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While it’s hardly going to rival London for diversity or liveliness, Oxford’s nightlife is well equipped enough to cater for most tastes. Venues tend to cater for either locals or students (“town or gown”, as the saying goes) but there’s always a fair amount going on. Check In Oxford (www.inoxford.com) for reliable info on what’s coming up, or Nightshift (www.nightshiftmag.co.uk) for detailed music listings. The likes of Supergrass, Radiohead, Foals and Ride are all products of the local music scene, which remains a fertile one.
Bars in Oxford
The Lamb and Flag
This pub is actually owned by the adjacent St John’s College, with profits going towards funding scholarships, so a few pints here is nothing less than a valuable civic duty. Happily, it’s also a very enjoyable place to while away an hour or two – it’s also said to be where Thomas Hardy wrote much of Jude The Obscure.Address:
Tel: +44 1865 515 787.
Oxford Wine Café
Aiming to bring its clientele the best wines from across the world, this Summertown bar is run by an independent retailer focusing on smaller, boutique wine-makers. It makes the bar itself a treasure trove for oenophiles, with a choice of over 100 bottles and more than 20 by the glass. Classy place, too.Address:
Tel: +44 1865 236 959.
The Eagle and Child
The pleasingly higgledy-piggledy Eagle and Child is one of Oxford’s oldest pubs. It’s famous for being the meeting place of the Inklings literary group, which consisted of CS Lewis, JRR Tolkien and the poet and novelist Charles Williams, among others. Its various nicknames include the ‘Bird and Baby’ and the ‘Fowl and Foetus’.Address:
Tel: +44 1865 302 925.
Clubs in Oxford
Hosting everything from blues rock to house nights, this is one of the city’s key independent music venues. Located just off Cornmarket, Oxford’s main pedestrian drag, it’s easily reachable too. It hosts a hugely eclectic range of different events, and can generally be relied on for a lively night out.Address:
Tel: +44 1865 244 761.
Two bars, three floors of music and a late license help attract a student crowd to The Bridge. Touring DJs like Dave Pearce, plus the odd live act à la Ms Dynamite, keep things fresh, else prepare for a night of R & B, hip hop, dance bangers, funk and soul, plus drink deals.Address:
Tel: +44 1865 242 526.
After splashing half a million on a refurb, Atik now has five rooms of late night naughtiness. Expect a 70s, 80s and 90s room; a chilled cocktail space; a Tiki bar; R & B and hip hop in the Curve room; plus chart tunes. Garish VIP areas cost extra and occasional big name spinners are rare.Address:
Tel: +44 1865 250 181.
Live music in Oxford
Formerly the much-loved Zodiac, this illustrious venue is where the bigger names from the rock and indie worlds tend to set up shop. It attracts a very strong calibre of touring acts, and has three separate performance spaces for live events. It’s also within strolling distance of the Truck Store, Oxford’s independent record shop.Address:
Tel: +44 1865 311 775.
The Spin Jazz Club
Set in The Wheatsheaf (opposite the Covered Market), the Spin Jazz Club enjoys a sterling reputation and was named Best UK Live Jazz venue a few years ago. The roster of those who have played here, from John Etheridge and Gilad Etzmon to Tim Garland and Art Themen, ensures it has a faithful following.Address:
Tel: +44 7711 671 647.
The Jericho Tavern
Renowned as the place where On A Friday and The Jennifers were first discovered (that’s Radiohead and Supergrass to you and me), the Jericho Tavern has been given a new lease of life as a place for live indie rock music after it fell into obscurity in the late 1990s. Expect performances from both local and touring bands as well as a good selection of real ales.Address:
Tel: +44 1865 311 775.