Since there’s a new flock of freshers incoming and the second years have never been clubbing, it seemed an apt time to sit down and reflect on the nightlife in Oxford. If you were looking for an entirely nonpartisan and dispassionate guide to clubs, you are in the right place. Starting with the true BNOC of the clubbing scene, Parkend (aka ATIK, to literally no one) can be summarised as ‘too bright and a bit jarring’ and is only worth the money on Broke Mondays, but not when they run out of VKs and you have to have a Desperado instead. Prepare to be shoved around by a lot of aggressive dancers – this club is the only place you will ever see people moshing to White Flag. You will discover mysterious bruises on your legs the next day and if you lose your friends you will never find them again. Do not go to the Tiki bar if you don’t want to see a lacrosse player dressed as a carrot chunning in the corner.
Next, a shout out to Fever, the best club in Oxford and forever in our hearts. Apparently John’s are turning it into offices – which given there is zero daylight or ventilation seems illegal (this information is as reliable as the rumour of Cowley Tesco opening in October). Luckily there is still a beacon of clubbing hope on the Somerville-Christ Church axis in the form of Wednesday student DJ nights at the LGBTQIA+ club Plush. Guaranteed good music and cheap drinks but expect an incredibly sweaty night and do not, under any circumstances, drink the poppers. The Jagerbomb man will ensure you are not asleep before 6am giving you the energy you need to enjoy what is definitely now the best night out.
Bridge is the best place to go if you don’t like dancing and do like smoking. Having fallen down stairs at all the clubs in Oxford, Tara can say with confidence that these are the slippiest and also the most painful. If you have ever met anyone who went to a private school or is from West London, you will run into them here – prepare to feel like you’re standing in Hammersmith Broadway. Bridge’s smoking area is the kind of place where you will speak to 20 people and remember 3, unless you are a Union hack, meaning you have gone there completely sober to network. Although the best music is undeniably in Anuba, there is also no atmosphere there. Head next door instead to Thirst, which is definitely the most underrated night out in Oxford. This is the place to meet members of the Oxford Brookes shooting team and the drinks are surprisingly good value, especially when the Brookes boys are buying them.
The key problem with all these clubs is they are a very long walk if you live in Cowley. This brings us to Bully and O2, which will blend into one as they are essentially the exact same. Go here if you want to pay extortionate amounts of money to do drugs and listen to Techno or DnB. The prices of some of these tickets genuinely makes some people think it’s socially acceptable to sell their left kidney on the black market just to destroy the other one with ket. But both are still solid nights out: good music, change of scene from the centre of town, and the thrill of thinking you might get mugged at 4am on the Cowley road.