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Oxford Union opens courtyard beer garden

Christopher Collins reports on the Union's new beer garden.

Summer has arrived early at the Oxford Union, which has opened a new beer garden for food, drinks, and political intrigue. The Covid-secure beer garden, erected in the Union’s courtyard, serves up to 200 patrons and contains a gazebo for more than 100. Seating is at tables of six and Union members can bring guests.

The Union hopes to attract customers with new drinks offers and a new lunch menu each week, including £2.50 cocktails on Thursdays. The Beer Garden will play host to social events from pub quizzes to a drag night, and the Union aims to collaborate with societies such as the African and Caribbean Society (ACS) and causes like Pink Week.

The news accompanies the gradual reopening of pubs and other hospitality venues for outdoor service following the easing of England’s coronavirus restrictions on 12th April. There is no 10pm curfew and no requirement to purchase a ‘substantial meal’.

Members have praised the return to normality at the Union after a largely virtual year. One member, Grace Lawrence said “it’s really heartening to see outdoor spaces opening up especially after spending a term at home.” The opening of the Beer Garden coincided with the reopening of library facilities, and a Union spokesperson indicated that the indoor bar is planned to reopen next month. 

Following Monday’s opening, Adam Roble, President of the Union, told Cherwell “the Beer Garden today has been a huge success, and after a year of uncertainty it’s been so nice to be able to see Union members and their guests socialising in a safe environment again. We are really excited to be able to welcome you really soon!”

Arjun Bhardwaj, Treasurer-Elect, said he is “really excited at the transformation of the historic Union courtyard into one of the largest beer gardens in central Oxford.”

“We know how hard it has been for students to get spots at pubs recently, so with a capacity of up to 200 we hope to meet the large demand. As well as offering a wide range of draught beers, we are also able to serve a variety of food from the bar. We hope our members enjoy the unique experience!”

The beer garden will be open Monday to Wednesday 10am – 11pm and Thursday to Saturday 10am – midnight, with lunch served from 11:30am – 2:30 pm on weekdays. Alcohol may continue to be served until 3am depending on demand.

Image Credit: The Oxford Union Press Office

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