CLUBBERS and foodies were united in their shock yesterday after a popular Oxford city centre venue made the surprise announcement it would close its doors for good.

An American diner-style restaurant by day and nightclub by night, Maxwell’s in Queen Street had been an established part of the city’s nightlife for years.

Passers-by were alerted to the closure when a notice was posted by staff on the front of the premises.

Maxwell’s spokesman Anthony Knight said: “After nearly 40 years in the community we have made the difficult business decision to suspend operations and announce the closure of the Maxwell’s Bar and Grill in Oxford.

“The closure was effective from Tuesday, April 11.

“We are working closely with every one of our staff, whose hard work and dedication is appreciated and we thank them for their many contributions.”

Fans of both the restaurant and the nightclub, which was popular with international students and stayed open until 3am, took to Facebook yesterday to express their love for the bar with the ‘best music in Oxford’.

Giles Eadle said: “Cannot believe I missed my last chance on Friday night. We had many good times.”

Matthew Missakian added: “So many memories, most of which were never remembered in the first place.”

Former Oxford University student Matei Cirstea, a club frequenter for about 10 years, came across the sign outside Maxwell’s on Wednesday.

In his time as an undergraduate he had organised events for fellow students at St Cross College and knew many of the staff, including the general manager.

He said: “I was a bit sad; it has been such an institution in my life and many other people’s lives.

“It was also really unexpected. I happened to be there on Friday and no-one knew anything. It seems very sudden.”

He added that the club had been distinctive for its ‘inclusive’ feel: “You could go on a Friday or Saturday night and Maxwell’s was where everyone went.

“You didn’t feel that there was any tension and everyone was having a good time.”

Maxwell’s opened in Oxford in the 1980s on the site of the former Crawford’s cafe, which was owned by a local family.

The burger and grill chain was originally established in Hampstead, London, and today has a base in Covent Garden.

In 2015 it hit the headlines when a doorman, Kujtim Berisha, was attacked while ejecting a reveller from the premises, but yesterday fans said they had seen little violence at the club and bouncers were always ‘friendly’.

Maxwell’s could not confirm why the venue had been closed. Mr Knight said: “To our many guests, we say thank you. We enjoyed serving you, your family and friends.

“And, it was our pleasure to share in the celebrations that took place over countless lunches and dinners, not to mention birthdays, anniversaries and other special occasions.”