★★☆☆☆

Two stars

To be terribly postmodern, I should start by explaining my own prejudices and bias. My trip to Brasenose’s bar coincided with my suffering from the mother of all hangovers. Sainsbury’s Everyday Dark Rum had conclusively bested me the previous night, so I was in no mood to enjoy sampling the best drinks and atmosphere Brasenose had to offer. Sorry guys. But hey, it’s not like I’m in anyway accountable for these reviews, so fuck it.

Brasenose is a particularly attractive little college. Their quads strike the enviably perfect balance between imposing and pretty, vast and claustrophobic, allowing them both to provide the ideal backdrop for #Oxfordunayy selfies on matriculation day and scare away potential state school applicants for the rest of the time. The same cannot be said for their bar. It appears to have been designed by a team of hobbyists working independently of one another who have never actually been to a bar, but have heard vague descriptions of them some time ago. Stainless steel fixings set against stone walls. Red paint against cheap wooden seating. The result is a complete lack of any discernible theme. What’s more, the air conditioning system, if there is one, was not nearly sufficient. Once the bar began to fill up following formal the temperature rocketed with unstoppable velocity. By half nine I was melting. If I wanted a night of sweatsodden drinking I’d have gone to Cellar.

Their drinks choice was something of a saving grace. The spirits were pretty mundane, but the fridges stocked an impressive variety of bottled drinks. My friend became unreasonably excited by the many different flavours of Rekorderlig on offer, whispering to me, “They actually have passion fruit! No one has passion fruit!” While these bottled offerings were cheap enough, spirit mixers were not. A double cost me well over £4, quite ridiculous when you remember that mixers are the most popular choice for predrinking, something which would be quite costly here.

I have a few more complaints to get off my chest, I’m afraid. Furthering a worrying trend among colleges, Brasenose also seem to have axed the use of glass in exchange for annoying plastic. I know we’re just beastly undergrads, but we can be trusted with glass, honest. Nor do they have a signature drink. Supposedly there existed one at some point, which has since been banned, probably because some unfortunate fresher downed six of them and threw up in the dean’s face, you know, for ‘bantz’. Finally, smoking is forbidden around the college with the exception of a shitty little shelter round the back among the skips and bike racks. Well, folks, heed the words of Martin Niemöller; first they came for smokers…

If you’re a non-smoking bottled ciderenthusiast with several hand-held fans, this bar is perfect. If not, it’s a little inadequate in almost every way.