As a master of occupying his thoughts with absolutely anything that will take his mind off the real world for as much time as possible, Richard Bell, the Oxford Mail’s clubbing editor, has unparalleled knowledge of the nightlife on offer to fellow citizens looking for something to divert their attention from the troubles of the working week . . .

Oxford has a number of brilliant clubs at which you can be deafened by impossibly loud music, spill your drinks as you misguidedly try to emulate the dance moves featured in your favourite music video. Oh you can also have a lot of fun.

As someone who does all of these things with mixed degrees of success more nights than not. I have been asked to describe my favourite clubs in the city, and I’ve finally managed to whittle my choices down to the following top five venues . . .

The Cellar

One of the most popular clubs in the city, The Cellar offers a host of different nights to entertain its customers well into the early hours.

There is an exceptionally varied calendar of events, including the big beats and big bass of the hugely popular dubstep night Free Range; the massive tunes of the impossible not to dance to electro night Eclectricity; the monthly reggae brilliance of dancehall night Skylarkin’ Soundsystem and the consistent indie excellence of Big Hair.

This does not really come close to representing everything that is on offer at The Cellar, but it does give you a taste of how much fun you are liable to have, no matter what night of the week you decide to head down there. Plus the beer is cheap.

O2 Academy

Some of the biggest and best bands in the world have graced the O2’s stage since its transformation from the legendary Zodiac — but when bands are not taking up the stage the venue turns into the biggest club in the city, offering the superb Transformation/Trashy/Room 101 every Saturday — a night so good and so wide-ranging that really there is nothing else you would want do with your weekend.

Wednesday nights play host to the notorious Fuzzy Ducks, infamously named as one the easiest places to pull in the country at which you are absolutely guaranteed to see an unbelievable amount of people dressed as Smurfs.


It may be more of a cocktail bar, but this truly is one of my favourite places to waste my time. Regularly open until 2am the bar has extremely skilled DJs conducting the orchestra of movement that is the hordes of dancers easily through to kicking-out time. People who haven’t been before should be aware that unless you are pretty and female you can wait at the bar to get served for a long, long time. The barmen are outrageous flirts. Once you finally do get a drink make sure it is a Long Island Iced Tea because it is the best in the city and only costs £3.

Baby Love

Baby Love claims to be Oxford’s most eclectic music venue, and they could well be right. The club hosts a wide range of nights that encompass pretty much the entirety of your iPod collection, whether you are into Drum and Bass, Electro House, Indie Rock, Pop, or retro 80s you will find something to tickle your fancy.

Recently the club has started putting on one of my favourite new nights out in the form of Broken Hearts Club, bringing us the darker side of the 1980s scene, while continuing to be one of the only clubs in the city to have a regular gay night in the form of Pop Tarts.

The lack of draught beer is a shame, and even the offer of two bottles Grolsch for a fiver can lead to an expensive night but this is a great place to have a dance. Plus there is a pole, which is awesome.

Purple Turtle

Unquestionably my favourite club. I have spent countless hours and an unthinkable amount of money in this place and I wouldn’t want either a second or a penny of it back. The club runs on a regular weekly set up, meaning that you know exactly what you are getting whatever night you go down. Probably the best drink prices for any club in the city, but what really cements the Purple Turtle as the jewel in Oxford’s clubbing crown is the community feel, and the warm welcome it gives newcomers, clutching them to its bosom as they discover all over again their new favourite place for a night out.