Walton Street location this summer. An inpromptu street party marked its last night in Jericho.
Owner Maxwell Mason commented that he has “no idea” whether the increased distances will mean he will lose his popularity with Oxford students. He commented, “The Big Bang has been a much loved brand; I therefore hope that students will make the effort.” In a dream scenario Oxford University students would still come up the hill for crew dates and get a discount. The restaurant is not based on a specified contract at the moment, and so is completely reliant on its popularity.
“The more people come, the longer we can stay open.”
Mason looked positively towards the new venture, speaking of a “symbiotic relationship” between his restaurant and that of Oxford Brookes. He suggested that the sharing of space will reduce costs and therefore help both parties, calling Brookes “forward thinking and team playing.”
Mason also sees this as an opportunity to foster relations between the two universities. At the moment he sees “a slightly guarded relationship between the two. If it weren’t for the Big Bang you wouldn’t imagine Oxford students going to Brookes to eat.”
The restaurant has been open in this location since last Thursday, with Mason admitting that the first night was quite difficult in terms of adjusting to the new dynamic. Saturday showed a marked improvement however, in that the characteristic ambiance of the Big Bang was returning.
He plans to petition the Oxford Bus Company and Oxford Brookes buses to provide free transport to the restaurant. If this is unsuccessful however, he is aware that the fare is only £1.
President of Brookes Student Union Paul Mason expressed his anticipation to the Cherwell, “I used to be a very happy customer of Big Bang in Jericho and like many others I was very upset that this culinary delight was closing. Now I am super excited that it is returning and it is even better that it is coming to Brookes. I believe the students of Brookes that may not have ventured to Jericho will be fans of the Big Bang very quickly and old customers like me will be fighting them for tables!”
Vice President Ivy Migue agreed, stating that “although personally I have not been to the restaurant … I am looking forward to trying it out sometime this week. A few people I spoke to last week were very excited that it was opening on campus. I think it will be popular along the students.”
Oxford students are less than thrilled however, with one ex-social secretary suggesting that a crew date is all about a night out, “The Big Bang is great, you know you’re in a good place when the owner sconces you. It becomes unfeasible if we have to take a bus in the middle of the night though.”